6 Majors To Help You Pay Down Student Debt

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6 Majors That Pay Off

If you want to pay down your student debt faster, consider these majors that could help you prep to pursue some high-paying careers.

The price tag for college may give you serious sticker shock. And while many colleges offer students financial aid packages to cover the costs, hefty student loans could haunt you for most of your adult life.
If you'd like an actual number to wrap your head around, check out this figure. The cost of tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and other expenses for one year at a public four-year, out-of-state on-campus institution averages $36,136, according to the College Board's 2013-2014 undergraduate budget report. If you go the private route, you could pay even more - a private non-profit, four-year on-campus degree averages $44,750 per year.
The good news is that while you may not have much control over how much your education will cost, you do get to choose your major. If you're still weighing your options of what to study, one thing you might want to consider is your potential job options after graduation.
To help, we took a look at six college majors that could prep you to pursue careers with some pretty solid earning potential.
Keep reading to learn more about the potentially high-paying careers you could pursue with these degrees.

Major #1: Business Management and Administration

Find Degree Programs A bachelor's in business administration could be a smart choice, because it gives students practical skills that can be applied across many organizations, says John Paul Engel, executive recruiter with Knowledge Capital Consulting and author of "Project Be the Change," a book featuring career and academic advice from successful people.
And demonstrating these skills in the workplace may quickly lead to additional responsibilities, including managing the work of others, according to Engel.
So what kind of practical skills make business majors so marketable? "Today's companies want students who can do more than run a spreadsheet," says Donna Rapaccioli, dean of Fordham University's Gabelli's School of Business. "They are seeking staff that can work in teams, write a compelling sentence, analyze persistent problems, and offer leadership."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Business Administration Program.
Additionally, business majors get real-world experience in their studies and learn how to tackle complicated ethical questions, says Rapaccioli. This kind of college graduate brings much more to the table, she explains.
Career Paths that Pay:* With a bachelor's in business administration, you could pursue a variety of professions. Perhaps you're interested in the people that make a business grow and succeed. Then you may want to consider a career as human resources manager, which has a median annual salary of $99,720, notes the U.S. Department of Labor. But if you enjoy the analytical side of business, then you may want to pursue a position as a market research analyst, which pays a median annual salary of $60,300.

Major #2: Computer Science

Find Degree Programs Thanks to market demand and an increased dependence on technology, a bachelor's degree in computer science is another major that could pay off.
"These majors create programs that may serve millions of people," says Engel. "As platforms continue to come online from PC to mobile to tablet, there is a strong demand for people who can code to create the apps we all depend on."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science & IT Program.
The U.S. Department of Labor adds that the industry of computer system design is expected to grow as a result of an increasing demand for new computer software. Looks like computer science majors may be primed to pursue high-earning opportunities in the field.
Career Paths That Could Pay:* A bachelor's in computer science could open multiple doors in the tech industry. If you speak computer and hold this degree, you could spend your days writing code for software programs as a computer programmer. These tech professionals have a median annual salary of $74,280, reports the U.S. Department of Labor. Or you could design communication networks, locally or globally, as a computer network architect and earn a median annual salary of $91,000.

Major #3: Mechanical or Electrical Engineering

Find Degree Programs Engineering is another major that could pay off. In fact, according to Engel, engineering skills are highly valued in today's world.
"These are the problem solvers of the world," Engel explains. "Engineers understand how things work, and they invent the future."
Today, engineers work on different types of projects, such as creating tiny robots to fit in the human body or developing new methods of breaking the sound barrier, according to the College Board, a non-profit organization committed to excellence and equity in education.
Career Paths That Could Pay:* There are as many careers for engineering grads as there are types of engineering. One lucrative option is a career as a petroleum engineer, which involves finding new ways to extract oil and gas from deposits under the earth's surface. These engineers have a median annual salary of $130,280, notes the U.S. Department of Labor. On the more electrical side of the profession, an electronic engineer develops everything from global position systems to music players and has a median annual salary of $87,920.

Major #4: Accounting

Find Degree Programs If you're not intimidated by numbers, then a bachelor's in accounting could be the right degree for you. Plus, you could pursue a career with a high salary. How could it pay off? An accounting major brings specialized skills and knowledge regarding taxes to an organization, says Engel.
"Most business failures occur because of poor accounting procedures," he explains. "A good accountant can give insight into business." Engel points out that all businesses and organizations need to file taxes, leading to a strong demand for these professionals.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.
Additionally, accounting majors have lucrative opportunities thanks to the regulatory requirements of certain businesses, according to Engel. "Publicly traded firms [must] have internal accountants and hire auditors," he says.
Career Paths That Could Pay:* A bachelor's in accounting could be applied in a range of roles and industries, some of which could pay a pretty penny. For example, a career as an accountant and auditor has a median annual salary of $63,550, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. These professionals are responsible for ensuring the financial operations of an organization run smoothly. A personal financial advisor role is another option with high-pay potential. These are the folks who give financial advice to people regarding investments, taxes, and other financial decisions, notes the Department of Labor. The median annual salary: $67,520.

Major #5: Marketing

Find Degree Programs With consumers becoming increasingly dependent on smartphones, laptops, and tablets for shopping, marketing majors have more opportunities than ever to identify consumer needs and trends. New grads with a bachelor's in marketing are valued and compensated well for their specialized knowledge, especially in the latest digital marketing techniques, says Engel.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Marketing Program.
"Marketing is a key ingredient in most organizations' sales," Engel explains. "With advances like Adwords and social media advertising, new graduates have technical skills that enable them to fill roles in this field that older counter parts may have trouble performing." And having that edge could not only translate into job opportunities but also high salary potential.
Career Paths That Could Pay:* A bachelor's in marketing can provide a great jumping off point for your career. With skills in analyzing market data and trends, a career as a market research analyst could be the right fit. The median annual salary for these analysts is $60,300, reports the U.S. Department of Labor. Further down the line, you could pursue a position as a marketing manager, which has an impressive median annual salary of $119,480.

Major #6: Finance

Find Degree Programs If you believe money makes the world go 'round, finance may be the right field to study. Plus, it could help prep you for a high-flying, not to mention high-earning, career.
While most finance majors never make it to the "big show" on Wall Street, says Engel, the ones that do can earn a lot of money.
"It is extremely competitive to make it to this level, though," Engel says. Graduates will usually need a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation as well as the distinction of being a top graduate from a respected school. Beyond that, the key to a top-earning job in the field is the ability to network with the big players in finance, he explains.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Finance Program.
However, jobs for graduates with finance degrees aren't limited to Wall Street. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that "a growing range of financial products and the need for in-depth knowledge of geographic regions are expected to lead to strong employment growth."
Career Paths That Could Pay:* The sky's the limit with a bachelor's in finance. Picture yourself as a player in the stock market?  Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents have a median annual salary of $71,720, notes the U.S. Department of Labor. Another option would be a financial analyst role, which involves assessing the performance of investments for businesses and individuals. Analysts have a median annual salary of $76,950, says the Department of Labor.

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