Earn $1 Million More in Your Lifetime – Be Thankful for Your College Degree

How much is my degree worth and what fields make the most?

Written by: Lisa Phelps for Student Choice


Ever wondered if your college degree would pay off?

Sure – we all have!

As you may know, or maybe you’re coming to realize, a college education is an incredibly empowering investment for the vast majority of students. In fact, it’s never been more important. Data is very clear on this matter, and shows that college graduates will not only have a much greater chance of employment, but they can expect to earn an average of $1 million more in lifetime income than a wage-earner without a degree (according to census bureau data). So what’s your degree worth? A lot!


Which degree makes the most money?

Or how about which schools are the best for a particular major? Maybe you’re looking for a career that will make a difference in the world, or wondering what you can do with a certain degree. The PayScale 2014-15 College Salary Report Part 2: Majors & Careers can answer all of those questions and more!

The study includes information on over 300 bachelor’s and associate degree majors and their earning potential. As we told you when we discussed choosing a college major, STEM fields continue to top the job market in salary. Petroleum Engineering has the biggest payoff for a four-year degree with an entry level salary of just over $100,0000. Meanwhile, Management Information Systems pays off for those with a two-year degree (starting at just over $47,000). These lists are helpful if you want to know what you’ll earn with your current or potential major, but it’s also important if you are searching for a major based on earning potential. Sure, money isn’t everything, but you want to be able to pay your bills and live comfortably!


About more than just money? How about satisfaction?

At PayScale.com you’ll also find information on which majors college grads would personally recommend (only 24% of drama majors would recommend their choice to you, while 75% of marketing grads would say they’re happy with their choice). You can also see which majors led to jobs that are meaningful to graduates – and that may be more important to you than any dollar figure. For example, while Early Childhood isn’t high on the recommended or salary lists, it’s tied at number 5 for meaningful fields by those working in it.

You can read the full report at http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report.


Where else can you get information about careers and salaries?

High school counselors’ offices have information and tools available, and colleges’ career services offices are another great resource. If you’re a college student you should also check out mentoring opportunities within your field with alumni associations to learn more about your field.

For more information about jobs, salaries, and cost of living in different regions, check out this list of helpful websites from the U.S. Department of State: https://www.bls.gov/oes/tables.htm.


Need more info on managing money in college?

Need even more help thinking about your finances, preparing early, or figuring out the best way to budget through college? Check out your local credit union. And, if you’re not sure where to find one, click here.


View All News Articles