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15 bachelor's degree majors with starting pay of $50,000-plus

Susan Ricker, CareerBuilder Writer

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Four-year college graduates will earn $1 million more in their lifetime than those with a high-school diploma*, but some college graduates will get a head start on reaching that six-figure advantage. The National Association of Colleges and Employers released the starting salaries by academic major for bachelor's degree graduates.

The list below includes the 15 top-paying majors with average starting pay of more than $50,000 a year. The list also notes the change in pay from 2011 to 2012. All starting pay levels listed increased by at least 2 percent, an encouraging sign that the job market is improving for college grads.

1. Computer engineering**
Average starting pay in 2012: $70,400
Average starting pay in 2011: $67,800
Percent change: 3.8

2. Chemical engineering
Average starting pay in 2012: $66,400
Average starting pay in 2011: $64,100
Percent change: 3.6

3. Computer science
Average starting pay in 2012: $64,400
Average starting pay in 2011: $62,100
Percent change: 3.7

4. Aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical engineering
Average starting pay in 2012: $64,000
Average starting pay in 2011: $59,100
Percent change: 3.6

5. Mechanical engineering
Average starting pay in 2012: $62,900
Average starting pay in 2011: $60,500
Percent change: 4.0

6. Electrical/electronics and communications engineering
Average starting pay in 2012: $62,300
Average starting pay in 2011: $60,000
Percent change: 3.8

7. Civil engineering
Average starting pay in 2012: $57,700
Average starting pay in 2011: $56,200
Percent change: 2.5

8. Finance
Average starting pay in 2012: $57,300
Average starting pay in 2011: $54,800
Percent change: 4.6

9. Construction science/management
Average starting pay in 2012: $56,600
Average starting pay in 2011: $55,000
Percent change: 2.9

10. Information sciences and systems
Average starting pay in 2012: $56,100
Average starting pay in 2011: $54,000
Percent change: 3.9

11. Economics (business/managerial)
Average starting pay in 2012: $55,800
Average starting pay in 2011: $53,500
Percent change: 4.3

12. Business administration/management
Average starting pay in 2012: $55,200
Average starting pay in 2011: $53,000
Percent change: 4.2

13. Accounting
Average starting pay in 2012: $52,900
Average starting pay in 2011: $50,800
Percent change: 4.1

14. Nursing
Average starting pay in 2012: $52,200
Average starting pay in 2011: $50,300
Percent change: 3.8

15. Marketing/marketing management (including marketing research)
Average starting pay in 2012: $51,000
Average starting pay in 2011: $48,700
Percent change: 4.7

* According to the National Association of College and University Business Officers (as of October 2012)

** Information from the NACE January 2013 Salary Survey

Susan Ricker is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.



Last Updated: 26/02/2013 - 12:56 PM


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