Revealing the best and worst-paying college majors, 5 years after graduation

If you want to earn the highest salary right after graduating from college, choose to study engineering. Being a major is a safe choice if you want to have a good earning potential. A recent study by the New York Federal Reserve reveals that engineering degrees make up nine out of the top 16 college majors with the highest incomes five years after graduation.

Computer engineering majors have the highest ranking, with a yearly median salary of $80,000. Chemical engineering and computer science are the only other majors that earn more than $75,000 annually.

They earn about twice as much as the majors with the lowest salaries, which are usually degrees in the liberal arts or humanities. These are the 16 college majors that pay the most five years after graduation:

College majors that pay the most right after college

  1. Computer engineering $80,000
  2. Chemical engineering $79,000
  3. Computer science $78,000
  4. Aerospace engineering $74,000
  5. Electrical engineering $72,000
  6. Industrial engineering $71,000
  7. Mechanical engineering $70,000
  8. General engineering $68,000
  9. Miscellaneous engineering $68,000
  10. Finance $66,000
  11. Civil engineering $65,000
  12. Economics $65,000
  13. Business analytics $65,000
  14. Mathematics $65,000
  15. Construction services $64,000
  16. Pharmacy $64,000

The skills and knowledge needed in engineering, such as technical expertise, math skills, and problem-solving abilities, are useful in various industries. Therefore, people in this profession usually earn more money than those in other jobs. According to a study of full-time workers, students who major in liberal arts, performing arts, and theology earn the lowest salaries within five years of graduating from college.

Out of the 75 majors in the study, graduates from all three majors had the lowest median annual income of $38,000. Some majors that typically have lower salaries include leisure and hospitality, history, fine arts, and psychology. These majors have median salaries of $40,000 or less per year.

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College majors that pay the least right after college

  1. Liberal arts $38,000
  2. Performing arts $38,000
  3. Theology + religion $38,000
  4. Leisure + hospitality $39,700
  5. General social sciences $40,000
  6. History $40,000
  7. Miscellaneous biological science $40,000
  8. Fine arts $40,000
  9. Treatment therapy $40,000
  10. Nutrition sciences $40,000
  11. Psychology $40,000
  12. Anthropology $40,000
  13. Family + consumer sciences $40,000
  14. Social services $40,000
  15. Elementary education $40,000
  16. Early childhood education $40,000

Graduates with liberal arts degrees generally earn lower salaries for a variety of reasons. Firstly, their skills may not be directly linked to making money, even if their job is beneficial to society.

Alternatively, it could be a situation where there are not enough high-paying jobs available for the number of graduates each year, which is the case for fine arts degrees. Therefore, when there is not enough demand for something, it can cause wages to decrease.

Education majors usually earn lower salaries. Teachers have job security, get summers off, and receive pensions. However, their pay is usually determined by state governments, which have not kept up with inflation. The Economic Policy Institute has found that the “teacher pay penalty” has become more severe in recent years.

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