Study shows that college major greatly affects salary

While getting a college degree can raise salaries, a new study shows that the majors students pursue is just as significant.
While getting a college degree can raise salaries, a new study shows that the majors students pursue is just as significant.

A new study by researchers from Georgetown University, using recent data from the U.S. Census, shows that earning a bachelor's degree can increase an individual's salary. Students who are pursuing higher education in order to heighten their future earnings may want to research their college major, however.

The difference in future earnings between an individual who studies one major and a person who pursues another can be more than 300 percent, according to the study. For example, engineering majors tend to earn about $1.9 million throughout their careers due to their choice of degrees, while education majors make about $241,000 because of their credentials.

Researchers found that the majors that produce graduates with the highest salaries include petroleum engineering, pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, as well as computer, aerospace, chemical and electrical engineering.

Some majors also produced drastically lower levels of unemployment. For example, the study shows that even in today's poor economy, people who studied geological and geophysical engineering, military technologies, pharmacology and school student counseling almost always found a job.

"The bottom line is that getting a degree matters, but what you take matters more," said Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown's Center for Education and the Workforce.

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