STEM degrees have it, when it comes to earning potential after graduation. In fact, as shown by PayScale’s recent, majors-focused release of the College Salary Report, choice of major makes more of an impact on salary than any other factor, including which school you attend.
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Unsurprisingly, four out of five of the top-paying majors on the bachelor’s degree list are engineering degrees:
Early Career Salary: $102,300
Mid-Career Salary: $176,300
Early Career Salary: $60,800
Mid-Career Salary: $119,600
Early Career Salary: $67,000
Mid-Career Salary: $118,800
Early Career Salary: $69,600
Mid-Career Salary: $116,700
Early Career Salary: $64,100
Mid-Career Salary: $113,200
If none of these majors inspires you, don’t despair; humanities majors can earn respectable salaries as well, especially at mid-career. For example, despite what your parents might have told you, philosophy majors ranked highest among humanities for mid-career salaries — $84,000 annually, after 10 years. Global and international studies, history, and English also made a respectable showing.
Bottom line: the best way to choose a major is to do your research and then follow your heart. If you won’t enjoy being a petroleum engineer or an actuary, a high salary probably won’t offset the effects of toiling every day at a job you don’t like.
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