Home Tags Posts tagged with "Income"

Income

Degrees That Lead to Best Paying Jobs

Multiple factors come into play when choosing a college major. Your primary challenge is to find a degree program that will qualify you for a career doing the type of work you enjoy.

Another consideration is how much money you can expect to make in your first job. You want to be able to pay off student loans as soon as possible, and begin living the life you envision. Here is a look at the degrees that produce the highest starting salaries for graduates.

Overview
It likely comes as no surprise to any college-bound student that degree programs in science and business lead to some of the best-paying jobs. It also is commonly understood that a high salary is not among the rewards of being a teacher or social worker.

Engineering is at the top of the list. Employment in one of this discipline’s myriad specialties featured an average starting salary of $63,000 in 2013. Computer-science majors and business grads were next at $60,000 and $54,000, respectively. Beginning jobs in communications paid $43,000; math and sciences, $42,700; education, $40,000; and humanities and social sciences, $37,000.

Keep mind that these are average figures, with some positions in each field paying more than others. The statistics were compiled by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), a nonprofit organization based in Bethlehem, Penn. It connects private companies seeking employees with career-placement offices at universities.

The NACE study, commissioned by The Associated Press, used information from the U.S. Census Bureau, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, and private sources like the Job Search Intelligence firm. Data was obtained from nearly 90 universities and colleges.

Engineering
The education and expertise required to be an engineer are not the only reasons that such jobs pay the most money. It is also because of the demand for engineers. Employers continue to report a shortage of qualified applicants for positions in this field.

Of the 10 college majors that lead to the highest salaries, seven involve engineering. Ranking in first place in 2013 were graduates with degrees in petroleum engineering. Their starting pay averaged $96,200. Computer engineers placed second among all graduates, at $70,300. Coming in third were chemical engineering majors, at $66,900.

Students of aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering tied for the fifth-highest starting salaries. They earned an average of $63,900, the same as that paid to mechanical engineering graduates. Next on the list were those who majored in electrical, electronics and communications engineering. They got an average of $62,500. Engineering technology, at $60,900, placed eighth among all professions.

Others on the List
While engineering jobs dominated the list, the study found several other disciplines that paid extremely well. Computer science degrees netted the fourth-best starting pay ($64,100). Finishing ninth and 10th were business management information systems ($60,300) and logistics and materials management ($59,500).

The degrees that led to the lowest-paying starting salaries are those in child and family studies, $29,500; elementary education, $31,600; social work, $31,800; athletic training, $32,800; culinary arts, $35,900; horticulture, $35,000; and theology, $34,700.

Salary Trends
Students who graduated in health sciences in 2013 saw the largest spike in pay, making 9.4 percent more than in 2012 to raise the average to $50,000. Business degrees netted about about $54,000, 7.1 percent more than they did the previous year. Salaries for education graduates were up 5.1 percent to about $40,000, while those for computer-science majors rose 4.3 percent to $60,000.

Beginning jobs in engineering professions paid 4 percent more than in 2012. The smallest increase, 1.9 percent, was reported in the humanities and social sciences. Starting salaries for those careers were about $37,000 in 2013.

However, some social-science professionals are in demand. The starting pay for sociologists soared 10.8 percent in 2013. Criminal justice majors earned 8.1 percent more than in the previous year. At the other end of the scale, those with degrees in the arts made 3 percent less, averaging $35,600.

Conclusion
In general, salaries for college graduates are on the rise. NACE reported that those who received bachelor’s degrees in 2013 received an average starting salary of about $45,000, a 5.3 percent increase from the previous year.

However, the study also found that 53.6 percent of 2013 graduates either did not have a job, or were considered underemployed, as of April that year. This demonstrates the value of earning a degree in a field that needs qualified professionals.

Personal Finance for the New Graduate

Although money management skills are important, many people have a problem handling their personal finances. This issue is even more important for new college graduates. As they leave school they will be faced with repaying student loans while dealing with other expenses like rent and healthcare. Many new graduates do not find the jobs right away, making it even more important to manage their money.

With some planning and good financial advice, the new graduate can cover bills and save money for the future. Here are some tips that can help in managing your personal finances:

Create a Budget

This is probably the most important aspect of money management. It will take a few months before you get a sense of your spending patterns and expenses if you are new to budgeting. When you look at your income and expenses, this will give you an idea of how much you can save. If you are unable to save, examining the budget can help to decided where you can cut some costs.

Never use more from your credit card than you need to, and try to clear the balance each month. This will help you to avoid additional interest. Do not go shopping for clothes if you don’t need them, and avoid eating out unless you absolutely have to. Ultimately, your main goal is to keep your spending below the level of your income. This is the only way you will be able to save.

Reduce Living Expenses

This can mean getting a roommate and sharing the rent or moving in with your parents. Either way you can save a lot of money that you can put towards savings. For some grads, their parents’ home might be the best option since they can live there rent free. It is a good idea to contribute towards expenses such as food, but the bulk of your money should be saved.

Set aside Money for Emergencies

Some people save in a special account for emergencies. This savings is not used for daily expenses or other living expenses. At any time, a crisis may arise, such as a major health problem. Putting money aside in an account that yields high interest, such as a market mutual fund is a good idea. In an emergency you can pull from these funds without putting a strain on your budget. Note that it will take some time to create this sort of fund, so it is best to start early.

Get Books and Information on Money Management

You can search the Internet for used books that cover this important topic. Some of these books actually target new college graduates, so you will find that much of the information applies to you. Do some research on the author of any book you are thinking of buying. This will help to ensure that you are getting advice from a qualified person.

The Internet has lots of information on money management that will come in useful to you now and later on in life. Learning what you can and applying some of these tips to your own life will help you become financially independent.

Avoid New Debts

Do not create any new debt unless it is for something vital. This is even more important if you have student loans to deal with. If you are struggling to get by, that is not the time to buy new furniture or a new TV, even if these items are on sale. You should also try to clear your existing debts as quickly as possible.

College students and recent grads need to be smart in the way they handle their money but they don’t have to be experts. Personal finance involves common sense decisions such as putting extra money towards their student loan. This is a smart move as it helps to clear your loan quicker.  Aside from saving money, it is wise to invest money in mutual funds and similar investment instruments. With discipline, you can end up with enough money to help clear debts or make a down payment on a house.

Feedback