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Top 10 Most Lucrative Uni Degrees in Australia for 2021

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Hello and welcome to every young professional’s favourite concept — HECS! As soon as you start earning the dollars, the ghost of uni past will slowly start taking its cut out of your bank account — might be useful to know which uni degrees are the most lucrative so the debt is worth it.

Jokes aside, HECS is a great way to afford university, and a system many of us benefit from. However, with new graduates racking up educational debts of $30k or more, it’s good to consider if your dream uni degree is really worth it. 

We aren’t all driven by money (and that’s a good thing — no shame in studying what you enjoy!). If you are, though, here’s the most lucrative degrees you should get yourself enrolled in! 

Keep reading to learn all the rest. 

#10 Architecture and Built Environment 

Undergraduate median full-time salary: $64,700

Example Degrees: 
    • Bachelor of Design in Architecture (USYD, UTS)
    • Bachelor of Architectural Design (WSU, Monash) 
    • Bachelor of Design (Architecture) (UON)
    • Bachelor of Architecture and Environments (USYD)
    • Bachelor of Architectural Studies (UNSW)

To start off our list of the most lucrative degrees, we’ve got Architecture, which is a competitive degree with great future prospects. Though you won’t start off the richest in the land, architecture has some great options for a climbing salary.

According to Indeed, the average annual income of an Architect in Australia is $83,100. 

You’ve got some pretty cool career options too! If you’re a big picture person, perhaps you’ll go into urban planning and help design cities that safely accommodate for growing populations.

Maybe you’ll go more micro and become a restoration architect, or a commercial architect designing things like skyscrapers and shopping centres. The most classic, of course, is designing amazing houses for people! 

#9 Computing and Information Systems 

Undergraduate median full-time salary: $65,000

Example Degrees: 

By studying a Computer Science or Information degree, you will be placing yourself in a top field of experts who understand programming, computational research, app design and analytics. 

With the need for technological wizards on the rise in all professional areas, your scope for employment is really wide.

You might find yourself working for the government in programming, as a business analyst, an IT consultant or a technical manager. Maybe you’ll be doing even more hands-on work as an app designed or systems analyst. 

Importantly, this degree has a steady salary growth rate. And some great news — in 2020, the average female income was the same to that of male counterparts! Woo.

Tip: You can start early by finding paid internships in your specialised area of study. 

#8 Rehabilitation 

Undergraduate median full-time salary: $65,000

Example Degrees:

A degree in Rehab or OT is often a great way to go if you’re keen on health but don’t want to complete a postgrad degree. As an added benefit, you’ll earn pretty good money straight out of uni. 

This field has had consistent median earnings for the last two years, and with a growing population of both young children and elderly patients, you know there’s going to be good scope for income throughout your career. 

This is also the type of industry that can earn you money in different places. You might work for a hospital in clinical wards. You could also go the other direction and open a practice, where you make money from your own clients. 

Learn about a role as a Physiotherapist here!

#7 Law and Paralegal studies 

Undergraduate median full-time salary: $65,000

Example Degrees: 

Here we have the current academic Australian dream — A Bachelor of Laws! 

Despite the popularity of this course, there’s great potential to make decent income right from the get-go. It’s also a career with a steep salary climb, making it a worthwhile lucrative degree. According to Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia, you’re looking at an average annual salary of $128,000 across your working life! 

However, there are concerns about a gender pay gap in this industry. In 2020, female graduate employees earned almost $5000 less than their male peers. 

If you’re keen on a life of lawyering, though, there’s a wide array of jobs you can go into. You might become a solicitor, but you could also go into legal research (judge’s associate), tax assistance, accounting or politics! This is a broad degree, so your scope for earning your cash is pretty wide! 


#6 Health Services and Support 

Undergraduate median full-time salary: $65,100

Example Degrees:
    • Bachelor of Health Science (CSU, UTS, ANU, WSU)
    • Bachelor of Science (Health) (USYD)

A degree in health will open the door to so many rewarding opportunities! Not only will you get paid well straight out of uni, but you’ll be in an industry that helps others. The benefits are two-fold!

You might go into health promotion or education (the next Healthy Harold, anyone?). Here, you could work with adults and children alike to improve your client’s understanding of a healthy lifestyle.

You may also take on project management and evaluation, which would allow you to develop key programs that can be rolled out in schools or workplaces. 

If you’re interested in a more hands-on job, you could go into community development, working directly with people around you to tackle key issues! Perhaps you’ll even return to uni and study PDHPE teaching. 

Ultimately, there’s heaps of jobs you can take on, all with a pretty decent pay check. 

#5 Engineering 

Undergraduate median full-time salary: $69,500

Example degrees:

When we talk about engineering, we are actually looking at a really broad range of skills. Whilst any engineering job is a great start, your entry-level salary will vary slightly based on your specialisation.

Data and computer engineering currently take the top spot for graduate cash. However, you could also do really well in other areas including mechanical, electrical, biomedical, civil, environmental and more. 

Engineering income has stayed consistent for several years now. And, good news for women in STEM! According to QILT, you’ll be making an average of $100 more per annum than your male counterparts. It’s the small things, right? 

Engineering is lucrative because there’s so many areas you can chase. On top of specialisations, you might choose an office job, or you might like to work on the ground in more of a construction management position. 

#4 Social Work

Undergraduate median full-time salary: $70,000

Example Degrees:

If you love helping people (and maybe you’ve been a bit of a SAC or CAFS nerd at school), then we have the degree for you! It’ll not only be a fulfilling area of work, but it’ll bring in a decent amount of cash early on so it’s a great lucrative degree to study. 

The pay for social work is staying consistent, as more funding is allocated to programs like FACS and NDIS. 

Throughout your career, you might go into healthcare and social assistance, working directly with clients in a very hands-on position. You may also find great wok in a government position, including creating safety policies.

Many social workers go into education, equipping children, aged care and disability employees with skills to do their jobs well. 

#3 Teaching 

Undergraduate median full-time salary: $70,000

Example Degrees

In a similar vein to social work, teaching is a profession that lets you help others whilst earning a good salary straight out of uni. 

The salary with this job is good for a couple of reasons. First, you know that once you get a contract, you’re likely to have fairly concrete work prospects and won’t have to jump around just to put food on the table. There’s also really clear awards that govern what each person should be making. 

As a primary teacher, you’ll teach a variety of subjects to one class, who you will get to nurture.

If you decide to go into high school teaching, you will either have to specialise in a subject or complete a double degree so that you have an area to teach in. Does science, history, english or any of the other subjects you currently take strike your attention?

According to Teach NSW, the highest annual salary that a classroom teacher in a government school can earn is $105,400. 

#2 Medicine 

Undergraduate median full-time salary: $75,000

Example Degrees: 

Okay, here’s the deal. We all know that doctors earn good money. However, this path takes a LOT of study. Though you’ll be one of the top earning graduates when you finish uni, you will have completed two degrees consecutively. It’s a challenging route. 

You might be able to get a job in a hospital or community health setting whilst you’re completing postgrad study, which is great money as a student. 

Additionally, there’s great benefits to becoming a medical doctor. As a General Practitioner, you’ll get to examine and help patients with a myriad of issues, including injuries, cardiovascular fitness, chronic illness and more.

You might also go into a research position, or take on some additional study (yes, some more) to become a specialist. 

You’ll also be in line for some pretty hefty pay rises as you progress, making this a pretty awesome lucrative degree to study. According to Medical Recruitment, GPs can earn up to $350,000 per annum. That sounds rather appealing. 

Discover more about a career as a Doctor here!

#1 Dentistry 

Undergraduate median full-time salary: $84,000

Example Degrees:

We’ve finally gotten to the most lucrative uni degree — dentistry! Like Medicine, becoming a Dentist is a pretty hefty task. You’ll need to complete an undergraduate degree and then a Doctor of Dentistry. 

In saying that, you can totally work as a dental nurse whilst you’re studying. Aside from giving you a decent earning, you’ll be putting yourself in line for possible recruitment from your employer in the future. Think big picture! 

You may work for someone else, become a partner or even open your own practice! You might even like to go into clinical research. 

And you’ll be in line to make good money for the rest of your career — Indeed suggests that the average annual Dentist salary is $140,300!  

Alright alright alright, that’s a wrap on the Top 10 most lucrative uni degrees! They’re all totally different pathways and all designed for different types of people. 

It’s important when you enrol for a course to consider if you will make a comfortable wage upon graduation. However, that isn’t all there is to it. Loving your course and feeling confident about what you do will always be more important than a hefty salary!

Lucinda Garbutt-Young hopes to one day be writing for a big-shot newspaper… or maybe just for a friendly magazine in the arts sector. Right now, she is enjoying studying a Bachelor of Public Communication (Public Relations and Journalism) at UTS while she writes on the side. She also loves making coffees for people in her job as a barista, and loves nothing more than a sun shower.


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