Earlier this week, I ran across some interesting data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. More specifically, they had a listing of the ten highest paying college degrees of 2010.
Note that they’re talking specifically about Bachelor’s degrees here, so things like doctors, lawyers, etc. are off limits. Here’s the list:
- Petroleum Engineering ($86, 220)
- Chemical Engineering ($65, 142)
- Mining & Mineral Engineering (incl. Geological) ($64, 552)
- Computer Science ($61, 205)
- Computer Engineering ($60, 879)
- Electrical/Electronics & Communications Engineering ($59, 074)
- Mechanical Engineering ($58, 392)
- Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering ($57, 734)
- Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering ($57, 231)
- Information Sciences & Systems ($54, 038)
Notice anything about the entries on that list? Every single one of them involves science, engineering, or computers. This probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, though I did sort of expect to see something in the finance sector creep onto that list.
Just for the sake of contrast, check out this list of the lowest paying college majors that I published last fall:
- Social work
- Special education
- Elementary education
- Home economics
- Music and dance
Quite a difference, huh? This isn’t to say that you (or your children) should pick a major based solely on future earning potential. After all, not everyone is cut out to be a petroleum engineer, and fewer yet would be happy showing up to work as one on a daily basis. Nonetheless, future earning potential is one of many factors that should probably be kept in mind during the overall decision-making process.
What did you major in, and do you have any regrets?