Find Out Which Majors Lead to Biggest Salaries


If you plan to seek a bachelor’s degree after you leave DCCCD, remember this: The degree field you choose can make a big difference in your future earnings.

That’s what the U.S. Census Bureau has found. The Census Bureau asks Americans every 10 years about what they do for a living, their salaries and more.

People who majored in engineering had the highest earnings of any bachelor’s degree field, at $92,000 per year in 2011. At the other end were fields such as visual and performing arts, communications, education and psychology, with median annual earnings of $55,000 or less.

Some fields pay off with higher than average “work-life earnings” – how much you might make over a 40-year career. These include engineering, computers and math, science and engineering-related majors, business, physical sciences and social science.

Other highlights from data collected by the Census Bureau:

  • People in the same occupation make different salaries, depending on their major. An example: Workers in sales who majored in engineering have median work-life earnings of $3.3 million;  arts majors who work in sales have earnings of $1.9 million.
  • People who majored in a science and engineering field were more likely to be employed full time, year-round. So too were those who majored in business, the most common field of study.
  • The estimated earnings over a lifetime of work ranges from $936,000 for those with less than a high school education to $4.2 million for people with professional degrees.

Take a look at the Census Bureau’s Pathways After a Bachelor’s Degree. These infographics look at 13 different bachelor’s degree majors. For each major, you can see the estimated work-life earnings at each level of education.

To learn more, check out these Census Bureau reports:

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