Kiplinger updates its rankings of college majors annually. Above is our list of the best college majors for a lucrative career from the 2017-2018 academic year. Keep in mind that ranking methodologies can change from year to year based on the data available at the time, changes to how the data was gathered, switches to new data providers and tweaks to the formulas used to narrow the pool of candidates.
Located in New York City, Pace University is a private institution with stellar online programs. With over a decade of experience in online education, Pace University is home to one of the top online Bachelor’s programs in the country (U.S. News & World Report)  as well as other high ranking programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate level.   
The teacher licensure programs offered through the WGU Teachers College have been awarded full accreditation by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) through June 30, 2026. Full accreditation acknowledges that a program prepares effective educators who continue to grow as professionals and that the program has demonstrated the commitment and capacity to continue to do so.
Online learning at UIS is both flexible and convenient for working students. And while online courses are equally rigorous and taught by the same faculty that teach in the classroom, online curricula are designed for online instruction specifically.  And faculty are trained in online instruction so they are able to help students take advantage of the unique resources available to online learners. Some top degrees offered include:

Yes! WGU combines rigorous online curriculum with local placement for an in-person field experience in order to complete your teaching degree. Our program allows you to complete most of the program online, and only requires an in-person commitment at the very end of your program. To complete the degree you will be required to do several weeks of observations and a 4-6 month demonstration teaching experience at a local school. WGU’s Field Placement department will help you find a suitable school for this commitment.

Downside: The job market is highly competitive with just 35,275 petroleum engineers working in the U.S. today, even after experiencing an impressive 91.3% jump in their numbers over the past decade. The good news is that growth is expected to continue at a rate of 13.1% over the next 10 years, beating the 9.7% growth for all jobs. But again, your job prospects are limited to certain parts of the country, with Texas housing about half of all the positions in the U.S., according to the BLS. Also, the industry in inextricably tied to notoriously volatile oil prices, so the job market may be just as hot and cold.

The career opportunities available after completing an education certificate will depend on the graduate’s previous education and experience. Many use the certificate to take a state licensing exam, either to become a kindergarten-through-12th-grade teacher or a school principal. Education certificates can also be useful for teachers interested in moving into policy or research roles in local, state, and federal governments. Other programs are used by practicing teachers to deepen their curriculum and cement their role in their current school.


Most online bachelor's programs at the university offer degree completion pathways designed for transfer students, and these programs may cover anywhere from 31-51 credits of core coursework. Students with associate degrees can typically complete the programs within two years or less. The school offers tuition at a flat per-credit rate regardless of the student's state residency status. Active-duty military personnel can earn associate or bachelor's degrees at a discounted tuition rate.
For each of the 102 college majors, compensation research firm PayScale provided median annual salaries for entry-level workers (with five years or less of work experience) and mid-career employees (with at least 10 years of experience). PayScale also provided “high job meaning” scores, which indicate the percentage of workers with each college major who say their work makes the world a better place. Workforce research firm Burning Glass Technologies supplied the number of online job postings listed between the third quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2018 that were seeking applicants with each of the 102 college majors. Projected 10-year growth rates from 2017 to 2027 for related occupations came from Emsi, a labor-market research firm owned by Strada Education. Emsi collects data from dozens of federal, state and private sources, including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In finalizing our rankings, we combined some similar majors to avoid redundancy.
Online graduate certificates and master’s degrees in education are often used to earn a teaching credential and state teaching license. Current teachers can use these programs to advance their understanding of teaching skills. Master’s programs and certificates are available in specializations such as education technology, elementary teacher education, special education, literacy, teacher leadership, administration, and adult education.
At CMU Global Campus, online students experience a comprehensive education with the flexibility of customizable degree programs. Many programs offer students the ability to choose a specialization within the major—making the degree a personalized fit for your career goals.  And students benefit from wrap-around services like academic advising, an Online Learning Resource Center, and peer assistance through the Online Ally program. Top degree programs include:
National University features an online Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. The program focus is on inclusive curricula and best practices for educating children birth to age 5.  Admission requires a diploma with a minimum GPA of 2.0 or the GED. Transfer students should also have a minimum GPA of 2.0. Policies on transfer credit and credit for prior experience are generous. Classes are offered in a one class per four-week term format. Courses offered include Partnering with Families, Music, Movements, Drama, Dance, and Crisis Trauma and Abuse. Online tuition is $370 per quarter credit. National University's home campus is in San Diego. The program requires a teaching practicum, and a background check is mandatory. NU is extremely military friendly. Arkansas residents should check with the admissions office regarding program availability.

The University of Alabama is the oldest and largest public degree-granting institution in the state, and the school's Bama by Distance platform offers online degree options. Online undergraduates can select from eight degrees in human environmental sciences fields, such as food and nutrition, early childhood education, consumer sciences, and hospitality management.


Core classes in the education program explore the structure of public education, major topics and issues in public education, cultural effects on student achievement, education around the world, and the political state of education. Other classes explore curriculum development, evaluation techniques, and teaching techniques. To earn a four-year degree in education, students also take a number of general courses in math,biology, the arts, and the humanities.
The fourth-largest degree-granting institution in North Carolina, East Carolina University offers a total of 22 online bachelor's degree completion programs aimed at transfer students. These include concentrations in several specialized areas of industrial technology, such as bioprocess manufacturing, distribution and logistics, and health information technology. Other options for undergraduates include five business pathways, five teaching tracks, and an RN-to-BSN. Online grad students at ECU can choose from 51 master's degrees and concentrations -- most of which concentrate in education and/or healthcare -- and seven doctorates.

Kiplinger updates its rankings of college majors annually. Above is our list of the best college majors for a lucrative career from the 2017-2018 academic year. Keep in mind that ranking methodologies can change from year to year based on the data available at the time, changes to how the data was gathered, switches to new data providers and tweaks to the formulas used to narrow the pool of candidates.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com. He is also founder of MyCollegeSuccessStory.com and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He's often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.
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