Degrees That Could Lead To Success

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Find out which degrees could lead to real-life success stories.

By Chris Kyle

Chasing the American dream?

Getting a college degree could help.

Just ask Oprah.

The queen of talk majored in speech communications at Tennessee State University in Nashville, home of WLAC-TV, where she became the city's first female African-American news anchor.

Today, she is considered one of the most powerful and influential women in the world.

Clearly one's personal drive accounts for a lot when making it big, but so does a college degree.

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Check out which degrees often lead to success, and see how they could help you stand out as a leader too.

Degree #1 - Bachelor's in Business

The old saying "don't mess with success" applies to studying business. Did you know that business is the most popular bachelor's degree in the world, as well as the degree of choice for billionaires like Warren Buffett (University of Nebraska) and Mark Cuban (Indiana University)?

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Studying business could prepare you for a wide variety of jobs in a variety of industries. It could also help you land a rewarding career. According to PayScale's 2010-2011 College Salary Report, workers with a bachelor's degree in business earn more than $70,000 at the mid-career mark.

Related Careers and Average Salaries:*
Insurance Underwriter: $63,330
Budget Analyst: $69,240
Administrative Services Manager: $81,530

[Search for Business schools now]

Degree #2 - Bachelor's in Communications

Oprah isn't the only celebrity with a communications degree. Comedian Jimmy Fallon was originally a computer science major before switching to communications at the College of St. Rose, and shock jock Howard Stern graduated magna cum laude from Boston University with a degree in communications.

[Find schools that offer Communications degrees now]

By studying communications, you could position yourself for success in any number of industries. Whether it's sales, marketing, journalism, or social media, it's hard to imagine a career that doesn't involve the essential art of communication.

Related Careers and Average Salaries:*
Advertising Sales Agent: $53,190
Public Relations Specialist: $59,370
Technical Writer: $65,610

[Search for Communications programs now]

Degree #3 - Bachelor's in Nursing

Although her name might not ring a bell, Hazel W. Johnson-Brown is a true American success story. Johnson-Brown became the highest ranking African-American female in U.S. military history when she was appointed Chief of the Army Nurse Corps in 1979, with the rank of Brigadier General. Johnson-Brown joined the Army in 1955 after attending the Harlem Hospital School of Nursing. While serving her country, Johnson-Brown also received a bachelor's degree in nursing from Villanova University.

[Find schools that offer Nursing degrees now]

Johnson-Brown embodies the selfless attitude that is a hallmark of nurses everywhere. By going to school and getting a bachelor's in nursing, you could be qualified to get one of the approximately 3 million registered nursing (RN) jobs in this country. And by getting a bachelor's degree, as opposed to an associate's degree or diploma, you could open yourself up to more advancement opportunities.

Related Careers and Average Salaries:*
RN at Nursing Care Facilities: $59,320
RN at Outpatient Care Centers: $65,690
RN at Surgical Hospitals: $67,740

[Search for Nursing programs now]

Degree #4 - Bachelor's in Economics

Ronald Reagan, the father of "Reaganomics," appropriately studied economics at Eureka College. Studying economic theories could help you better understand the way the world works, making it the degree of choice for many successful politicians and business titans, including Donald Trump (University of Pennsylvania), Ted Turner (Brown University), and eBay's Meg Whitman (Princeton University).

[Find schools that offer Economics and Business degrees now]

An economics degree can often yield a high earning potential, according to PayScale's 2010-2011 College Salary Report. With economics grads enjoying an average mid-career salary of $97,800*, economics trails only engineering, math and science degrees.

Related Career and Average Salaries:*
Financial Analyst: $85,240
Personal Financial Advisor: $94,180
Actuary: $97,450

[Search for Business degree programs now]

Degree #5 - Master's of Business Administration (MBA)

Long before he transformed the athletic shoe industry, Nike's Phil Knight earned his MBA at Stanford University. He's one of many MBA success stories, which include George W. Bush (Harvard), Gen. Colin Powell (George Washington University), and William R. Johnson (University of Texas), who is the president, CEO, and chairman of Heinz.

[Find schools that offer MBA degrees now]

Earning an MBA can help prepare you to take on a leadership role. You'll study theory and see real-world examples of techniques and strategies you'll need to tackle complex business and management problems. In addition to building your business network, you'll also study practical subjects like accounting and marketing.

Related Careers and Average Salaries:*
Industrial Production Manager: $93,650
Sales Manager: $111,570
Financial Manager: $113,730

[Search for MBA degree programs now]

*Unless otherwise noted, all average salary data comes from the U.S. Department of Labor and indicates mean annual wages as of May 2009.

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