View Full Version : What Is Your Degree Worth?

08-26-2004, 02:58 PM
What Is Your Degree Worth?
by Jim Pollock
Would you let a 19- or 20-year old choose your career path for you? If you are a college graduate, you probably did just that when you chose your college major.

Students consider many things when they choose a college major, such as their personal interests, the strength of a program, and their own talents and abilities. Future employment prospects often factor into the decision.

When making a decision or considering your career track, it's natural to wonder what various degrees are worth. One measure of the value of a degree is the average salary offered new graduates of a particular discipline.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) tracks the starting salaries of new graduates in particular disciplines. The NACE's Summer 2003 Salary Survey reports the following average starting salaries for various college degrees:

Chemical engineering: $51,853
Electrical engineering: $49,946
Computer science: $47,419
Accounting: $40,546
Information sciences: $39,718
Marketing: $34,628
History: $32,108
English: $30,157
Psychology: $27,454
Beyond starting salary
Starting salaries don't tell the whole story. You have to consider other factors, and you have to look long term.

Career satisfaction is key. If you like what you spend your day doing, you are more likely to succeed at your job. This could lead to faster advancement in your career even if your starting salary is modest. Conversely, if you pursue a major and a career track solely for the money, you may be headed for trouble.

Here's an example: Upon graduation from an aeronautical engineering program, Joan C. accepted a high-paying job with an airplane manufacturer. She hated it--'the work was boring, and I didn't feel like my individual contribution would ever make much of a difference.'

So Joan took a big gamble: She quit, and even though many people doubtless thought she was crazy to leave such a 'great job', she reinvented her career around her interest in the world and her desire to help others.

Today, motivated by her passion for her work, she is a successful administrator for a nonprofit agency that provides health care in developing countries. The change undoubtedly cost her some earnings, but over the long term she ended up on a better and more personally rewarding track.

Joan's experience is not unique. Evidence shows that today's dynamic job market offers unprecedented flexibility in jumping between career tracks, and it's common not to work in the field you studied. For example, in the computer industry, which includes some of the highest-paying occupations, about two-thirds of workers did not actually major in IT or computer-related fields.
Ready for a Change?

Opportunities for midcareer changes are enhanced by the proliferation of flexible and highly focused adult education programs. Online schools and universities offer alternatives ranging from single, focused courses and short certification programs to bachelor's and postgraduate degree programs.

In a sense, those who chose a major in college simply because they loved the subject, and left career questions for later, may have made a pretty smart choice. Today's job climate not only allows for professional reinvention; in many cases, job security demands flexibility and adaptation. And with higher education no longer limited to a four-year window after high school, workers can discover their interests and strengths in the 'real world,' and gain the knowledge and skills they need accordingly.

08-26-2004, 03:46 PM
Come on Toyota! Pick me!!!

Useruser666 :eyebrow

08-26-2004, 03:58 PM

Joe Chalupa
08-26-2004, 04:00 PM
I'm still working on getting my degree.

08-26-2004, 04:00 PM
Electrical engineering: $49,946
thats me :smokin

08-26-2004, 04:02 PM
Chemical engineering: $51,853
That's my brother. His ass still hasn't found a job.

Joe Chalupa
08-26-2004, 04:51 PM
I really thought electrical engineers made more than that.

I wish I was better at math.

08-26-2004, 04:55 PM
I guess I'm at the bottom of the barrel, with my teaching degree and my radio/tv/film one as well.

Joe Chalupa
08-26-2004, 04:59 PM
Do you teach?

08-26-2004, 05:03 PM

Sorry I haven't responded to your email yet. I've been pretty busy. I'll try to send you a list of companies in Portland this weekend.

I have a BS in Accounting and an MBA. I would guess that my MBA is worth an extra $25K per year.

08-26-2004, 05:17 PM
I have a BS degree

I knew you would have a BS degree.:)

08-26-2004, 05:26 PM
I have a degree in MOM.

Worth a gazillion smackers

08-26-2004, 05:51 PM
Sorry I haven't responded to your email yet. I've been pretty busy. I'll try to send you a list of companies in Portland this weekend.
cool, sounds good...in my mind, im already in Portland enjoying the 70 degree weather :hat

Joe Chalupa
08-26-2004, 05:52 PM
^^I agree!!^^

A degree in DAD is also priceless.

08-26-2004, 05:53 PM
cool, sounds good...in my mind, im already in Portland enjoying the 70 degree weather

Unfortunately it's been raining all week! :shock

08-26-2004, 05:56 PM

Are you going to watch the Jeld-Wen Tradition this weekend? It's at the course we played here and the weather should be good this weekend. I'm going to the tournament for a few hours this weekend to check it out.

08-26-2004, 05:57 PM
Accounting: $40,546

Starting? Not in San Antonio....that's about 10K over an average starting salary.

08-26-2004, 06:09 PM
tlong, thanks for the heads up, I will check it out. I like watching golf tournaments that are are played on courses that I have played. It was about a year ago that we played that course.

tlong, I am playing at The Las Vegas Club next weekend. They used to play the Las Vegas Open there before Summerlin opened .

T Park Num 9
08-26-2004, 06:32 PM
Tlong, Im jealous.

When I went to college, me and my buddies would go to la Cantera on wednesday thursday to watch the Texas Open.

Sure there were only a couple big names

Hal Sutton
Justin Leonard
Duffy Waldorf
Charles Howell 3

but, hey, it was the PGA Tour!!!

We loved it, and Im jealous you guys get to see Jacobsen, Stadler, Haas, and all the great ones.

08-26-2004, 06:37 PM
Speaking of golf...

26th Annual Spurs Scramble Charity Golf Tournament

It's tee time again as the San Antonio Spurs move from the hardwood to the links for the 26th Annual Spurs Scramble Charity Golf Tournament presented by IKON Office Solutions to benefit the Spurs Foundation. On Monday, October 18th, 2004, we invite you to join us for a fun-filled afternoon of golf at The Quarry Golf Club, followed by a buffet dinner and awards banquet. While on the greens, you'll be visited by your 2004-05 San Antonio Spurs and have a chance to win great prizes!

Always a sell out! Limited foursomes at $2,000 each and individual players at $500. Tee signs available at $200 and Refreshment Cart signs available for $350. Call (210) 444-5848 to reserve your spots today!

08-26-2004, 06:57 PM
Do you teach?

Yes, I subsitute teach.

08-26-2004, 07:00 PM
In High School I was a substitute student

08-26-2004, 07:15 PM
I really thought electrical engineers made more than that.

Remember, that's to start. Plus, when you come out of college with a BS, all you've done is (hopefully) shown you can learn and can handle the math.

EE is such a diverse area you really need some OJT before you are competent in a particular field.

08-26-2004, 07:50 PM
Whoever mentioned they had a brother who was an unemployed Chem Engineer... look into Valero- HR gets a boner for anyone with that background.

08-31-2004, 04:25 AM
Computer science: $47,419Looks like it's time to go back to school. I recall some of my friends landing $80k+ 4-6 years ago upon graduation.

08-31-2004, 10:37 AM
Looks like it's time to go back to school. I recall some of my friends landing $80k+ 4-6 years ago upon graduation.

That was 4-6 years ago...with greater bandwith now a lot of that stuff is being outsourced to India and Pakistan which then holds salarys down here...

09-02-2004, 12:51 AM
^^ The funny thing is, a few of them were actually FROM overseas. They come all the way over here, work so hard for their degrees, get into the workforce here, live the American dream for a season, and then watch the companies that hired them outsource BACK to their own home countries. :spin

09-02-2004, 12:59 AM
4-6 years ago was also the huge dot.com boom and computer specialists were in enormous demand, driving salaries sky-high. Colleges couldn't crank out IT majors fast enough.

Then the bust, and all of those jobs evaporated, along with the salaries.

09-02-2004, 05:58 PM
IMO, those Clinton years were great.