Best paying university degrees in South AfricaAs thousands of South African learners start joining university, they may be conflicted on their career paths.

It is everyone’s nightmare to go to college or university for 4 years, only to end up with a degree that cannot help you. Either by virtue of there being no relevant jobs in the country, or the ones available paying badly.

Several reports have been released detailing the best university degrees to acquire in South Africa. Jobs website CareerJunction some time back made a list of the 10 best paying careers.

There was one common theme. Engineering, IT and finance/accounting careers will likely set you up for life.

Unlike other fields where seniority and experience play a big role in your potential income, in Engineering and IT, qualified individuals can earn above average salaries right off university.

Here are the best paying degrees in South Africa

1. Environmental Engineering:

It is not what comes to mind when someone talks of engineering, which perhaps makes the qualified workforce limited. On average, this is the best paying degree in South Africa, with a monthly salary of R75 941.

In institutions where it is offered, it will likely be a major, under a Bachelor of Science.

2. Civil Engineering:

A 4 year Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Civil Engineering will make you one of the best paid professionals in South Africa. The average salary of a civil engineer in the country is R74 779 a month.

3. Structural Engineering:

This other vital aspect of engineering is also well compensated. I guess when the safety of our buildings and bridges is at stake, there is no compromise. The average montly salary of a structural engineer is R71 377.

4. IT Management:

Combined with a Bachelor of Commerce, a major in IT management could be very lucrative in the job market. Companies are looking for professionals with multiple skills, and this is one of the best combinations. The average monthly salary is R68 281

5. Financial Management:

A Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in financial management is also very lucrative. Such professional earn R67 653 a month on average.

6. Plant manager:

The most common course for such a career path is a Bachelor’s degree in business or industrial management. You can expect to make about R62 188 per month.

7. Chartered accountant:

A BCom with a relevant major, coupled with a professional CPA certification can make you one of the best paid people in the country. Since most people don’t generally understand a lot of math, they tend to pay the people who do very well. Expect a monthly salary of about R60 795.

8. Quantity Surveyor:

You need a 4-year Bachelor of Science (BSc) with honours in Quantity Surveying. The average salary is R60 227.

9. Electrical Engineer:

In the top paid list is another engineering career. A Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Electrical Engineering will earn you R59 792 per month on average.

10. Technical and business architect:

This one completes the top 10. The most relevant degree for this career path is a BSc in IT or Computer Science. Average salary – R58 981.

Read: 7 Things You Can Do in South Africa if No University Accepts You


To recap, these are the best paid degrees, with their average monthly and annual salaries.

Job Degree Average monthly salary Average annual salary
Environmental engineer 4 year Bachelor of Science (BSc) with Honors in Environmental Engineering R75 941 R911 292
Civil engineer 4 year Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Civil Engineering R74 779 R897 348
Structural engineer 4 year Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Civil Engineering R71 377 R856 524
IT management BCom/BCom Hons in Information Management R68 281 R819 372
Financial management BCom in Financial Management R67 653 R811 836
Plant manager Bachelor’s degree in business or industrial management is advised R62 188 R746 256
Chartered accountant BCom, followed by a certificate in the theory of accounting (CTA). R60 795 R729 540
Quantity surveying Four-year Bachelor of Science (BSc) with honours in Quantity Surveying R60 227 R720 454
Electrical engineer Four-year Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Electrical Engineering R59 792 R717 504
Technical and business architect A BSc in IT or Computer Science is advised R58 981 R707 772

Lawyers, Doctors and Pilots are other very high paying careers in South Africa.

However, the report by CareerJunction omitted them because of the long qualification process and experience required to earn great figures.

Now Read: These are the Best SA Universities for Engineering, Finance and Law