Unexpectedly Intriguing!
May 31, 2005

After looking at what the difference an education may make in one's lifetime earning potential, the next question I had was "How much is a college degree worth today?" The best way to answer the question is to see what the starting salaries being offered to recent graduates are and fortunately, William Polley recently linked to a CNN/Money article that looks at what pay the members of the Class of 2005 are pulling in on average across the U.S.

The tables below are taken from data compiled by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). The first table includes the average starting salaries for a variety of degrees:

Average Starting Salaries for 2005 Graduates by Degree
Degree Salary ($USD)
Chemical Engineering 54,246
Electrical Engineering 52,009
Computer Engineering 51,496
Computer Science 51,292
Mechanical Engineering 51,046
Aerospace Engineering 50,701
Industrial Engineering 49,541
Accounting 43,809
Information Sciences 43,732
Civil Engineering 43,462
Economics/Finance 42,802
Business Administration 39,448
Marketing 37,832
Liberal Arts 30,337

The next table presents the average starting salaries for the positions that employers are most frequently seeking to fill this year.

Average Starting Salaries for Employers' Most Offered Positions
Occupation Salary ($USD)
Accounting (Private) 44,564
Management Trainee 35,811
Teaching 29,733
Consulting 49,781
Sales 37,130
Accounting (Public) 41,039
Financial/Treasury Analysis 45,596
Software Design/Development 53,729
Design/Construction Engineering 47,058
Registered Nurse 38,775

The numbers presented in the tables above are preliminary numbers for the most recent NACE survey. Final numbers for the Class of 2005 will be available in September 2005.

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