When choosing a major, most would agree that it's important to consider gaining lucrative employment following graduation. In a perfect world, the best college major would simply be the one that interests you most, period. But if you have a particular knack for math or science and aren't necessarily sure where those skills would translate best, consider the kinds of careers that could offer a generous return on your investment.
According to a new report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, going to college pays off but by how much depends greatly on the area of study. For example, students who complete undergraduate degrees in petroleum engineering earn a median $4.8 million throughout their careers (or $136,000 a year) – more than triple the $1.4 million in median earnings (or $39,000 a year) for someone who majored in early childhood education, the report says. "The surprises are in the details," said Anthony Carnevale, director of the Center on Education and the Workforce. Just choosing a major in a STEM field doesn't secure a hefty paycheck, either: Carnevale's team found that biology majors have median annual wages of $56,000 over their careers from age 25 to 59, or about one-third less than physicists. There are also wide ranges in salaries for specific majors. The top 25 percent of earners who majored in finance can expect annual earnings of more than $100,000, while the bottom quartile may bring in just about $50,000 a year. (For more on this report, head over to the Wall Street Journal.)
Do you agree with the sentiment that majors that aren't in high demand should be avoided or should students be encouraged to pursue their passion regardless of potentially high unemployment rates? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.