Best-paying college majors are mostly in engineering: NACE

Six engineering majors were among the 10 highest-paid at the bachelor’s-degree level in 2012, according to the January 2013 Salary Survey recently released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

As a group, engineering majors saw a healthy increase of 3.9 percent to their average starting salaries. This is not surprising since the supply of these graduates is low, but the demand for them is high, according to the NACE release.

The January 2013 report provides final salary data for the Class of 2012. Data for the report were retrieved in November 2012.

At an average starting salary of $70,400, computer engineering was the highest-paid major in 2012. Other engineering majors that were among the top 10 were:

•    chemical engineering, ($66,400, second),
•    aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical engineering ($64,000, fourth),
•    mechanical engineering ($62,900, fifth),
•    electrical/electronics and communications engineering ($62,300, sixth), and
•    civil engineering ($57,600, seventh).

Computer science majors earned starting salaries that averaged $64,400, the third highest among bachelor’s-degree graduates in 2012.

Other non-engineering majors whose average starting salaries were among the highest were finance ($57,300, eighth), construction science/management ($56,600, ninth), and information sciences and systems ($56,100, 10th).

NACE said because the data come from a statistically valid sample of employers rather than from voluntary reports by students, the new report is more representative of the college population as a whole. This improved report contains employer-based data (from approximately 400,000 employers) gathered from government and other sources, and the data are actual starting salaries, not offers.

An executive summary of the January 2013 Salary Survey report is available at