Finding a job after graduation is not a given.
Although the job market is strong and college graduates are still more employable—and earn more—than their high school counterparts, your choice of major and degree largely determines how employable you’ll be.
A bachelor’s degree in math gives students the best chance of securing a job right after graduation, followed by bachelor’s degrees in chemistry, history and music, according to a recent ProWritingAid study based on data from the U.S. Department of Education and Higher Education Programs In the whole country .
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Employability is certainly not the same as earning potential, the report notes.
“More often than not, graduates are faced with a choice between a safe degree that gives a better chance of immediate employment, or a degree that, if it does lead to a job, could earn them a good salary within a few years,” a spokesperson for ProWritingAid said.
Findings from the study include:
- Among math majors, Johns Hopkins University Baltimore graduates are the highest paid freshmen, earning an average salary of $70,019 in the first year and $101,777 by the third year after graduation.
- Alternatively, the highest paid chemistry graduates come from public universities. San Francisco State University Bachelor of Science in Chemistry graduates have an average salary of $60,594 three years after graduation.
- For history majors, Rice University in Houston offers the highest earning prospects with an average salary of $61,295 three years after graduation.
- Music graduates from Stephen F. Austin State University had the highest average salaries at $45,138, followed by West Texas A&M University and North Dakota State University.
When it comes to the highest-paying majors, the top 10 fields of study are engineering-related — excluding computer science, according to the New York Federal Reserve’s recent report on college graduate salaries.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers also found that computer science majors are likely to be the highest paid, earning an average of $75,900, followed by engineering graduates.
After adding in considerations such as job satisfaction and stress level, among other factors, students who majored in computer science, business, engineering and health administration felt the most satisfied with their choice of concentration, according to a separate study by the ZipRecruiter job market.
According to ZipRecruiter’s survey of more than 5,000 college graduates, students who majored in English, education, communications, biological sciences and law said they regretted it the most.
During the pandemic, more students questioned the value of a college degree and whether a four-year program was worth it, given the extremely high costs and student loan debt.
The College Transparency Act, which passed the House, aims to make it easier for families to measure the return on investment and how it translates into job opportunities and wages in the future.
The Senate version of the bill is sponsored by Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Tim Scott, RS.C.; and Sheldon Whitehouse, DR.I.
Meanwhile, many private groups, including The Princeton Review, have also come up with their own measures to rank schools based on value, taking into account costs including tuition, room and board, as well as financial aid, academic offerings, career placement services , graduation rates, graduate salary and total student debt.
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