Payscale’s new College Salary Report ranks colleges and universities, as well as majors for all degree levels, by alumni salaries.
Once again, petroleum engineering tops the list of bachelor’s degrees with the highest earnings. According to Payscale’s survey, petroleum engineering graduates start at $95,401 and reach $150,000 in mid-career.
Math teachers can tell students that all but one of the top 40 majors on the list require strong math skills. However, Government majors rank at #20 with a starting salary of $46,900 and a mid-career salary of $102,000.
Low-paying majors involve counseling, social work, ministry and, at the very bottom, early childhood education.
“TEM” degrees raise earnings, but “S” degrees may not, especially not with just a bachelor’s degree, writes Ben Casselman on FiveThirtyEight.
Engineering majors are nearly all high-paying. So are most computer and math majors, and math-heavy sciences like astrophysics. But many sciences, particularly the life sciences, pay below the overall median for recent college graduates. Students who major in neuroscience, meteorology, biology and ecology all stand to make $35,000 or less — and that’s if they can get a full-time job, which many can’t.
Zoology, with a median full-time wage of $26,000 a year, is one of the lowest-paying majors.