College is probably the biggest investment you’ll make in your life. Of course, you want your investment to pay off. Which degrees make the most money, giving you the biggest return on your investment? Here’s a list of the historically highest payers and the degrees projected to make money down the road.

Historically High Paying Degrees

The highest payer on the list is Petroleum Engineering. With a starting median salary of $103,000, it’s a great investment to any one of the 20-25 schools in the country that offer the degree path.

A little farther down on the list is Aerospace Engineering. If you like to work with your head in the clouds and can deal with a median starting salary of around $60,000, this might be the right way for you to go.

The first non-engineering degree on the list is Computer Science. This one is a pretty popular one, but there is always demand for more graduates. The mid-career median salary is just over $100,000.

With a degree in Government studies, the starting median salary is around $43,000. That quickly doubles with experience and time spent on the job.

Finally, rounding out our list is a degree in Economics. The starting average salary is $50,000 and there is a good demand still for graduates.

Looking Ahead

Here are some of projected highest paying majors in the next 15-20 years…

Software Developers are in constant demand with no relief on the market in sight. Not only is the average starting pay just under $90,000, there are plenty of excellent schools where you can get a great degree.

With all of the information that is out on the web, someone needs to keep it safe. That’s where the Information Security Analyst comes in. If you are computer-oriented and are good with information, this might be the job for you. Starting average salary: about $78,000.

The Department of Labor is expecting a big jump in the need for Civil Engineers. Average starting salary is between $85,000-$90,000.

Health Services Administration is on the rise and expected to continue to rise with the changes in Health Care laws. Managers in this field have an average salary of just under $100,000. So if you want to work in the health care field, but don’t think nursing or medical is for you, look into Health Services Administration.

Deciding on a degree is hard, but the numbers don’t lie. You need a degree that will pay for itself. Getting the degree is only the beginning of your future in a field, so choose wisely.