Yet Another Study Comes Out in Favor of STEMBut Studying Those at Liberal Arts School Might be Just Fine

Colorful sets of various types of charts

There have been a number of surveys recently on the value of a college degree. Recently the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce study listed engineering as having the highest median wages while biology post-graduate education provided the highest salary bump over median undergraduate salaries.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers just released their first ever study analyzing how most of the people who graduated with a Bachelors degree in the United States fared last year in the job market. The full pdf with the results is here, but here are the key conclusions:

## How Much Does Doing a Bachelors Matter? Quite a Bit - Over 80% of bachelor’s degree graduates could point to a positive professional outcome within 6-months (a job, self-employment, military service, or continuing education).

  • 4-year college graduates had an average salary of $48k / year, 48% higher than graduates with Associate Degrees (2-year).

  • Less than 50% of candidates graduating with Associate degrees had full-time jobs within 6-months. Nearly 37% were doing some part-time work or continuing their education, while 15% were either still seeking jobs or had decided to stop looking.

Does the Choice of School Matter? Yes and No

  • Private school graduates did meaningfully better than public school graduates, both in terms of career outcomes and starting salary.

  • In terms of employment and starting salary, Liberal arts schools do just as well as professionally focused schools and both of those do better than “balanced schools” that offer both.

What Majors Do the Best? No Surprise — STEM (but not so much the M)

  • This is slightly skewed by the fact that in some majors (pure sciences, math, languages), candidates are specifically interested in grad school.

  • Engineers and computer science majors tend to get employed at 70+% levels.

  • Mathematicians — not so much. Employment is close to 50%, although many choose to do grad school instead as we discussed here

  • Healthcare professionals over-index in employment too and that should be no surprise given the recent jobs data we reported on

  • The worst major from an employment standpoint? Biology.

  • The best major from a salary standpoint? Engineering ($65k / year). Even more than computer science at $62k / year.

  • The worst major from a salary standpoint? Theology ($29k / year).

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Pathfinder Paul is a team of Tapwage writers and guest contributors who discuss career paths and how to navigate important transitions in your career