Which Professions Have the Highest Starting Salaries?

Recent graduates who have completed studies in specialized areas of engineering or computer science generally are offered some of the highest starting salaries. Read on to learn more.

Professions with the Highest Starting Salaries

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' (NACE) January 2015 survey, the highest starting salaries are typically found in the engineering and computer science industries (naceweb.org). The top majors and their professions, along with salary info, are listed below.

Important Facts About These Professions

Engineering Computer Science
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 4% growth 11% growth
Key Skills Analytical, math, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills Ingenuity, logical thinking, communication, and analytical skills
Licensure The Professional Engineering license is available for most engineering professions (though it's not required for entry-level positions). Typically required to teach computer science courses
Similar Occupations Computer Network Architect, Geoscientist, Engineering Technician, Drafter Computer Programmer, Database Administrator, Software Developer

Engineering Professions

Generally, salaries are high for these professions due to the specialized skills and training that it takes to perform these jobs. A bachelor's degree is usually a prerequisite for employment in industries involving engineering. In 2014, the BLS reported the following median salaries for engineering professions:

  • Petroleum engineer - $130,050
  • Computer hardware engineer - $108,430
  • Chemical engineer - $96,940
  • Aerospace engineer - $105,380
  • Mechanical engineer - $83,060

Computer Science Professions

Because society has become so dependent on computers, graduates with specialized computer skills and knowledge are in a position to garner decent starting salaries. According to PayScale.com, as of September 2015, graduates with a bachelor's degree in computer science and less than a year of experience earned a gross median salary of $56,738, while those with 1-4, 5-9 and 10-19 years of experience earned $62,517, $80,818 and $99,843, respectively.

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