A college degree’s worth depends on the major, reports UPI.
Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce found a degree in engineering can be worth more than $1 million more in lifetime earnings while a degree in education can be worth $241,000 more. The Hamilton Project, an economic policy program sponsored by the Brookings Institution, put the average value of a college degree at $570,000 on an average $102,000 investment.
Majors with the highest median pay were petroleum engineering, pharmaceutical sciences and administration, mathematics and computer sciences, aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, naval architecture and marine engineering, mechanical and metallurgical engineering, and mining and mineral engineering.
The majors with the lowest median earnings were counseling and psychology, early childhood education, theology and religious vocations, human services and community organizations, social work, drama and theater arts, studio arts, communication disorders sciences and services, visual and performing arts, and health and medical preparatory programs.
Job stability was high for graduates in geology, pharmacology and student counseling, while unemployment was highest for graduates in social psychology, nuclear engineering, and educational administration.
“The bottom line is that getting a degree matters, but what you take matters more,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Center on Education and the Workforce.
A year after graduation, 84 percent of 2007-08 first-time bachelor’s degree recipients were working, 9 percent were looking for work and 7 percent were not in the labor force, an NCES report finds.
The median income was $36,000, up from $29,800 in 2001.
Two-thirds of college graduates owe money: The average debt is $24,700. That’s up from 2001, when 62 percent of graduates owed an average of $17,800.
The most popular fields of study were business-related fields (23 percent); science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (16 percent); social science (16 percent); and humanities (12 percent).
Of course, college doesn’t pay for those who never earn a degree. In 2009, 70.1 percent of high school graduates enrolled in college; three-quarters of those in the lower 40 percent of the class probably won’t graduate. Only 27 percent of Americans hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to a 2006 Census Bureau survey. Another 7.4 percent had an associate’s degree.