Interactive Monday: Career Outcomes by College Major

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Feb 23, 2020
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Career, Interactive, Employment, Paying for College
  • What are the employment prospects for the major that I am interested in? 
  • How much can I expect to earn right after college based on my major?
  • What earnings can I expect in the middle of my career?
  • Will I need a graduate degree in the field I'm interested in? 

These are just a few of the questions that students might ponder as they consider their college major. This interactive from the NY Fed provides this data and more on 70+ majors. Here's a sampling of the information provided (click to go to the interactive which I sorted based on unemployment rate). 

Wondering what underemployment is? Here's a definition: Underemployment occurs when a person does not work full time or takes a job that does not reflect their actual training and financial needs

Questions: 

  • What five majors have the lowest unemployment rate? The highest unemployment rates?
  • What five majors had the lowest underemployment rate? highest underemployment rate? 
  • What five majors have the highest median wages early career? mid-career? 
    • Is there overlap between the two lists? Do those majors with high early career wages also show up towards top of the list for mid-career? 
  • What majors have the highest share with graduate degrees? lowest share? 

Now pick three majors that you are interested in and create a chart to compare them across these dimensions:

  • Unemployment rate?
  • Underemployment rate?
  • Early career and mid-career wages? 
  • Share with graduate degree? 

Now analyze the chart you have created and answer these questions:

  • What other factors not listed here are important for you as you consider your college major?
  • Which of the three majors that you selected looks most favorable based on the factors in your chart? Use data from the chart as evidence. 

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Here's another recent interactive that garnered lots of pageviews when it was posted: Visualizing Salaries for Hundreds of Occupations

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Lots more fun interactives in the NGPF Interactive Library here

 

 

 

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.