College Graduates Turn to the Future

Thousands of college students have received their degrees for the 2005-06 terms during May and the cycle is expected continue through early June.

Recent graduates come from all walks of life and in areas from all corners of the United States. They come from tiny liberal arts institutions like Carnegie Mellon University in the Pittsburgh area, and they don their gowns from huge schools like Arizona State, Ohio State and the University of Michigan.

After following a schedule since early childhood, finally, it it is time for the nation’s brightest minds to step out into the world. They’ll traditionally get married and have children. We hope that all of the time and money spent during their collegiate years will be fruitful for them – worth the wait – no regrets.

The National Association of Colleges & Employers has listed the most lucrative degrees for recent graduates. The NACE survey polled 83 private and state colleges nationwide.

The findings are as follows:

1. Chemical engineering, $55,900
2. Electrical engineering, $52,899
3. Mechanical engineering, $50,672
4. Computer science, $50.046
5. Accounting, $45,723
6. Economics/Finance, $45,191
7. Civil engineering, $44,999
8. Business administration, $38,850
9. Marketing, $36,260
10. Liberal arts majors, $30,828

One of the most interesting facts drawn from the survey is that accounting and economics experienced the most significant growth of 11 percent from the previous year.

But, in general, things have not changed too much since the poll was taken more than two years ago:

1. Computer engineering, $53,117
2. Chemical engineering, $52,563
3. Electrical engineering, $49,926
4. Mechanical engineering, $49,088
5. Computer science, $48,656
6. Industrial/Manual engineering, $48,283
7. Information sciences, $42,108
8. Accounting, $42,045
9. Construction science, $42,232
10. Mgnt info systems/Biz data processing, $41,103

In the most recent poll, the top three degrees/careers are the in the engineering field. And the data shows wages that tend to reflect fair cost-of-living changes. For example, the average electrical engineer (second in the recent poll) will earn $52,899 starting out in the market. Just more than two years ago, rated third in the poll, electrical engineers were expected to earn $49,926.

While engineering dominates the upper crest, it seems that, largely, business and computers had a significant presence beyond.

Accounting majors scored the fifth position in the 2006 poll as opposed to eighth in February 2004. True to the trends in engineering, accounting majors expect to see an increase in the amount of money they will earn starting out ($45,723 vs. $42,045).

Computer science moved up one slot from fifth to fourth for a modest increase from $50,046 to $48,646.

It is difficult to watch service industry workers like cashiers and fast food employees raising their famlies with minimum wage earnings. But it is encouraging to see people who had the financial resources and/or the intellect to go to college and enjoy the prospect of a prosperous life.

One can only hope that the 2006 graduates find acceptable employment in a timely fashion and, as summer 2006 moves on into the next generation, life will continue to be a satisfying experience.

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