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: