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Report Lists the Highest- and Lowest-Paying College Majors

CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey 31 replies273 threadsEditor Editor
A new report from Zippia outlines the highest- and lowest-paying college majors: https://www.collegeconfidential.com/articles/highest-lowest-paying-college-majors/
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Replies to: Report Lists the Highest- and Lowest-Paying College Majors

  • GregmacdGregmacd 111 replies13 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited June 7
    I worked as an intern at an Oil Refinery, and learned that engineers there made about 20% more than other engineers in the area at the time. The salary stated by Zippia for petroleum engineering is much higher than what I found in my experience and other surveys, such as the one I posted below.

    Also, the work environment is rather rough. You wear a nomex fire proof suit most of the time, because fires are a real risk. What can be more dangerous than boiling gasoline? Also, a lot of chemicals, strong odors, loud noises, etc. Anyhow, it's not for everyone.

    Bottomline: Don't go into petroleum engineering to make a lot of money. You'll make slightly more, but the work environment might not be worth it.

    https://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report/majors-that-pay-you-back/bachelors
    edited June 7
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  • firmament2xfirmament2x 277 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks for both your inputs @hopedaisy and @Gregmacd . . .

    Gregmacd, are you differentiating the engineers between those in the oil industry and those outside of it by saying "in the area at the time"? Payscale in its listings in your link isn't differentiating between regional COL adjustments to pay. If, say, most of the refineries are in Texas and Oklahoma -- I would have no clue if this were true -- then their salaries adjusted to the relatively low COL of those two states would rise considerably higher factoring in regionality.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78229 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 7
    Perhaps there is a pay premium for petroleum engineers who are willing to work in frozen places, blazing deserts, politically unstable countries with active violent rebel groups, politically and socially oppressive countries, and offshore oil rigs.

    Of course, job prospects tend to be closely associated with unpredictable oil prices.
    edited June 7
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  • GreymeerGreymeer 783 replies11 threadsRegistered User Member
    ^ I think it is time for that major to go extinct!

    Why?
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  • comptechmomcomptechmom 124 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited June 9
    @gregmacd and @hopedaisy My D pretty much said the same for petroleum engineering. It still had a very large graduating class at UT Austin this year but it's funny how all the engineering majors understand the volatility of that particular field. Her ChemE graduating class had many going into gas and oil in all parts of the state or out of state. Very high paying salaries for living in small towns. Salaries were ranging from $65k-$120k depending on company and locations. As she told me she would get paid quite a bit working with a hard hat on versus working on an oil rig vs working in a professional office or working outside of oil and gas. Salaries were all over the place.
    edited June 9
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1430 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    “We say we care about education yet we pay minimal wages to our teachers.”

    On the flip side, both BIL/SIL are high school teachers in Long Island and live pretty well, they get great benefits, took online courses to get their masters degree and consequently more pay, will get a very good retirement package, and almost 3 months off each and every summer with no worries.
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  • apost12apost12 184 replies28 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited June 10
    America doesn't care about education. Or educators. Or children. Is it news that teachers aren't paid well?

    Generally speaking, jobs that are more useful to society get less respect and compensation. Doctors are perhaps one notable exception, but teachers, garbage collectors, and social workers don't usually make more than investment bankers, corporate lawyers, or petroleum engineers.
    edited June 10
    Post edited by Erin's Dad on
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  • Rivet2000Rivet2000 1080 replies2 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Or perhaps supply and demand is a factor?
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  • hebegebehebegebe 2672 replies38 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 10
    Generally speaking, jobs that are more useful to society get less respect and compensation.
    More accurately the jobs that have a surplus of people willing to take the job and can perform it sufficiently well, relative to the number of jobs available, result in less compensation. Many people can qualify to become garbage collectors, social workers, or teachers. Far fewer can qualify to become a doctor, corporate lawyer, or petroleum engineer.

    Of course, most people know this already, but just don't want to accept it.
    edited June 10
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  • writingpumpkin03writingpumpkin03 157 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    What can someone do with a geosciences degree? Just curious, haven't settled on a major yet.
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  • juilletjuillet 12658 replies161 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    We only looked at workers between the ages of 29 and 31, who were employed the whole year and worked at least 35 hours/week.

    I mean, at least they used the American Community Survey - which is a representative sample - but why on earth did they only look at workers between 29 and 31? How many petroleum engineers are in a random sample of Americans ages 29 to 31? They say that they chose the lower bound to give young people more time after college to find jobs, which makes sense. But why place the upper bound at 31?

    They also did not report whether they looked only at workers with a bachelor's degree, or whether they looked at all workers with a BA in those fields regardless of their terminal degree.

    Also, some of these majors are low (and, in a few cases, high) because of low base rates. For example, social psychology is not an undergraduate major that is offered very often (usually, it is just psychology). Neither is botany, United States history, or library science. And on the other end, naval architecture and marine engineering is a major offered at only a handful of colleges. One of them is Michigan; two of them are service academies. Petroleum engineering and mining and mineral engineering are also not commonly offered majors.

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  • firmament2xfirmament2x 277 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I had been looking for this thread but didn't note its pathway.

    Re, my #3, besides it being worded strangely, I just wanted to add: And the compensation nationally would reflect a considerably higher salary because of its inclusion of all areas, low and high COL areas; additionally, its salary ostensibly includes hazard pay.
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  • rickle1rickle1 1935 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    As a spouse of an educator, a son of an educator, a son-in-law of an educator and a friend to many educators, I would agree that teachers (K-12) have a tough job and should be paid more....BUT, and this is important and NEEDS to be factored in the whole pay / treatment conversation:

    1. Their benefits are outstanding. The pension is something most non educators will never have and it is worth a lot! With people living longer, a 30 yr employee can retire with a full pension in mid 50s and receive compensation for another 30+ yrs, in many cases longer than they actually worked. Based on highest three yr earnings. Pretty strong.

    2. Tenure - essentially a life long job protection program (not arguing it's benefits or challenges, just stating that it exists). Very hard to get rid of a teacher. They get moved around from school to school but don't lose their jobs unless there are major legal infractions.

    So at an early age ( in their 20s), a k-12 teacher can essentially have a guaranteed job for life and receive a lifetime pension upon retirement. Pretty good if gunning for high income during your working life isn't a priority. It's about security. Most people who go in to teaching do it for the kids and want that security.

    An aside - I'm a financial advisor and have worked with many teachers, law enforcement, etc. Getting to retirement may have seemed rough, but once they're there, it's pretty good. When you compare someone who receives a guaranteed annual 50k pension to a private sector 401k recipient, the pension looks pretty good. Think about it. a $1Mil 401k would have to earn 5% interest every yr, guaranteed to spit out 50k income. Of course that would not bite into the principal but the pensions have survivorship options, so still pretty strong. You live 30 yrs and that pension just paid out $1.5M guaranteed, way more than you actually earned.

    Have several clients with both spouses receiving these benefits. 6 figure guaranteed retirement (with social security - works differently depending on their job). It's a better deal than most people think.

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  • evergreen5evergreen5 1490 replies31 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @writingpumpkin03 Try this https://www.americangeosciences.org/workforce/geoscience-careers-brochure One career path I'm aware of: environmental engineering firms employ geologists.
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  • TrendaLeighTrendaLeigh 80 replies19 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Where do applied math and econ majors actually work and in what fields? I'm sure I should know this, but I don't really have a clear understanding of the career paths for either major.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 21113 replies219 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    "Where do applied math and econ majors actually work and in what fields?"

    In the financial services/investment field, for one.
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  • bluebayoubluebayou 26751 replies174 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Or perhaps supply and demand is a factor?

    That (supply) is the ONLY factor to the lower wages in these job classes.
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  • rickle1rickle1 1935 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Many econ majors in consulting and banking.
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