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.

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