Prospective college students might be well advised to enroll in engineering—it's an interesting, challenging subject, and graduates can expect high starting salaries.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the class of 2013, across all job categories, will receive average starting salaries of $44,928, up 5.3% from 2012. Although engineering salaries rose only 4% over the past year, the average starting salary of $62,535 keeps engineering at the top of the list. Other broad categories surveyed by NACE include computer science ($59,997), business ($54,234), health science ($49,713), communications ($43,145), math and science ($42,724), education ($40,480), and humanities and social sciences ($37,058).
NACE reports that among the engineering disciplines, petroleum engineering majors scored the top starting salaries—at $93,500. And the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry offers the highest starting salaries across job categories: $84,182, although the industry is expected to absorb only 1,100 class-of-2013 graduates. In contrast, manufacturing will absorb 94,700 graduates at an average of $55,084, while finance and insurance will hire 100,200 graduates at an average of $52,875.
You can read an executive summary of NACE's report, or purchase the full report, here.
In any event, as Matthew Yglesias at Slate puts it, if you're going to college “…because you heard that college is the ticket to a good job, you should study engineering.”