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25 Best College Majors for a Lucrative Career

Dave_BerryDave_Berry 492 replies2648 threadsCC Admissions Expert Senior Member
"... not all college degrees are created equal. To determine which majors typically come with the best hiring prospects and pay, we studied the data for 102 popular college majors. We looked for courses of study that tend to lead to fat paychecks--both right out of school and further along your career path. We also sought out majors that are in high demand based on recent online job postings as well as long-term growth expectations for related occupations. Plus, we factored in the percentage of workers with given degrees who feel their jobs have a positive impact on the world because having a sense of purpose can be just as important as having a good payday." ...

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Replies to: 25 Best College Majors for a Lucrative Career

  • PublisherPublisher 8783 replies101 threads Senior Member
    edited February 6
    Majoring in Classics or majoring in American Studies should not have been included on this list as both are heralded for preparing one for a higher degree, such as a JD, and not in providing for a lucrative career on its own. Essentially these majors highlight one's analytical, deep thinking abilities needed for law school.
    edited February 6
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  • ordinarylivesordinarylives 3184 replies43 threads Senior Member
    AKA "Be an Engineer or Die Broke"
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  • albertsaxalbertsax 298 replies5 threads Member
    @Publisher But if those majors generally lead to high-paying attorney positions, then that should be considered as well.
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  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers 3359 replies77 threads Senior Member
    It's important to add the data from Burning Glass. That organization's research seems to show that there's underemployment in engineering and computer science too. If you're not very skilled at those careers or do those careers because you were forced into them, then it's hard to be a top earner. You could very well be underemployed for life.
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  • juilletjuillet 12690 replies161 threads Super Moderator
    Majoring in Classics or majoring in American Studies should not have been included on this list as both are heralded for preparing one for a higher degree, such as a JD, and not in providing for a lucrative career on its own.

    But the article isn't about the 25 best college majors for a lucrative career without going to graduate/professional school.

    Also, the article only briefly mentions attending professional school in either. From the description of classics:
    Liberal arts studies, in general, get a bad rap when it comes to career utility. Classics is one major that proves that old trope wrong. Sure, the study of ancient Greek and Roman culture might not seem exactly applicable in the modern job market, but the level of critical thinking and research skills required to do it is highly marketable in a wide range of industries. For example, former classics majors from Georgetown University have gone on to careers in publishing, government, museums, finance and education, to name just a few fields, according to the school's career education center. Many also continue their schooling and pursue graduate degrees in a variety of subjects, including ancient history and classical archaeology, as well as law and medicine, for which they tend to have high admissions rates.

    The American studies one was similar - it mentioned law school as a potential path but spent most of the space discussing with the critical thinking and research skills prepare one well for a range of careers.

    The problem with most of these lists is that they use job postings explicitly asking about/for specific majors as a metric for how valuable a major is or how likely a person with that major is to get a job, which is absurd. For example, in the worst list, it recommends that religious studies majors instead pursue philosophy, since there are only tens of thousands of jobs that ask for a major in religion whereas over 2 million that as for philosophy. I can guarantee you that the majority of jobs that ask for a philosophy major also say something like "or related fields," and that a religion major with the same skill set can compete for the same jobs as a philosophy major.

    They also make the assumption that students with majors in certain fields are only seeking jobs that are directly related - e.g., assuming that a theater major is trying to strike out in acting.

    However, I will say that their "what works instead" advice is way better than I tend to see in these articles!
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