A General Guide To Choosing College Majors And How Much They Cost

A General Guide To Choosing College Majors And How Much They Cost

College is one of the pivotal moments in an adolescent’s life. The significance of choosing a major or a degree to pursue will create ripples throughout the person’s career or life after school. That’s why it’s a daunting task, especially for young adults, to make such decisions.

The process of choosing a major lacks a universal blueprint. Amidst the uncertainties, the financial aspects of higher education cast a significant shadow, posing challenges to affordability. This is worth underscoring given that the five-year moratorium on tuition fees has lapsed by a year at this point and was already lifted by CHED for a number of college programs.

Choosing the right course in college

Parents play a vital role in guiding their children in choosing the best course or degree for them. While their insights much matter, it should only be considered a guiding voice for their kids to figure out what they truly want in life and their education.

To make that a tad-less difficult, we have outlined some key points to consider in helping your child choose a college degree. 

  • Defining goals

High school students may not have the most clear-cut goals yet, but many of them have a good working idea of what they want to do. Even if it is as vague as, “I want to be able to help people,” it can serve as a guiding post in choosing a degree in college. 

Some courses and programs are more amenable to helping others, after all, while others are more apt to help a person grow more professional careers.

A definite goal is the starting point from which a person can map out the course they want to take. Coupled with proper advice from a reputable educational institution, it will be easier to see how to arrive at it faster and better.

  • Leverage on skills and talents

Most upcoming college students don’t have a raging ideal that they want to live up to or a demanding dream to pursue; the least that can be done is to focus on the next best thing: their capabilities.

Many people in the world enjoy the benefits of doing what they know they are good at, particularly if they are dedicated to growing their skill set in that particular field.

Young adults grappling with major decisions should take time to identify their genuine interests and innate talents. These proficiencies act as powerful motivators when selecting a major, given that they represent capabilities already present or skills that can be nurtured.

  • Assess willingness to commit

Speaking of skills and talents, it is essential to remember that even if we have a natural affinity for something, we won’t be able to take it to where we want to go if we cannot commit to the process of learning and growing.  The same goes for choosing a course or significant to study based on what we feel like doing. 

Additionally, some majors and courses come with a steeper learning curve than others. Science, technology, and mathematics majors, for instance, require a lot of years of hard study. Similarly, the creative arts and humanities may not be as technically difficult, but they also need passion as fuel, especially in challenging situations.

  • Researching Career Opportunities

Collaborate with your child to research various career opportunities associated with different majors. Explore the potential job roles, industries, and growth prospects linked to specific fields of study.

This exploration can provide valuable insights into the practical applications of their chosen major and the potential pathways it opens up.

  • Considering Future Trends

Stay informed about emerging trends and developments in various industries. Discuss how these trends might impact the job market and the demand for specific skills.

By considering future trends, you can guide your child toward majors that are likely to remain relevant and in demand over the long term.

Cost of popular college courses in the Philippines

Investing in a college education is a big financial move and one that cannot be taken lightly. Which major is the best bet for your hard-earned money and can deliver on the investment to earn a good salary and make a successful career out of it?

Here are a couple deciding factors you should know.

  • Recalibration of tuition and other school fees

Please note that the numbers below pertaining to the cost of admission to higher education are conservative estimates. We have to take into account that the Commission On Higher Education (CHED) approved an increase in tuition and other school fees.

The Commission reported that the annual average tuition hike across the nation is 4.74%. This translates to an average increment of about ₱29.15-₱30.00 per unit. Meanwhile the national average rate for other school fees is about 10.6% or roughly ₱50.51 per year.

  • Consider the salary rate hikes for various industries

According to the Total Remuneration Survey conducted by the ASEAN Mercer, salaries continued to benefit from an average of 5% annual increase for this year. 

The largest improvement can be seen in the High Tech, Life Sciences, Energy, Shared Services, Retail and Wholesale sectors which reported a 5%-6% median salary increment for 2022. You should also take note of which industries can offer the most promising salaries when choosing your college course.

The following are considered to be among the top courses in the Philippines, their tuition costs, and their career monetary rewards.

Once again, do consider that there are only estimates and are influenced by the recent CHED rate hikes. You have to decide for yourself whether the potential increase in salaries justify what the actual cost might be to enroll in any of these courses today. It’s a 4-5 year commitment before you can venture on a career path, so please take all the time you need to think.

1.  Aviation, Aircraft/Aeronautics Operations or Engineering

The aviation industry is among the most lucrative in the Philippines, with average monthly salaries at more than ₱100,000. With that said, it is also one of the most precise suites of professions and requires demanding studies.

To be a pilot, for instance, you have to not only complete your bachelor degree in the proper fields; you should also pass the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines’ licensure examinations and certifications, as well as the requirements of the Aviation Training Organization.

However, being a pilot is a long and winding road, and entry qualification is basically a bachelor’s degree of any field. However, for those aspiring pilots who want to have an edge before going to aviation school truly,  consider taking aeronautics-related courses – it’s a big step in the right direction.

Here are the reputable aeronautics schools in the metro and their estimated annual costs.

School/InstitutionEstimated Annual Cost (School Fees Only)
Airlink International Aviation College₱355,000
WCC Aeronautical and Technological College – North Manila₱120,000 - ₱140,000
PATTS College of Aeronautics₱80,000 - ₱90,000
University of Perpetual Help System DALTA in Las Piñas₱64,000 - ₱66,000
Febias College of Bible₱60,000 - ₱68,000
Philippine State College of AeronauticsIncluded in the Free Tuition Fee Law
Note: To factor in a 5% rate increase to these fees which was approved by CHED in 2022. The figures listed above were last revised in 2020.

2.  Commerce or Economics

Accounting, finance, and commerce are also ideal for those who want a well-paying career after college. The common roles under these programs include financial analysts, brokers, accountants, and securities dealers.

Their monthly salaries usually go up to about ₱90,000, once you have proven yourself worthy through board examinations, licensure examinations, and certifications.

School/InstitutionEstimated Annual Cost (School Fees Only)
De La Salle University₱205,000 - ₱225,000
San Beda University₱145,000 - ₱155,000
Far Eastern University₱100,000 - ₱120,000
Lyceum of the Philippines University₱80,000- ₱100,000
MA Computer University - Quezon City₱60,000 - ₱90,000
Note: To factor in a 5% rate increase to these fees which was approved by CHED in 2022. The figures listed above were last revised in 2020.

3. Civil Engineering

Civil engineers also have professional credentials to meet and maintain, which is why they are among the most paid professionals in the Philippines. If you are interested in designing, planning, and managing the construction and maintenance of various infrastructure projects, this one is for you – and so will be the average monthly salary of almost ₱70,000.

Another thing to put into consideration is that you could never go wrong with this profession. Development is everywhere even in the Philippines, especially in the Philippines. “Build Build Build” has led to the golden era of infrastructure, and it hasn’t even started yet. At the moment, the Philippines has a high demand for these professionals and it will continue to grow as the country’s efforts to build more infrastructures picks up in the near future.

Here are the reputable engineering schools in Metro Manila and their estimated annual costs.

School/InstitutionEstimated Annual Cost (School Fees Only)
De La Salle University₱205,000 - ₱225,000
Mapúa University₱130,000 - ₱195,000
Far Eastern University Institute of Technology₱120,000 - ₱130,000
University of Perpetual Help System DALTA in Las Piñas₱64,000 - ₱66,000
University of the Philippines Diliman₱40,000 - ₱50,000 *covered by the free tuition fee law*
Note: To factor in a 5% rate increase to these fees which was approved by CHED in 2022. The figures listed above were last revised in 2020.

4. Computer Science/Programming

Highly technical, these professions are concerned with developing languages, algorithms, and data management strategies for various applications. With monthly salaries play at around ₱50,000 for an entry-level job, it is without a doubt a rewarding profession to be in.

Software engineers, data scientists, full-stack engineers, and etc are very lucrative professions and are sought after not just in the Philippines but all over the world. As the world continues to leverage the power of the internet and computers, computer science has never as significant as it is now in the real world!

If you want to pursue a career in IT, this school will give you a head start!

School/InstitutionEstimated Annual Cost (School Fees Only)
De La Salle University₱160,000 - ₱180,000
Ateneo De Manila University₱130,000 - ₱195,000
Far Eastern University Institute of Technology₱120,000 - ₱130,000
Mapúa University₱130,000 - ₱195,000
AMA Computer University₱60,000 - ₱90,000
Note: To factor in a 5% rate increase to these fees which was approved by CHED in 2022. The figures listed above were last revised in 2020.

5. Medical and healthcare

To round off this list, consider the medical field. Despite the hype over the healthcare profession dying down, the demand for professionals that can provide top-notch care to patients are still high overseas and here at home. It may seem like all the seats have already been filled by the excessive supply of healthcare professionals in the Philippines less than a decade ago, but the truth is, the country needs more healthcare workers now than ever.

Not to mention, while the NCLEX and all other foreign nursing board examinations remain to be as challenging (if not more) than they have always been, the acquisition rate of professionals is a lot higher now than ever. The US for one is already onboarding NCLEX passers of 2017 to 2018 as of writing, and the regression seems to be steady. Looks like nurses nowadays are in for a brighter future than ever.

Nursing isn’t the only profession in the medical field that’s in demand, Physical Therapists, Pharmacists, and MedTechs are also in the list. These professions are also the right path for individuals who are aspiring to be Medical Doctors. 

Here are some institutions in Metro Manila that offer an entry into the medical field.

School/InstitutionEstimated Annual Cost (School Fees Only)
Manila Central University₱80,000 - ₱90,000
St. Paul University Manila₱100,000 - ₱120,000
Makati Medical Center College₱90,000 - ₱110,000
Far Eastern University₱100,000 - ₱120,000
Our Lady of Fatima University₱40,000 - ₱44,000
Note: To factor in a 5% rate increase to these fees which was approved by CHED in 2022. The figures listed above were last revised in 2020.

The reason behind the trend was due to the global demand for healthcare professionals and many countries were (and are still) willing to adopt healthcare professionals into their own land in exchange of a promising career and a life.

Estimated cost of colleges and universities in Metro Manila

In case the degree of your choice isn’t in the list above but you still want to know how much it cost to enroll in a university or college in Metro Manila, below are the rough estimates of some of the most prominent college institutions in town. 

College / UniversityTuition Per YearOther Fees
Enderun Colleges₱250,000 to ₱320,000Basic tuition for local students:  ₱116,000
Basic tuition for foreign students:  ₱150,000
University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P)₱225,000 to ₱300,000₱112,000 per semester (23 units)
De La Salle University (DLSU)₱196,000 to ₱230,000₱65,000 (Education) to ₱77,000 (Engineering) per trimester (x3 per school year)
Center for International Education (CIE)₱180,000 to ₱280,000₱142,000 per semester; ₱89,000 per semester for CIE Filipino National Scholars
De La Salle College of St. Benilde (DLSU CSB)₱180,000 to ₱240,000₱60,000 to ₱80,000 per trimester
iAcademy₱181,000 to ₱211,000₱60,000 to ₱70,000 per trimester
Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU)₱180,000₱90,000 per semester
San Beda College₱146,000 to ₱155,000₱73,000 to ₱77,000 per semester
Miriam College₱120,000 to ₱160,000₱60,000 to ₱80,000 per semester
Mapua Institute of Technology₱130,000 to ₱140,000₱35,000 per quarter (x4 quarters per school year)
Note: To factor in a 5% rate increase to these fees which was approved by CHED in 2022. The figures listed above were last revised in 2020.

Cost comparison of the top schools in the Philippines and the world

To give you a better idea of how the cost of college education in the Philippines more specifically in Metro Manila fares with the rest of the world, here’s a brief overview of the cost in top universities in the world.

UniversityAnnual Cost In PHP
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Cambridge₱664,542.88
Imperial College London₱614,354.34
Harvard University₱2,067,057.85

These fees only account for the school tuition, they don’t include other daily expenses such as food, housing, bills, and all other related expenses involved in studying abroad.

Whichever educational path your child may take, it is always essential to remember that, at the end of the day, it’s their choice that’s will matter.  Making their own decision and using their own voice is what this is all about. Even if it is something that goes against practical considerations, their decisions will be their own form of commitment.  As long as they will uphold it, work hard at it, and keep on getting better at it, they will enjoy it for the rest of their lives. Good luck!

This article was originally published on March 27, 2019, and is updated to keep information relevant and up to date.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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