A major is not minor: How what you study affects what you earn

Don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys or counselors — if you want them to eat and pay their bills.

A new study on how a person’s college major impacts earnings found that an undergraduate degree in counseling psychology offers the least financial return.

Using never-before-available U.S. Census data linking earnings to college majors, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce was able to show what the market values — and it isn’t the helping professions.

“The people who make the most money are the most productive, although not the most socially productive,” said center director Anthony P. Carnevale. “People who help people make the least money.”

The study, “What’s it Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors,” examines earnings of full-time workers. The Census information enabled researchers to look beyond the earnings of recent undergraduate degree recipients to an individual’s full life cycle.

“We found a [yearly] range from a high earnings capacity of $120,000 in petroleum engineering to a low in earnings of $29,000 in counseling psychology,” said Carnevale.

“That is a difference of more than 300 percent. Over a lifetime, we are talking about almost $5 million in earnings for the petroleum engineer to something that looks like $2 million for the people who become counselors and who don’t go on to graduate school,” he said.

In good news for Georgia Tech students, Carnevale said, “The engineering degree will be dominant at every level. You will beat out even people with graduate degrees in education.”

Overall, the study reinforces the benefits of a college degree. Across their lifetimes, full-time, full-year workers with a bachelor’s degree will earn 84 percent more money than counterparts with high school diplomas.

While rising college enrollments suggest Americans now understand the value of a degree, they may not realize the economic consequences of choosing an academic major.

(I can’t be too hard on my oldest son for majoring in philosophy. According to the study, a philosophy major has about the same earning potential today as journalism. Which means that neither of us ought to develop expensive tastes since the median income for both is $50,000. )

The study revealed a few majors for which there seem to be no danger of unemployment. They are geological and geophysical engineering, military technologies, pharmacology and student counseling.

On the other end, the majors with the highest unemployment rates are social psychology, nuclear engineering, and educational administration and supervision. (Interesting to wonder what has made nuclear engineering degree susceptible to this recession.)

The highest-earning majors are engineering, math and science. Business economics and health majors also fare well.

The bottom earners are counseling psychology, early childhood education, theology and religious vocations, human services and community organization, social work, drama and theater arts — occupations dominated by women.

In general, women earn less than men, but are making inroads in certain majors.

“Women have found a route to higher earnings through health care, math and statistics that wasn’t there 20 years ago,” said Carnevale.

One reason that women with STEM degrees still earn less than men is because they are more likely to end up teaching.

“Women don’t get as much bang for their major as men do,” said Carnevale. “Men tend to translate math into engineering or computer sciences. While women have done better and better at school, they have less luck translating school into higher-paying jobs.”

But the study pointed to some inexplicable gaps in the earnings of women and minorities.

In their highest-paid major, electrical engineering, African-Americans still earn $22,000 less than whites and $12,000 less than Asians.

Even after scrubbing out differences that might account for salary gaps, Carnevale said there was “unexplained residual.”

The Georgetown study comes at the heels of a Pew Research Center survey in which 48 percent of Americans said they graduated college with so much debt that they struggle now to pay other bills.
While Carnevale said he doesn’t want undergraduates to use the earnings charts to necessarily choose their college major, “They at least ought to know.”

He also suspects the information will lead to public policy questions, including “Should we pay for people taking courses that don’t get them jobs?” and “Should we pay for courses that when people go out in labor market they don’t make enough money to pay back their loans?”

“If you go to Georgetown and want to take philosophy and you can’t get a job, that is your business because Georgetown is a private institution,” said Carnevale.
“But if you are going to a public institution, then it is another matter because you are using public money,” he said.

The priority of the public sector is making people employable, he said. “Bottom line is that in the American system, we don’t make you vote. We do make you work. If you don’t work, you have to get a pretty good excuse to get money out of the rest of us.”

But what about the arts? Would we produce a Shakespeare or a Rev. Martin Luther King if we allotted education to students by earning power?

“People with the ability to pay will get learning for its own sake that will allow them to participate in our cultural and political systems,” he said. “People who don’t have money in their pocket are going to get training.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

35 comments Add your comment

Tony

May 29th, 2011
4:10 pm

Life is not measured by income/money alone. In fact, there are many of us who simply choose to do things we enjoy doing. Fortunately for me, I make a decent living at it. Did my degree make a difference? Absolutely.

atlmom

May 29th, 2011
4:35 pm

This is not surprising in any way. Seriously? How much taxpayer money was spent on this study? was this a surprise to ANYONE?? At all?
There are different reasons for educations. Ideally – higher education leads to people with better understanding of our world. And it’s not just to ‘get a job.’ Of course, if one is spending a lot of money on higher education, one would want to be able to ‘capitalize’ on that and be able to earn a living. Unless one does not have to worry about paying the bills.

Reality

May 29th, 2011
4:39 pm

@atlmom – Yes. I am certain this has come as a shock to many in Georgia. How often do I hear that UGA degrees are ‘as good as’ GA Tech degrees? They are not and this study proves it by major.

atlmom

May 29th, 2011
4:47 pm

@Reality: it might depend. I mean, in the 80s, the average salary for geography majors at UNC Chapel Hill was something on order of $2 million. Michael Jordan had a degree in Geography. Ah, outliers…
It partially depends on one’s major, but partially depends on who one is. Most definitely, some people are going to excel no matter what their major is…

Dekalb Oldtimer

May 29th, 2011
6:30 pm

Well, these studies go on and on….just too many variables for me to have a lot of faith in them! AND there is a Bell Curve in all of those degrees. It’s all Las Vegas Odds!!!!
Looking at reality rather than numbers….AtlMom has the most realistic approach …In today’s America, if one has superior athletic talent = lots of money ! Check out the millionairs/billionaires in America today…WHere did they matriculate???? let’s all run and get their kind of degree at their college….
And don’t forget, it’s not WHAT YOU KNOW BUT WHO YOU KNOW that most often gets you in the door in the door and on the path.

OH…AND, MAUREEN,

RE: “People who help people make the least money.” America is the epitome of CAPITALISM!!!!!. The “helping people ” thing just doesn’t make it here. OMG>..we are always having “LET’S RAISE MONEY MARATHONS” …..but vote for “health care for all ‘???? THe attitude is “do it yourself “

AP teacher

May 29th, 2011
6:38 pm

I always give my 12th grade students two pieces of advise when they ask me about college.
1) If you are going to have to borrow a lot of money to go to school, spend your first two years at a community college and live at home. Do not start life after college with enough college debt to buy a home.
2) Major in a something that is marketable. Save the philosophies and women’s studies for minors. However, Dont let money be the deciding factor in what you major in. If you dont enjoy what you do, no amount of money is going to make you happy

My love of teaching and children has made it possible for me to tolerate and remain in an increasingly dysfunctional education system. When I have had a bad day, those letters from students remind me about why I teach.

David Sims

May 29th, 2011
6:54 pm

“In their highest-paid major, electrical engineering, African-Americans still earn $22,000 less than whites and $12,000 less than Asians.”

Competition does not end with university graduation. Not only are graduates unequal at the moment they finish school, they follow their professional learning curves at different paces, and they reach different heights. And the SAME racial gaps you can see in school test scores continue, or metamorphose, into racial gaps in professional expertise. The best of the blacks might be far ahead of the average black, but they remain far behind the best of the whites. And that’s why they are paid less.

Burroughston Broch

May 29th, 2011
7:51 pm

@AP teacher

Well said and so true! I would add one more for students who may be headed for postgraduate degrees. Get your baccalaureate degree in-state and save your money for your postgraduate degree(s).

Burroughston Broch

May 29th, 2011
7:58 pm

@ Reality

Many of the top HS graduates have already decided that a Tech degree is more valuable than an UGA degree. Looking at the honor graduates in North DeKalb and North Fulton, the Tech/UGA ratio is about 3/1.

WG

May 29th, 2011
9:27 pm

It’s important to point out that grad school is hardly a ticket to higher salaries anymore. In fact, the opposite is more likely. Grad school removes you from the work force at the very time when you should be starting a career. While those in the workforce move up the ladder, those in grad school are not only missing out on job experience, but they are often going into debt rather than earning money.

Here are 100 reasons NOT to go to grad school:
http://100rsns.blogspot.com/

The fact is that you will probably never catch up with the earnings that you forgo as a grad student.

CobbParent

May 29th, 2011
10:15 pm

“The fact is that you will probably never catch up with the earnings that you forgo as a grad student.”

I spent 3 years in grad school in the mid-90s getting my law degree. I borrowed $30k to go to school. Fresh off my Business undergrad, let’s assume I could have made $45k in each of those years. Since graduating with my JD 15 years ago I have made roughly $2.5million. Of course, I know many lawyers for whom your words ring true – they went into debt, spent 3 years in school, and still don’t make much more than a middle manager. Your mileage may vary.

Tom

May 29th, 2011
10:54 pm

TopSchool

May 29th, 2011
11:35 pm

What you study affects what you earn???
Please …these politicians and bankers have SOLD OUT to CORRUPTION.
and those young students graduating will either follow in their footsteps to falsify statistics and documents or they will not have a job.

Studying has nothing to do with earnings…its all in producing what the boss wants…even if it is borderline illegal.

Study ethics…honesty, integrity…these are not words that spell success for young students graduating when those in positions of authority are clawing the backs of everyone around them and kicking those that will not fall in line with their corrupt leadership down the ladder of their FAKE SUCCESS.

Graduates with any integrity learn very quickly that education and studying have nothing to do with earnings. Lying, cheating and stealing make higher earnings in today’s society.

Ask Beverly Hall…and the APS administrative staff…and the Buckhead Business community how it works.

http://www.TopPublicSchoolCorruptionAtlanta.com

TopSchool

May 29th, 2011
11:44 pm

Leadership in Atlanta’s Top School Public School…Truth?…Honesty?…Integrity?

This is what they’ve taught our new generation guided by most of the leadership.
Bend the truth to the edge of illegal and lie.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQKSkWsCvlY

Reality

May 30th, 2011
12:59 am

@TopSchool – You must also realize that this type of corruption may be found in most every single corporation across American, right? I’m not excusing APS or B. Hall at all.

As someone with first hand knowledge and experience, I can name Coca-Cola USA and Genuine Parts Company here in Atlanta as Fortune 500 with massive corruption all the way to top!

TeachAManToFish

May 30th, 2011
6:24 am

It’s amazing how people can take this article and twist it around to support some other political agenda that has nothing to do with the original article.

Truth

May 30th, 2011
9:02 am

@David Sims

Funny – I am African American and I have never once been asked to provide my ACT or GRE scores when I interviewed for a job….I guess they have some subliminal way to pull my tests scores from my mind and set my salary accordingly….tricky interviewers I need to start wearing my “protective” hat so they can stop reading my mind :-)

Remarkable

May 30th, 2011
9:15 am

What about medical professions? My son may go on to medical school. How does that translate into being able to pay off his debt and make a living?

mikeSilver

May 30th, 2011
9:27 am

I earned a Geophysical Engineering degree from Colorado School of Mines in the early 80’s. Looking back and listening to others including GaTech engineers, the education I got their is head and shoulders above any other school. BAR NONE!

I’d like to make a couple of comments that might help a college senior …

1) Engineering pay is high after graduation because employers know that you have handled difficult tasks under great time pressure. You will have to bust your chops to get through, the first 2 years are hell. If you are a whiner don’t start. You will be miserable. If you can see what it is… training to handle stress, time pressure, prioritization, AND FOCUS, you can do it. Put your head down and do it!

2) Engineering majors matter. There are no jobs for Nuclear and Industrial engineers. Don’t waste your time with those majors, go to Emory and get party/psychology degree.. When I graduated with a Geophysics degree, oil prices had plunged and oil companies were downsizing. All those big Petroleum and Geology paychecks evaporate very quickly with low energy and mineral prices. Your engineering degree is valuable in growing industries. Be careful when choosing a major and if the business trends change, change your degree in year 3 to maximize your chances for a job.

3) Take the EIT in your Senior year. It’ll be easier. Get your PE, even if its in just one state. Being able to tell another engineer that you have a license, gives you credibility and help you bond with others engineers.

It should be no mystery why minorities are less financially successful in engineering. Engineering schools have to graduate a certain number of minorities and women. To do that, they lower the standards for those students and give students additional chances not available to white students. Minorities undergo less of a trial by fire than majority students. They don’t develop the same professional survival skills as majority students do. Survival skills (see #1 above) are why companies hire engineers and why engineers can handle any task, even outside their training.

yuzeyurbrane

May 30th, 2011
9:46 am

A thoughtful article. But I want to comment on an education article that, to my knowledge, has not yet appeared on the AJC Website even though it was deemed worthy of front page main article treatment in the AJC paper edition yesterday. Namely, the brewing scandal over the $50 million a year Georgia tax credit scam for private schools. Why has it not even been mentioned in AJC Online? Especially since I may be the last person in Georgia who occasionally reads the paper edition. Here is an education program that steers tax money to private schools with essentially no public accountability for the use of the funds or measurement of the educational results. And its funding was actually increased this year by the legislature with the support of the Governor at the same time that public education funding suffered draconian slashes because of the “economic crisis” facing state govt. Over the last few years, public education funding has been slashed about 25%, teachers have been furloughed, the school year has been shortened, other school personnel have been out-right laid off, maintenance budgets have been slashed, etc. Shared sacrifice? HA! But, of course, the poorer performance of public education after it has been gutted proves that we should increase voucher type programs like the tax credit scam.

atlmom

May 30th, 2011
10:41 am

re: grad school and not being worth it. When I graduated college, there were no jobs to be had (like today). So, any job I might have applied for, even entry level, there were plenty of people with lots of experience who were willing to take them. So, well, I got a job for a few months, but they had clearly hired too many people and didn’t have enough work.
So I went on to wait tables. With other college grads. Was hardly enough to be able to live at home with minimal rent.
Went to grad school, graduated with $6k in debt, paid off within a year, and I am not doing so badly (took off twice for mommy hood and I’m still getting phone calls).
Yes, think hard about grad school (I got assistance while there, not unusual in the STEM degrees) – because sometimes it doesn’t pay. But sometimes it does.

atlmom

May 30th, 2011
10:44 am

back many years ago when my sisters and I were attending college, my parents didn’t care what we majored in because it didn’t matter – we were getting degrees. Times they are achanging (of course, my sister graduated during a big boom time so no one cared that she had a psych degree).

Been There

May 30th, 2011
2:59 pm

I find myself torn by the last comment in the article. The rich will be educated, and they will have the privilege of studying that will be denied to others. I worry about a world divided between the educated and the trained, though this is largely the world we already have. Stanley Fish in a recent NYT article bemoaned the fact that it is almost impossible now for a poor boy, like he was, to dream about an academic career and become a Milton scholar.

I do not at all agree about the supposed uselessness of liberal arts degrees in the workplace, unless you mean a doctorate. For more than a decade, I was armed only with a graduate degree in literature, and I made good money, often grand money. Businesspeople may not like the attitudes or interests of English majors, but being able to think critically, to analyze large amounts of material efficiently, and most of all to write are skills sorely lacking in most corporations. I was surprised at how much money these skills brought me. However, work in business left me cold, and I could not spend my life in such pursuits.

I decided to become a high school teacher. I knew the value of the skills I would be teaching. I understood that those who could read, write, and think would always have an edge. But high school became the source of much of my ambivalence about education. Although I could share some success stories about students, the vast majority simply did not want or desire to be educated. This never ceased to amaze me, as for most kids education is their only real chance. The fact that they did not want to learn to think for themselves always distressed me. But the majority of students, and quite often their parents, delight in defeating teachers and refusing the education they could have for the asking. So what if they never read a Shakespeare play? Who cares if they never heard of Milton? Why should they be forced to write when they will never master subject-verb-object?

I returned to the university and earned a doctorate, hoping for something better than high school teaching. Universities have become part of the problem now. While there are many new and shining facilities designed to attract students, the teaching faculty are mostly part-timers without any job security, not even benefits or sick pay. In my field, there has not been a tenure-track position available for three years, and only one the year before that. I may have been stupid for taking on such a fool’s errand, but this field is my passion. I have published articles, presented at conferences, and served on committees, all for free: done everything I was supposed to do. Just for fun, one day I did some research about a university I applied to and discovered that I had better credentials than the members of the search committee had when they were awarded tenure years ago. In the end, I was forced to return to high school teaching because the university educated me for something that no one wants or needs. I try to do no harm, but I am long past the desire to change young lives.

It took me a long time to realize that professors need graduate students to keep their portfolios fat and universities need cheap labor to teach all the unqualified students they admit year after year. Meanwhile, a new crop of doctoral students will enter this fall, knowing that they are different than those of us who came before. They are smart and talented, and they will succeed where we have failed utterly. Professors will urge them forward, with more than a hint of enlightened self-interest. If you are smart enough for the life of the mind, nothing else will ever do. In the end, most will collect a large pile of rejection letters when they apply for that coveted tenure-track position they so deeply desire, just like we did.

Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC

May 30th, 2011
3:38 pm

Sadly, this is true. As a professional counselor for men and couples in Phoenix, I can attest that without a graduate degree in counseling psychology or better, the chances to earn more than meager pay for bachelor’s level graduates are low. If you strive to get into private practice (really one of the only ways to make money in this field), entrepreneurial therapists can gross well over $100K, and that’s at a Master’s level. There’s no reason otherwise, and they get the benefit of intrinsic pay, e.g. helping others. I know plenty of people in other vocations, including engineering, that find their lives without direction and meaning, and choose something like counseling as a vocation in later life. Good pay is important, yes, but balancing that with finding work you love and that aligns with your talents and values is something priceless. Check out my blog at http://www.phoenixmenscounseling.com for more writings on happiness and work, especially geared towards men.

TopSchool

May 30th, 2011
9:19 pm

@ Reality

The average person needs to stand up and say ENOUGH…No matter how much education you produce for society…if the issue is that you have to sell your soul to the corrupt leaders to find success our society is doomed to fall completely apart.

The evidence of the damage to the US economy is clearly showing up in every facet of business and the house of education.

As I’ve posted in the past…you cannot fix this problem without first removing the leadership that has made every excuse for their dishonest and unethical behavior.

We are fools to think … our current children have a chance in a society that does not hold its leadership accountable for illegal and unethical behaviors. These children with what ever degree they hold will not reach the levels of success without selling their souls to the corrupt minds that are currently in positions of authority.

Making excuses and justifying the actions of other corrupt businesses does nothing to STOP the madness.

The students are watching…and many ( not ALL ) will fall in line with the established unethical norms. Their minds brainwashed into thinking …well everyone lies cheats and steals.

An internal drug that does not require taking a pill to over dose.

http://www.TopPublicSchoolCorruptionAtlanta.com

TopSchool

May 30th, 2011
9:30 pm

A major is not minor: How what you study affects what you earn…

AND MOST OF OUR CHILDREN ARE STUDYING THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS…

Headline news…Lie cheat and steal until you get caught …make every excuse you can create for your unethical behavior…blame everything and everyone else…and have no shame for your actions.

I think the average student is studying all of this…and sees clearly what to do to obtain our current society’s idea of SUCCESS.

The Boomer Parents will soon see the results of their unethical actions…if something somewhere does not bring the human race to its knees to humble those on this path.

Progressive Humanist

May 30th, 2011
11:15 pm

Been There-

Your post freaked me out because it’s as if you wrote out my bio:

BA in literature
made decent money in business for a few years but was left unfulfilled
got a master’s in education and became a high school teacher
taught lit and comp with an emphasis on comp for 7 years
went back to grad school and earned a PhD in educational psychology from a national research university
been published, presented research at national and international conferences, won awards, worked in state and national assessment

But now as I apply for college teaching jobs I can barely get an interview with the types of low level schools I never would have considered attending, schools I advise my high school students to avoid unless they absolutely have no other choice- U of West GA, Kennesaw St, Clayton St., etc. And when I look at the vitas of the professors on the hiring committees at a lot of these schools, they’re notably unimpressive- doctorates from po-dunk schools, EdDs, weak research…

I can make a decent living, about 70k, between teaching high school and a couple adjunct college courses on the side, but it’s not what I was envisioning. Public school kids and their parents don’t care about education, and they don’t know what they’re going to be in for when they’re 30 years old and barely have an 8th grade education, which is what most high school graduates end up with today. So it’s frustrating having to battle that on that end. And there isn’t much of a demand for professors to teach at a level where the students do care about learning. Everyone is going the way of the diploma mills now, so even the people with graduate degrees often don’t have legitimate credentials and lack very basic knowledge in their field.

Not all jobs are outsourced because the labor is cheaper elsewhere; a great many of them are outsourced now because native-born Americans don’t know the information- in technology, medicine, engineering, the sciences. And it’s bitter irony that many foreign born workers have as good or better grasp of American Standard English than do many Americans. It is distressing to witness the current state in education in America, particularly when that’s what you’ve put so much of your life into improving.

Been There

May 31st, 2011
3:09 am

@Progressive Humanist

Thanks for your reply. The only disagreement I have is that I think West Georgia has an outstanding psychology program. Otherwise, you are spot on.

I’ve noted the profusion of useless Ed.D.s from online diploma mills, though I hadn’t thought much about how they cheapen the value of real degrees, like yours (even mine). I’m working with a woman who just completed one, and her “dissertation” (I use the term lightly) was 80 pages, including literature review. She spent upwards of $50K earning this online marvel, which means payments of $700 a month for as far as she can see. How is that a good idea?

I graduated with a young lady who had taken out a total of $140K in loans for her Ph.D. in literature. How does something like that happen?

Perhaps the only smart thing I did was not to take any loans. I ended up owing $1723 on a credit card.

I also agree that it smarts, painfully, to be turned down flat from a college I would never have considered attending.

So is the world. So are we.

As an anecdote, I recently met a prof of Ed Psych at a real third-level college. He had never worked a day in a school in his life, but has “consulted” extensively (or is that expensively?). He had no idea what it is like to work as a teacher, but he knows exactly what we should do and how we should do it. After all, he is prof and we are nothing but lowly teachers. I hate working in public schools, but it’s a paycheck.

Neil Murray

May 31st, 2011
10:57 am

Maureen, your article raises important questions about “higher” education. Probably we should move to a less costly two-track system: vocational education (and I include here accountants as well as welders) for those who simply want a good job and liberal arts and sciences education (notice that the two are linked) for the prospective or silver-spoon elite. At the same time, we need to disabuse ourselves of the notion that you can’t learn anything unless you take a course in it (my fellow academics love that job-security notion). I learned computer programming, and got a job in the field, without much formal training; compilers will identify errors, and if you just keep trying, you will get it right eventually.

I don’t mean to be unkind, but your statement about Shakespeare is silly. The man had no higher education at all. There are still fields–creative writing, jazz, folk and even journalism–where extended formal education is not necessary for success. Herman Melville, whose “Moby Dick” is arguably the greatest American novel, did not attend college: “a whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard,” he wrote.

Ole Guy

May 31st, 2011
1:05 pm

Once again, this calls for a departure from the so-called “soft courses” (unfortunately, this includes 99.9% of education courses). You want to study philosophy, psyc, and other “breezy” stuff…fine, just have a target profession prior to embarking on the college classroom. Regardless the target, you can never go wrong with an engineering background. Of course, this calls for hs courses in “advanced arithmetic”…you know, like the stuff I read about with all the pissing moaning and groaning over the “hard arithmetic 1, 2, and 3. You kids want a degree that means something, stop your incessant complaining, like your stupid spoiled parents know only so well, dig your heels in and take the challenge. DO IT NOW, WHILE YOU”RE IN HS. otherwise, your soft degrees will qualify you for nothing more challenging than “You want fries with that”?

no mas

May 31st, 2011
4:08 pm

Gave the article to my about-to-be-college-senior, who is majoring in psych. Told her this is why I am pushing going into a Montessori training program after she finishes. Hope she takes the hint. (Montessori means she can find employment – albeit not top-paying – and she doesn’t have to work in the public schools. It is to be hoped that Montessori students actually want to be there…)

When I graduated, long long ago, there was a recession and no jobs to be had. I had a BA in Religion from a big-name Ivy League college, but could not find a job. What my degree DID get me, though, was an interview for a computer training program for a large company, and the logic and reasoning skills I had from my degree saw me through the program and into a career. The degree was worth zilch in and of itself, but the thinking skills were invaluable.

Progressive Humanist

May 31st, 2011
5:46 pm

Ole Guy & No Mas,

I hear where you’re coming from, but I wish people wouldn’t lump psychology in with philosophy as “breezy” subjects. Psychology is a science and is closely related to biology. Neuropsychologists are doing very important work mapping out how the physiological structures of the brain relate to cognition and behavior. And you have to have thorough knowledge of statistics and experimental research, so much so that psychologists are often the ones teaching stat and research courses at universities.

It is true that an undergraduate degree in psychology does not qualify you for any particular job, but those with graduate degrees in the field work in a wide variety of settings- hospitals, clinics, private practice, schools, universities, the military, etc. And the median income for a psychologist with a graduate degree, when all fields of psychology are considered, is over 80k per year, which is not bad in this economy.

But I would not advise my daughter or my students to study psychology in undergrad unless they were 100% certain they intended to go on to pursue a graduate degree to give them the qualifications to turn it into an occupation.

Wes

May 31st, 2011
7:24 pm

@Ole Guy

Seeing as how you don’t know the meaning of arithmetic and write like a special-needs teenager speaks, you’re hardly qualified to judge the merits of an engineering background or “soft courses.”

Ole Guy

June 1st, 2011
10:33 am

Progressive, my sincere appologies…these courses of study do indeed require study and application. My intent is to define the dividing line betwee hard topics which yield to definite objectives. A graduate with a degree in any engineering discipline is, more than likely, oriented toward one of many many engineering fields. While that degree in, say, philosophy, psyc, or any of a number of similar courses of study, may have a definite place in the employment world, it would certainly be a wise precaution for the college student, prior to embarking on such study, to research the field. In all probability, the graduate in an engineering discipline would be able to secure “meaningful” employment at a much earlier stage in the initial quest for that first job.

Wes…GTH!

[...] Related to our discussion the other day over whether public dollars should fund degrees that don’t lead to jobs: The U.S. Department of Education will now impose a “gainful employment” rule, which will ban for-profit schools from federal financial aid if a sizable number of their graduates can’t find jobs that that enable them to repay their student loans. [...]