If you want to earn the big bucks, major in petroleum engineering, pharmacy or computer science, says Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce in an analysis of 171 college majors. “Getting a degree matters, but what you take matters more,” says Anthony Carnevale, the center’s director.
According to this report, by 2018 eight million U.S. jobs will be available in fields relating to STEM. Yet, the report continues, the next generation of American employees will be largely unprepared for these jobs. This is not surprising since out of 34 industrialized countries, American students rank 17th in science and 25th in math assessment scores, respectively. This gap limits our nation’s ability to solve the complex problems of our time, inhibits the innovation that is required to remain competitive, and results in severe long-term economic consequences for our country.
Below are some interesting highlights from the report.
Highest-earning Majors: Petroleum Engineering is by far the highest earning Bachelor’s degree major with median earnings of $120,000 and 75th percentile earnings of $189,000. This is followed by Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration with median earnings of $105,000 and Mathematical and Computer Science with median earnings of $98,000.
Lowest-earning Majors: Counseling Psychology is the lowest-paying Bachelor’s degree major with a median of $29,000 and a 75th percentile peak of $42,000. This is followed by Early Childhood Education, with median earnings of $36,000 and Theology and Religious Vocations and Human Services and Community Organization, which both have median earnings of $38,000.
Work and Employment Status:
- Some majors, such as Genetics (99 percent), Mining and Mineral Engineering (99 percent), and Geological and Geophysical Engineering (97 percent) are associated with high rates of working full-time.
- Other fields, such as Medical Assisting Services (48 percent), Visual and Performing Arts (35 percent), and Communication Disorders Sciences and Services (32 percent)
- are associated with more part-time work.
- Some majors have virtually no unemployment, including Geological and Geophysical Engineering, Military Technologies, Pharmacology, and School Student Counseling.
- Other majors have relatively high unemployment rates, among them Social Psychology (16 percent), Nuclear Engineering (11 percent), and Educational Administration and Supervision (11 percent).