Here's what starting and mid-career salaries look like for these majors, according to salary data from PayScale:
• Physics—median starting pay: $49,800; median mid-career pay: $101,000
• Economics—median starting pay: $47,300; median mid-career pay: $94,700
• Statistics—median starting pay: $49,000; median mid-career pay: $93,800
Majoring in a STEM subject—science, technology, engineering, and math—is not for everyone. Students working toward degrees in the humanities and social sciences can still get a strong return on their investments.
"Whether it be sociology, or political science, or anthropology ... anything that helps you understand people's behaviors and trends in behaviors, I think those would be good majors for people who aren't as analytically focused," Bardaro says.
While the salaries for these majors are lower than those for economics or engineering degrees, students can still earn strong salaries and have the versatility to work across multiple industries. Here's what starting and median salaries look like for students graduating with certain bachelor's degrees in the social sciences:
• Government—median starting pay: $41,400; median mid-career pay: $87,300
• Political science—median starting pay: $39,900; median mid-career pay: $80,100
• International relations—median starting pay: $40,500; median mid-career pay: $79,400
• Advertising—median starting pay: $37,700; median mid-career pay: $74,700
Students with the elusive combination of communications and technical skills are also in high demand, Porter, with CEW, says.
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"Research what skills are most valuable in the labor market … and depending on those 'hot skills' you can also obtain a certificate that will provide you skills that will set you apart," Porter adds.
Relevant certifications, concentration areas, and minors can all add value to your degree. Choosing schools wisely can also help students get the best return on their investments, says PayScale's Bardaro.
"If you're in one of the STEM majors ... you can justify going to a more expensive school because they pay better and there's more job opportunities," she says, noting that attending a top-tier school such as Stanford University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can add more value to certain degrees. "If you have more interest in art or humanities ... then you should probably think about going to a cheaper school."
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