Engineers Beat Business Majors for Lifetime Earnings

The average American with an undergraduate business degree will earn $2.6 million over a lifetime, about $200,000 more than the average for all people with a bachelor’s degree.

The payoff is even better for engineers, who the U.S. Census Bureau reported today had the highest average lifetime earnings for college-educated graduates. They can expect to earn $3.5 million during a 40-year career.

Computer or mathematics undergraduates reported earning $3.1 million during that time, the Census Bureau said in its report based on 2011 American Community Survey data.

The average lifetime earnings for business majors was tied with the $2.6 million figure for people holding undergraduate degrees in unspecified science-related fields and people who majored in physical sciences.

Education was the least lucrative of college undergraduate degrees. The average teacher earns $1.8 million during his or her career.

Psychology and arts majors earned an average of $2 million. Liberal arts and literature undergraduate degree holders said they averaged $2.1 million. Biological sciences majors and communications-degree holders were tied at $2.3 million. Social science majors reported lifetime earnings of $2.5 million.

To contact the reporter on this story: Frank Bass in New York at fbass1@bloomberg.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Flynn McRoberts in Chicago at fmcroberts1@bloomberg.net; Mark McQuillan in Washington at 202- mmcquillan@bloomberg.net.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.