Students also need to consider the aptitudes that are required to master the coursework in various majors. Certainly engineering can be a lucrative discipline to pursue but not for individuals who are deficient in mathematics or who have difficulty comprehending the principles of spatial relations. Here's more on connecting college majors to careers.
Once the range of choices is narrowed to fit the abilities and interests of students, then other factors like the availability of jobs and income potential can be considered. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) tracks the starting salary received by college students who were actually hired.
The data was collected from over 400,000 employers through a variety of government sources utilizing a statistically valid sampling method. The information was categorized by academic discipline and compared with the prior year to yield trends in salary increases. As a whole, the class of 2013 received an average salary of $44,928, an increase of 5.3% over the figure for 2012.
Highest Paid Majors 2013
Engineering majors were the highest paid members of the class of 2013 according to the NACE data with an average salary of $62,535. This figure represented a 4% increase over the average pay to engineering majors in 2012. Within the engineering category, petroleum engineers garnered the highest average salary of $93,500.
Graduates with computer-related majors received the next highest pay with an average salary of $59,977. Computer graduates experienced an increase of 4.3% over the previous year. Computer science majors received the highest compensation in this category with an average salary of $64,800, which represented a 5.2% increase over the 2012 average. Information sciences grads experienced a 3.7% increase in average salary to $57,100.
Business majors received the third highest salary for graduates of the class of 2013 - $54,234. They experienced the second largest percentage increase in average salary over 2012 - a healthy 7.1%. This large jump was driven largely by increases in hospitality management, international business and finance of over 10%.
Health science graduates were the majors with the fourth highest compensation, with an average salary of $49,713. They saw the greatest increase in average salary, a whopping 9.4% over 2012. Nursing majors received the highest average salary in the group - $52,800.
Communications majors were next in line with an average salary of $43,145, an increase of 3.8% over 2012.
Math and science graduates attracted an average salary of $42,274, an increase of 3.1% over the prior year.
Education majors from the class of 2013 experienced a healthy increase of 5.1% while receiving an average salary of $40,480. Special education majors secured the best offers in this category with an average salary of $46,100.
Humanities and social science majors lagged behind the group with an average salary of only $37,058 and a meager increase in salary of only 1.9%
Consider Career Options
Keep in mind that salary offers varied greatly based on the geographic location of the employer, competitiveness of the employer, experience level, grades and other credentials of the individual candidate, prestige of their college and the industry of the employer.
Graduates are wise to consider the ultimate pay they will receive over the course of their career as well as starting compensation when weighing the importance of salary in their decision matrix. For example, some past studies have shown a pattern where liberal arts graduates are well represented in the leadership ranks of American corporations. In addition, many individuals in the majors with lower compensation in the NACE survey may go on to professional school in areas like business, law and medicine and garner very substantial salaries.
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