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Latest Most Lucrative Degree Report

Back in April, CNN reported the year over year jumps in salaries [3] for certain degree holders, declaring marketing majors the clear winner from a year over year perspective. The overall winners of the best paid degree list were still chemical engineers, over $5,000 a year past the 2nd place winner electrical engineers. So, CNN, a scant three months later, has yet another report out [4] and yet again chemical engineers own the top spot. The report is based on a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), which did the survey the last time around.

So what can we learn from this list? It pays to be an engineer! The top six degrees are engineering degrees (you can argue computer science doesn’t have the word engineer in it but it’s engineering) and every single classic engineering discipline is represented. Chemical ranks as top dog with a salary of $59,361 and sixth place Civil clocks in with a very respectable $48,509 a year salary. Each saw increases that outpaced inflation, which is a great sign.

The balance of the list has a healthy mix of fine or liberal arts and business/economics related degrees… so everyone is feeling the prosperity. It’s just that engineers are feeling more of it. One interesting statistic I’d like to see coupled with this increase is the number of actual hires in these fields, that would give the numbers some context. The survey did glean that competition was up but that doesn’t explain whether demand was up or supply was up or perhaps both and supply merely outpaced demand.