The Best-Paying Majors

A blog about business and economics.
May 9 2013 5:00 PM

Want to Make Money Right Out of School? Study Engineering

top paying

According to a new survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, average starting salaries for members of the college class of 2013 are highest for folks who majored in petroleum engineering. Next comes computer engineering followed by chemical engineering followed by computer science followed by aerospace engineering followed by mechanical engineering followed by electrical engineering.

Which is to say that if you went to college because you heard that college is the ticket to a good job, you should study engineering. Not surprisingly, the industry that pays the most for new grads regardless of major turns out to be the mining and petroleum extracting secto where one assumes all these highly paid petroleum engineers are working. But as you can see above, that's not a very large industry. Almost 100 times as many new college grads go into finance and insurance (mostly the less-glamorous stuff, not the huge bucks on Wall Street). But the largest industry, by far, is educational services which hires a whopping 455,400 people at a modest starting salary of just under $40,000. 

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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