Did you know that if you have an associate’s degree you will earn $7,332 more per year, on average, than someone with only a high school diploma (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey, 2010 data, http://www.bls.gov/cps/)? If you go on and get a bachelor’s degree, you will earn a whopping $21,424 more per year than your neighbor with only a high school diploma.
So does your college major matter, or would any bachelor’s degree earn you upwards of $50,000 per year? According to one survey, your salary can vary widely, depending on your choice of college major (see the 2011-2012 Payscale College Salary Report, http://www.payscale.com/best-colleges/degrees.asp). Eighteen of the top 20 entries on the list are for majors in engineering, science, or mathematics. With a degree in chemical engineering you could start at $64,500 per year. In contrast, a degree in elementary education will start you at $32,400 per year.
Thinking of majoring in business? You would start at $41,000 per year. You might do better to major in economics ($47,300 per year), finance ($46,500 per year), or accounting ($44,700 per year).