Wondering how your education will pay off on the job market? Here is a look at five degrees that can earn top dollar right out of the gate – and five that only pay half as much.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has released a report on the employment outlook for new grads according to their fields of study. Interestingly, they’ve included the average starting salaries for new hires.

The demand continues to be strong from people with degrees in math, engineering, and the sciences. Graduates from these fields command the highest starting salaries, often double the wages earned by from other disciplines.

The five disciplines for highest average starting salary for full-time employees

    1. Engineering – $64,891
    2. Computer Science – $62,720
    3. Engineering Technology – $57,090
    4. Physical Sciences – $56,720
    5. Mathematics – $52,821

The five disciplines with the lowest starting salary for full-time employees

    1. Theology – $29,000
    2. Recreation – $32,800
    3. Psychology – $33,210
    4. Biology – $33,248
    5. Public Administration – $33,319

Wondering if the investment in time and money to obtain a university degree will pay off? Here is a University Cost Calculator to help you determine how much studying will set you back by region.

The skills developed in obtaining a university degree – even one that does not lead directly to a related career – still pay off on the job over time. When we look at the job titles on the resumes of liberal arts and humanities graduates five years after leaving school, they are 68% more likely than their less educated peers to have moved into management positions in whatever industry they are working in. [Source: Thinkopolis, Education Nation.]


Peter Harris
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