Engineering degrees pay off

A new report shows that engineering degrees are far and away the highest earning among all college programs.


The National Assn. of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has released its list of the top-earning college degrees, and engineering is well-represented at the top.

Eight of the top 10 degrees feature some type of engineering, with petroleum engineering running away with the No. 1 spot thanks to an average starting salary of $83,121. Chemical, mining, computer, electrical, mathematical, industrial, and systems engineering also were listed, each offering a starting salary of more than $56,000. Aeronautical, agricultural, and biomedical engineering ranked 12 through 14 on the list, with salaries starting at more than $54,000. NACE collects its data by surveying 200 college career centers.

The report states the reason engineering degrees lead to high salaries is due to a lack of students majoring in these fields . According to the NACE director of research Ed Koc, engineering field make up about 4% of all college graduates, while social science and history each comprise 16%.

"It's a supply and demand issue," Koc said. "So few grads offer math skills, and those who can are rewarded."

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