What's the most valuable college degree on the US job market?

·2-min read
The unemployment rate for architectural engineering graduates is 1.3% and the median income is $90,000.

According to a recent study, having a architectural engineering degree provides the easiest transition for new grads entering the job market, and the median income for holders is $90,000 a year.

What's the surest path to a stable job and high income in the United States? According to consumer financial services firm Bankrate and its ranking of the best college degrees , architectural engineering is the best option.

A niche specialization, the architectural engineering degree provides a deeper understanding of building construction. "It merges the structural foundations part of civil engineering with mechanical and electrical engineering, specifically the parts that relate to building," says Rich Miller, head of the department of civil and architectural engineering and construction management at the University of Cincinnati's School of Engineering, in a release.

Based on the salaries of graduates and the ease of getting hired out of college, the study looked at 159 college majors from the American Community Survey (a nationwide demographic study of 2 million Americans) and identified three factors to determine the rankings: median income, unemployment rate and percentage of people with advanced degrees.

Very few architectural engineering graduates reported being unemployed (1.3%), while the median income for these graduates was $90,000 per year. In second place in the ranking are graduates of the construction services major, then in third place, computer engineering. Computer engineering grads reported a higher median income than the first two ($101,000), but the unemployment rate among them was also higher (2.3%).

More generally, the study reveals that STEM majors and particularly engineering degrees are the most valuable on the market. Among the top 20 degrees in the ranking, 14 are engineering degrees. Conversely, arts graduates have a less comfortable financial situation, as well as a higher unemployment rate. Nearly 3.6% of visual and performing arts graduates are unemployed.

Louis Bolla

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