College Majors

Time Magazine, re-inventing itself to compete in the 24/7 cable news and Internet environment, has come up with a number of Top Ten and Bottom Ten lists.  Lists, of course are fascinating for many people, and grab one’s attention. The lists apropos to this back-to-school time of year are, what majors to take in college. If pay is your criteria, here are those to seek and those to avoid.

Ten Best Paying Undergraduate Majors (and median income)

10. Mining and Mineral Engineering $80K
9. Metallurgical Engineering $80K
8. Mechanical Engineering $80K
7. Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering $82K
6. Electrical Engineering $85K
5. Chemical Engineering $86K
4. Aerospace Engineering $87K
3. Mathematics and Computer Sciences $98K
2. Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration $105K
1. Petroleum Engineering $120K

Ten Worst Paying Undergraduate Majors (and median income)

10. Health and Medical Preparatory Programs $40K
9. Visual and Performing Arts $40K
8. Communication-Disorders Sciences and Services $40K
7. Studio Arts $40K
6. Drama and Theater Arts $40K
5. Social Work $39K
4. Human Services and Community Organizations $38K
3. Theology and Religious Vocations $38K
2. Early-Childhood Education $36K
1. Counseling and Psychology $29K

These do not include professional majors which require graduate degrees.

Source: Time magazine. To read further link here.

Of the 10 highest paying, the two that do not include “engineering” in their name, might as well, because they are natural science applied disciplines. All include a lot of work and study in college. They are not as popular as many other majors for that reason.

With regard to the 10 worst paying, my first inclination is that theology and religious vocations should have been disregarded and not included, because hardly anybody expects to make much money in those fields (unless one becomes a televangelist or mega-church preacher, but talented swindlers to make a lot of money whether they go to college or not). Regarding the health and medical preparatory programs, most of these areas doubtless require further study and training before one is employable other than for cleaning hospital bedpans and similar tasks, so its inclusion may be misleading.

A minuscule minority of artists can make a lot of money, but, like professional athletes, they must become superstars in order to have a sustainable career. As far as “social work” outside of the government, who’s hiring? I know of no private employer who has any use for sociology majors in that discipline (which, perhaps, is an oxymoronic term), save those with government contract or grants for studies that analyze the pecking order in whorehouses (there really was such a government funded study) or other such useful stuff. Regarding counseling and psychology, that generally requires a graduate degree in order to perform any clinical practice. Most of these majors do not require extremely rigorous work and study, consequently, they are more popular then the natural science-based disciplines.

Bottom line: If one wants to make a good salary with a bachelors degree that is sustainable throughout a entire career, they must study engineering of some kind.

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