Last Updated: April 15, 2015
by Jessica Zdunek
There’s a lot to think about when you’re choosing a college. Where will you go? What will you major in? But more frequently, high school seniors are asking themselves: What’s my return on investment?
Deciding on a college major is a personal decision. Only you know what program is right for your interests, skills, and career aspirations. But the the cost of college rising every year, many high school grads want to make sure they’ll be able to pay back their loans quickly – especially if they haven’t started to apply for scholarships yet.
Which Majors Are the Most Lucrative?
More college-bound students worried about their future earnings potential. That’s why PayScale created a list of the highest paying college majors. It shows both early- and mid-career median salaries for a range of majors.
Engineering majors of all types topped the list, with petroleum engineering majors making a median early-career salary of more than $102,000. Their mid-career median wage hit more than $176,000. This is substantially higher than child development majors, who saw an early-career median salary of just more than $32,000 annually. Pay didn’t rise dramatically for these individuals, as their mid-career median was just less than $36,500 per year.
And while some parents have been encouraging their aspiring humanities majors to choose a more marketable degree, it turns out language, history, and literature grads aren’t doing too badly after all. English literature majors start their careers with a median salary of $40,600 and boost their pay to $76,500 after 10 years in the workforce.
So … What Should I Major In?
It’s a fact: People who major in some subjects tend to earn higher annual salaries than others. But that doesn’t mean everyone is cut out to be an engineering or actuarial mathematics major.
You should choose your major based on many things. Your interests. Your skills. Your dream career. And, if you’re concerned about seeing a return on your investment, considering earnings potential before declaring a major may be worthwhile. But picking a course of study based only on salary is risky. There’s no guarantee you’ll enjoy your classes and do well in school and, perhaps more importantly, salaries aren’t set in stone. That means while PayScale’s data may show engineers outearning childhood development professionals, this may not ring true for your unique situation.
No matter what you choose though, it’s important to be informed about how your major will impact your career choices over the long term.
What are you majoring in? Do you think earnings potential is an important part of choosing a degree?
image credit: msn.com
Original Post Date: April 15th, 2015