Comparing the earning power of different college degrees


A new study out of Georgetown University has named the top-earning bachelor’s degrees and quantified their earning power, according to The Washington Post.

Researchers at GU’s Center on Education and the Workforce examined previously unreported census data to determine those who major in engineering, computer science or business will typically make 50% more over the course of their lifetime than those who major in the humanities, arts, education or psychology.

The researchers found the median annual earning on an engineering degree is $75,000. Humanities degrees earn $47,000, arts degrees earn $44,000 and education/psychology degrees earn $42,000.

To get more granular, a petroleum engineering degree will earn you $120,000; a pharmacy degree earns $105,000; and a math/computer science degree earns $98,000.

On the other end of the scale, a counseling or psychology degree earns you $29,000 and an early childhood education degree earns $36,000.

Still, a degree of any kind is extremely valuable when you consider the alternative of having just a high school diploma. On average, a college degree holder makes 84% more in a lifetime than someone who completes high school and then doesn’t go on for further education.

(There are always the exceptions, including those that drop out of college and become wealthy influencers, especially in the technology field. But overall, over time, having the degree matters.)

Of course, it doesn’t work to get a degree in something you don’t enjoy just for the sake of money. A bigger paycheck to do something that leaves you feeling empty is no accomplishment at all in my book.

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