Charting The Degrees That Really Pay Off

By Katherine Long
The Seattle Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A dashboard published by Washington state’s Education Research & Data Center reveals which college degrees translate into big bucks and not so big bucks.


A year after graduating from college, a student with a community-college degree in a health profession earns nearly double what someone with a bachelor’s degree in English does.

It also really pays to get a master’s in business or education, but not so much in mathematics or statistics.

And those who complete apprenticeships in mechanic and repair technologies make as much as computer-science majors, at least at the start of their careers.

Those are some of the interesting tidbits in a newly revamped public-information dashboard that shows students and colleges how much various fields pay.

The dashboard is published by Washington state’s Education Research & Data Center (ERDC), an arm of the Office of Financial Management.

The data have some limitations, they only include graduates who went to Washington public colleges and universities and remained in Washington state to work, said Jeffrey Thayne, the ERDC’s data communications coordinator, and Andrew Weller, its data-visualization analyst.

So it doesn’t include graduates who came from outside Washington and landed a job here, or people who went to an in-state private college or university. It also does not include federal-government employees, or the self-employed.

The fields of study are grouped into broad categories, for example, “business, management, marketing and related support services”, so it’s not possible to break out a specific major, such as accounting, and see how salaries compare.

The data show the statewide median earnings for graduates every year after they earned their diplomas, for seven years. That helps capture how quickly, or how slowly, wages grow for certain categories of jobs.

And clicking on the “browse by major and industry” tab shows how selected industries employ people from a variety of different fields, for example, the aerospace industry hires people who majored in liberal arts and sciences, social sciences and journalism and communications. “There’s not only one way to go down a career path,” Thayne said.

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *