Engineering Tops List of College Majors with Biggest Lifetime Earning Potential

by The Burns and McDonnell Careers Team on October 23, 2014

engineering careersIf you’re having a hard time deciding what to study in college, a new report from The Hamilton Project might help sway your decision. The report, called “Major Decisions: What Graduates Earn Over Their Lifetimes,” tracks data from the Census Bureau to determine which college majors have the biggest lifetime earning potential — and it’s no surprise that engineering comes out on top.

Although earning potential can vary greatly depending on major, the study found that across the board, a college education is worth the investment. Let’s take a look at the full chart of majors studied, ranked by median lifetime earnings:

Engineering Tops List of College Majors with Biggest Lifetime Earning Potential


For all 80 majors studied, the median earnings for bachelor’s degree graduates came out ahead of earnings for those with only a high school diploma. And majors that emphasize quantitative skills — like engineering and other STEM-related fields — tend to see the highest lifetime earnings.

Engineering Some Serious ROI

Compared to their classmates graduating with other degrees, students with STEM diplomas continuously earn higher wages and see the greatest financial return on their educational investment.

A study by the New York Federal Reserve found that — on average — engineering graduates saw a return of more than 21%, with the next highest disciplines being math and computers at an 18 percent return. And the stats keep piling up.

On average, 65 percent of students with a bachelor’s degree in engineering fields will earn more than those who have master’s degrees in other subjects. And during their lifetime, engineering graduates will make more money than any other college major, earning on average more than $2 million.

Safeguarding a Successful Future

But there are bigger lures to engineering than just impressive paychecks.

Engineering has consistently ranked among the most in-demand degrees and offers promising job prospects. The U.S. currently has approximately 1.6 million engineering jobs, and engineering jobs have grown 7% in the past four years.

Of course, students should ask many more questions when deciding on a major, like what they enjoy and where their talents lie, but potential earnings are often among the most important considerations.

It’s encouraging to see reports like these confirming the value of an engineering degree. The positive news about potential earnings will only generate even more excitement and bring new talent to the industry. And anything that generates positive buzz about engineering is OK in our book.

Is a career in engineering something that interests you? Whether you’re considering an internship or on the search for a career, hop on over to our careers website to explore our opportunities. We’d also love to connect with you on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook to help you stay up-to-date with career-related tips, resources and more.


Society of Women Engineers Writes the Book on Being Female in the Industry

by The Burns and McDonnell Careers Team on October 21, 2014

Be That Engineer Inspirationa and Insight from Accomplished Women EngineersWe love seeing women in engineering shining as role models for other female engineers, especially when it builds a supportive and empowering community for their fellow women. So when we heard about the Society of Women Engineers (SWE)’s latest e-book on being a female in the engineering industry, we couldn’t wait to check it out for ourselves!

“Be That Engineer: Inspiration and Insight from Accomplished Women Engineers” is the newest e-book from SWE. It features a compilation of stories from SWE’s Corporate Partnership Council (CPC) — a group of 30 female leaders from diverse backgrounds who have worked in various engineering fields and who are regular advocates for increasing gender diversity in engineering. Who better to inspire women in engineering and technology than those who have been there, done that?

In “Be That Engineer,” these accomplished women engineers share their personal stories, shining light on the everyday realities and challenges of being a modern woman working in the engineering world. The free e-book covers topics ranging from parental programs to financial planning and includes interactive exercises to help other female engineers apply these lessons in their own lives.

SWE’s executive director and CEO Karen Horting says the organization worked with some of the most fascinating, hard-working  and experienced engineers to develop this book, and she hopes that all female engineers — no matter where they are in the careers — will benefit from their insight as much as she did.

SWE has been the driving force behind establishing engineering as a highly desirable career aspiration for women for the past 60 years. “Be That Engineer” is the latest in its series of e-books designed to empower women to succeed.

If you’re a woman in engineering or thinking about a career in engineering, you need to check it out. It’s available for free download, and it’s a quick read full of inspirational stories and invaluable advice. After you’ve had a chance to read it, stop back by and let us know what you thought.

What advice would you impart to female engineers or young girls aspiring to help change the world?


Photo Credit: Engineering In Style


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