Resources Linking College Degrees to Career Earnings

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Oct 02, 2014
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Career, Paying for College, Research, Personal Finance, Lesson Idea

Based on activity, my recent post on The Value of a College Education (By Major), generated quite a bit of interest.  Easy to figure out why students and their families might be more interested in how much value their degree will be worth:  the rising student debt levels needed to cover the rising cost of higher education.  In the past two days, I have come across two additional interactive resources that your students might be interested in:

  •   The 2014-15 PayScale College Salary Report ranks 2 and 4-year colleges based on the early and mid-career earnings of the college’s alumni.  The sample size used in their report totaled 1.4 million with 325 being the average sample alumni size for the colleges included in the report.  What did I find interesting in their report:
    • Four profiles of professionals with crazy career paths to show students there are multiple paths to a dream job.
    • List of top five majors by compensation level had four engineering majors and one math.  Four of the bottom five majors focus on child development (education, child and family studies, early childhood education and child development).  How is that for investing in our future?
    • Three small private liberal arts schools appeared in the top 10:  Harvey Mudd (also strong engineering program), Colgate University and Washington and Lee.

“The new ranking system tracks the success of college graduates in eight broad career paths, adding weight for jobs deemed “desirable.” It lists the top 25 institutions in each career category…The categories of jobs it used are accounting professionals, designers, finance professionals, investment bankers, marketers, media professionals, software developers, and software developers at startups.“We define a desirable job to be a job at a desirable company for the relevant profession,” LinkedIn said in a written statement…Defining a desirable employer comes first. The rankings assign points for both attracting and retaining talent. For example, an investment bank looks better if it lures LinkedIn users away from another bank.”

This is obviously a much more limited ranking than PayScale’s but given LinkedIn’s reach I expect that this is only the beginning of their efforts to break into this market of helping students figure out which colleges and universities create value through the success of their alumni. Stay tuned….

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.

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