How Do Major and Degree Affect Lifetime Earnings?

Have you ever wondered how much the degree you’ve chosen will amount to in lifetime earnings? Of course you have – you’re spending a huge amount of money and time on your chosen subject in order to give you a prosperous career and financial stability.

Payscale have created the below visual based on a survey they conducted to analyse how a degree or major affects a persons life time earnings. (See the interactive version here.)

It’s a fascinating visual comparing industry sectors and education levels over various periods of experience. The survey also summarises what the top paying majors are by degree level;

  • Associates: Fashion Design – $80,000
  • Bachelors: Petroleum Engineering – $187,000
  • Masters: Petroleum Engineering – $192,000
  • MBA: Strategy – $180,000
  • PhD: Statistics – $172,000
  • Great news for those of you who are studying Petroleum Engineering or considering it.

Another important point it highlights, is that travelling further along the educational path doesn’t necessarily lead to the highest earning career. For example, some majors on this list reach the highest earning potential at bachelor, or even associate, level degrees. This is important to note when considering your major, or if you’re currently studying, to identify what’s the best level of study to reach. Even by the top paying majors by degree levels, studying to a masters level in Petroleum Engineering will only get you an average of $5,000 more per year.

It’s an impressive study carried out on a very large scale and makes great viewing, particularly if you’re studying a subject at the moment and want to know what’s in store for you. It’s fair to say that engineering, medicine and IT are in very high demand at the moment and if you’re studying in one of these areas, or considering a career move, the number of positions available and remuneration offered will put you in a great position.

The Lifetime Earnings of College Degrees

How do major and degree affect lifetime earnings | Via Payscale

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