CLASS majors salary may plateau less early than their STEM counterparts
With unemployment on the rise, students have been enrolling in universities with a different attitude toward choosing a major.
A study done in 2010 by Anthony P. Carnevale, the director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, showed the median income for those whose highest degree was a high school diploma was about $32,000, while those with a bachelor’s degree made about $55,000.
Studies have also revealed a nationwide trend wherein liberal arts majors experience a steady upwards progression in salary, while the salaries of technical majors start high but plateau early, said David Small, executive director of University Career Services.
This growth in salary for liberal arts majors is comforting to some students, like media production senior Angie Brown, who is graduating in December.
“That’s good to know,” Brown said. “I don’t regret getting this degree because I’m passionate about it, but as I’m out there looking for jobs, I’m thinking I may end up having to go back to school for something more practical — like nursing — where a job is a sure thing.”
The trend also makes sense, said Tyler Brittain, a mechanical engineering sophomore, in an email.
“It makes sense that STEM majors have a higher starting salaries in order to encourage more to (go into) the field of natural sciences,” Brittain said.
“STEM students are less plentiful, so because of the demand they have a higher start. Because of the higher start, the salary can’t go much higher. CLASS students are more plentiful so they have a lower starting salary and to make up for the disparity they have more opportunities for pay increases.”
One of the most useful reasons for obtaining a degree is students can cultivate skills they can use as leverage when applying for employment in a competitive workplace.
“UH graduates do better in starting salary across the board,” Small said.
“Many students take advantage of the opportunities that are presented by being located in an urban environment. At the University of Houston, 74 percent of our students work, compared to the national average of 50 percent. That makes the students more mature when they graduate.”
University Career Services posts over 18,000 jobs and internship opportunities on its website.
According to Jamie Belinne, assistant dean for Career Services at the C.T. Bauer College of Business, there are some common skills employer’s value and look for in college graduates.
“I can say, based on about 50 guest speakers I’ve had, that they all agree the best indicators of long-term success are communication skills, interpersonal skills and work ethic,” Belinne said.
“If you are a self-motivated, hard-working person who can communicate well and influence others in a positive way, you will be successful regardless of your major.”