Choice of major and later career can have a substantial impact on how much one gets out of their degree. The return of investment is a key aspect to consider when making future higher education plans. Students that major in the STEM field have the highest return on investment. STEM majors include science, technology, engineering and math. In comparison, students who study fields such as education, arts, and psychology earn barely half the total lifetime earnings of STEM majors. The lifetime earnings of college graduates are wide-spread. “According to Census calculations, the lifetime earnings of an education or arts major working in the service sector are actually lower than the average lifetime earnings of a highschool graduate.” (326) This shows that field of study in college makes a huge difference in the return on investment. Education is important and does make a difference in overall earnings. Anthony Carnevale and his colleagues at the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce conclude that “14 percent of people with high school diploma make at least as much as those with a bachelor’s degree, and 17 percent of people with a bachelor’s degree make more than those with a professional degree.” (327) Choice of future profession should be taken into account while looking at this data. I do think that education is key to an overall successful future. Depending on which field of study one wants to pursue it is crucial to consider the earnings of that profession in comparison to the cost of degree. These factors will make a difference in the return of investment on a degree.
As seen on this graph, engineering is the highest paid major. Also notice that education and art majors are below the earnings of an associate degree. An associate degree could be only two years of education. This may be a more cost-effective choice for some students.