Highest Paying College Majors in Canada

Highest Paying College Majors in Canada

Canada’s job market is thriving, with a broad range of promising career opportunities for new graduates across high-paying industries. When deciding on a college major, students should consider earning potential in addition to their interests and skills. Some of the top highest paying majors in Canada currently are engineering, computer science, nursing, accounting, finance, economics, math, health administration, architecture, law, and education.

Why Choose a High Paying Major?

While pursuing your interests should still be a priority, having an awareness of salary prospects can be prudent to avoid being caught off guard by student debt. Those who graduate with high earning potential will have an easier time managing student loans and affordability of life after college.

Beyond just salaries, factors like the job outlook, industry growth, and unemployment rates for a field can determine how profitable a major is long-term. Recessions can drastically impact salaries and hiring for some occupations more than others. Majors that offer versatile skill sets and strong professional demand may provide graduates with more job stability and financial security over time.

Top 10 Highest Paying College Majors

Here are 10 of the top paying and most promising majors for new graduates based on salary data, job growth, and hiring demand in Canada:

1. Engineering

With average starting salaries of $65,000 per year and mid-career salaries exceeding $100,000, engineering offers new graduates lucrative earning potential straight out of college. Civil, electrical, computer, chemical, and software engineering are consistently top paying engineering disciplines.

While the job outlook varies slightly based on engineering specialty, the field as a whole is expected to experience 7.4% growth in Canada through 2028 as infrastructure, technology, and innovation drive demand. Having an engineering degree also allows flexibility to work in diverse industries.

2. Computer Science

Computer science continues to be a rapidly growing field with high pay in Canada. Positions like software developers, computer engineers, systems administrators, and data scientists are becoming indispensable across practically every industry from finance to healthcare.

New computer science graduates can expect average starting salaries around $60,000, achieving six figure earnings by mid-career. Top tech companies notoriously offer some of the highest salaries nationwide to recruit top talent. Exceptional computer programming and coding skills are highly profitable.

Overall job growth for computer and IT related occupations is expected to increase by about 15% through 2026 in Canada. The versatile applications for a computer science skillset along with continuous digital transformation ensure strong job stability and demand.

3. Nursing

Registered nursing is one of the most recession-proof careers, offering job stability combined with competitive salaries around $70,000 per year for experienced nurses and nurse practitioners. Aside from hospitals, nurses have opportunities in clinics, schools, government, home healthcare, and more.

Canada is projected to be short 60,000 nurses by 2022. With an aging population and healthcare labor shortage, demand for nurses and nurse practitioners will continue rising substantially with a job growth rate of about 9% over the next decade.

Pursuing specializations as a nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or other advanced role can unlock $100,000+ salaries. The career advancement and earning potential make nursing a reliably high paying major.

4. Accounting

Accountants earn median salaries exceeding $70,000, with top earners making well over six figures. Corporate finance and public accounting offer some of the most lucrative career paths, aided by CPA certification.

Government data expects the number of accountants and auditors to grow by 9% through 2028. Accounting majors develop analytical skills that transfer well to business management and financial operations, providing fantastic job stability and flexibility.

5. Finance/Economics

Majors like finance, financial planning, banking, insurance, and economics equip graduates with the skills to advise individuals and organizations on investments, assets, markets, risk, policies and complex financial decisions.

The average starting salary for finance and economics majors ranges from $50,000 to $60,000, depending on the specific occupation and industry. By mid-career, salaries can surpass $100,000. Economics majors often leverage their analytical skills in government and policy.

The job growth outlook remains positive as well. Financial analysts in particular are projected to see 25% more hiring demand over the next decade. Expertise in finance and economics promises strong earnings and marketable qualifications.

6. Math

While math on its own is a more theoretical major, complementing pure mathematics with statistics coursework or a minor in computer science or business unlocks extremely profitable and in-demand career paths in data science, biostatistics, and actuarial science.

Actuaries analyze statistical data to calculate risk and probability related to insurance, investments, healthcare costs, loans, and more for corporations. Actuarial analysts can expect median pay exceeding $100,000 per year with a promising job growth outlook of over 20% by 2028 as data analytics and quantitative skills become increasingly vital for businesses.

Math majors can also find lucrative roles as statisticians, mathematical analysts, quantitative researchers for banks and finance firms, epidemiologists, and technical consultants. Overall strong numeracy skills, statistical methods, and computational abilities offer graduates flexible high earning job prospects across sectors like IT, business, healthcare, government, and education.

7. Health Administration

For business-minded students interested in healthcare, majoring in health administration, health management, or healthcare operations can lead to lucrative executive-level hospital administration positions. These majors teach students specialized expertise in areas like finance, human resources, compliance, data analytics, and facilities management applied to clinical settings.

The average salary for medical and health services managers is over $100,000 nationwide. With healthcare comprising an ever larger segment of GDP and an aging demographic, job growth in this niche field is projected to increase substantially by 32% over the next decade.

8. Architecture

Securing a career as a licensed architect requires dedication but offers fantastic creative career fulfillment and salaries averaging above $80,000 per year. Architectural and engineering managers earn well over $100,000. Architecture spends extensive time learning design principles combined with engineering, functionality, aesthetics, project management, zoning policies, building codes, and sustainability factors.

The versatility of an architecture background allows graduates to work at construction firms, in government, at private residential and commercial landscape architecture companies, as interior designers, and in urban planning, in addition to traditional architecture firms.

While specific job growth in the architecture field is slower compared to STEM occupations, competitive salaries, interesting work, and ample job opportunities make architecture a reliable way to earn high pay following several years of initial experience. Becoming a licensed architect does involve some costs and requirements for certification.

9. Law

Law school admissions remains highly competitive, but ultimately becoming a licensed lawyer or paralegal promises strong median incomes typically exceeding or approaching six figures. Lawyers specializing in tax law, trial law, corporate law, patent law, and other niches regularly see salaries upwards of $200,000 or more.

Demand for lawyers and legal services continues expanding as businesses navigate complex regulatory environments, individuals protect assets and IP, and globalization interconnects policies worldwide. College students interested in law can major in pre-law, political science, English, history, criminal justice, economics, or philosophy to boost competitiveness for top law schools after completing an undergrad program.

10. Education

While salaries for primary and secondary school educators have historically remained modest, pursuing education and specializing as a school administrator, post-secondary professor, or ed tech entrepreneur offers substantially higher earning potential. Education majors also gain transferable skills in communication, research, psychology, problem solving and critical thinking valued across sectors.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 15% job growth for postsecondary education administrators through 2030 as student enrollment continues rising. College professors with doctorates in growing fields like technology, healthcare, and business can negotiate six figure salaries at teaching focused academic institutions or hybrid corporate campuses.

Founders of education technology companies and digital learning platforms also commonly earn multiple six or seven figure incomes by leveraging technology to disrupt and improve educational access – one prominent example being Thinkific founder and CEO Greg Smith.

Determining Factors for High Salaries

Beyond simply supply and demand dynamics by industry and occupation, several elements impact how much income college graduates can earn from the majors above and degree paths overall:

Experience Level

Salaries increase exponentially with experience over the first decade of graduates’ careers. Entry level engineers and accountants, for example, more than double their earnings by mid-career with proven skills and leadership capabilities. Tenures of 5-10+ years managing complex projects command the highest premiums.


Where graduates choose to live and work geographically shifts average pay substantially between regions and provinces. Large metropolis cities like Toronto and Vancouver offer more opportunities with major corporations, international commerce, and networking – however cost of living factors in. Rural areas or smaller communities may provide cheaper standard of living but fewer high paying roles.


Earning advanced specialist certifications and licenses signals technical expertise and unlocks higher salaries. Accountants pursue CPA credentials, IT professionals obtain Cisco and Microsoft certified credentials, actuaries pass a series of specialized exams, and management consultants gain certificates in AI, analytics, leadership, etc. These require extra exams and training but lift pay.

Skill Sets and Education

Certain specialized technical abilities within broader fields disproportionately drive higher incomes because the advanced skills are scarce but in high demand. For example, data scientists and machine learning engineers with PhD’s in computer science and advanced mathematics/statistics training will significantly out earn front end web developers due to specialization.

Pursuing education beyond a bachelor’s degree also correlates strongly with higher lifetime earnings, especially for STEM occupations. Advanced degrees signal expertise. Over 30% of Canadians aged 25-64 hold college diplomas or occupational certifications alongside formal university degrees to expand skill sets.

Combining knowledge across disciplines is extremely profitable as well. For instance, students pairing computer science and healthcare majors to specialize in health informatics can earn well over $100,000 in technical medical roles. Architecture engineers also exemplify how synergizing multiple areas of expertise raises incomes.

Promising Career Paths for New Graduates

Beyond generalized salary, job growth, and employment outlook figures for broad major categories, examining specific high demand career paths emerging across industries provides helpful insight for students assessing college majors by profitability and earning potential over time.

Here are some of the top growing professional occupations aligned to the highest paying majors in Canada currently:

  • Software Developers: Computer science, IT, and software engineering majors sought after by practically every size company to build mobile apps, websites, internal platforms, ecommerce sites, games, and more. $80,000 median salary.
  • Data Scientists & Analysts: Statistics, math, analytics, and computer programming backgrounds extremely valuable for uncovering insights from vast data sources. $100,000+ incomes.
  • Financial Analysts: Business, finance, and economics majors landing analyst roles have opportunities across all sectors assessing sales, investments, operations, products, and advising executives. $70,000 median salary.
  • Nurse Practitioners: $115,000 average salary for those advancing from registered nursing credentials to provide primary and specialty healthcare services as autonomous clinicians. Growing shortage nationwide.
  • Management Consultants: Economics, IT, engineering, finance, and business majors obtaining positions at prestigious global consulting firms advise enterprise executives and policy makers on strategy, operations, and emerging technologies. Potential six figure salaries.
  • Construction Managers: Civil engineering, architecture, and construction administration graduates oversee building projects, coordinate property developers, subcontractors, budgets, supplies, equipment, and building codes throughout development lifecycles. $80,000 median salary.
  • Actuaries: Math, statistics, economics, and finance majors passing a series of specialized examinations to become credentialed experts that quantify and model risk for insurance companies, pensions, investments, healthcare systems and more. $100,000+ potential.

In most instances relevant experience, communication abilities, technical prowess, leadership, and high demand for niche skill sets differentiate those reaching the highest salaries – no matter the academic major.

Key Takeaways: Choosing the Most Profitable College Major

  1. Consider both interests and earning potential – Don’t purely default to the highest paying major if it will lead to lack of engagement or fulfillment long term in your career. But be informed on job prospects.
  2. Specializations matter – For nearly all high paying fields, specializing with niche technical abilities, credentials, dual majors, interdisciplinary skill sets, graduate degrees, etc. unlocks the top salaries. Become an expert.
  3. Choose growth industries – Technology, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, construction, finance, and professional services offer some of the best paid roles in fastest growing sectors amid constant innovation.
  4. Develop versatile, transferable skills – Majors like engineering, nursing, law, economics, education, and healthcare provide well-rounded transferable abilities that open diverse doors for mobility between sectors and positions over a career.
  5. Location flexibility raises incomes – Graduates open to relocating to major metro regions with talent shortages generally earn the highest salaries in their occupation nationally.

No matter your major, finding alignment with your interests and developing specialized expertise tailored to in-demand skills will set you up for workplace success and offer the highest income potential. The most profitable majors ultimately enable grads to provide value in evolving roles that technological advances and market needs make indispensable across industries.

Which major has the highest salary in Canada?

Engineering majors tend to have the overall highest salaries in Canada, with disciplines like software engineering, computer engineering, chemical engineering, and electrical engineering exceeding $100,000 CAD for experienced positions. Median salaries for engineers start around $65,000 and rise exponentially with 5-10 years of experience on complex projects.

What college major has the highest salary?

The college majors with the highest salaries in Canada currently are engineering, computer science, nursing, accounting, finance, economics, mathematics, health administration, architecture, law, and specialized technology or business graduate programs. Most exceed over $100,000 CAD in median pay for experienced mid-career professionals.

Which degree is most in-demand in Canada?

The most in-demand degrees in Canada are engineering, computer science, healthcare, accounting & finance, skilled trades, and business – coinciding with highest paying majors. Technology skills drive demand for programming abilities. Canada also faces healthcare labor shortages needing nurses.

What is the highest paying career in Canada?

The highest paying careers in Canada currently are specialized physicians earning $250,000+ CAD, corporate executives, engineering managers, IT management, big law and tax law partners at elite firms earning over $300,000, specialized engineers, quantitative analysts, data scientists, and senior finance roles at banks/funds.

What jobs pay 500k a year in Canada?

Very few professions in Canada pay over $500K CAD annually. Select specialized physicians, partners and senior lawyers at top international law firms, founders of successful tech/health startups, elite professional athletes, corporate CEOs and board chairs at massive enterprises, fund managers, and star entertainers are among the only roles earning $500K+ in Canada annually.

Which jobs pay 200k a year in Canada?

Jobs that pay over $200K per year in Canada include specialized doctors, lawyers and law partners, corporate executives, engineering directors, software/IT architects, fund portfolio managers, FANG tech managers, experienced data scientists, machine learning engineers, analytical consultants, senior bankers, air traffic controllers, and tenured university professors in high demand fields.

Is 150k a good salary in Toronto?

Yes, $150K CAD is considered an excellent salary in Toronto and affords a comfortable lifestyle. While not equivalent to San Francisco or New York City big tech hub pay scales, Toronto salaries around $150K CAD place professionals solidly in the top 10% of individual full-time incomes nationwide.

Is 200k a good salary in Canada for a family?

Yes, an income of $200K CAD provides families with children a very comfortable life in any Canadian metro area and ability to own a nice home, afford reasonable vacations and entertainment, save for education/retirement, and live well on a dual professional income household budget.

Can engineers make 200k in Canada?

Yes, it is definitely possible for engineers in Canada to earn salaries of $200K or beyond over the course of their career. Engineering managers, software architects, petroleum engineers, specialized computer engineers, and directors at large multinational firms often exceed this threshold once they obtain 10-15 years of proven expertise and leadership experience.

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