Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Found My Major: What am I Going to Earn?

The following information is taken from a Forbes Magazine article written by Kurt Badenhausen on June 8, 2008. The title is "Most Lucrative College Majors."
See the complete article here http://www.forbes.com/2008/06/18/college-majors-lucrative-lead-cx_kb_0618majors.html?feed=rss_popstories

The following information from the article is important in gauging the importance of the information presented. "To gauge the most lucrative majors, we turned to PayScale.com, which collects real-time salary information from 10 million users. They looked at 20 popular majors where most of the graduates go into the private sector; thus, some popular majors, like education and social work, were excluded.

We looked at median salaries to wipe out outliers at the top and bottom ends of the scale. (Emphasis mine) Salaries included bonuses and commissions, but excluded any stock compensation. All jobs were included in the data, not just those specific to the major. Anyone who acquired an advanced degree was excluded from the study."

Keep in mind that the jobs below are talking about salary ranges for jobs that mostly require a BA/BS college degree. Advanced degrees can up the ante considerably in the fields that require a college degree. The range is from entry level to twenty years.

Computer engineering ($60,500-$104,000)
Economics ($48,000-$96,200)
Electrical engineering ($59,900-$96,100)
Computer science ($54,200-$94,000)
Mechanical engineering ($56,900-$88,100)
Finance ($46,900-$84,400)
Mathematics ($43,500-$82,200)
Civil engineering ($52,600-$81,700)
Political Science ($39,400-$74,400)
Marketing ($39,400-$72,300)
Accounting ($44,600-$71,500)
History ($37,600-$68,000)
Business Management ($40,900-$64,900)
Communications ($36,400--$64,300)
English ($36,700-$62,300)
Biology (37,900-$60,000)
Sociology ($35,700-$55,900)
Graphic Design ($34,700-$54,700)
Psychology ($34,700-$54,000)
Criminal Justice ($34,200-$53,400)

This list might help in answering the question of what a college degree is worth.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I think this list is a bit high. Maybe it's for major markets only and only includes large companies. I come from an engineering background and I know that the starting salaries posted are only for those who land big jobs with large companies, the rest make about 5-10K less on average.

Dave said...

Computer Science entry level looks low to me. But I don't have a good grasp on nationwide entry level payscales, especially given the way they are weeding out the top and bottom of the pay scale.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't want a finance degree at the moment, even if the salary was high... but what's English and biology doing on there? When did $68k after 10 years become a big deal? And what can you do with a biology degree? I have a whole bunch of friends dying to know.

Anonymous said...

I imagine the spread in some of these fields is quite large. I hire excellent graduates not "median" ones, but I do pay new graduates in a couple of those fields as much as half again the median salary.

Bas~Melech said...

I agree, I think that medians and averages are too general to go on. There's a lot of detail that suddenly becomes very important when you start to wonder why YOU don't have the $104k job...

ProfK said...

What can a biology major do? Go on for graduate study in all the health related fields. Work in laboratories of all types, from the ones that process all the specimin work for doctors and hospitals to the ones that do research, many in-house, for cosmetic companies, home product companies,food product companies, animal food products etc. Work for government agencies that are "biologically" connected, such as the FDA and the EPA etc. They also, of course, can teach. I'm sure a little research will turn up other things.

Why is English on there? "All jobs were included in the data, not just those specific to the major." English as a working field is awfully broad. It includes a slew of teaching type of jobs, both EPL and ESL. It includes access to all kinds of writing jobs--print media, product information/instruction, technical writing,print writing/editing/production, online writing/editing, advertising, marketing, event production, public relations, speech writing, non-profit communication work. It also includes brochure writing and quarterly/yearly reports for the whole panapoly of businesses in existence. Plenty of politicians who began life as English majors. If you want things to be made clear, or maybe to be obfuscated, tap an English major.

Dave said...

A bachelors in a science or engineering field is a requirement for someone who wants to specialize in Patent Law after Law School.

And as for "why is $68k a big deal after 10 years"? The median income for a man working full time in the United States in 2007 was $45k, for a woman working full time it was $35k.

Orthonomics said...

The comment on what's 68K just shows how out of touch many are with middle America.

Anonymous said...

We're not middle America. We're Jews, and I'm willing to be most of us are living on a coast.

And another question: do those middle Americans have degrees? I know loads of former middle Americans with degrees, but none that actually live there. Also, that statistic includes all levels - we're talking after 10 years here.

For a person with a degree, 68k after 10 years is not overwhelming.

For a Jew with a family to support, it's downright underwhelming.