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College degree’s value depends on major

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Written by
Icess Fernandez 

When it comes to lifetime earnings, not all college majors are made equal, according to a study released this week.

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce used data from the Census to write the report “What’s It Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors.” The focus of the report is to determine whether earning a college degree was worth the price.

Lead researcher Anthony Carnevale compared college majors and the average salary to its corresponding careers. The information is broken down by majors, race, ethnicity and gender.

“This study should not determine what your major ought to be but what you ought to know,” he said.

According to the study, the major with the most bang for its buck is petroleum engineering. Graduates of that major make an average $120,000.

The major that garners the least average salary is counseling psychology at $29,000. On average, careers requesting majors in science, technology, engineering and math pay more, the study shows.

However, the majors with the highest average earnings are not the majors with the most students.

Nationally, the most popular majors are business management and administration with an average salary of $58,000, nursing with an average salary of $60,000, and elementary education with an average salary of $40,000.

Other findings include:

  • On average, a full-time, full-year worker can make 84 percent more money over a lifetime with a bachelor’s degree. 
  • Some of the least popular majors include actuarial science with an average salary of $68,000, oceanography with an average of $70,000, and botany with an average salary of $42,000. 
  • Female bachelor’s degree holders earn most with a pharmaceutical sciences and administration degree and the least with theology and religious vocations. 
  • African-Americans earn the most with a major in electrical engineering and the least in general medical and health services. 

    Locally, LSU-Shreveport has seen some similar data. Gina Starnes, director of career services, has surveyed its recent graduating class about their post graduation plans. With an 88 percent participation rate, they are seeing specific trends.

    “Starting salaries are going up,” Starnes said. “One of the students who went to the recent regional job fair received a $62,000 starting salary.”

    Starnes said that students who didn’t receive a STEM degree shouldn’t lose faith; those students are being recruited as well.

    “Petroleum companies are also hiring liberal arts students because they are well-rounded students,” she said.

    As for as students with STEM degrees, they have their choices between a job or a graduate program.

    About 50 percent of them are taking a job right out of college, said Paul Sisson, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs.

    But despite the degree, jobs are out there, Sisson said.

    “Is a college degree really worth it? Yes, it is worth it,” he said.

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Written by demon53

May 27, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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