Top jobs for college and high school grads

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before getting into high-paying jobs for high school grads, let’s look at college communication major.

The 7 Top-Paying Jobs for College Graduates in 2014 and Beyond

These degrees help students get the biggest financial bang for their education buck

By Mary Patrick (U.S. News and World Report)
Posted 2014

The 7 Top-Paying Jobs for College Graduates
The 7 Top-Paying Jobs for College Graduates

Going to college and obtaining the knowledge to become an expert in a specific field is a worthwhile goal in its own right.

But let’s face it: everyone also knows that earning a degree typically leads to more money.

A report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows clearly how much a college education can be worth. According to the study, a person with a bachelor’s degree makes $1,066 a week, far more than the $652 a week made by those with just a high school diploma.

Those with a master’s degree make $1,300 weekly, while doctoral degree holders make $1,624, according to the BLS.

But which occupations can maximize the earning potential of a college degree?

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) recently released its annual salary survey, which includes salary figures for the disciplines that offer the best starting salaries.

It’s worthwhile to note that across all disciplines, the average starting salary for college graduates in 2013 was $45,327, a 2.4% increase over 2012, according to the NACE report.

Engineering Degrees

The salaries for engineers continued to be the best among all disciplines for college graduates, with an average starting salary of $62,062.  In specific fields, two stood out in the report. The starting salary for bioengineering majors jumped 10.1%. Also, the highest starting salary of any major studied in the report was petroleum engineers, who start at $96,200.

Computer Science Degrees

As a whole, computer science degree earners saw their starting salaries dip by 2.5% in 2013. Still, the resulting average starting salary – $58,547 – was enough to make those with computer science degrees the earners of the second-highest starting salary. The dip came primarily in information sciences, where the average starting salary fell about half a percent.

Business Degrees 

The chief business of the American people is business, according to former President Calvin Collidge, and the starting salaries show that. In 2013, the average starting salary for business degree holders increased 7.9%, the largest increase of any discipline. Business degree holders made an average starting salary of $55,635 in their first year on the job. Within the business category, finance majors (at 10%) and business administration majors (at 6.7%) saw the largest increases.

Communications Degrees 

Communications majors actually saw their salaries increase in 2013 by 3.7%, making the average starting salary $43,835. On the downside, advertising majors saw their salaries fall a little less than 1% to $47,300, according to the NACE.

Math & Sciences Degrees 

Overall, the starting salaries for those with degrees in mathematics and science increased by less than 1% in 2013. However, within this category there were some areas that saw bigger increases, including architecture majors (2.7%) and biological science majors (2.2%).

Education Degrees 

Those who earned a degree in education saw an overall increase in their starting salaries, going up 3.2% to $40,337. Also, according to the NACE report, the overall starting salary for all the individual education fields also increased. Those increases ranged from 7% for pre-elementary education graduates to 1.7% for physical education majors.

Humanities and Social Science Degrees 

Many of those with degrees in the humanities and social sciences saw increases in their starting salaries, according to the NACE. Those ranged from a 10.8% increase for sociology majors (to $37,000) and a 8.1% increase for criminal justice majors (to $34,800). The lowest increase was for social workers, who went up 2.3% to $36,000. Those with visual and performing arts degrees actually saw their starting salaries drop to $35,600. Overall, those with degrees in humanities and social sciences saw a 2.6% increase in their salaries, to $37,791.

Susan Ricklerof CareerBuilder wrote a column on “High-Paying jobs for high school grads:

Here is a summary:

1. Commercial pilot = $98,410

2. Claims adjuster, appraiser, examiner and investigator = $59,850

3. Construction and building inspector = $53,450

4. Elevator installer and repairer = $76,850

5. Fire inspector and investigator = $53,990

6. Farmer, rancher and agricultural manager = $69,300

7. Line installer and repairer = $58,210

8. Postal service and worker = $53,100

9. Power plant operator, distributor and dispatcher = $68,230

10. Railroad worker = $52,400

[To comment: larry at larry litwin dot com]