Major Decisions: Choose Wisely

Major Decisions

Share this infographic on your site!

The editors at Best Degree Programs decided to research the topic of: Major Decisions: Choose Wisely

Students today frequently choose majors based on what they’re interested in rather than what benefits them; however, your choice in education attainment, major, and occupation could affect your bank account by millions of dollars over the span of your working life.

Degrees & Dollars

Work-Life Earnings by Educational Level ($ millions)

– None to 8th grade
– –936,000
– 9th to 12th grade
– –1,099,000
– High school graduate
– –1,371,000
– Some college
– –1,632,000
– Associate’s degree
– –1,813,000
– Bachelor’s degree
– –2,422,000
– Master’s degree
– –2,834,000
– Professional degree
– –4,159,000
– Doctorate degree
– –3,525,000

Majors & Money

Work-Life Earnings by Major – for those with Bachelor’s degrees ($ millions)

– Engineering 3.5
– Computers & Math 3.1
– Science & engineering-related 2.6
– Business 2.6
– Physical Science 2.6
– Social Science 2.5
– Communications 2.3
– Biological Sciences 2.3
– Literature 2.1
– Liberal Arts 2.1
– Psychology 2.0
– Arts 2.0
– Education 1.8

Work & Wages

Work-Life Earnings by Occupation – for those with Bachelor’s degrees ($ millions)

– Architecture and engineering 3.4
– Computer and math 3.2
– Management 3.2
– Business and financial 2.7
– Healthcare practitioners & technicians 2.6
– Sales and related 2.5
– Science 2.5
– Arts and media 2.3
– Natural resources, construction, and maintenance 2.0
– Production, transportation, and material moving 1.9
– Education 1.8
– Community service and legal 1.8
– Office support 1.7
– Service 1.7

Top paying jobs by major

Engineering Majors

– Rank Major/Occupation Experienced Median Pay
– 1 Petroleum Engineering / Petroleum Engineer $172,000
– 2 Mechanical Engineering (ME) / Engineering Manager $105,000
– 3 Computer Engineering (CE) / Senior Software Engineer $99,200
– 4 Nuclear Engineering / Nuclear Engineer $98,400
– 5 Electrical Engineering (EE) / Senior Electrical Engineer $95,900

The Nation’s top Engineering Schools

– 1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
– 2 Stanford University
– 3 University of California, Berkeley,
– 4 California Institute of Technology
– 5 Carnegie Mellon University

Computer Science and Math Majors

– Rank Major/Occupation Experienced Median Pay
– 1 Mathematics / Actuary $136,000
– 2 Computer Science / Software Architect $117,000
– 3 Computer Science / Information Technology Consultant $94,500
– 4 Computer Science / Project Manager, Information Technology $93,900
– 5 Computer Science / Database Administrator $85,800

Top schools for Computer Science and Math majors

– 1 Carnegie Mellon
– 2 M.I.T.
– 3 Stanford
– 4 University of California, Berkeley
– 5 Cornell

Physical and Biological Science Majors

– Rank Major/Occupation Experienced Median Pay
– 1 Geophysics / Geophysicist $123,000
– 2 Geology / Petroleum Geologist $117,000
– 3 Biology / Clinical Research Associate (CRA) $91,700
– 4 Geology / Sr. Geologist $82,000
– 5 Chemistry / Research Scientist $77,300

Top Schools for Biological Science Studies

– 1 Harvard
– 2 M.I.T.
– 3 Stanford
– 4 University of California, Berkeley
– 5 Yale

Art and Design Majors

– Rank Major/Occupation Experienced Median Pay
– 1 Graphic Design / Creative Director $87,400
– 2 Fashion Design / Fashion Designer $74,300
– 3 Graphic Design / Marketing Manager $73,000
– 4 Graphic Design / Sr. Art Director $72,500
– 5 Interior Design / Senior Interior Designer $64,000

Top Schools for Art and Design majors

– 1 Rhode Island School of Design
– 2 Yale
– 3 Maryland Institute College of Art
– 4 Carnegie Mellon
– 5 Virginia Commonwealth University

Humanities Majors

– Rank Major/Occupation Experienced Median Pay
– 1 History / Intelligence Analyst $86,100
– 2 English / Technical Writer $67,400
– 3 Liberal Arts / Insurance Claims Adjuster $58,100
– 4 Foreign Languages / Employment Recruiter $56,100
– 5 Philosophy / Paralegal-Legal Assistant $51,600

Top Schools in the Humanities

– 1 University of California, Berkeley
– 2 Harvard
– 3 Stanford
– 4 Columbia
– 5 Princeton

Business Majors

– Rank Major/Occupation Experienced Median Pay
– 1 Accounting / Financial Controller $82,000
– 2 Construction Management / Project Manager, Construction $

Major Decisions

Sources

– http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/acsbr11-04.pdf
– https://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report/common-jobs-for-majors
– http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-engineering-schools/eng-rankings
– http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-science-schools/biological-sciences-rankings
– http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-humanities-schools/english-rankings
– http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-fine-arts-schools/graphic-design-rankings
– http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-science-schools/computer-science-rankings
– http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/mba-rankings
– http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/slideshows/11-hot-college-majors