bachelors in marketing

15 Highest Paying Degrees: Majors That Don't Require Math Top Paying Non-STEM Majors

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Managing Editor
Carrie Sealey-Morris has covered bootcamps, careers, and higher education for College Consensus since 2017. Carrie is a graduate of the University of New Mexico where she earned a B.A. in American Studies. 
Founder/Senior Editor
B.A., M.Div.
Jeremy Alder has spent over a decade researching and writing about higher education to provided students with the information they need to achieve their goals. He has significant personal experience with career transitions, working as a freelance writer and editor, non-profit director, community organizer, preacher, teacher, retail manager, and carpenter prior to founding College Consensus. Homeschooled from the second grade, Jeremy is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin (B.A., Philosophy) and Duke University Divinity School (M.Div.). He currently lives in North Carolina with his wife, five kids, and a Labradoodle named Hank.

Like most people considering college, you’d probably like to get the most bang for your buck from your higher education ventures. However, if math isn’t your strong suit, you may feel like your options are limited. Although most of today’s top-earning degrees indeed require high levels of proficiency in mathematics, you don’t have to be a whiz with numbers to emerge from college with excellent earning potential.

Highest-Paying Non-STEM CareersMedian Average Salary (BLS)
Marketing Manager$140k
Construction Manager$98k
Business Manager$98k
Current Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data

One of the best ways to pinpoint a bachelor’s degree or majors that don’t require math that also offer outstanding earning potential is by focusing on programs that don’t heavily revolve around science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which are collectively referred to as STEM. Therefore, putting an emphasis on non-STEM majors is a great way to zero in on bachelor’s degrees that don’t require copious amounts of math but still allow you to make great money throughout your career. However, you may need to take a math placement test at the start of your degree.

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As you will see, many of the top-earning non-STEM degrees prepare students for careers in fields that, at first glance, appear to require a lot of math know-how. For example, registered nurses, or R.N.s, must complete courses in biology and chemistry, which typically require an understanding of introductory algebra. However, unlike top-earning degrees that mostly revolve around engineering, most of the coursework falls into non-math-related categories. In fact, for many of these, foreign language is more important than basic math. Foreign languages are especially helpful in nursing, business, and construction management, for instance.

cc research non stem
cc method non stem

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Without further ado, here are 15 degrees or majors that don’t require math but still prepare you for a lifetime of high earning potential:

1. Nursing

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, the median annual salary for registered nurses in 2023 was $81,000, or $39 per hour. Nursing jobs are plentiful, but most employers these days prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees. Although you can earn an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, or ADN, to become an R.N., obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, is the more practical way to go.

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN) involves completing a four-year bachelor’s degree program. In most cases, you’ll need two to three years of high school math to qualify, and you can expect to take at least one college-level algebra course. Otherwise, your studies will involve two years of general education requirements followed by two years of nursing courses and clinical rotations.

For the general education portion of this bachelor’s degree program, you can expect to complete courses spanning topics like history, social sciences, composition and, yes, basic math (a math placement test may be required at the start of this degree). Once that is out of the way, however, you’ll move onto the more nursing-specific courses – and these don’t tend to involve much math at all.

Examples of nursing college majors courses that you will complete to earn your BSN include the following:

  • anatomy and physiology
  • pharmacology
  • pathophysiology
  • psychology
  • community health nursing
  • nursing care
  • nurse leadership
  • medical and surgical care
  • home health care

You will also have to complete several credit hours’ worth of clinical studies at local healthcare facilities, where you will typically work under an R.N. to learn the skills you’ll need to earn your license. Of course, a high school diploma is required for this major.

The ultimate goal of any BSN program is to prepare students to take and pass the NCLEX-RN, the licensing exam for registered nurses. There are nearly 1,000 baccalaureate nursing programs in the U.S., and the average tuition ranges from $72,000 to $104,000 for a four-year program.

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2. Marketing

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People who earn bachelor’s degrees in marketing can pursue a wide array of career paths. Some of these paths are pretty lucrative, and marketing management is a great example. According to the BLS, advertising, promotions and marketing managers, as they are referred to, earned a median salary of $141,490, or $68.03 per hour. Happily, most marketing degree programs require only elementary math courses, so you don’t have to worry about crunching too many numbers to get there.

Marketing managers create programs to generate buzz about products and services. Advertising agencies and corporations typically employ them, but they can be found across many other industries too. As managers, they are responsible for hiring staff, building teams, planning and outlining strategies and managing budgets.

The most crucial step in becoming a marketing manager is earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing from an accredited college or university. Introductory courses that are usually required include business law, economics and statistics. From there, students progress into marketing-centric courses like marketing statistics, marketing strategy and marketing research.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, food and nutrition typically takes four years. The best programs are accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Examples of courses that you will complete beyond general studies include food science, life cycle and nutritional counseling. Additional science courses, including chemistry, microbiology and physiology, may also be required. To earn your degree, you may also have to complete an internship or other types of clinical training. But no extra math courses!

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3. Graphic Design

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Since modern graphic design typically involves computers, it’s easy to assume that you’ll need a lot of math to earn a degree in this field. However, graphic design degree programs tend to focus far more on building portfolios and internships rather than on demonstrating mathematical acumen.

According to the BLS, the median pay for graphic designers is $53,380 per year, or $25.66 per hour. These professionals create visual concepts to communicate various ideas, and they are typically work in publishing, public relations, advertising and specialized design services. For example, many corporations have on-staff graphic designers who focus on marketing products and services through visual work.

To become a graphic designer, you’ll want to earn a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. After completing your general education requirements, you’ll delve into graphic design college majors coursework involving topics like design theory, motion graphics, portfolio development, interactive publishing and photography.

Examples of the types of courses you can expect to take to earn your degree in graphic design include the following:

  • conceptual and practical design fundamentals
  • printmaking
  • principles of design and color
  • graphics for the web
  • multimedia and animation
  • desktop publishing

With a degree in graphic design, you’ll qualify for all kinds of well-paying jobs within the field. Many graphic designers specialize in UX design, U.I. design, production art or web design.

Since you will develop a portfolio during your degree program, you’ll emerge with a sample of your work that you can use to obtain jobs in many fields, including digital media, advertising and public relations, product and industrial design and animation and multimedia.

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4. Business Administration

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It’s easy to assume that you’ll need to become a wealth manager or other financial professional with extensive math experience to make money in the business world. However, by pursuing a degree in business administration, you can tap into incredible earning potential without having to cram your head with math-related topics.

According to the BLS, administrative services and facility managers, as business administrators are classified, earn a median annual salary of $98,890, which is equal to about $47.54 per hour. These professionals work in a broad array of industries. Generally speaking, they direct, coordinate and plan various activities and procedures to keep organizations running effectively.

Typically, you need a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field to qualify for jobs in business administration. These days, numerous colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in business administration. Specializations include human resources management, supply chain management and health services management.

While completing a degree program in business administration, you can expect to complete college majors courses like these:

  • principles of macroeconomics
  • operating expenses
  • legal environment of business
  • computing in the business world
  • communication in business
  • business law and ethics
  • office administration
  • human relations

Yes, you might have to take business math – but that’s very practical. Professionals in business administration work in various fields and industries, including healthcare, educational services, local government and insurance.

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5. Public Relations

pexels greta hoffman 7675008

Earning a degree in public relations is a great way to tap into incredible lifelong earning potential. According to the BLS, public relations professionals earn a median salary of $62,810 per year, or $30.20 per hour. The field is in demand and still growing, so job opportunities will continue to abound for the foreseeable future.

P.R. specialists help produce and maintain a favorable public image for their clients. They work in many settings, including non-profits, schools, corporations and government agencies. Most obtain their qualifications by earning degrees in communications.

Today, many colleges and universities offer bachelor’s programs in public relations – typically through theirs schools or journalism or communication. Amongst this college majors coursework, studentswill be taught the fundamentals of issuing statements and press releases to the public, working with journalists and other critical aspects of the job.

Examples of the types of courses that you can expect to complete while earning a degree in public relations include the following:

  • introduction to public relations
  • public relations writing
  • professional writing
  • public relations research
  • public relations strategy
  • media ethics
  • communication law
  • introduction to mass communication

In addition to completing general education requirements and coursework specific to communication and public relations, candidates for such degrees must usually complete a project demonstrating their knowledge of handling and managing a P.R. campaign. Internships are also often part of such programs.

Additionally, candidates for college majors in public relations typically work on and complete portfolios during their training. In addition to providing proof to instructors of their acumen, these portfolios may later be used to help qualify for various jobs within the field.

These types of degree programs cost an average of $10,000 to $40,000 per year, depending on location, whether it’s provided by a private or public college or university and other factors.

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6. Construction Management

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While many construction jobs involve engineering, which requires copious amounts of math, construction management is different. Construction managers supervise, coordinate, plan and create budgets for construction projects from beginning to end. As a managerial position, construction management involves overseeing other employees. These professionals build roads and bridges as well as residential, commercial, industrial and public structures of all kinds. According to the BLS, these college majors earn a median annual salary of $97,180, equivalent to about $47 per hour.

Also known as general contractors and project managers, construction managers typically earn bachelor’s degrees in construction management before entering the field. Compared to other majors that don’t require math, you can complete this degree fast. More than 100 colleges and universities offer construction management and construction science programs, so there are plenty of options. These programs typically take four years to complete. Some are available as online or hybrid options, adding more flexibility for busy adults.

The degree program in construction management teach students about common construction methods, project management basics, building materials and cost analysis. Through this training, you’ll develop decision-making skills, leadership skills and critical thinking skills.

Examples of the types of courses that are required include the following:

  • construction safety
  • loss prevention
  • estimating and cost analysis
  • courses involving pertinent local, state and federal guidelines

A degree program in construction management opens the door to many lucrative career paths, including managerial positions with exceptional earning potential. And no advanced math course required!

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7. Paralegal Studies

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If you’re interested in the field of law but don’t want to deal with law school, becoming a paralegal can be a great way to earn good money through non-STEM majors. According to the BLS, paralegals and legal assistants, as they’re also known, earn a median salary of $52,920 per year, which is equivalent to $25.44 per hour. Compared to other majors that don’t require math, you can complete this degree much faster.

Paralegals perform a variety of tasks to support lawyers and attorneys. These may include conducting research on regulations and laws, gathering and investigating facts, organizing and maintaining documents and writing and summarizing reports. These professionals help lawyers prepare for functions like corporate meetings, trials and hearings. Specializations within the field include litigation paralegals and corporate paralegals.

Many paralegals break into the field after earning associate degrees. However, more opportunities – and better pay – is often available to those who obtain bachelor’s degrees instead. Typically, an aspiring legal assistant will earn a bachelor’s degree program in social science or business before earning certifications in paralegal studies.

You can also consider completing a degree program in paralegal studies. Currently, there are more than 260 such programs in the U.S. The best ones are accredited by the American Bar Association, or ABA. However, none of them are offered entirely online.

During your training to earn a degree as a paralegal, you will complete courses involving legal research, corporate law, international law, legal writing and the legal application of computers. Depending on the program, you may specialize in certain areas of law, including immigration law, family law, criminal law or corporate law. And best of all, no advanced math courses required!

These programs also usually require the completion of general classes involving criminal justice, research methodologies and professional writing. You can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to more than $50,000 to complete a degree program in paralegal studies.

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8. Occupational Health and Safety

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Another field with high earning potential that doesn’t require a degree involving a lot of math courses is occupational health and safety. According to the BLS, occupational health and safety specialists, or OHS specialists, earn a median salary of $72,530, equivalent to around $35 per hour. Nearly 120,000 such professionals currently work in the field, which is expected to grow by another 7% or so over the next decade.

OHS specialists analyze work environments and procedures, ensuring that safety, health and environmental procedures and regulations are followed. They perform inspections, prepare reports, design and implement safety processes and procedures and educate employers and employees about workplace safety.

Most OHS specialists have bachelor’s degrees in occupational health and safety. Many colleges and universities offer degrees and majors in this subject, and the best ones are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, also known as ABET. These programs include courses involving everything from accident prevention to ergonomics. And best of all, no advanced math courses required!

Examples of the types of courses you will complete while earning a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety include the following:

  • construction safety management
  • fundamentals of occupational health and safety
  • accident investigation
  • hazardous materials training
  • fire safety
  • industrial hygiene

During your studies, you will obtain skills in risk management and across many legal, financial and technology-related topics. Ultimately, you will develop a comprehensive understanding of the processes, standards and challenges inherent in workplace safety. You will learn how to identify, communicate, and address various workplace safety concerns, giving you the credentials you need to obtain employment across many workplaces, including offices, factories, schools, hospitals, and construction sites.

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9. Nutritional Science

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Another great way to break into a lucrative role in the healthcare field without having to earn a math-heavy STEM degree is by pursuing a career as a nutritionist or dietitian. Per the BLS, professionals in this field earn a median salary of $63,090 per year, equivalent to around $30 per hour. The field is projected to grow by 11% over the next decade, ensuring plenty of opportunities for those with pertinent degrees.

Nutritionists and dietitians coordinate, plan and carry out food service and nutritional programs to help manage diseases and to help people lead healthier lifestyles. They often earn bachelor’s degrees in nutritional science and dietetics, which are offered by numerous colleges and universities across the country.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, food and nutrition typically takes four years. The best programs are accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Examples of courses that you will complete beyond general studies include food science, life cycle and nutritional counseling. Additional science courses, including chemistry, microbiology and physiology, may also be required. To earn your degree, you may also have to complete an internship or other types of clinical training.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, food and nutrition typically takes four years. The best programs are accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Examples of courses that you will complete beyond general studies include food science, life cycle and nutritional counseling. Additional science courses (but not math courses!), including chemistry, microbiology and physiology, may also be required. To earn your degree, you may also have to complete an internship or other types of clinical training.

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10. Diagnostic Medical Sonography

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Contrary to popular belief, many non-STEM degrees can help you qualify for high-paying jobs in the healthcare field. By earning a bachelor’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography, for example, you can pursue a career as a medical sonographer. According to the BLS, these professionals earn a median yearly salary of $70,380, equal to about $34 per hour.

Also known as diagnostic imaging workers, medical sonographers operate specialized imaging equipment to produce images and conduct tests that physicians use to assess and diagnose various medical conditions. Their responsibilities include preparing patients, maintaining and preparing diagnostic imaging equipment and operating such equipment to produce images of various bodily organs and tissues.

Although an associate degree with college majors in Sonography or Medical Diagnostics is usually enough to get your foot in the door as a medical sonographer, most employers prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees. The best degree programs for diagnostic medical sonography are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, or CAAHEP.

While completing your bachelor’s degree in diagnostic medical sonography, you’ll complete various general education requirements before progressing to more technical subjects. For example, you’ll focus on courses related to human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and laboratory equipment. A clinical component is also usually required, so you can expect to work under an experienced technician in a doctor’s office, imaging lab, hospital or other healthcare facilities as part of your training.

More than 300 colleges and universities offer degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography, and the average cost for tuition is $15,900 per year.

11. Dental Hygiene

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Not only are there minimal math requirements for a Dental Hygiene degree, but you’ll also prepare for a well-paying career with a two-three-year associate degree. Bachelor’s degrees are available if you want to work in research, teaching, or school or public health programs outside of a clinical setting but an associate degree is all that’s required for licensure.

Salaries for dental hygienists, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, can average from $67,700-$81,460. The Dental Care Alliance estimates even higher salaries depending on your location. For instance, dental hygienists in California can earn up to $133,730 compared to Alabama, where salaries are lower at $50,390. Not a bad ROI for less than 3 years of study.

There are more than 300 Commission on Dental Accredited dental hygiene programs nationwide. A typical curriculum for this degree will include classroom, laboratory, and clinical instruction. According to the American Dental Association classes may include:

  • English, Psychology, Sociology
  • Communication
  • Patient Care
  • Basic Science: anatomy, chemistry, physiology, etc.
  • Dental courses: dental anatomy, oral pathology and radiography
  • Dental hygiene: oral health education, preventive counseling, patient management
  • Medical Ethics

Dental hygienists primarily work in dental offices, but you can also work in government agencies or physician offices. This career has a low 7% turnover rate.

12. Emergency Management

HR degree

Floods. Tornadoes. Hurricanes. Wildfires. Terrorist attacks. Mass shootings. Sadly, there’s no shortage of emergent situations requiring trained Emergency Management specialists and directors.

The FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) website shows there are over 600 degrees available in Emergency Management at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate levels. With any of these degrees, you can prepare to be on the frontlines in helping plan, train, provide resources, and help people quickly respond to critical situations. Emergency Management officials categorize roles as: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

As with most undergraduate degrees, there’s a general education curriculum before classes in your major. The associate degree requires 2-3 years; the undergraduate degree typically takes four years to complete, and graduate studies take an average of two years. You could earn this degree by attending on-campus, online, or hybrid classes. Courses for this major may include studies in:

  • Disaster Recovery
  • Mass Casualties Management
  • Biosecurity
  • Home land Security
  • Ethics
  • Natural and Manmade Disasters
  • Threat Assessment

Programs may also require internships and practicums. Additionally, you may need to obtain professional certification as a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) or Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP). Certifications can often be completed in your degree program.

With an Emergency Management degree, you’ll be eligible to work in a variety of settings including:

  • Government agencies, including local, state, and federal departments (FEMA, OSHA, US Customs and Border Patrol)
  • Non-profits organizations
  • Schools
  • Healthcare (hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, etc.)
  • Private companies and corporations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates salaries for this career range from $66,750-$106,000, with a median wage of $79,180. PayScale cites an average salary of $81,000 and a base salary ranging from $51,000 – $121,000. These estimates will vary depending on where you live and your job.

13. Healthcare Informatics

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A Healthcare Informatics degree can lead to careers with an 80% job satisfaction rate as a informatics consultant, project manager, medical registrar or information technologist. Modern healthcare relies on accurate and timely information, which is where this degree comes in.

The days of handwritten patient charts and treatment orders being dictated by physicians are giving way to electronic health records, predictive care analysis, mobile health apps, and artificial intelligence. Vast amounts of data are recorded that must be organized, analyzed, and protected. Healthcare Informatics jobs are exploding at a rapid 28%, which is much faster than average (BLS), with an estimated 2.3 million new jobs in the next decade (U.S. News and World Report.)

You don’t need to have a clinical background for this healthcare degree but is a great degree if you want to work in and around healthcare systems. This is a perfect degree for you if you enjoy problem-solving; this degree will acquaint you with healthcare systems’ computerized requirements, organization of patient health records through clinical databases and registries, following quality assessment by tracking patient outcomes, and working with computer systems to generate data and reports impacting treatment.

Healthcare Informatics entry position salaries with an associate degree, can earn from $48,630 to $73,150 with an average salary of $58,250. Bachelor’s programs in this field could boost your salary between $93,610-$125,280. Master’s degrees in the field can be completed in two years with top earnings making $143,671.

An associate degree in health information technology can earn you a well-paying job, depending on where you work, live, and position. However, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Healthcare Informatics will substantially increase your responsibilities as well as raise your wages.

14. Cybersecurity

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It’s difficult to imagine our lives with our smartphones or computers. Most of our modern life is held in computer programs, software, and websites, from banking and finance to healthcare to our social connections. Most of us assume our data lives are secure, and for the most part, that’s true with the help of cybersecurity.

Over 30,000 websites are hacked daily and infected with malware, ransomware, and viruses. Computers can be vulnerable to viruses and phishing, and our personal identification can be stolen. Unfortunately, as we rely increasingly on computer technology, we run the risk of hackers, malware, ransomware, viruses, phishing, identity theft, and more we’ve probably not even thought about.

This has become one of the most necessary specialties in computer science and is a stand-alone college degree that can lead to a lucrative career. With over $10 billion lost to cybercrime in 2022, cybersecurity employment is growing much faster than average, at a 32% employment increase between 2022 and 2032.

There were over 756k job openings in 2023 and with companies dedicated to diversity hiring, this is a hot field for women and minorities.

You can enter the field with an associate degree in cybersecurity, but employers in a wide range of companies, government agencies, healthcare systems, and financial institutions may prefer an undergraduate, or graduate degree.

  • Cloud and Web Security
  • Data Management
  • IT Basics
  • Networks and Network Security
  • Hacking Countermeasures

15. Supply Chain Management

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Most of us didn’t pay much attention to or had even considered supply chains until we began to experience product shortages starting in 2020, thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic. A disruption of the supply chain can have devastating financial results.

A slowdown in the supply chain can adversely affect employment, economy, inflation, product costs, and more. We all saw the results of a supply chain slowdown, with department stores’ inventory down, grocery store shelves somewhat bare, higher gasoline prices, and pharmaceutical shortages, among issues caused by goods not being able to be made or delivered.

An undergraduate degree in Supply Chain Management is not heavily math-focused and more concerned with logistics with studies in:

  • warehousing
  • distribution
  • E-commerce
  • negotiation strategies
  • operations and database management
  • inventory planning
  • fleet and transportation management

Professional certification is required through the Association for Supply Chain Management or the International Society of Logistics (SOLE). Often, you can earn certification as part of your degree.

Careers are growing in this field, with an anticipated 18% job growth between 2022-2023 (BLS), with over 21,000 job openings each year. An increase in E-commerce has put more emphasis on supply chain professionals to manage delivery timelines of increasing inventory. The BLS projects an excellent entry-level position salary with a bachelor’s degree between $67,130-$91,330 with an average wage of $77,520. The online employment site, Indeed, estimates salaries in this field between $86,487-$136,390.

Many Non-Stem Majors Have High Earning Potential, After All!

As evidenced by the degree programs outlined above, you don’t have to earn a degree requiring a lot of mathematical acumen to land a lucrative job. By earning your degree in one of these subjects, you can tap into incredible earning potential without being ultra-talented at math (and avoiding advanced math courses!), so keep that in mind as you explore the various options. Many of the programs highlighted above are offered both in-person and online, making them flexible options for people from all walks of life. Political science, fine arts, elementary education, even a culinary arts degree – there are lots of options for those of us who hate math!

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