Engineering tops list of college degrees ranked by salary
For all of our readers who have commented in this as well as other EDN blogs that they would not encourage their kids to go into engineering, you may want to rethink that.
According to a 2008 education and salary survey by PayScale Inc, a real-time profiling company that runs an ongoing salary survey and database of individual employee compensation profiles, engineering ranks as the top undergraduate degrees by salary.
Specifically, chemical, computer, electrical, and aerospace engineering, respectively, are the top paying careers based on an undergrad degree.
The top four engineering degrees have a low point starting median salary of $57,700 (aerospace engineering) and a high point mid-career median salary of $107,000 (chemical engineering).
Interestingly, the top 10 on the list are all STEM majors (assuming you count economics as math, not politics). See the chart directly below where the blue represents starting median salary and the gray mid-career median salary.
The report also breaks out lists of some of the best colleges for specific undergrad study based on salary potential. MIT tops the engineering list with a starting median salary of $72,200 and mid-career median salary of $126,000, according to PayScale data. MIT is followed by the California Institute of Technology (CIT) and unexpectedly, Harvey Mudd College, which continues to define itself as a liberal arts school, despite its engineering reputation. See the chart directly below where the blue represents starting median salary and the gray mid-career median salary.
PayScale’s methodology is based on annual pay for Bachelors graduates without higher degrees. Typical starting graduates have three years of experience; mid-career have 15.5 years. PayScale’s full 2008 college salary report can be found here.
Are you surprised by the survey’s findings? As always, we welcome your thoughts below.
–Suzanne Deffree, Managing Editor, News