Petroleum Engineering ($110K) Tops List of Lucrative College Majors

Petroleum Engineering ($110K) Tops List of Lucrative College Majors Do you want to make a six-figure salary after graduating from college? Well, your major better have something to do with engineering.
And if your major is petroleum engineering, you’ll likely see $110,000 as soon as you dispose of your cap and gown.
What you major in has a lot to do with what you’ll earn after school, according to Anthony Carnevale, an economist at Georgetown University. As the national student loan debt moves past $1.2 trillion, what degree gives you the best bang for the buck is becoming an issue for many college-bound students.  But not all students are focused on earning power. Many major in fields for which they have a passion.
The graph below is based on Carnevale’s research. It illustrates the wide range in median earnings for people with different majors.
“If you go to Harvard and pay all that money and become a schoolteacher, you won’t be earning more than other schoolteachers,” Carnevale told NPR News, which did a segment on his research.
NPR focused on a tale of two graduates.
Erin Ford graduated from the University of Texas two years ago with a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering. She was quickly recruited for a paid summer internship, which turned into a full-time job after she graduated. She makes $110,000 a year at the age of 24.
Michael Gardner graduated from City College in New York with a degree in psychology. He applied for more than 100 jobs, and worked at Home Depot to make ends meet. Gardner got a job earning $36,000 a year as a case worker. Gardner says he likes helping people and he’s fine with that salary.
“Now, partly what’s going on here is supply and demand,” Lisa Chow, of NPR’s Planet Money Team, said in her segment on profitable majors. “There’re a lot more psychology majors than petroleum engineering majors. Despite its low earnings potential, psychology is one of the most popular majors out there. And for a lot of people who major in it – including Michael Gardner – it’s not about the money.”
The graph below is based on Carnevale’s research:
Petroleum Engineering ($110K) Tops List of Lucrative College Majors

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