Engineering tops Forbes’ list of lucrative college majors with psychology and criminal justice on the low end of the scale. (Majors that typically lead to public-sector employment, such as education and social work, are excluded from the PayScale study.) The study looks at pay for recent graduates, those with five to 10 years in the workforce and those with 10 to 20 years of employment.
Engineering salaries tend to start high, but there is not huge growth on an annual basis. Witness the difference between engineering salaries for those with little experience compared to those with 10 to 20 years’ experience: The experienced jobs tend to pay 55% to 60% higher. Meanwhile, the economics, finance and math majors are pursing jobs with salaries that often double once they’ve gotten some decent experience under their belts.
“The kinds of majors where you learn to integrate mathematics and science with the everyday world have a tremendous benefit in terms of earnings potential,” says PayScale.com’s (Al) Lee. These include economics, engineering, finance and mathematics.
Psych majors typically earn $35,000 a year; earning a master’s degree doesn’t help much. Management is much less lucrative than finance, possibly because it features less math and more psychology.
Carpe Diem has the charts.