5 High-Earning College Majors for International Students

by | Dec 21, 2022 | Admissions

Choosing a college major for your studies abroad can be an exciting process. You’re likely to have access to a wide range of college majors that aren’t available in your home country. However, don’t lose sight of the fact that you need a good ROI on your degree. That’s why it makes sense to have an idea about high-earning college majors for international students.

According to data, more than half of international students in the U.S study and work in STEM fields. Generally speaking, STEM majors are known for high salaries and strong job opportunities. As you go through the list of high-earning college majors below, you’ll realize that most of them are STEM.

With that in mind, let’s dive in:

#1- Computer Science

Computer science is a popular and high-earning major for international students. As technology continues to advance, the world need more and more computer science engineers to create and maintain tech systems.

With a degree in this field, you can position yourself for emerging opportunities and a great salary. Job prospects for computer science professionals include:

  • Software developer
  • Web designer
  • Database administrator
  • Cyber security analyst
  • Games designer/developer
  • UX designer
  • Machine learning engineer
  • Applications developer
  • Forensic computer analyst
  • Computer hardware engineer
  • Nanotechnologist

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for computer science professionals is $131, 490. The lowest 10% earners make about $74,000 while the highest 10% make $208,000.

#2- Electrical Engineering

Just like computer scientists and engineers, there’s a big demand for electrical engineers. Electrical engineering deals with the design, development, testing and managing electrical equipment and systems.

The modern world runs on electricity. Everything from the making sure we have electricity in our homes to more complex systems such as traffic lights needs electrical engineering.

Electrical engineers can work in a wide range of industries such as:

  • Construction industry
  • Aerospace industry
  • Automotive industry
  • Defense industry
  • Electronics industry
  • Oil and gas industry
  • Marine industry
  • Power generation industry
  • Telecommunications industry

Data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average annual salary for electrical engineers is $101,780. The lowest 10% earners bring home less than $62,360, while top 10% earners go home with more than $162,930.

#3- Aerospace Engineering

Are you interested in the development of aircrafts? Then you should definitely consider pursuing a major in aerospace engineering – which ranks high on the list of high-earning college majors for international students.

Aerospace engineers are responsible for the designing, development, construction, testing, operation, and maintenance of aircrafts, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles.

With a degree in aerospace engineering, you can pursue a careers ranging from aerospace technician, aircraft mechanic, to aircraft designer. Typically, aerospace engineers work for airline companies, the ministry of defense, government research agencies, and space exploration programs.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for aerospace engineers is $122,270. The lowest 10% of aerospace engineers earn less than $77,440, while the highest 10% earns more than $168,370.

#4- Finance

Are you fascinated by the stock market, forex, or financial management? Do you have strong mathematical and problem-solving skills? A degree in finance might be perfect for you.

With a degree in finance, you can focus on areas such as financial analysis and forecasting, international finance, portfolio management, and risk management.

Finance majors can pursue careers as:

  • Accountants and auditors
  • Budget analysts
  • Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators
  • Financial analysts
  • Insurance underwriters
  • Loan officers
  • Market research analysts
  • Property appraisers and assessors
  • Tax specialists
  • Personal financial advisors

Data shows that the average annual salary for business and financial occupations was $76,570 in 2021. The lowest 10% earned less than $33,000 while the top 10% earns $136,000 annually.

#5- Nursing

Nursing is among the most popular high-earning college majors for international students. Nurses are crucial in the health care industry. They coordinate patient care, administer medicine, and record patients’ medical history and symptoms.

Nurses work in hospitals, physicians’ practices, home healthcare services, and nursing care facilities. You can specialize in nursing areas such as:

  • Burn care
  • Ambulatory
  • Palliative care
  • Labor and delivery
  • Neuroscience
  • Nephrology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatric care

According to BLS, Registered Nurses in the U.S make an average of $77,600 per year.  While the bottom 10% of earners made less than $59,000, the top 10% of earners made more than $120,000 per year.

The college majors we’ve listed above as some of the best-earning for international students in the U.S. You’ll definitely get a handsome return on your investment with these degrees.

Keep in mind that most of the high-earning majors for international students require technical knowledge and expertise. Degrees in these fields will provide you with the groundwork for launching a successful career abroad.


Are you looking for scholarships or student loans to finance your education abroad? Find a scholarship through our extensive scholarship database and compare different loans on the 8B student loan marketplace.

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