Makin’ Big Bucks! College Majors That Produce the Highest-Paid Workers

September 17, 2013  |  

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If you want to make the big bucks, a new Georgetown University study finds you should steer clear of counseling psychology, early childhood education, and theology majors. All three produce the lowest median incomes, with workers earning under $38,000. If you want a bigger paycheck, the sciences are the way to go, according to USA Today.

Eighty percent of all majors that are listed in the top 10 highest-paid college majors are, unsurprisingly, linked to engineering. Graduates with petroleum engineering degrees make four times more than those with a counseling psychology degree. “The median income for a full-time, full-year worker who majored in petroleum engineering was $120,000, putting it at the top of the most lucrative majors list,” says the article. “On the other hand, the median salary of a person of any age — not just a recent grad — with a degree in counseling psychology was $29,000.”

The five majors with the most significant impact on future income, according to the research (conducted by Anthony P. Carnevale, Jeff Strohl and Michelle Meltonan) are:

1. Petroleum Engineering: $120,000

2. Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration: $105,000

3. Mathematics and Computer Science: $98,000p

4. Aerospace Engineering: $87,000

5. Chemical Engineering: $86,000

If you want to make a salary that comes closer to six-figures, economist suggest you stray away from social sciences and the arts; the top five lowest-paid majors are:

1. Counseling Psychology: $29,000

2. Early Childhood Education: $36,000

3. Theology and Religious Vocations: $38,000

4. Human Services and Community Organization: $38,000

5. Social Work: $39,000

The economists, whose work can be found in “What It’s Worth: The Economic Value of College Majors,” say that income should never be a sole factor behind the selection of a college major. But they hope their analysis will help college students make the best financially-educated decisions.

Did you decide on your college major based on earning potential?

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