In a recent article on CNNMoney.com, college grads are getting offered bigger paychecks for the first time since 2008. The article goes on to state new graduates are averaging $50,034 per year starting salaries. Engineering degrees are averaging $59,435 per year. Electrical engineering degrees are averaging the highest of $61,690 and civil engineering the lowest of $48,885. Business and accounting degrees are averaging from $48-50,000 per year. Finance degrees top the list of business degrees at $50,535, then Accounting at $49,022 and Business degrees at $48,089. Last are liberal arts degrees are averaging $35,633.
Did you notice that huge distinction between degrees? I know I did! Did the students who earned liberal arts degrees receive a discount on tuition? I don’t think so. If everyone pays the same for the degree, why major in liberal arts? Many people who major in liberal arts go on to graduate school or professional school. How about those who do not? What do they do? They have to turn their degree into a practical application in the business world. For example, an English degree can be used in marketing, advertising, journalism, publishing, or academia. Are these well paying jobs? Initially, no! The reason is you may need more training to achieve the better paying careers. Remember, you still have the same student loans as the other students.
From a financial point of view, everyone should go into the higher paying degrees. How are your math and science skills? How are your business skills? If you liked any of those choices and had the skills, I would not have to convince you to get that degree. What does the rest of the graduates do? Part of the reason, companies are willing to pay for those degrees is they are fewer graduates in those disciplines. Whether it is interest, skills or talent, there are less graduates. One of this country’s problems is not enough students want to earn engineering, science or math degrees. What should you do?
Your major or degree does not dictate what you will accomplish in your life! I worked for a president of a company who majored in English, but went into marketing. He was very successful. I did some financial consulting years ago for a major tax software company and the head of development was a individual with a physical education degree. Both people earned well into six figures. One of the most successful mystery writers was a advertising executive before he became a writer. The road to success is not a map, you buy in a store! You are the person who determines your road to success.
While you are toiling away in your first job or in those early years trying to figure out if your education debt was worthwhile, start thinking about your goals. If you majored in some obscure major like rhetoric, French history or Chinese literature, I hope you have good grades. Graduate school requires that, your first job looks at it and it is an indication of your skills in that major. It measures your academic learning skills, interest and acumen in the subject. An employer would expect that you would approach your work in the same way and have the same success. If you had poor grades in college, can you recover? Of course you can! The opposite is equally true! Good grades in college do not guarantee success. Employers pay for performance and promotions are generally based on your performance. Would it have been easier to major in one of the higher paying careers? What do you think?
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