Sunday, June 5, 2011

Don't just go to college; pick the right major!

That's the lesson from a recent study from Georgetown's Center on Education and the Workforce.  Tons of previous studies have hammered home the point that there is a tremendous difference between lifetime earnings gap between college grads and high school grads -- it currently is 84%.  The new study "What's It Worth: The Economic Value of College Majors" shows that there is a comparable amount of variation between the top paying and lowest paying majors.  Searching for top dollar as an undergraduate?  Then head straight to petroleum engineering ($120k), pharmacy ($105k), or math/computer science ($98k).  At the other end of the spectrum we have "Counseling/Psychology ($29k); Early Childhood Education ($36k); Theology and Religious Vocations ($38k); Human Services and Community Organizations ($38k); Social Work ($39k); Drama and Theater Arts, Studio Arts, Communication Disorders Sciences and Services, Visual and Performing Arts, and Health and Medical Preparatory Programs (each at $40k)."  The differential between the top paying and lowest paying majors is over 200%. 

The top paying overall field for bachelors degrees is engineering ($75k); business ($60k) ranks a respectable third behind math and computer science and tied with health majors.  The clear message to students and parents: getting into college is important but picking the right major is even more important for future earnings. 

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