College Degree/Career Winners...kinda

According to a GURconnect article, Yahoo! recently reported on which college degrees have the best and worst payoffs for 2010-2011 graduates. So, they developed a list of "winning and losing degrees" based on salary data, job security, and employment projections.

As a career counselor, this list makes my skin crawl as monetary rewards are just one component of choosing a career and major. College students must also evaluate how their personality, interests, work values, gifts/skills and passions relate to the world of work! Choosing a career that only meets two values (a.k.a. high salary and job security) leads to an almost guaranteed miserable work life.

Regardless...The list is below:

College Degree Winners
Winner #1 – Bachelor’s Degree in Finance (Starting Salary: $47,500)
Winner #2 – Bachelor’s Degree in Business (Starting Salary: $41,100)
Winner #3 – Associate’s Degree in Medical Assisting (Starting Salary: $19,379-$30,849)
Winner #4 – Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology (Starting Salary: $49,600)
Winner #5 – Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Starting Salary: $52,700)

College Degree Losers
Loser #1 – Social Work (Starting Salary: $31,800)
Loser #2 – Horticulture (Starting Salary: $35,000)
Loser #3 – Art (Starting Salary: $33,500)
Loser #4 – Athletic Training (Starting Salary: $32,800)
Loser #5 – Music (Starting Salary: $36,700)

I couldn't end the blog with just this list. So, I did some other searching. According to a CNBC article, that expanded their "top job list" qualifications from salary to also include physical demands and stress level, here are the top 10 jobs in America:

1. Actuary (Median Salary: $82,800)
2. Software Engineer (Median Salary: $79,780)
3. Computer Systems Analyst ($69,760)
4. Biologist (Median salary: $76,320)
5. Historian (Median annual salary: $48,520)
6. Mathematician (Median salary: About $100,000)
7. Paralegal Assistant (Median salary: $46,120)
8. Statistician (Median Salary: $65,720)
9. Accountant (Median salary: $54,630)
10. Dental Hygienist (Median salary (dental assistants): $32,380)

And should you be so inclined to rank salary lower on your work value list and place pursuing a career that allows you to actively make a difference in the world higher, review this somewhat dated (2007) “top five” list from

1. Activist ($20,000 to mid-$30,000)
2. Inventor (about $53,000)
3. Ethics Officer ($40,000 to $90,000)
4. Congressional Aide ($20,000 to $30,000)
5. Mediator ($60,480)

"Many more careers will give you the opportunity to make a difference. As Martin Luther King said, 'Make a career of humanity... and you will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.'"

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