There are times in life when it pays to be popular, like when the receptionist can get you in to see the dentist next week instead of next year. So what if your reputation has never garnered you any favors? Well, even if you're not popular, your bachelor's degree can be. And that can pay off in a tangible way that's worth more than fast-tracked root canal.
The 10 Bachelor's Degrees
Check out the ten most popular majors, as reported by the national Center for Education Statistics. Learn about the top careers that go along with a given degree, too, with salaries from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A bachelor's degree in accounting allows you to analyze, interpret, and manage financial information and documents that keep an organization's operations fiscally honest.
Choice career: Accountant
Average salary: $67,430
Get rich: Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) have the best opportunities, so consider certification. The top 10 percent of accountants make more than $102,380.
In a chemistry bachelor's degree program, you learn about the elements that compose all physical matter in the world and the scientific laws that govern them.
Choice career: Chemist
Average salary: $72,740
Get rich: Aim for a job as a chemist with the feds, who pay an average of $101,687.
Sociology is the study of people's behavior as they interact and form groups--such as communities, cultures, and governments--and the impact that events, such as crime, have upon those groups.
Choice career: Sociologist
Average salary: $76,190
Get rich: Try to work for Uncle Sam. Sociologists working for the federal government make $101,320 on average.
7. Political Science and Government
In a political science degree program, you learn about the origins and development of political systems. Political scientists typically conduct research, identify political problems, and make recommendations.
Choice careers: Political scientist
Average salary: $101,050
Get rich: Pack up and head to Virginia, where political scientists are bringing in an average of $130,850.
A bachelor's degree in math can qualify you to crunch numbers for a number of occupations that require theoretical and/or practical use of mathematics.
Choice career: Actuary, a mathematician who calculates risk
Average salary: $97,450
Get rich: Pennsylvania--particularly the Philadelphia area--employs a fair share of actuaries who make an average of $120,230.
5. Biology/Biological Sciences
While in a biology degree program, you learn about living organisms and their environments as you prepare for a career in applied science or research.
Choice career: Zoologist, a scientist who studies animals
Average salary: $60,670
Get rich: Federal government agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management employ zoologists, who make an average of $116,908.
When you major in history, you learn to research a variety of recorded information and analyze facts and timelines of the past.
Choice career: Archivist, gatekeeper of historically valuable documents
Average salary: $49,670
Get rich: Being tech-savvy with databases is a plus, as is voluntary certification (which typically requires a master's degree). The top 10 percent of archivists must put their historical knowledge to use and wisely invest an annual salary of $78,680.
3. English Language and Literature
A bachelor's degree in English can teach you to communicate clearly and effectively and to analyze the power of the written word.
Choice career: Writer
Average salary: $53,070
Get rich: Independent writers bring in an average of $93,420 with the top 10 percent making an average of $105,710.
2. Business Administration and Management
As a business administration major, you should learn how to make smart financial and operational decisions that keep a business profitable, as well as gain specialized knowledge in at least one area of business, such as marketing or sales.
Choice career: Marketing manager
Average salary: $120,070
Get rich: Get career training and experience in computers and technology. Marketing managers employed in the computer industry make an average of $137,040 a year.
A psychology bachelor's degree program typically includes instruction on how to observe humans' mental processes through their behaviors and interactions and how to analyze those observations, which proves useful in a variety of careers.
Choice career: Human resource training and development specialist
Average salary: $55,310
Get rich: Aim for a training and development management position so that you can plan and coordinate training activities and earn an average of $94,360. Stretch goal? Be in the top 10 percent and bring in an average annual paycheck of $146,820.
Is popularity overrated? Maybe when it comes to the dentist. But popularity pays, particularly when a top 10 bachelor's degree program can set you up on a potentially lucrative career path.