Not All College Majors Have a High Economic Return       
Updated 4/21/17     
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Bureau of Labor Statistics Projections Were Correct
Only 22% Require a Bachelor's

Over Supply and Low Demand
Keep Graduate Wages Down

Class of 1993 Had Varied 2003 Income

   Which 1993 College Graduate Majors Had The Highest Paying Jobs in 1994 
(1 year after Graduation ) and 2003 (10 Years after Graduation)

Editor's Note: The following 25-year-old data shows we have known for many years that
the economic gains from investing
are very precarious.

Table 1 of 4  College Major: Listed High to Low 2003 Income Percent of Class Average Full Time Salary in 1994/2003 using constant 2003 dollars (%increase) Advanced Degrees
Engineering (Electrical, Civil, Chemical, etc.) 6% 38,900/74,900(92%) almost 25% had Masters
Comp. Sci., Special 2013 Note to Programmers 2% 33,400/72,600(117%)  
Business/management (Accounting, Finance, Business Administration, Marketing, etc) 23% 33,800/65,900(95%)  
Health Professions (Tech, Nursing, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry, Allied Health 7% 40,500/65,000(60%) 19% M, 3% higher
Social & Behavioral Science (Psych. Anthrop, Econ,  Geog, Soc, Pol Sci) 13% 26,500/62,300(135%) 22%M 9% D or 1st Professional
Biological Science (Botany, Zoology, Biochemistry) 4% 29,200/62,200(113%) D or 1st P >31%
All Graduates 99% 30,800/60,600(97%)  
Other-Career Related Majors (Ag Sci, Communication, Pre Law, Lib Sci, Law Enforce, etc) 14% 29,200/59,300(103%) 14%M, 4%higher
Math and Physical Science (Math, Statistics, Physical Science) 3% 27,100/58,200(115%) almost 50%M, with <20% D of 1st P
Other Academic Majors ( Af/Am Studies, Women's Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, etc) 4% 26,200/53,200(103%)  
Humanities (Hist. Philos. Rel. Lang. Design, Music, other performing and fine arts, etc) 10% 25,000/52,800(111%) M 22%, 6% D or 1st P
Education 13% 26,600/43,800(65%)  
The Rising Value of a Science Degree 10/20/11      
1Data from The class of 1993: Earnings and occupations by college major, 1 and 10 years after graduation Editors' Notes: Wouldn't a 20 year update be interesting. Study was removed.
Elka Maria Torpey Nutshell   Snippet   How to best view PDF files PDF

Chart titles and data arrangement are from www.businessbookmall.com.
Data is based upon a nationally representative sample of 11,190 students graduating from 7/92 to 6/93.
Editor's Note: (1) Data is the mean, not the median (2) within cohort  income variability has been increasing for many years
Special Note to Programmers 2/2/13

Bill Gates has been touring the U.S. in early 2013 lobbying for newly minted U.S. foreign college graduates to get visas to stay, work and maybe settle. This increase in supply will push wages down and because all new graduates know new technology and often bring more drive to the job, will force out workers with twenty years of experience who will then have to change careers. The useful life of programmers is dropping fast and those devoting time and money to education should be aware of this. See Stem Jobs

Additional Information  A. Most New Jobs Projections and Salaries  B. Fastest Growing1 page  C. Highest Paying    D)  Pay Scale Com     E. Advice to College Students and Parents  F. Who Gets the Good Jobs and How Much They Pay   G. Many Without a Bachelor's Degree Earn High Income    H. Longitudinal Study of Class of 1963 Income

Visit our Education Libraries for more current information concerning education.

Earlier 1998 Study
Not All College Majors Are Created Equal1

Data from the Department of Labor
Editors Note: Other than computer programmers having a tough time lately,
little has changed since this data was collected.

Index    Lowest Paying Majors      Graduates  With Jobs Relate to their Major        
Majors With College Level Jobs        Choosing a Major Advise

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Table 2 of 4   Which 1993 College Graduate Majors Had The Lowest Paying Jobs in 1994 and 1997

Of Those That Left School

College Major: Listed Low to High % Working Full Time
1994/1997
Average Full Time Salary in
1994/1997(%increase)
% Working Part Time
1994/1997
% Unemployed
1994/1997
% Out of Labor Force
1994/1997 Education
68/81 26,600/43,808(29%) 21/10 3/2 7/7
Psychology 67/72 19,500/26,300(35%) 15/11 5/4 14/13
History 72/78 21,000/27,000(29%) 14/7 5/4 9/11
Humanities 64/71 21,300/28,100(32%) 20/14 5/4 11/11
Public Affairs & Social Service 75/85 22,000/29,900(36%) 13/8 5/2 8/5
Social Science 73/80 22,100/32,800(48%) 13/9 5/3 10/9
Biological Science 52/57 22,800/26,700(17%) 17/10 7/5 24/28
All Graduates 73/81 24,200/32,500(34%) 14/8 5/3 9/8
Math, Comp. Sci., Physical Sci. 68/81 25,400/36,400(43%) 14/8 5/2 14/10
Business 85/89 27,100/36,500(35%) 8/4 4/2 4/5
Engineering 76/92 30,900/43,800(42%) 9/3 6/1 9/5
Health Professions 73/77 31,300/37,300(19%) 15/13 5/3 7/8
1Data is from The Class of 1993: One Year After Graduation and Four years after graduation: The class of 1993 as published in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly of the U.S. Department of Labor, Summer, 1998 pp. 11-21  and Winter of 2000-01, pp 17-29. Chart titles and data arrangement are from www.businessbookmall.com. Data is based upon a nationally representative sample of 11,190 students graduating from 7/92 to 6/93.
Special Note: The increase in salaries of about 10% per year that took place over the 3 year period is a little misleading as some graduates had earned an advanced degree. The average salary for college graduates where a bachelors degree is the highest degree would be lower.

 

Table 3 of 4    In 1994, Fifty-Six Percent of 1993 College Graduates Had Jobs Related to Their Major

College Major
Listed High to Low

Percentage Working in this Profession

Health Professions Health Professions-60% Noncomputer technician-8% Computer Science/ Programmer-8% Admin/clerical support-7%
Education Teaching-57% Other Professional-13% Admin/clerical support-13% Bus./Mgmt.-9%
Public Affairs & Social Service Other Professional 32% Protective Services-22% Bus./Mgmt.-16% Admin/clerical support-15%
Business Bus./Mgmt.-31% Other Professional-26% Admin/clerical support-24% Sales-12%

Graduates with these majors often require
additional education to pursue work in their career.

Engineering Engineering-54% Bus./Mgmt.-12% Other Professional-10% Comp.Sci/ Programmer-8%
Math, Comp. Sci. Physical Sci. Comp.Sci/ Programmer-26% Admin/clerical support-17% Teaching-12% Other Professional-12%
Biological Science Other Professional-17% Admin/clerical support-17% Noncomputer Technician-16% Bus./Mgmt.-9%
Social Science Admin/clerical support-27% Bus./Mgmt.-26% Other Professional-21% Sales-10%
History Bus./Mgmt.-24% Admin/clerical support-18% Teaching-15% Other Professional-15%
Humanities Other Professional-30% Admin/clerical support-21% Bus./Mgmt.-17% Teaching-11%
Psychology Admin/clerical support-27% Bus./Mgmt.-26% Other Professional-21% Sales-10%
2Data is from The Class of 1993: One Year After Graduation as published in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly of the U.S. Department of Labor, Summer, 1998 pp. 11-21. Chart titles and data arrangement are from www.businessbookmall.com.
  

Table 4 of 4     By 1997, Fifty-Five Percent of the Class of 1993 had a Job Related to Their Major, 
Only Sixty-Two Percent Had a Job That Required a Bachelor's Degree, 
and Only Fifty-Five Percent Felt Their Job had Career Potential

 

Attributes of current job

Bachelor's degree required

Related to major

(job has) Career potential
1994 1997 1994 1997 1994 1997
All graduates 56 62 75 55 72 55
Professional Fields  64 68 83 65 76 55
Health professions 73 80 91 82 80 55
Engineering 79 79 87 60 82 64
Education 66 69 79 67 75 50
Business and management 51 57 85 57 77 60
Public affairs and social services 49 55 72 58 68 47
             
Arts and sciences 49 60 60 45 64 51
Mathematics, Computer and physical sciences 68 71 82 63 75 62
Psychology  45 64 57 48 53 48
Biological sciences 49 63 64 51 57 45
History 41 57 42 34 67 52
Social science 47 57 57 33 68 53
Humanities 45 50 58 40 66 50
1Chart is from Four years after graduation: The class of 1993 as published in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly of the U.S. Department of Labor, Winter of 2000-01, p 9. Data is based upon a nationally representative sample of 11,190 students graduating from 7/92 to 6/93.