The College Degrees With The Highest Starting Salaries

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A new salary survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shows that engineering majors dominate the list of college degrees that pay the highest salaries to new college graduates. Of the ten majors with the highest starting salaries, six are in some branch of engineering, including computer engineering, in the no. 1 slot at $70,400, chemical engineering, no. 2 at $66,400 and aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical engineering, no. 4 at $64,000. The no. 3 highest-paying major is computer science, at $64,400.

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“This is not surprising since the supply of these graduates is low, but the demand for them is so high,” said Marilyn Mackes, NACE’s executive director, in a statement.

A Bethlehem, Pa. non-profit, NACE links college placement offices with employers. Its employer members tend to be large companies, but for its salary surveys it goes beyond its members and combs through data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau and a master set of data developed by a compensation measurement company called Job Search Intelligence. The data are reported by employers and they represent accepted salaries rather than salary offers. The survey looks at starting salaries for new college grads in more than 90 disciplines.

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In previous salary surveys, NACE has not broken down engineering degrees into such specific categories. But this time it found that each type of engineering degree had its own pay level, and a high demand among employers. The list emphasizes the robust demand for graduates with technical degrees. In fact the only top-paying major that isn’t in some technical category is finance, no. 8, which pays an average starting salary of $57,300.

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All of the majors listed are for bachelor’s degree graduates who finished school in 2012.

Here is NACE’s list of top-paying majors for new college graduates:

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