10 Highest-Paid Majors for Recent College Graduates

Last Updated on April 16, 2013

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In keeping with recent years, the highest-paid majors for 2012 grads included plenty of engineering fields. This trend is expected to continue, as the job market is faced with both an increased demand for and a lack of qualified graduates.

1. Computer Engineering

With a staggering starting average salary of just over $70,000, computer engineering is the top-paying current field for 2012 grads. This field encompasses all aspects of computer hardware and software development. In recent, the use of computers has virtually exploded to include everything from corporate super-computers to digitally-controlled refrigerators. It's easy to see the vast room for growth and expansion in this field.

2.Chemical Engineering

This field of engineering combines science with math and economics to create and modify chemicals. With an average starting salary of $66,000, this field is a great choice for any scientifically-minded student.

3. Computer Science

Averaging a starting salary of $64,000, computer science is a popular yet highly in-demand career choice. This discipline encompasses the theory and implementation of computing in all its varied forms.

4. Aerospace Engineering

This field, offering an average starting salary of $64,000, is concerned with the science, construction and design of different types of aircraft. There are two main disciplines within the field. Aeronautical engineering focuses on aircraft which operate within the earth's atmosphere (planes, helicopters), while aerospace engineering is focused on aircraft designed to leave the atmosphere and explore space.

5. Mechanical Engineering

One of the oldest engineering disciplines, this career field averages a starting salary of just under $63,000. With several sub-fields including fluid dynamics and thermodynamics, this career offers a very broad range of opportunities for any student interested in advanced mechanical operations.

6. Electronics and Communications Engineering

Another extremely broad field, these combined majors average a $62,000 starting salary. Electronics engineering focuses on electronics in both the commercial and consumer sectors. Communications engineering joins electronics engineering with computer sciences to enhance and expand all areas of human communication.

7. Civil Engineering

With a very long history and a huge number of sub-divisions, civil engineering offers an average starting salary of $57,000. Encompassed fields include the design and construction of buildings, bridges, roadways, infrastructure components and urban engineering. There are opportunities in every sector, from hands-on to corporate and government positions. Students interested in focusing on engineering while remaining more ‘hands on' typically excel in civil engineering.

8. Finance

An obvious choice for the money-minded student, finance careers are typically broken into three sectors: public, corporate and personal. On average, these fields offer a $57,000 starting salary.

9.Construction Science and Management

The majority of students are surprised to learn that this field boasts an average starting salary of $56,000. This field is focused on both the details and broad-scope aspects of large and small construction projects.

10. Information Sciences and Systems

Offering a starting salary which averages $56,000, information sciences and systems is a discipline with a very broad range of employment opportunities. It is focused on, in varying ways, the interpretation, collection and implementation of information and the systems which aid this process.

Source: January 2013 Salary Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers

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