8 Highest-Paid College Degrees In 2012

college grads highest paying jobsCollege students pick their majors for any number of reasons - interest in a particular field of study, ability to get a job post-graduation, amount of education or training needed, and more.

Another factor students often consider is how much they might earn once they enter the workforce. While it's hard to imagine that any student would actively seek a low-paying major, some students may weigh salary heavier than others when making a decision on a degree. According to the most recent salary survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average starting salary for a Class of 2012 graduate is $44,442. To break it down further, here's a list of the highest-paying bachelor's degrees within common academic disciplines. Also included is the percent change in starting salaries from the Class of 2011 to the Class of 2012, along with examples of occupations graduates within each major might pursue.

Business*

Communications

Computer sciences

Education

Engineering
  • Highest-paying academic major: Computer engineering
  • Median starting salary: $67,800
  • Percent change from 2011: 0.6
  • Example occupation: Computer software engineer

Health sciences
  • Highest-paying academic major: Nursing
  • Median starting salary: $48,400
  • Percent change from 2011: 0.6
  • Example occupation: Registered nurse

Humanities and social sciences

Sciences
  • Highest-paying academic major: Construction science/management
  • Median starting salary: $54,700
  • Percent change from 2011: 1.9
  • Example occupations: Constructions manager, civil engineer


*All data/information from the NACE April 2012 Salary Survey. Only certain starting salaries were available at the time the survey was conducted, so not all majors were factored into the starting salary comparisons.


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Сергей Кожедуб

Good!

April 01 2013 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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March 15 2013 at 11:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ten

Well as a computer science graduate and also a software engineer, i can say that the author of this article does not know the difference between Software engineering and Computer engineering. A computer engineer doesn't work as a software engineer, but rather a " computer hardware engineer". Computer science is the discipline that is most related to software engineering. I understand that the term engineering of " software engineer " can throw many people off the bus.
You will have a better chance to work as a software engineer with a computer science degree than a computer engineering degree because computer science is 75 percent software degree and 25 percent hardware whereas computer engineering is about 35 percent software.
This is coming from someone who is actually working in the field, not some liberal art know it all

July 22 2012 at 8:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
barbara.force

The unfortunate fact is that this is not news, and these are popular majors where the postgraduate competition for limited job openings is fierce. You can't get a teaching job in New York because everyone knows it's a solid, excellent job that EVERYONE wants. Call it news when it's the top eight highest-paid college degrees that have flown under the radar (like atmospheric science and physics)

May 29 2012 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bdonate764

Each generation must realize that their education should address the needs of their times. The students must separate .....what I want to do from what I must do (to get a job) . Example....I want to be an attorney vs an MBA which is accounting based. Get the MBA first then if you want to continue to become an attorney, do so while you are employed as a CPA. Make the foundation first , then make the house.
Consider extrinsic first, then consider intrinsic. (during these hard times)

May 27 2012 at 8:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DonaldKinge

Economics is a social science.

May 26 2012 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ish

What are the chances in of a fresh college graduate getting a job in those fields? And how does that number differ from state to state?

May 24 2012 at 4:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ish's comment
dedndogyrs

Near zero from what I've heard, if the degree is nursing. As for the others, it appears that if it can be done in India save your money.

October 07 2012 at 6:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lol

I hate life. It's really stupid

May 23 2012 at 5:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RAYMOND M SNOCK

A COLLEGE EDUCATION IS ABOUT MAKING A BETTER PERSON. I'M NOW RETIRED AND GIVE THAT CREDIT TO THE THREE COLLEGES I GRADUTED FROM. HIGHER ED IS NOT TRADE SCHOOL. HIGHER ED, JUST MAKES YOU A BETTER PERSON, THAT IS IT. SURE IT IS EXPENSIVE TODAY, BUT SO IS EVERYTHING ELSE. A COLLEGE EXPERIENCE IS FOREVER. I'LL NEVER FORGET MY DAYS. THANKS. RMS.

May 23 2012 at 3:35 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RAYMOND M SNOCK's comment
barbara.force

CAPS LOCK MAKES SURE THAT EVERYONE KNOWS I AM YELLING IN RESPONSE TO THIS ARTICLE. THANKS. BAF

May 29 2012 at 6:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
#sgirl

Is this article stating economics is the same major as business?...They are completely different. Econ majors are not required to take courses like accounting, marketing, communications etc. Instead, classes focus on mathematics and statistical modeling. It is a very misunderstood subject, mostly equated to finance, political science or business. Economics is useful in those settings, and the courses are often designed around them. But, these are examples and the subject is not limited there, it can be applied anywhere. Econ provides a toolbox for analysis, a methodology for explaining the world around us (mostly with equations). Very much like any other science, economists observe, collect, and analyze data. In the last few decades it has evolved to an experimental science as well, recreating markets to test the basic assumptions of modern economics. Business, on the other hand, is exactly as it advertises. It does typically include economics courses, but my university required only micro and macro econ, which represents a small portion of the major. The skills required in business are manifold, the graduate leaves with a broad experience that prepares them well for the workplace. Economics is much more focused and scientific. Not saying that either is better, but they are not the same. I happen to be an econ major who works as a business analyst at a major nonprofit healthcare organization, which sticks me right in the middle. Though I am bringing in statistical analysis, because I just can't leave all that valuable data sitting there unused :)

May 22 2012 at 11:28 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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