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Engineering degrees lead to the greatest financial security: report

A personal finance website recently released a ranking of the most valuable college majors, with engineering degrees dominating the top of the list.

If employment coupled with maximum financial success is a student’s ultimate goal in obtaining a college degree, Bankrate’s list indicates that he should get a degree in engineering, especially nuclear or marine engineering.

The top 10 spots of the list, judged by employment rate and salary, are dominated by engineering specialties. Pharmaceutical science, genetics, and materials science also enjoy top status.

While ranked third on the list due to their slightly higher unemployment rate, pharmaceutical science majors enjoy the greatest financial success, with a median annual income of $100,000. The top spot overall belongs to naval architecture and marine engineering, which has a median income of $90,000 per year but enjoys more than half a percentage point’s advantage in employment over pharmaceutical science.

Art degrees head up the bottom of the list, with drama and theater majors seeing an unemployment rate as high as five percent and a median income around $35,000 per year.

From the report:

Engineering degrees claimed seven of the top 10 spots in Bankrate’s study. Naval architecture and marine engineering floated to No. 1 based on salaries that grads were typically able to earn and ease of landing a job.

The overall median income for those trained to build, design and maintain ships and marine vessels was $90,000, the data show. And less than 2 percent of degree holders were unemployed.

Nuclear engineering came in as second-most valuable followed by pharmaceutical sciences and administration, genetics and electrical engineering. These majors had unemployment rates ranging from 1.2 percent to 2.7 percent and median incomes of at least $85,000.

For comparison, the median income for all those with a bachelor’s degree was $55,000 and the unemployment rate was 2.8 percent, according to the data Bankrate analyzed.

Read the full report from Bankrate here.

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