If you want to know the highest-paying PhD degrees, then this article is for you. A Ph.D. degree is the highest level of education you can attain. On average, it takes seven to ten years for an individual to earn a doctorate degree after completing the undergraduate degree.
To earn a PhD degree is not as simple as a walk in the park. The process of earning these degrees is not an easy one it is very rigorous and time-consuming. We have an article on the hardest PhD degrees to earn and solutions on how to earn these degrees without stress. To enroll in any PhD program, it is very necessary to choose one with high earning potential. The earning potential of every degree is dependent on the program you offered.
Some of the highest-paying Ph.D. degrees offer six figures in your early career. By the time you get to your mid-career (10+ years of work experience), the salary might be more than $130 000 yearly. Here, you won’t find any doctor or lawyer on the list of highest paying Ph.D. degrees because M.D. and law degrees are not the same as PhDs. Earning a degree in law is not a basic requirement to work in any high-paying position in the field.
Also, there are some areas of the medical field that do not require M.D degrees but might require other doctoral-level degrees. These areas were included in this article.
Below is a list of our highest-paying Ph.D. degrees. We hope they would help you in determining whether earning a PhD in these fields is a step in the right direction in your chosen field.
- PhD in Biomedical Engineering
Biomedical Engineering is one of the most popular fields of interdisciplinary research. It is constantly evolving and filled with specialists who have much experience in areas such as life sciences, computational methods, and theory. An individual with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering will enjoy diverse opportunities for research in a range of fields.
Biomedical Engineers work in hospitals, research centers, and manufacturing firms. They could also work in the universities as professors or research experts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job of Biomedical Engineers will increase by 23% in 2028. This makes the job a very promising one and one of the highest-paying PhD degrees.
Early career salary is $88 100, while mid-career salary is $133 000 per annum.
- PhD in Engineering
The highest degree offered in the field is a PhD in Engineering. Most areas of engineering do not require a doctorate degree, but research opportunities are awarded to doctoral candidates and graduates. The degree offers some areas of independent research such as computer engineering, materials science, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, mining engineering, electrical engineering, and so on. Engineers use their knowledge of a subject to create concrete processes and solutions. Some schools offer a general degree track in engineering, instead of focusing on some areas of specialties.
Engineering roles requiring PhD degree include director, engineering technicians, and project managers. By 2028, the growth rate of engineering jobs is 5% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The early-career salary for PhD in Engineering is $93 600, while that of a mid-career is $137 000 per annum.
- PhD in Chemical Engineering
Chemical engineering combines physical sciences (chemistry and physics), life sciences (microbiology and biochemistry), and mathematics to solve problems. Such areas of focus include the use of chemicals, drugs, food, or fuel. The PhD programs in this field aim to get engineering professionals equipped with specific knowledge of the basics of the field and the trending research practices and findings.
The field of chemical engineering is the best engineering profession with a doctoral degree in terms of salary. Besides, it offers constant job growth with both early and mid-careers enjoying great remuneration packages. Professionals of chemical engineering usually work in research centers of biotechnology.
As one of the highest paying PhD degrees, the yearly salary for professionals in this field is $96 100. Also, the mid-salary is $146 000 per year.
- PhD in Economics
Economics is one of the most ambitious and lucrative academic fields globally. It attempts to combine the elements of the following factors: behavioral science, statistics and probability, game theory, and ethics. They help to have a better understanding of human behavior as well as predict market trends. They also make the right recommendations concerning economic policies. These economic policies are very crucial in determining and solving economic problems. Economics also performs the duty of analyzing historical economics.
In addition, it uses the information obtained to create theories that would help in explaining the observed behavior, while determining if the behavior is worth reproducing, considering cultural differences. There are different branches of economics. However, no economist can be an expert in all because the subject will be too big for one to study extensively.
- PhD in Computer Science
With a PhD in computer science, a computer scientist becomes an expert within a sub-field in computer science. The professional obtain an undergraduate degree in computer science or a related field. Then, narrows down his or her expertise in a specialty field like computer programming, during his master’s and doctorate programs. Most roles for computer research scientists require a PhD to fully become an expert in an academic or a non-academic field.
Some jobs that a scientist can perform in a non-academic field include computer hardware engineer, computer software engineer, information research scientist, etc. They could also be found in multidisciplinary fields like data mining, programming, or robotics. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are topics that computer scientists in their advanced stage engage in. A computer scientist in the academic field could decide to become a professor or get involved in the research wing of the institution and beyond.
According to the BLS, the job outlook for computer scientists will increase by 11% through the year 2024. The salary for early-career scientists is $118 000 and that of mid-career professionals is $145 000. Hence, this can be said to be one of the highest-paying PhD degrees.
- PhD in Pharmacology (Doctor of Pharmacy)
PhD in pharmacology is another field that yields much financial success in the long run. Professionals in the field of pharmacology work in a high-level career in the pharmaceutical industry or in research centers. They majorly work to develop new drugs and improve on old ones using their knowledge and expertise in the industry. The research level jobs pay higher than other jobs in the same industry. If you seek one of the highest paying PhD jobs, then, becoming a pharmacologist has already set the track for you.
The early-career salary is $75 000, while the mid-career salary is $141 000.
- PhD in Statistics
Statistics is one of the fields that people underrate, probably because it did not come with the tag ‘professional’ like some fields including engineering, accounting, and medicine. However, there is a lot to glean from this field. Graduates of statistics work as statisticians in different industries like healthcare, government establishments, the private sector, and some financial institutions.
They are also found on Wall Street, working on the high-end computer and artificial intelligence research, data analysis, economics, actuarial science, and risk assessment. Over the coming years, the job of statisticians will increase by a considerable number. While a master’s degree is enough to help statisticians live a successful life, a PhD is sure to take that to a higher level.
As one of the highest paying PhD degrees, early-career salary is $105 000, and mid-career salary is $131 000.
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- PhD in Psychology
Like other fields, psychology is very wide and encompasses areas like clinical psychology, developmental psychology, forensic psychology, rehabilitation psychology, organizational psychology, and school psychology. Moreover, all of them are very broad individually. Most psychologists conduct research in their fields. They also tend to focus on academia, teaching, and conducting research. Most of them are clinical psychologists and are responsible for assessing, diagnosing, and treating emotional, behavioral, and mental disorders. Clinical psychologists work closely with medical practitioners to determine the right treatment for their patients. However, they can prescribe medication in some states. You may go for this course if you are looking for the highest-paying PhD degrees.
The early-career salary for psychologists is $72 000, and the mid-career salary is 119 000 per annum.
- PhD in Physics
Most high-level jobs for physicists are in the areas of research. This could be in government establishments, academic or corporate settings. In some cases, the practical implications of the research carried out by a physicist may not be clear until centuries later. It could take a very period to carry out a developmental process of technology. Sometimes, they keep building on existing theories or perform experiments to test a hypothesis until they come out with a concrete theory.
An example could be found in the theory of gravity. Newton propounded the theory some centuries ago, yet, we know little regarding its effect on the earth and in the solar system. Theoretical physics is not the only area of physics that be. There are medical physicists who work in the medical field while developing new medical technologies and drugs using physics. It is with no doubt that physics is one of the highest-paying PhD degrees.
The early career salary for physicists is $93 700, while that of mid-career is $135 000.
- PhD in Nursing
Nursing is one of the fields that will keep growing and never go on extinction. Since modern nursing came into practice, the field has experiences boom and growth. Like another field, nursing has several branches. However, the highest paying branches are nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists. Nurse practitioners are primary care providers in hospitals or nursing homes and are very much knowledgeable in the way doctors function. They assess patients, prescribe medications, and carry out treatments on them. This means that they can work independently.
Nurse anesthetists, on the other hand, administer anesthesia for surgical procedures and provide the right care for the patient throughout the surgical period. Nurses could also choose to work in academia as educators or researchers in other medical fields. So, if you think you have the flare for nursing, you can go for it because it is one of the highest-paying degrees.
The early-career salary for nurses is estimated to be $105 000, while the mid-career salary is $131 000 per annum.
In everything, you should not rush to obtain your PhD immediately after you are through with your undergraduate and master’s program. After your undergraduates, try to acquire some work experience before proceeding with your master’s and then, PhD. The work experience will help to guide your interests and understand the specific area where your calling lies.
During your research, you could work on projects that you have been yearning for answers to. Then, you can come out with the solution yourself. You cannot achieve this without having some level of exposure and work experience. Although the courses above are not the only highest-paying PhD degrees, they are our top ten.