Are you looking for the highest paying bachelor’s degrees for 2021? With the changing technologies, communications, and businesses in our world, it is understandable that the landscape of our education has changed as well. It is not a held assumption anymore that recent high school graduates will automatically enroll into an on-campus, four-year bachelor’s degree program. The number of reputable online programs are skyrocketing, and the options for students is ever increasing. With this change, students are given a wide variety of choices that can lead them on very lucrative career paths.
A bachelor’s degree is a credential that holds many benefits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the unemployment rate of professionals with a bachelor’s degree or higher comes in at 2.5%. This is much lower than the unemployment rate of those with an associate’s degree or no college at all, 3.8% and 5.3% respectively. An online bachelors degree leading to a high paying career, not only gives students the potential for a sustainable career, but the instant benefit of being able to hold a full-time job or maintain current personal responsibilities while pursuing this lucrative degree.
To find the top highest paying online bachelor’s degrees for 2021, we consulted the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find the highest paying careers’ typical entry level education, and then ranked them based on the up-to-date median salaries recorded by PayScale.
#1 – Online Bachelor’s in Business Administration
There are many high paying online bachelor’s degrees, and an online Bachelors in Business Administration can yield the highest paying jobs of them all. The administration of a business involves management and oversight of business operations. In taking classes such as communication, organizational leadership, resource management, strategic planning, financial management, and business ethics, this degree will provide a broad knowledge of how business functions while developing leadership and decision-making skills. The online option allows students to potentially complete this degree quicker than on campus, typically between two to four years. This degree yields a wide range of occupations. According to PayScale, the national average pay for a Purchasing Manager is $65,175, a Plant Manager is $88,730, and a Chief Executive Officer is $173,000, making this the highest paying online bachelors degree obtainable. While further pursuing a graduate-level education is an option, this degree lays a firm foundation for a successful career in the business industry.
CEO – $173,000
Plant Manager, Manufacturing – $88,730
Industrial Production Manager – $70,136
Purchasing Manager – $65,175
#2 – Online Bachelor’s in Information Technology
As technology evolves and has become a critical part of life and business, an online Bachelor’s in Information Technology can set a person up for exceptional achievement. Professionals seeking a high paying online bachelor’s degree will find this field of study in high demand. IT focuses on the complex flow of information between computers and humans. Pursuing this online bachelors degree, a student will obtain strong communication and technical skills while studying computer science, basic computer hardware, computer networking, database management, IT foundations and applications, networks and security, systems, scripting, programming and how it all supports the business needs of a company. A Chief Technology Officer is an executive-level position that is responsible for the impact, integration, and transformation of science and technology within an organization. Some online degree programs include education and training certifications and, as PayScale lists a CTO’s national average salary at $168,000, it proves this degree to be one of the highest paying online bachelor’s degrees.
CTO – $168,000
#3 – Online Bachelor’s in Engineering Management
While there are many different career paths for engineers, an online Bachelor’s in Engineering Management is one of the highest paying online bachelor’s degrees available. This flexible online degree is ideal for students who desire to lead, manage, and coordinate the engineering and business areas of an organization. As the curriculum integrates the science of engineering and design with the knowledge of business practices, students will study topics such as engineering administration, risk management, probability and statistics, engineering problem solving, and project management. Holding a position in upper management, a Director of Engineering plays an active role in developing other engineers and providing goals, direction, guidance, plans, resources, and assistance to accomplish projects that will benefit and sustain a company’s objectives. According to PayScale, a Director of Engineering earns a national average salary of $138,000. Even though a graduate degree may be desired, this degree is one of the highest paying online bachelor’s degrees obtainable.
Director of Engineering – $138,880
#4 – Online Bachelors in Aeronautics
As the flight industry evolves and expands, there is a growing need for people who have an interest in planes, flight, and the way it all works. Aeronautics is the science that involves all things aviation: aircraft design, operation, and manufacturing. One of the highest paying online bachelor’s degrees is an online Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics. In this degree, students will study topics in security, occupational safety and health, human factors, aviation safety, aircraft maintenance, and aeronautical science. This flexible, convenient online degree prepares students for several aviation-related careers including airline pilots, copilots and flight engineers. An airline pilot is responsible for the success of the crew members and the flight. A copilot assists the pilot in these responsibilities, and a flight engineer monitors the operations and controls. There are required certifications and licenses in these careers also. PayScale states the national average salary for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers is $100,765, which makes this degree one of the highest paying online bachelor’s degrees.
Airline Pilot, Copilot, Flight Engineer – $100,765
#5 – Online Bachelor’s in Computer Science
Computers practically run our world these days and people who understand how they work are in demand. That is why an online Bachelor’s in Computer Science is one of the highest paying online bachelor’s degrees. Computer science focuses on all aspects of computers: software design, systems development, mathematical processes, theory, problems, user interfaces, and how it all interacts with data. Some topics of study in this degree are calculus, computer science theory, statistics, data management, machine language, design physics, and artificial intelligence. One of the highest paying jobs in the field of computer science is a Computer Systems Architect, who is responsible for the efficient and effective implementation of an organization’s technological system. They design computer systems, train users, conduct testing, configure hardware and software, control risks, ensure best practices, and are responsible for all aspects of a project. According to PayScale, this high paying online bachelor’s degree leads to a national average salary of $98,500 for Computer Systems Architects.
Computer Systems Architect – $98,500
#6 – Online Bachelor’s in Engineering
Engineering is another career in high demand as the job opportunities continue to rise. An excellent, foundational degree is the online Bachelors in Engineering that will set up students to follow any path of engineering they desire. This high paying online bachelor’s degree educates students in the creation, design, and development of engines, structures, and machines from a wide range of perspective. A student will study topics like introduction to engineering, graphical communications, thermodynamics, digital circuit design, electronics, robotics, physics for engineers, and analytical geometry. PayScale states the national average salary for an Optical Engineer is $87,622, Marine Engineer is $77,975, Materials Engineer is $73,515, and a Sales Engineer is $71,525. Whether a student focuses on the application of optics, engineering marine vessels, the design and discovery of new materials, the selling of complex scientific and technological products to businesses, or many other areas of engineering, this high paying online bachelors degree sets them up for a successful engineering career.
Optical Engineer – $87,622
Marine Engineer – $77,975
Materials Engineer – $73,515
Sales Engineer – $71,525
#7 – Online Bachelor’s in Human Resources Management
A person who takes a genuine, positive interest in people and has excellent communication and management skills could find success in a Human Resources Management position. An online Bachelor’s in Human Resources Management prepares students with the business, management, and communication skills to effectively recruit, retain, and motivate employees and maximize their performance. Students will take courses in compensation and benefits, performance management and assessment, behavioral science, business policy and strategy, human resources management, employment and business law, ethics, and conflict management to name a few. This high paying online bachelors degree sets students up for several career options. Whether it is to determine, plan, direct, develop, oversee, and manage the best pay and benefits structure, the best training program, or the best administrative functions of an organization, students are ensured a high paying career. According to PayScale’s national average salary, a Compensation & Benefits Manager earns $87,274, a Training Manager earns $66,731, and a Human Resources Manager earns $65,070.
Compensation & Benefits Manager – $87,274
Training Manager – $66,731
Human Resources Manager – $65,070
#8 – Online Bachelor’s in Aviation Management
The industry of flight is increasingly evolving and continuing to become more and more critical. That is why an online Bachelor’s in Aviation Management is one of the highest paying online bachelor’s degrees a person can receive. This degree educates students in the business management side of airports and airlines coupled with aviation management-related courses including aviation laws and regulations. Students will study topics such as business law, aviation insurance, corporate finance, aviation labor relations, aerodynamics, airline management, and aviation safety. This flexible, online degree can be obtained in three to four years. Once this degree is completed, a career in Air Traffic Control can be pursued. An Air Traffic Controller coordinates, manages, and safely and efficiently directs the flow of all ground and air traffic at airports while directly communicating with pilots and other control centers. PayScale shows the national average salary for Air Traffic Controllers is $84,396, proving this to be a high paying online bachelors degree.
Air Traffic Controllers – $84,396
#9 – Online Bachelor’s in Space Studies
Space is such an unimaginably vast expanse and with so much yet to be discovered there is a great passion for space education. An online Bachelor’s in Space Studies is a high paying online bachelor’s degree that involves the study and importance of space science, economy, planetary and space exploration, space weapons, management, national security, satellites, space weather, operations, and astronomy. The curriculum includes courses like trigonometry, chemistry, history of space flight, and the introduction to astronomy, physics, space flight, space studies, and planetary science. This innovative, flexible, online program prepares students for many different careers. One high paying career is Aerospace Engineering. They are responsible for the assessment, creation, design, manufacturing, testing, direction, coordination, and inspection of all different kinds of aviation technology and aerospace products including spacecraft, aircraft, satellites, and missiles. PayScale has listed the national average salary for Aerospace Engineers at $82,455, confirming that this degree is one of the highest paying online bachelor’s degrees to pursue.
Aerospace Engineer – $82,455
#10 – Online Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering Technology
As we know, computers are our present and our future. Every company relies on computers in some way. There is a high demand for people who are knowledgeable in the computer industry, which leads us to this high paying online bachelors degree. An online Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering Technology educates students in creating, designing, integrating and implementing computer hardware, software, systems, and applications. Within this degree, students will be technically trained and learn about computer science, programming, digital and linear electronics, electrical engineering technology, system design, advanced circuit analysis, data structures, testing and troubleshooting, software engineering, ethical behavior, and leadership. This degree prepares students for many different occupations, and one of the highest paying is a Computer Hardware Engineer. A Computer Hardware Engineer researches, designs, develops, analyzes, tests, modifies, and oversees the manufacturing of computer hardware systems. According to PayScale, Computer Hardware Engineers make a national average salary of $81,211.
Computer Hardware Engineer – $81,211
#11 – Online Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity
So much of our world functions online which creates the increasing need for people who can help keep us secure from scams and viruses. An online Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity is an information technology degree focusing on security where students learn about information security systems, cybersecurity, and information assurance. The curriculum teaches students on topics such as fundamentals of information security, the business of IT, web development foundations, networks and security, and integrated physical sciences. This degree can lead a student to pursue a high paying career as a Cyber Security Analyst. This position is the overall protector of data and systems in an organization. They have a full understanding and knowledge of every aspect of the computer system and help to assess risk, prevent attacks and theft, block intruders, protect networks, and establish the proper security framework for a company. According to PayScale, a Cyber Security Analyst holds a national average salary of $75,908, making this one of the highest paying online bachelor’s degrees.
Cyber Security Analyst – $75,908
#12 – Online Bachelor’s in Geological Engineering
In the field of engineering, one of the highest paying online bachelor’s degrees you can pursue is an online Bachelor’s in Geological Engineering. As a form of environmental engineering, this degree teaches students how to understand the Earth, preserve and protect the environment, recognize problems, monitor natural resources, and protect people from geological harm all through the application of engineering science, geology, and many other disciplines of science. Some examples of the courses of study are geological engineering design, geochemistry, petrophysics, earth materials, applied geophysics, earthquake engineering, and rock mechanics. This degree can set up a student to become a Mining Engineer. In this career, a person is responsible for the entire mine operation from design, development, safety, supervision, support and direction, to the transportation of minerals, equipment management, and expense projects. According to PayScale, a Mining Engineer has a national average salary of $75,829, proving this to be a high paying online bachelors degree.
Mining Engineer – $75,829
#13 – Online Bachelor’s in Electronics Engineering Technology
Another high paying online bachelors degree is an online Bachelor’s in Electronics Engineering Technology. This engineering degree prepares students with relevant technical knowledge to design, develop, test, and repair all different kinds of electronic systems and equipment. Coursework in this degree can cover topics such as advanced circuit theory and design, signal processing, digital and analog electronics, communications, power and control systems, microprocessor fundamentals, computer programming, and electronics systems analysis. This flexible, convenient, online degree can be completed in about three years. Life, as we know it, cannot function without electronics. This degree sets graduates up for a career as an Electronic Engineer. They keep our world moving, evolving, functioning, and up-to-date through their design, planning, development, inspection, and analysis of electronic components, systems, and equipment. PayScale shows the national average salary to be $75,739 for Electronic Engineers. This high paying online bachelors degree sets graduates up for a successful career.
Electronics Engineer – $75,739
#14 – Online Bachelor’s in Construction Management
There is always a great need for someone who can manage the construction of a project, which is why an online Bachelors in Construction Management will yield a high paying career. This high paying online bachelor’s degree prepares students to oversee the entire process of projects. This degree provides students with the technical and managerial skills to lead, manage, plan, design and construct a wide range in types of buildings and projects. Some of the subjects students will study are project management, environmental control systems, building design and planning, construction management, and architectural graphics. A Construction Manager is responsible for every detail of the process of a construction project from start to finish. They must have strong leadership, teamwork, and people skills to accomplish the planning, coordinating, collaborating, supervising, and oversight involved in the management of a wide variety of construction projects. A career as a Construction Manager can hold a high paying national average salary of $74,778, according to PayScale.
Construction Manager – $74,778
#15 – Online Bachelor’s in Software Engineering
Another high paying online bachelors degree involving engineering is the online Bachelor’s in Software Engineering. Through courses of study including software design and construction, data structures, computer architecture, software quality assurance, and operating systems and networks, this flexible online degree teaches students in all levels of software development for computers and electronic equipment. From learning how to build, write, and design, to maintaining, improving, testing and evaluating software, graduates of this degree will increase in their leadership, communication, and troubleshooting skills as well. A couple of degrees this career sets students up for are a Computer Software Engineer and a Software Developer. These careers, although having some different responsibilities, are overall similar in how they work to develop the software and applications that compose our computer programs and systems. This high paying online bachelors degree leads to, according to PayScale, a national average salary of $74,106 for Computer Software Engineers, and $69,703 for Software Developers.
Computer Software Engineer, Applications – $74,106
Software Developer – $69,703
#16 – Online Bachelors in Electrical Engineering
A person who has the ability to self-motivate, concentrate, work in detail, organize, and who enjoys mathematics and the physical sciences should pursue an online Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering. This high paying online bachelors degree offers fundamental engineering courses coupled with courses in analog and digital circuits, electromagnetic fields, microprocessors, solid-state electronics, electric power and energy systems, analytic geometry, device operations, computer science, and calculus. This degree prepares students in all aspects and levels of the technological design and development of electricity. Even though students receive their education online, there are still ways to provide practical, hands-on experience through the online environment. An Electrical Engineer participates in and oversees every aspect of electrical equipment manufacturing. They work on any device that requires electricity from electrical motors and microchips to navigational systems and power generations. PayScale states the national average salary for an Electrical Engineer is $73,544, making this one of the highest paying online bachelor’s degrees.
Electrical Engineer – $73,544
#17 – Online Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering
Here is another engineering degree that is a high paying online bachelors degree. An online Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering will give students a broad, universal knowledge of engineering disciplines. This degree teaches students strong technical expertise through chemistry, mathematics, physics, biology, and economics, combined with critical thinking skills to accomplish the ability to transform one thing into another. The curriculum may cover computer science, electronic materials, chemical engineering thermodynamics, process dynamics and controls, plant design, engineering statistics, materials science, organic chemistry, mechanics, reactor design and kinetics. Though mostly online, this high paying online bachelors degree may require minimal visits to campus for lab work, depending on the program. According to PayScale, a Chemical Engineer’s national average salary is $73,210. In this career, a person solves problems and transforms substances for all types of industries through research, performing tests, developing processes, establishing safety measures, evaluating equipment, time and cost estimation, and the implementation of technology.
Chemical Engineer – $73,210
#18 – Online Bachelor’s in Occupational Safety and Health
Skills in creativity, observation, problem-solving, and attention to detail are beneficial qualities for someone pursuing an online Bachelor’s in Occupational Safety and Health. This high paying online bachelors degree provides students with the knowledge to identify and regulate risks and to develop and enforce procedures to keep people safe at work. Some of the topics this degree teaches are construction safety, emergency management, fire protection, development of safety programs, corporate compliance, workplace risk factors, legal aspects of safety and health, toxicology, industrial ergonomics, and interactions of hazardous materials. Even while working, you can complete this flexible, online degree in two to four years. One occupation this degree prepares you for is a Safety Engineer. A Safety Engineer, using their knowledge of engineering and health and safety, must secure the safety of people, products, and environments in the workplace. According to PayScale, a Safety Engineer has a high paying national average salary of $71,003.
Safety Engineer – $71,003
#19 – Online Bachelor’s in Finance
A high paying online bachelor’s degree in the business field is an online Bachelors in Finance. A person who carries analytical skills, leadership, and is an innate problem-solver will succeed in this degree path. Courses include accounting, bonds, economics, monetary institutions and policy, financial reporting, financial analysis, risk management, and asset and debt management. In the coursework, this degree educates students on the ins and outs of money management and financial systems through risk, budgeting, financial planning, investments and more. This flexible, online degree can lead to a high paying career as a Financial Manager. This is a vital position in an organization as every business and entity runs on money. Overall, a Financial Manager is responsible for every detail of the finances of a company, from financial goals, reports, and strategies to investments, legalities, and budgeting. This high paying online bachelors degree leads to, according to PayScale, a national average salary of $70,907 for Financial Managers.
Financial Manager – $70,907
#20 – Online Bachelor’s in Geosciences
Another high paying online bachelor’s degree in the field of science is an online Bachelor’s in Geosciences. Also known as Earth science, this education focuses on the physical characteristics of the planet and its natural geological systems. A creative, enduring mindset, and a passion for the environment, along with math, computer, coding, and spatial skills come in handy when pursuing this degree. Courses of study include earth systems science, physics, chemistry, geohazards, atmospheric science, methods of geoscience, geography, and geology. Using an array of tools from hammers to x-rays to remote sensing equipment, Geoscientists study, research, survey, collect, test, and analyze data involving the physical Earth. According to PayScale, a Geoscientist carries a national average salary of $68,884, making this a high paying online bachelors degree to pursue. In this online classroom, students have access to classes all day, any day, and can complete course requirements at times that are convenient.
Geoscientist – $68,884
#21 – Online Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems
As we all know, computer systems are vital to our daily life and so are the people who create and understand them. A person who pursues an online Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems will find it to be a high paying online bachelors degree. In this course of study, students will learn how technology functions and how to apply it to all aspects of business. Some topics of study offered are accounting, information systems, introduction to business, web & database applications, project management, business analytics, coding, java programming, and systems analysis and design. One high paying career this degree sets a student up for is a Computer Systems Analyst, and according to PayScale, they bring in a national average salary of $67,371. This occupation deals with computer systems, procedures, emerging technologies, costs and benefits analysis, configuring and installation of hardware and software, and data trends analysis to assist an organization in making decisions that will benefit them in both efficiency and effectiveness.
Computer Systems Analyst – $67,371
#22 – Online Bachelor’s in Natural Sciences
Another high paying online bachelor’s degree in the field of science is the online Bachelor’s in Natural Sciences. Natural Science is the study of any and everything that comprises the physical and natural world. This degree provides foundational knowledge in the theory, history, philosophy, and application of sciences and the scientific method. Along with this knowledge, students will grow in their critical thinking and communication skills. The curriculum consists of classes in chemistry, biology, physics, calculus, physical geography, and statistics. This flexible, convenient, high paying online bachelors degree allows students to gain experience by working while earning their degree if they so choose. One high paying career this degree sets students up for is a Laboratory Manager, and according to PayScale, they make a national average salary of $66,405. A Laboratory Manager supervises everything that happens in a laboratory, from ensuring safety, developing procedures, updating training, and coordinating details to enforcing standards and policies, conducting experiments, and mentoring assistants.
Laboratory Manager – $66,405
#23 – Online Bachelor’s in Public Relations
Another high paying online bachelor’s degree is an online Bachelors in Public Relations. In this degree, students will build a solid foundation of knowledge in how to manage a person or organization’s image with the public. Gaining strong writing, analytical, communication, research, and technical skills combined with public, social, political, and economic prowess, students prepare to enter the professional world. They receive this education through courses including reporting, multimedia writing, consumer and audience analytics, law of mass communication, principles of public relations, public relations strategy, and public relations writing. A Public Relations Manager observes trends and plans, directs, reviews, clarifies, and coordinates any material information that directly affects an organization and works to keep improving the positive image of the company to the public. They also oversee press releases, media events, social media, and corporate events. PayScale states that a Public Relations Manager brings in a national average salary of $64,670, showing this to be a high paying online bachelors degree.
Public Relations Manager – $64,670
#24 – Online Bachelor’s in Healthcare Management
Included in some of the highest paying online bachelor’s degrees, is the online Bachelor’s in Healthcare Management. This degree focuses on how business and healthcare work together to provide the best quality care for patients in all types of medical facilities. Students will improve on their administrative, management, communication, and leadership skills while growing in understanding and knowledge of the systems, policies, standards, challenges, and structure of the healthcare industry. Classes include accounting, health care management, marketing, business law, finance, health care systems & policy, international business, human resource management, healthcare information systems management, and healthcare quality management. A Healthcare Administrator is an upper-management position responsible for overseeing and training staff, making decisions, managing financial operations, market analysis, improving quality, planning services, directing operations, and conducting performance reviews all to improve the healthcare facilities to best treat and care for patients. According to PayScale, the national average salary for Healthcare Administrators is $64,356.
Healthcare Administrator – $64,356
#25 – Online Bachelor’s in Art
Art is the expression of someone’s imagination, feelings, worldview, or life story displayed through sight, sound, and touch where anything is possible. Another high paying online bachelor’s degree is the online Bachelor’s in Art. Students pursuing this degree will gain skills in a variety of art media from painting, design, and photography to television, film and stage set design. Through studying courses like graphic design applications, data visualization and illustration, film, painting, art history, photo, and techniques of web design, students will acquire a broad range of knowledge suitable for pursuing a career as an Art Director. PayScale states that the national average salary of an Art Director is $64,211. An Art Director manages, reviews, approves, and oversees the work of the design staff. They work on advertisements, publications, theaters, magazines, movie productions, television, film, video games, and much more. If a student is looking to advance their career in art, this high paying online bachelor’s degree is a great choice.
Art Director – $64,211