On October 10, 2012, the Census Bureau released data from the 2011 American Community Survey (ACS) that saw significant differences in annual earnings between different college majors. Two different ACS reports compared results between majors.
The Field of Degree and Earnings by Selected Employment Characteristics: 2011 explains the relationship between bachelor’s degrees, annual earnings, and the chance of full-time employments. The report stated bachelor’s degrees in engineering saw the highest median earnings—about $92,000 in 2011. Degrees in performing arts, communications, education and psychology saw median annual earnings of $55,000 and below.
Science, engineering, and business degrees had the most full-time employment as well. About 64 percent of business majors work full time, while only half of literature and language majors were employed full time.
The Work-Life Earnings by Field of Degree and Occupation for People With a Bachelor’s Degree: 2011 examined the relationship between the amount of schooling and how much money a person would make over their lifetime. The general consensus: get a college degree.
People with less than high school education only make an average of $936,000 during their lifetime while those will professional degrees will make about $4.2 million. Engineering majors with a bachelor’s degree who are in a management position will earning about $4.1 million, while service workers with an art of education major will make about $1.3 million over their lifetime.
The following results were also reported in the reports:
• engineering, computer, math, science, business, physical science, and social science majors have the highest average work-life earnings
• liberal arts majors now working in computer or mathematical occupations have median work-life earnings around $2.9 million, and liberal arts majors in office support occupations have average life-work earnings around $1.6 million
• education majors are most likely to work for government entities in 2011, while engineers are the most likely to work in the private sector
Source: U.S. Census Bureau