Revealed: The highest-paying A-level subjects

New figures show how much A-level and vocational students went on to earn for each subject

Revealed: which A levels earns students the money

Which A-level subject leads to the biggest pay cheque? And is it more lucrative to pursue A levels or vocational level 3 qualifications?

New data published by the Department for Education today reveals all – and some of the fundings may come as a surprise.

Students who took a level 3 qualification in economics other than an A level in 2010-11 were, on average, earning £27,700 per year in 2016-17, compared to £23,900 for those who studied the subject at A level.

The data reveals what 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds who achieved level 3 qualifications in 2010-11 were earning six years on. These include A levels and other courses such as BTECs and other applied generals, as well as level 3 awards, diplomas and NVQs.


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When it came to the-top earning A-level subjects, Stem subjects dominated, with further mathematics (MEI) and further mathematics coming first and second with average earnings of £25,600 and £25,500 respectively.  The least lucrative subjects at A level were Urdu (£13,900), Arabic (£14,600) and Greek (£14,700).

In other level 3 qualifications, economics (£27,700) and engineering (£26,000) came in first and second place - both higher than the same subjects at A level. The lowest earnings were recorded for child development and wellbeing (£14,700), social enterprises (£14,700) and direct learning support (£15,000). 

The 10 most lucrative A-level subjects

  1. Further mathematics (MEI): £25,600
  2. Further mathematics: £25,500
  3. Physics B (advancing physics) £24,100
  4. Physics B: £24,000
  5. Economics: £23,900
  6. Engineering (single award): £23,900
  7. Physics: £23,700
  8. Physics A: £21,600
  9. Design and technology: systems and control technology: £22,700
  10. Physics B: physics in context: £22,600

The 10 most lucrative other level 3 courses

  1. Economics: £27,700
  2. Engineering: £26,000
  3. Architecture: £24,500
  4. Geography: £23,100
  5. History: £22,000
  6. Manufacturing technologies: £21,800
  7. Transportation operations and maintenance: £21,600
  8. Agriculture: £21,500
  9. Building and Construction: £21,400
  10. Other languages, literature and culture: £21,100

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