College Degrees With the Highest (And Lowest) Starting Salaries In 2017

The following appeared in FORBES on June 28, 2017 by Karsten Strauss :

Ever wonder which college degree can get you the best salary the minute they hand you the diploma? The answer lies within the realms of engineering and technology. Thanks to a report from Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI), students on their way to college can get a sense of which types of undergraduate degrees they should pursue if earning big money right out of the gate is most important. We assembled the ten bachelor’s degrees with the highest average annual salaries and wrapped them up into a slideshow, which you can view below. For a look at the average starting salaries for Master’s Degrees, scroll down to the bottom of this article.

In putting together its roster of high-paying degrees, CERI connected with companies and recruiters that look to find talent through college and university career services offices. According to the organization, Nearly 200 career service centers in the United States participated in the study and 4,350 employers provided information for the report, which includes data on full-time positions, internships, and co-op jobs. A report from Michigan State University highlights the size of salaries available to college graduates in the U.S.

The top-paying bachelor’s degree, by the numbers, is electrical engineering. Though the starting annual salary average is $62,428, a job seeker coming out of school may see a variety of offers when scoping out the jobs market as the salary range for such a degree is between $25,000 and $130,000. In second place, software design earns new graduates an average $61,466. The salary ranges one might see on the jobs market span from $25,000 to $134,000, depending on a variety of factors like experience and responsibilities involved. In third place is chemical engineering – which claimed first place last year – which CERI discovered offers an average starting salary of $61,125. The salary range in the chemical engineering arena spans from $31,000 to $125,000.

On the Low End…
But what of the degrees that attract lower starting salaries? CERI has some information on those as well. The bottom section of the list of bachelor’s degrees and their average starting pay looks a little something like this:

Degree & Average Starting Salary:
History – $38,361
English – $38,303
Psychology – $38,079
Special education – $38,002
Elementary education – $37,803
Anthropology/sociology – $37,672
Social work – $37,115
Pre-K & kindergarten education – $35,626

Master’s Degrees & MBAs:
CERI’s research also touched on the salary prospects for those who go beyond their undergraduate studies and pursue higher degrees, like PhDs and MBAs.

Selected major Average Range:
Computer science $72,071 $15,000 – $145,000
Engineering $69,729 $20,000 – $200,000
MBA $62,700 $10,000 – $151,000
Physical & biological sciences $59,204 $10,000 – $200,000
Accounting $58,159 $10,000 – $144,000
LIR/HR $58,125 $10,000 – $127,000
Health sciences MS & MSW $53,283 $10,000 – $175,000
Social sciences MA & MS $48,697 $10,000 – $150,000

PhD and Professional Degrees:
Starting Salaries — PhD & Professional
Selected major Average Range
Pharmacy $89,725 $20,000 – $146,000
Engineering & computer science $77,811 $20,000 – $168,000
Law $74,130 $20,000 – $200,000
Physical & biological sciences $73,422 $20,000 – $141,000
Business $67,578 $20,000 – $188,000
Social sciences & humanities $58,897 $16,000 – $123,000