July 22, 2008
Earnings for bachelor’s degree recipients who graduated in 1993 doubled between 1994 and 2003; on average, for all majors, real earnings (in 2003 dollars) increased from $30,800 1 year after graduation to $60,600 10 years after graduation. Earnings, however, varied by major.
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), among those who were working full time at one job 1 year after graduation, students who majored in healthcare-related studies and engineering had the highest earnings, averaging $40,500 and $38,900, respectively, in 1994. Workers in these two major fields were still among the highest annual earners in 2003, averaging $65,000 and $74,900, respectively.
By 2003, computer science and business and management majors also had average earnings above $65,000, and most other bachelor’s degree groups had average earnings above $50,000. The only exception was education majors, who averaged $43,800 that year.
Social and behavioral sciences majors had the biggest percent increase in earnings, from $26,500 1 year after graduation to $62,300 10 years after—an increase of 135 percent. This increase likely reflects the large number of people in these fields who returned to school and got advanced degrees.
To learn more, see "The class of 1993: Earnings and occupations by college major, 1 and 10 years after graduation," by Elka Marie Torpey, in the Summer 2008 edition of the Occupational Outlook Quarterly. Note that the chart shows 9 broad categories of majors and does not include a category for the remainder that are not shown.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Earnings of bachelor’s degree recipients 10 years after graduation at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2008/jul/wk3/art02.htm (visited November 28, 2021).