Tag Archives: college degree

College Degrees That Pay the Most

When it comes to choosing a college major there are many things to consider. Not least among these considerations is finding the college degrees that pay the most that are in a field you are interested in. Everyone wants to do something they like doing but reality is individuals need a job that will pay the bills and help them meet their financial obligations. So we ask the question which college degrees pay the most? Are all college degrees about equal? Well we know right off the answer to that is no. A doctor or lawyer doesn’t make the same amount of money as a elementary education teacher. But aside from these most well known professions let’s take a look at some of the less known professions and college degrees that pay the most.

A recent article in The Kansas City Star, “Documenting major gaps in salaries” found at kansascity.com researchers take a look at the income gap between different higher education degrees as well as income gap between male and female and the income gap between ethnic groups. Their findings are interesting and we will summarize their findings here. Across the board any higher education degree averages a higher net income over a lifespan but income statistics show that there is a huge income gap in the amount of individual income increase varies greatly depending on the field of study.

Here is a list of the higher education degrees that can lead to the highest paying jobs:

  • Petroleum Engineer – $120,000
  • Pharmacy – $105,000
  • Math and Computer Sciences – $98,000
  • Aerospace Engineer – $87,000
  • Chemical Engineer – $86,000
  • Electrical Engineer $85,000
  • Naval Architecture and Marine Engineer – $82,000
  • Mechanical, Metallurgical (study of metals), mining and mineral engineering – $80,000

For comparison sake lets look at the higher education degrees with the lowest median earnings:

  • Counseling/Psychology – $29,000
  • Early Childhood Education – $36,000
  • Theology and Religion – $38,000
  • Human Services and Community Organization – $38,000
  • Social Work – $39,000
  • Performing Arts, Health and Medical Prep Programs – $40,000

Another consideration, especially in trying times like today is which career fields have the lowest unemployment rates. The top higher education fields with the lowest unemployment rates include: Geological and geophysical engineering, military technologies, pharmacology, and school student counseling. The jobs that have the highest unemployment rate include: social psychology, nuclear engineering, and educational administration.

One last topic that was discussed in the article was the income gap between gender and individuals from different ethnicity. Women make less than men in virtually every major but the example stated in the article is for a chemical engineering degree where women make $20,000 less than their male counterpart. When it comes to ethnic differences there was also a huge income gap. These figures are comparing finance majors and they show that Caucasians earned a yearly average of $70,000 compared to $56,000 for Asians and Hispanics compared to $47,000 for African Americans.

There are many things to consider but pay is always a top consideration however, an individual should also take into consideration their interests as well as natural talents and abilities. Just having a degree in a specific field doesn’t automatically mean you will excel at it or enjoy it. Before choosing a major talk to people in the industry your are considering, get a feel for what the jobs are like, how much time is required and what the work load and how much time and energy is required for success. Make sure that it is a job you will be able and willing to do.

Source: kansascity.com/2011/05/26/2907002/documenting-major-gaps-in-salaries.html

What Is the Value of Higher Education?

In the first half of June, online material discussing the value of higher education has been dramatically contradictory.This post will discuss some reasons behind this and some basic suggestions on how to understand the articles. I’ll take them in chronological order.

Article 1

On June 3, an opinion piece in Inside Higher Ed called “Higher Education’s Big Lie” by Ann Larson, a writing fellow at Hunter College with a Ph.D. in English, argues that a) its debatable whether college degrees will be required by the majority of future jobs; b) many students who begin a college degree will not complete it, while many still do not have access to college; c) the investment in a college education may not pay off.

Larson exemplifies the third point with the story of a student who wracked up $60,000 in student loans and whose degree—from a private nonprofit college—did not give her access to the type of job that would allow her to repay the loan. She claims that academia is silent about the issue of unpayable college debt that many students face, although, she says, another writer for the same publication in which her article appears has documented it.

Her goal is to have everyone rethink the idea that higher education can “facilitate social mobility,” and sites a study from 2008 to support this, and in her conclusion, she claims, again, that “these are all factors unacknowledged in the push to convince people” to invest in higher education.

Article 2

On June 14, a brief note by Jacques Steinberg, a reporter who focuses on education, called “More Employers to Require Some College, Report Says” in the New York Times ‘Education’ section gives a summary of the “Help Wanted” report, released on June 14 by the Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW), Georgetown University.

This article emphasizes the growing need of workers with at least an associate’s degree (a two-year degree, largely available at community colleges). Although the article quotes the study’s main author, Anthony P. Carnevale, as saying that “the demand for workers with postsecondary degree continues to surge,”—that is, not only associate’s degrees, Steinberg says nothing about any need for bachelor’s degrees.

Article 3

On June 15, Charles Wallace, a financial writer, contributed “Two-Thirds of All Future Jobs Will Require a College Education“—another summary of the CEW report—in AOL’s Daily Finance. This article shares statistical data from the report and quotes another author of the report, Jeff Strohl, several times.

Wallace reports that of the 47 million jobs created by the year 2018—a combination of new jobs and replacing workers who move on—some college training and/or an associate’s degree will be required for about 30 percent, and a bachelor’s degree will be required for about 33 percent. He adds that the study anticipates demand for workers with college degrees exceeding supply by 3 million by 2018, and that a Ph.D. is still worth more than a bachelor’s degree, with is worth nearly twice as much in lifetime earnings as a high school diploma.

Parsing the Articles

Article 1 is by a non-specialist, and it’s an opinion piece. It suffers from being published before important new information about the state of education and the job market was available, as well as from the use of old sources. Larson’s claim that nobody’s paying attention to students left with unpayable loans flies in the face of the large amount of attention being paid this year to this very problem in looking at for-profit schools, and undercuts her position.

Article 2 by Steinberg is simply too brief a summary that—both for brevity and by means of a slanted headline—casts the report in quite a different light than it appears when the data on bachelor’s degrees is taken into account.

In article 3, it appears that Wallace gave the report a closer read and a fairer shake, and—by using up-to-date information, discussing it at some length, and concentrating on data rather than anecdotes—appears to be the most useful take on the value of higher education of the three.

The study itself, “Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018,” is available here. The Executive Summary states:

“America is slowly coming out of the Recession of 2007—only to find itself on a collision course with the future: not enough Americans are completing college . . . By 2018, we will need 22 million new workers with college degrees—but will fall short of that number by at least 3 million post-secondary degrees . . . At a time when every job is precious, this shortfall will mean lost economic opportunity for millions of American workers.”

Graduate School

In many places, Mother’s Day is not only marked by tributes to mothers, but also signals the start of the college graduation season.

And fittingly, this week in the “Your Money” column in the New York Times, Ron Lieber writes about “The New Money Rules for Recent Graduates.” In this article he touches on some of the main financial concerns that face the college graduates, and points out that these are mostly issues that students don’t have background or training in dealing with. The topics he focuses on are:

• Health Insurance

• Banking and Debit Cards

Credit Cards

• Student Loans

The column also points out that new financial legislation and regulation have changed the scene over the last year, and these are area that even people with some prior knowledge would benefit by taking a second look at. It’s well worth reading for both about-to-be-graduates and parents.

There are, however, some students for whom certain of these concerns—repaying student loans and finding health insurance, anyway—may not yet come into play, and that is those students who are going to attend graduate school. Since they will still be in school, their student loans will not come due, and they will have an opportunity to subscribe to the schoolwide health insurance offered on the campus where they will do their graduate work.

Even for those on the brink of graduation who have not yet applied, graduate school may still be worth consideration. For some fields, it’s a necessity: there are some things you just can’t do without the master’s degree or doctorate, and certainly without an M.D., or other more specialized degrees some occupations are closed. Additionally, a professional degree has been shown to provide a major income boost. To learn more, check out our article “Why Go to Graduate School.”

Returning to School and College Majors

For some adults even the idea of returning to school is frightening. I know, because I am one of them. I had been out of school for many years and working in an industry I thought would last forever. As time past things changed, many people started to turn to the internet to find the type of services we provided. As this happened I realized that if I wanted to be able to compete in a job market I better get my college degree, after all I was not getting any younger. I was very pleasantly surprised as I walked into each and every one of my classes that I was not the only adult. It has become such a common thing that you do not even get any funny looks or snickers. Silly me, I thought I would be the laughing stock of the campus. And there are people even older than me. Adults return to college for many different reasons. No matter what your reason may be, or how old you are, or if you never finished high school, or what excuses you have used in the past if you have ever considered going back to school you should do it now.

Once you decide to go to college you will need to choose a college major. But don’t sweat it if you do not really know what type of degree you want. Just choose one of interest to you. If it doesn’t wind up being something you like or you find a passion or interest in another area, change it. The important thing is you pursue your education. Our article on the most popular college majors may surprise you.