Should You Choose a College Major Based On a Starting Salary?
When I graduate from college, how much money will I make? There’s now a way to answer that question. Prospective students who are considering colleges in Virginia can use a Web tool to see how much money newly minted graduates of individual academic programs earn, with data that is broken out by college and major, reports Paul Fain of Inside Higher Ed:
“For example, a bachelor’s degree-holder from George Mason University who majored in computer engineering can expect to earn $59,000 in his or her first year after graduation, according to the College Measures website, which is 56 percent more than the state average in that discipline. On the other side of the earnings scale, the average George Mason graduate who studied biology earns $32,000, still 15 percent more than peers from other Virginia colleges.” (Read more here.)
Using this newly-available data, the American Institutes for Research found that the average first-year wages for graduates who stayed on in Virginia was $36,067. Registered nursing generated the highest average wages at $48,959. The next six highest paying programs were all business degrees: finance majors averaged $42,131; accounting, $42,110; and business administration, $38,578. In comparison, political science graduates earned $31,184; history majors, $30,230; and English majors were paid $29,222 on average.
Data systems of similar scope are in the works in Florida, Texas and Colorado, and Tennessee, Arkansas, Nevada, Kentucky and Utah may soon follow.
Do you think this is useful information for a college student deciding on her university or her major? If you’d had access to such information, would you have made a different choice?