College majors have significant impact on future income

As if we needed a study to tell us this, researchers Anthony P. Carnevale, Jeff Strohl and Michelle Meltonan at Georgetown University, have concluded that college majors are an important factor in determining the amount of money a graduate can make after getting their degree.

According to USA Today, the researchers interviewed, “hundreds of full-time employees holding various bachelor ‘s degrees and calculated each area of study’s median reported earnings.” After analyzing the research they concluded the range of earnings is “staggering” for different college majors. For instance, petroleum of engineering graduates can make an estimated $120,000 on average, which is 134% more than the lowest-paid area, counseling psychology.

Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA.

Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what did the researchers hope to accomplish by studying college majors? They recognized that although income should not be a student’s primary motivating factor for going to college, it is data which should be considered prior to shelling out thousands of dollars on college majors that could be worthless. Paying back $100,000 in student loans on a $29,000 salary could be very difficult. So what jobs pay the most on average?

Top 10 highest-paid college majors


1. Petroleum Engineering: $120,000
2. Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration: $105,000
3. Mathematics and Computer Science: $98,000
4. Aerospace Engineering: $87,000
5. Chemical Engineering: $86,000

Top 10 lowest-paid college majors

1. Counseling Psychology: $29,000
2. Early Childhood Education: $36,000
3. Theology and Religious Vocations: $38,000
4. Human Services and Community Organization: $38,000
5. Social Work: $39,000

Costs of Higher Education are soaring

Years ago when going to a public, state university might set you back a few grand per semester many students did not have to give much thought as to whether or not college majors would land them a lucrative job. But according to many experts, there is now growing attention focused on the soaring prices to attend both public and private schools. In fact, many students are now unable to attend college without some type of financial aid.

So is college worth the cost? As the new research indicates, a college education may still be a good decision, but students must choose a good educational path. If you stick to a reputable school and study science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) it is likely your degree will give you a good return on investment. But what if you study sociology at an average, or below average private university? You may graduate with a high college loan bill and have difficulty getting a good paying job.

What else needs to be done? Because the Federal government lends so much money and parents continue to buy into the notion that college is critical for their child’s success, the money keeps on flowing, causing the prices in education to continue to rise. Because demand for college remains high and students keep borrowing money to attend, colleges have no incentive to cut costs and keep tuition low. It’s a vicious cycle.

Filing bankruptcy on student debt?

Think you can simply discharge your expensive college loans? Think again. Bankruptcy discharges are possible on student loan debts, but it isn’t easy. This is another reason to think long and hard before you take out a loan for a degree that won’t help you get a job.

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Beth L. is a content writer for Better Bankruptcy. Good content and information is one of many methods we utilize to bring you the answers you need.