Forbes just published its newest list showing which college majors currently enjoy the highest starting salaries. Engineering and architecture top the list at $50k US, while computers and mathematics follow closely. Next comes health fields and then business. The physical sciences fare worse than social sciences, which I find disturbing. For comparison, workers with only a high school education average $22k US. What is not mentioned, but probably implied, is whether pay for those with only a high school diploma is for right out of school or four years later when the college graduate would begin his/her career. That might be a more fair comparison since some high school graduates attend a technical school or a two-year college and would not get compared equitably.
Another study recently published by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports on the average lifetime salary for various college degrees. It pretty much follows the new grad salaries, but at least in this one the physical science majors end up earning more than social science majors. Interestingly, a 'lifetime' is defined as ages 25 through 59. Most graduates with a Bachelor's degree are about 22 years old, so I'm not sure why 25 is used (yeah, could imply a graduate degree). For that matter, not many people end their careers at age 59, so what's up with that?
Being a stickler for grammatical correctness (although admittedly I fail at times), the egregious error in the opening line of the WSJ article needs to be mentioned. To wit: "Want to make a good living? Go to college. Just be careful what you major in." The journalist ended her third sentence with a preposition! Almost nobody cares about that old stuff anymore, though. As Winston Churchill purportedly opined on the issue when a newspaper editor dared to correct his article grammar as submitted, "This is the sort of English up with which I will not put."
Both reports are based on data provided by Georgetown University.
Posted May 18, 2015