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Bachelor's Degrees: The More You Learn, The More You Earn

Bachelor's Degrees: The More You Learn, The More You Earn

Bachelor's degrees are becoming increasingly important to landing good jobs that pay well. But how do you learn about what college majors go with what jobs? What are the jobs for people with an English degree, a background in computer science or those who

By Kristina Cowan | PayScale Contributing Writer

June 25, 2009

Growing up, Saretta Holler always knew she wanted to write. She explored her options as college drew near, thinking she’d go into journalism. But after realizing she could pursue writing in public relations and make more money, she opted to study PR at San Diego State University and graduated in 1999.

Holler’s story begs the question: What’s the value of a subject-specific bachelor’s degree?

That depends on the subject, experts say. In Holler’s case, the PR degree paid off. She said it helped her get her current job as the marketing communications manager at Kettley, a financial technology firm, and the CEO told her as much. Other degrees, such as those in computer science or computer engineering, also equip students with specialized skill sets and lead to specific jobs and salary ranges, according to experts. earn my degree

For example, the median salary for someone with a computer science degree and less than one year of experience is $49,756, PayScale salary information shows. Individuals with computer science degrees who work as senior software engineers report a median salary of $87,534, while those serving as computer programmers earn $48,740.

What about jobs for people with an English degree?

Liberal arts degrees in disciplines like English or economics don’t necessarily lead to the same types of careers. Dr. Katharine S. Brooks, director of Liberal Arts Career Services at The University of Texas at Austin, offered the example of two recent UT grads who majored in English. One went to work at AmeriCorps, earning a $10,000 salary, while another pulled in $52,000 at a job in marketing.

“They’re not career-specific majors like electrical engineers. If they major in that then they’re electrical engineers, and you get a basic range of salaries in that field. But in English, it’s non-specific, and their opportunities are so wide-open. It depends what they want to go into, so their salary will very much correlate with the field or the job title,” Brooks said.

According to PayScale salary information, a UT-Austin graduate with up to one year of experience can expect to earn an average salary of $42,500 a year.

The More You Learn, The More You Earn

A bachelor’s degree is a good idea no matter what the major, experts say, because earnings tend to rise as education levels increase.