Highest-Paying Degrees for 2010 Graduates

Summary: For students who earned a Bachelor’s degree, four of the five top-paying majors were engineers. Computer science was the only non-engineering major in the top five.

The following table from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shows the highest-paying majors for students who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 2010.

Major Average Starting Salary
Petroleum Engineering $74,799
Chemical Engineering $65,628
Computer Science $61,112
Computer Engineering $59,917
Electrical/Electronic Engineering $59,391

 
As you can see, four of the five top-paying majors were engineers. The top-paying major, petroleum engineering, had an average starting salary of $74,799, followed by chemical engineering with an average starting salary of $65,628. Computer science was the only non-engineering major to crack the top five, and it came in third with an average starting salary of $61,112. Computer engineering at $59,917 and electrical/electronic engineering at $59,391 rounded out the top five.

While these were the highest paying majors for 2010, all except chemical engineering represent a decrease when compared to 2009. Salaries for chemical engineers increased 1.1 percent; salaries for petroleum engineers, computer science majors, computer engineers, and electrical/electronic engineers decreased 10, .05, 2.9, and 1.2 percent, respectively.

According to Marilyn Mackes, executive director of NACE, the high starting salaries are due to a shortage of personnel in these fields.

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