Major Decisions: What Graduates Earn Over Their Lifetimes

from Brookings

In late 2014, The Hamilton Project released two economic analyses and interactives on the earnings of college graduates by major: one set that showed career earnings profiles and lifetime earnings and another that showed an undergraduate student loan repayment calculator.

Both were—and still are—very popular because they provide useful and actionable information to college students who are trying to make choices that will affect them for years. To remain useful, these data needed a refresh. We have updated the data in both interactives to use earnings from 2014-18, and we have also expanded the number of majors available from 80 to 98. The updated interactives can be accessed on The Hamilton Project website: career earnings profiles and lifetime earnings and undergraduate student loan repayment calculator).

More here.

Posted in Careers, Education and tagged , , , .


  1. a. My takeaway from the article was what it had to say on Economics as a major with a large discrepancy between the top and bottom percentile of earners. The top ten percent took in ten times more than the bottom ten percent. As an Economics major, I appreciate the insight, as well as the statistical analysis. One thing worth mentioning is that I found most majors were around the same income range playing around with the tool. For me, I had a few majors in mind, Economics, Computer Science, and Marketing. All revolving around an interest I have in the digital marketing-Data Science space. While I intend to pursue a master’s in Data Science, I still wanted to look at the Bachelors’s outcomes. Computer Science and Economics are withing a few percent of each other throughout a lifetime where Marketing is an average of %20 lower than either. Philosophy, my dual major, averages around %50 of the income of Econ or Comp sci. This all goes to reassure me that I made the right choice choosing Economics. Worst comes to worst; brute statistics are in my favor. I recently swapped Econ in the business school to Econ in Arts and sciences. According to the tool, there is no big difference in Economics vs. Business Economics except for a late-mid career spike in income for the Business Econ majors. Because Computer Science would take me another year and a half to graduate, I chose Economics, and I am very confident in the choice I made.
    b. Something that I don’t think statistics can prove is what the right major for an induvial is. As mentioned, a lot of the majors are relatively similar in income. So what major to choose is a personal decision that should not include income. Opportunity is abundant, and I firmly believe if you want to make money, you can figure out a way to do it doing what you love. If you happen to love money so much that you happen to love to finance too, then power to you, but I don’t believe in choosing finance to make money telling yourself you’ll retire early and then do what you love. There is no need to wait. I have a friend majoring in finance to go work at his uncle’s firm and pay off his debt then figure something else that he wants to do out. He mentioned he didn’t feel a big need to participate in many clubs or networking events because he already had the finance gig lined up. I had a long conversation with him about putting all your eggs in one basket and ending where he began if she worked a finance job to pay off debt and then figure it all out again. It was productive, and we both learned a lot about one another, and I think there is some value in it for other kids with a similar way of thinking.

  2. I thought that this was one of the more interesting articles I have read for a while. As an accounting and finance major, I am often drawn to data, and I particularly found this data very interesting, regarding the average incomes of different educated groups. I find is the idea of quantifying how much an individual will make to be a very difficult task. Yes, you can just take the average of the income for a given group of people, but it is very difficult to determine when it comes to a real-world situation. There is a multitude of factors that determine whether individuals will be economically successful outside of their education. Despite that, I feel like this article did a great job of taking large amounts of information into account to determine the average amount of specific groups made in their lifetime.

    Many of these graphs unsurprisingly come to the same conclusion, which is that the average of all majors often has higher incomes than those who have associate degrees, some college education or no degree, or a high school diploma or GED. This is no surprise because the point of college is to allow an individual to specialize in a specific skill, potentially increasing their likely earnings. Therefore, the individuals who can specialize in a skill longer have the opportunity to make higher incomes than others on average. However, while these college graduates may earn more money, they often put themselves in great financial debt in order to further their education. The article explains that a college graduate on average may find themselves $27,000 in debt. Even though the individuals that graduated from college may make more than once who have not they still come out of school with much more debt than others. This could make it very hard if they do not find themselves making the average income that college graduates make. The article also takes into consideration that some majors may have more financial risk than others. This means why you may go to college for a four-year degree the job that you get with that four-year degree may not make as much money or be as certain as other jobs.

    Like I mentioned before it’s a very interesting concept to try to quantify the amount an individual may make based off of the group that they are in. This can be done with almost any group but there are many outliers to this information. through my experience, I have found that is much more accurately determine the type of person someone is then the educational background they may have. This becomes especially true when you consider individuals who go to trade schools. While statistically, they should be making less than college-educated workers, this sometimes is not the case. they also do not have to put themselves in large amounts of debt like college students do which gives them a jumpstart in their careers and lives. The study also does not take into consideration the different areas people may live in. if a person makes $60,000 a year in Indiana versus $60,000 a year in New York City, they will have very different qualities of life.

  3. It was very interesting to see all of the graphs and statistical data that was portrayed throughout this article. As an accounting and sports management dual major, leaning more about the statistics and numbers which were portrayed throughout the article was very fascinating. When I was reading through the article, it was not shocking to hear that people make more in the profession if they have a bachelor’s degree as compared to a high school diploma or no degree. While this is true in many cases, you hear of a lot more jobs hiring people who may not have a diploma or a degree who start off as an entry-level worker, who end up working hard and working their way up within the company. While not every company requires one to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, I would say that it does give one a better chance of getting the job as they have more experience in learning the material in which will be present within the profession.

    While reading this article, the topic of loans and paying them back over time was mentioned. Every major and college varies on how much debt a student is put within. For example, if one goes into the medical field, they are going to be in a lot of debt, as you have to go through undergraduate, graduate, medical school, residency, etc. While it is expensive, the pay does help one pay off the debt in which they have accumulated through schooling. On the other hand, there are majors that are cheaper as they only require the 4 years of undergraduate schooling, but they may not pay as much in the salary aspect, that may take a while for one to pay back the debt. Within my major of accounting and Sports Management, the pay can vary. For example, in accounting, you have to choose between if you want to go into public or private accounting. Also, if you want to pursue becoming a CPA, which is extra credentials, which can raise one’s salary. Also, in terms of sports management, it depends on what one goes into if they choose to do sales or event operations for a sports team, or they decide to become an agent and manage players contracts. Every profession ranges in career opportunities and pay wages as well.

    It is interesting to examine through the stats and the graphs how one’s salary and debt is based through their degree and major. Everyone has a different preference within the major and profession in which they want to pursue, and schooling, tuition, and wages all vary based on what one ends up choosing.

  4. This is a really valuable read for anyone who is about to enter college or those currently enrolled. When I was still in high school, I really didn’t know what job I wanted. You always get lots of advice and it comes down to 3 different perspectives. Either do a job you love, a job that makes a lot of money, or if you’re lucky, both. I took up accounting because I thought it was interesting and the pay was supposably good. Based on the Hamilton Project and looking into it, there is some truth to that. It had the salary higher than a lot of other degrees out there, yet still wasn’t amazingly higher than some of the others. It is a rather challenging degree but for the loan cost and the potential pay I would say it is worth it.
    However, I will make one important thing known. Your salary is just a number, and you are worth more than a number. It would be misleading for me to suggest anyone readying this only look at the bottom line. Saying, oh this major makes more, lets pick that one. While I have been able to successfully complete one internship which I enjoyed and was paid extremely well for, as well as accept another offer for the potential of full-time employment, I will not be pursing accounting after graduation. After some careful analysis and seeing other people’s experience, I’m taking a complete 180 degree turn and joining the US Coast Guard. The driving factor was not the pay but the enjoyment. I felt that money will only take a person so far, and being able to enjoy what you do is more valuable.
    So, while I do definitely see the value in this Hamilton Project and how it can help potential students, I wanted to just advise anyone reading to just consider more than the bottom-line. While yes you may make an extra $5,000 picking some careers over others, it is just money. Your satisfaction and work life balance will be more important than the extra upgrade on your car.

  5. The information in this article is more or less what I expected. It is a bit saddening to see that a typical bachelor’s degree graduate only makes around $68,000 a year at the peak of their career, which is listed at around 30 years old. While $68,000 is a large amount of money, it goes a lot further in rural areas, while in an urban setting you will end up being more limited. Despite this, the article did mention that there is a large amount of variation within majors as well. This hopefully means that those who put in more effort can obtain a higher than average salary based on that effort. This article brings me back to another one I responded to where a study found that wages are up to 50% lower than they should be if they were to increase as productivity has increased. In a just world, a college degree would be much more valuable than it currently is. Additionally, the article mentioned how careers oriented around children were much lower paying than careers involving quantitative analysis. This analysis makes sense given how often we hear in news articles and commercials about how undervalued teachers and other education centered professions are. Another aspect the article covered is how easy a given career made it to pay back student loans. Computer science and other number-oriented careers had around 8 percent of their annual earnings taken up by student loans while arts related majors had a 10 percent figure. Again, this makes sense given the higher paying nature of a career like computer science, however we also have to think about how our education system and economy favors these more Science and Math oriented careers and what society this emphasis is going to produce. Perhaps social pressures such as this one contribute to trends in music where songs are becoming lyrically simpler over recent years. As someone who has narrowed their future career aspirations within the business realm, I think I am heading in the right direction. I have many friends from high school who went into things like art and video making and I wish them the best of luck, however it seems as though they may have a much more difficult time finding financial success later in life due to the average wage prospects of those majors.

  6. Many students wrestle with the question of obtaining a higher education. High schoolers wonder if getting a college degree is worth it, just like undergraduate students wonder if obtaining an even higher degree is worth it. While this may not be true for every person in every situation, I believe that a crucial step in obtaining future success is to invest in yourself now. The best investment that I think you can make is in education. Since high school, I knew that I wanted to get at least a bachelor’s degree. I didn’t know, however, the path I would take to obtain that degree. After I graduated from high school, I decided to go to a community college to save money and then transfer to finish my bachelor’s degree. Now, I am at Seton Hall, and I have begun to wonder if I should pursue a graduate degree.

    This article has shown me the benefits of obtaining any degrees. Whether it is with a high school diploma, an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or a graduate degree, your lifetime earnings typically rise when you have a degree. Each degree you obtain increases the earnings further and further. While this is not always the case with every degree, the studies that support this information have reinforced the reasonings that I chose to pursue higher education. Nowadays, it is uncommon for successful individuals to not have obtained a college degree, whether their success was derived from their studies or not. Some occupations require college degrees as a prerequisite to entering the field, so higher earnings are correlated with higher degrees.

    The interactive tools that have been created, such as the loan calculator that compares the percentage of earnings that will be spent to pay off student loan debt, are so useful in giving an understanding of your future ability to pay off your loans with the major you are working towards. This tool should be used by all students who are thinking about investing in the pursuit of another degree if they are on the fence about what major to study. While loan payment calculators are commonly available, I never knew that there was a calculator that could provide me with this level of information projecting into the future. I know that I will use this calculator when I am deciding whether or not I will pursue a graduate degree after finishing my bachelor’s here at Seton Hall.

    I never realized how much variance in pay there is within specific majors. As stated in the Brookings article, Economics majors’ earnings range from the hundreds of thousands to the millions. Although I knew that different majors can make a significant difference in earnings throughout their lifetimes, such as a difference in art majors and engineering majors, but I never would have guessed a huge difference within specific majors. I think that this is a very important aspect to know when pursuing a major. Just because a huge public figure may make millions of dollars in a field that’s related to your major doesn’t mean that if you pursue that same major you are necessarily going to make the same amount of money.

  7. These analyses are very useful and something all prospective college students should consider prior to choosing a major. People should pursue majors covering topics that they find rewarding, but these analyses can serve as a tiebreaker because future financial security is also an important part of the major selection process. It was not surprising to read that median earnings improved for each level of academic experience. Job markets are more competitive than ever, so it makes sense that a college degree is an integral part of landing a job in a lucrative field. Another factor in the analysis that was not surprising was the type of majors that had higher median career earnings. Many people consider quantitative reasoning fields like engineering and science more lucrative than the arts or humanities, and the data from these analyses support that assumption.

    One unfortunate, but critical segment of the analysis was the debt graduates incur by major. The analyses state that even within majors there is a significant discrepancy among the highest and lowest earners, so getting a degree is no guarantee of financial stability. The reports suggest that college graduates can expect to pay up to 12.7 percent of their monthly earnings towards student loan debt. Though this percentage drops over time, it is still an extreme amount for one expense, especially for graduates living on their own and having to support themselves after college. Overall, student loan debt is something that most graduates will have to overcome, but research like these reports can help students make an informed decision about the career path they choose.

  8. From a young age, it is often instilled in children from schools that you must go to and graduate from college in order to be successful in life. The importance of higher education is also stressed from a parents perspective as they want to see their child obtain a high position role for a high paying job. For decades, statistics have proven that the higher the education you receive, the higher your earnings are likely to be. For instance, in the article, the graph labeled “Median Annual Earning Over the Career by Educational Attainment,” displays that an individual with some college education but not degree would earn higher than an individual with just a high school diploma or GED, an individual with an associates degree would earn higher than an individual with some college education but not a degree, etc. Additionally, different majors can have a different range of earnings in comparison to other majors. For example, engineering majors and other related fields that emphasize quantitative reasoning often have a much higher earning potential than communications majors. Furthermore, the job security and stability of a job based on a major can also affect the earnings of an individual. Based on your major, the job you get can be very or only slightly affected by changes in the economy. Thus, there are a lot of factors that can affect the earnings of an individual post-graduation.
    Nonetheless, you can still earn a lot of money without a degree. Entrepreneurs create businesses that can generate hundreds of thousands and even millions in revenue and income. Additionally, small business owners are often very successful and find much more joy in making a living by creating a business based on a passion. Currently, social media has become a very big platform for individuals to earn a very substantial income without the need for a degree or any other form of higher education. Platforms such as Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat, and much more allow individuals to earn income with a simple picture or video. Hence, more and more individuals are using social media and other paths to obtaining the same earning potential as people with a higher education.
    Ultimately, the major concern with earnings is being financially stable and free, which involves a lot more than an education in current times. As the article mentions, many people are concerned with earnings when obtaining a higher education due to debt caused by attending a college or university. Consequently, people generally want to obtain a higher education to receive the highest possible amount of earnings. However, in this day and age, a degree or any other form of higher education is often not enough for the average person to maintain a financially stable and comfortable lifestyle. Many people today have multiple streams of income in order to be successful and financially satisfied. For instance, an individual may have their primary full-time work and invest in stocks, own a business, have another job, and much more. Earnings are no longer cut and dry where they are analyzed solely on whether or not an individual has a higher education or not. Now, a lot of other factors have come into play when analyzing and determining lifetime earnings for an individual.

  9. This article put in perspective the value of a college education and how since it is valued there is a hefty price that needs to be paid. Initially when thinking about the idea of going to college it just seems like a normal thing to do because everyone is doing it and it is almost peer pressure. The idea of not going to college just tells me that I would not be able to get any good paying job because now and days they are asking for a degree to back you. In the blog they show a graph that really up in perspective the difference between what a high school degree to a bachelors in anything can do pay wage wise. For instance, it showed that there is a $34 dollar difference between the two and a $20 in between a associate to bachelors. This really proves that a college degree shows the employer that you can finish a task without being told to finish because it is easy to bail halfway through. Now when looking at the worth of the employee after a degree compared to nothing is a lot with earnings. High school graduates are just above fifty cents when all majors are surpassed a dollar. This is crazy to me because one form of education makes a difference between how much a person “deserves” to earn. Granted, it is understood that college graduates do have loans that they will be paying for thirty years, but the pay that they obtain is going to be higher not because they “earned” it but instead to pay the loans off.
    This idea of college graduates being paid higher then most people below them is shocking in a way to me because in the past it did not matter if you had a degree but if you were a hard worker it paid off. If we were to go back to the 80s-90s we would see that more then half of the population do not have degrees. So, the question is when did this shift happen?
    When reading the article, I was shocked to see that people are going towards majors that do not even make them happy because it does not earn them enough money after college. Anything that involves children or counseling makes the least amount which should not be the case because society needs this the most. The percentile of careers to me should not be a thing because it deters people away from these important careers. We as a society need to go back to what makes us happy and less of what pays the most because that is what this article is mostly hitting on. Everything has to do with education when it should be towards the workers and what they can do for the company.

  10. The information provided in this article proves to be very helpful for any high school student or early-college student looking to embark on a path to a successful career. At any academic year below these, students are always told to “do what you like” or “follow your dreams.” While these may be great motivations and benefit some people in our society, in order to live the dream life, you have to put the work in. Mainly through obtaining a college degree, which this article shows greatly advances earning potential in a wide array of majors. Those salary advances have grown over the years, but so have the prices of attending a four-year university.

    As an economics major myself, it was interesting to see the difference in earnings between careers in the 90th percentile ($5.09 million) and the 10th percentile ($490,000). I had never thought there could be such a great disparity within the same major. Despite it still being classified as a successful major to study, it proves that having a solid network and attending college near a major city may benefit in landing a higher-paying position. However, with those colleges comes higher tuition rates which will decrease incomes for ten or more years (with a standard repayment plan). The data interactives within this article produced by The Hamilton Project are a great way for students to calculate and predict their future financial scenario. It is never to early to plan to pay off student loans, an aspect of college than many graduates wish could just disappear.

    Ultimately, it is important for students to choose to study what they are passionate about. Even if it is not the highest-paying career out there, they will excel more in something they enjoy rather than something they are forced to do. Having the ability to attend college is a great step in achieving the stability that humans strive for in their financial situations. Success is not truly measured in numbers, but in the accomplishments made throughout a career.

  11. The Hamilton Project is a great creation and is very helpful to college students, especially those seeking a major or are undecided. The Hamilton Project shows statistics such as the lifetime earnings and an undergraduate student loans calculator.
    Some parts of the information are obvious and are known by every college student. For example, you need a college degree for any major to increase your earnings potential. The graphs that the article provides shows a clear image of the median earning potential of a bachelors degree over an associates degree. Bachelor degree earnings are nearly 1.5x more than that of an associates degree, and the line graph in the article backs this statement up. The only exception in this case is certain majors such as arts and education. These majors are late careers. It is interesting to think about how you really did not need a degree from college back in the 90’s. As long as you worked hard or were even well known, you could live your life well with a high paying job. The reason this factor shifted is because employers realized how prestigious a college degree was. It became a symbol of intelligence and skill. If you had a college degree, it was more likely you would get the job done and in an efficient matter.
    I find it very interesting that majors working with children get paid the lowest, when they are typically needed the most. This low paying factor may be problematic to our youth and there may also be a job inflation in that field of study. The majors with the more higher pay are the engineering fields. I gather from this information the reason why we have such advanced technology, and it is still expanding today.

  12. The main idea of this article is that people who earn Bachelor’s degrees make more than Associate degrees which make more than people who have “some college” which make more than people with a high school diploma. This is something we grow up understanding as the standard expectation when entering college. Most people go to college in order to receive an education that will give them a well paying job when they graduate so they can live a comfortable life. Others decide to skip college because of the cost, and some people see the expense of college as something not worth paying back over time with loans. What I found interesting that the article addressed was that with an education, you will be able to pay back your loans easier as time goes on. This is explained by showing how a typical loan repayment lasts on average 10 years. At the beginning you make payments that take up a higher percentage of your current salary, but by the end your payments are a smaller percentage of your now higher earned salary. At the beginning, paying off your loans may feel like going to school was not worth it, but your salary starts to increase quickly since you obtained a degree, and paying off the loans will become an easier task. If people saw repaying loans in this way it may help convince some people that college is worth it in the long run.

    Higher pay may be convincing enough to go to college, but the career you choose to enter also determines your financial situation. The article mentions how there are jobs that do not require an education where people make more money than educated people. An argument commonly made is that going to a trade school or becoming an apprentice to a trade career can result in a more stable financial income. More people are going to college and leaving the trades behind that we still need in order to function in society. This creates a high demand for these jobs and people who choose this route instead can basically set their own rates since they have few competitors. Success in these fields are determined by external factors just like with people who have degrees. When using O*NET OnLine, one of the categories you can look at for a specific job choice is the state you live in. Your location often determines how much you will make in a certain field. In summary, going to college and receiving a Bachelor’s degree is the route many teenagers are told to take and the statistics are there to support that ideology, but there are always alternative factors to consider when deciding how you want to choose a career that is financially stable for you.

  13. This was a very interesting article and one that all students entering college should read. It is beneficial to know what average income for specific fields will be once an individual graduates from college. It is evident from the article that individuals with a bachelor’s degree will typically earn higher wages than those with lower degrees or none at all. However, some trades may earn higher wages. Individuals are faced with the decision of whether they should attend college or not. The cost of a college education is rather high and tuition fees continue to rise. Some individuals may not want to be in financial debt and may want to just start living their lives. This does work out for some individuals, but many do go off to college and end with a great deal of debt. The article did a good job of explaining how there are different methods of paying down student loan debt by using a salary driven repayment plan. I guess the good news in all of this is that typically student loans are paid off in 10 years.

    However, the piece that is missing from this article is that the average salary in all states for the same job is not typically the same. Let’s take education for example, the average salary for a teacher in NJ is about $60,000, while in Virginia the average salary is about $37,000. So when looking at this type of information, it is important to note where an individual plans to work when they graduate from college. Also, individuals must realize that this article presents the average salary. There are many individuals that make far less or even more than the numbers presented. Getting that first job out of college will be the final determination of what an individual will make. That is if they even find a job since the country has so many individuals on unemployment at the current time.

  14. This article was very informative and discussed a topic that I think is very important. We are always told in life that we must go to school and get a job because it is the safe and secure thing to do. The part that they do not tell us about is loans for school and how much money some of these jobs make. The tool that was included in the article was very interesting too. I was able to take my major and compare the other ones that I was interested in, in the past. It was very easy to use and I was able to get a hypothetical example of what my lifetime earnings could be. Another very important part is the undergraduate loan repayment calculator. In school, we do not learn enough real-life stuff, and this is one of those things. We are encouraged to just take these loans out to go to school not knowing that you signed the loan at an interest rate that will be nearly impossible to catch up to. It is also very interesting to me how much your major can influence your salary. For someone who wants to go to law school or med school, they could literally major in practically anything undergrad and still get in based on their test scores and application. These people might throw the statistics for this off a little bit because they may end up making way more money than other people with that specific major in some circumstances. One of the most disheartening statics in the article that I read discussed the salaries of the people who work with kids or provide counseling services “Majors that train students to work with children or provide counseling services tend to have graduates with the lowest earnings. The five lowest-earning majors (at the median) are communication disorders sciences and services, visual and performing arts, human services and community organization, studio arts, and early childhood education.” This is not necessarily surprising, but I think that people who provide these kinds of jobs should make more. The system in which student loans are involved needs revamping, but I do not think that will happen anytime soon.

  15. Finding out what college graduates earn over their lifetime compared to what people with associates, some college experience, and none at all is pretty eye opening. Nowadays, it seems that most people have to go to college if they want a sizeable salary in the future. We all know that one person who did not go to school and is doing just fine for themselves, but for the most of us, it is in our best financial interest to get that degree. The article talks about student loans. U.S. News says that the average college student graduates with over thirty thousand in student loans and is at an all time high in 2020. This goes to show the importance of choosing a lucrative major that is in demand. Brooking’s article states, “Some majors carry greater risk than others in terms of likely difficulty in making loan payments” (Brookings). It is important to get a job right out of college and be able to have money to pay for living expenses and external factors, like loans. However, it does not end there. The article shows the discrepancy of wages in the same major between the 10th percentile and 90th percentile of economic majors. Those in the 90th percentile earned more than 10 times the amount throughout their career as those in the 10th percentile. That shows the importance of becoming the best and most attractive worker one can be. Business Insider reported that a third-year analyst made a total compensation of $65,000, compared to $77,000 for a GPA of 2.9-3.1. The “A students”, 3.8-4.0, earned a total compensation of $115,000. That is a $50,000 difference between GPAs. This goes to show that with hard work in college, one can set themselves up for success I the job world. For the typical college student who graduated with a bachelor’s degree, they would be paying around $260 dollars a month to cover their loan expenses. That is like having another car payment. In the beginning of a career, that payment could be detrimental depending on the situation. $260 is around 13% of the average persons monthly income in the first year of their career. Since it is so important to go to college in today’s world, we must make sure to choose a major that suits us and be the absolute best that we can be in order to pay off the growing student loans and afford to live.,according%20to%20U.S%20News%20data.,the%202.8%20or%20lower%20graduate.

  16. I found this article very informative, as a student and an adult student this is something I think about often. It is important to know as you pick your major and set up plans to repay your loans. There are different options now for your repayment plan and I believe that has help more people finish their degrees. It makes it helpful for adult students to finish their studies as well. It also pin pointed what majors are going to make more and what are going to make less.

  17. The Hamilton Project conducted a study on two key economic factors relating to earning a college degree. One factor focuses on the career and lifetime earnings on average based on the type of degree earned, and the other focuses on loan repayment in relation to career earnings. In the first part of the study, it was very clear that those who obtained a college bachelor’s degree would earn significantly more. At career peak, which is age 30, the median salary for any worker with a college bachelor’s degree was $68,000 based on 2014-2018 data. The typical associate degree worker would only earn a median salary of $49,000. Those with some college experience and no degree, or only a high school diploma, earned even less than that. Growing up, both my parents and my younger school teachers stressed the importance of going to get a college degree. Understandably, the extended education does offer some benefits and insights into the specific major, but oftentimes what is learned in a college course does not directly relate to the real-world job, and there is a gap in the education. There are plenty of entrepreneurs who have become very successful without earning a college degree, making millions of dollars every year. Personally, I believe that obtaining a bachelor’s degree or more is beneficial because it pays higher and there are tons of networking opportunities in college, but I don’t think it is necessary, and I think oftentimes it is pushed on younger students that they “need” a college degree.

    Focusing now on the student loan part, the article explains that some majors face a much greater risk with their ability to make loan payments because their earnings are lower. Drama and performing arts majors are some of those that face this risk. The article suggests creating income-driven repayment plans, but I disagree with this plan. Student loans are ridiculously high, and the cost of a college education is absurd. However, drama and performing arts majors end up in the business f entertainment, which is a great business and brings a lot of joy to people’s lives, but isn’t what I would consider “essential”, like the computer sciences or the business majors. Therefore, if one were to pursue a degree in a field that is not essential to our daily lives and economy, that is their choice. The issue is in the cost of college and student loans itself, and that is where the issue should be fixed. I could go to a community college and probably earn just as good of an education and save tons of money. Although I would lose some of the other benefits, such as professional networking, the education itself is not that different. Therefore, tuition rates should be lowered, but that is another discussion in itself.

  18. This article shows me the importance that the decisions that I am making today will have on my future. Not only will the choice of my major impact the amount of money that I will be able to make after graduation, but it will also determine the difficulty that I will have in paying off any student loans. The article says that “Some majors carry greater risk than others in terms of likely difficulty in making loan payments.” This is not something that was in my mind when deciding my major, so it will have to be a factor for me as a move on throughout college. This article, with the help of the Hamilton Project, also showed me how paying off my loans in the future will work as I was not very clear on how that would work. I thought that paying off loans would just be a flat fee, rather than a percentage of my income that decreases over time. Along with teaching me more about loans, this article helped me to see the earning variation that can occur within a major. Obviously, your major itself will determine the maximum and minimum salaries that you will incur. I did not realize the variation that happens within majors that this article describes. An example they provided was economic majors. For these graduates, “the 10th percentile of career earnings take in $490,000, at the median, $1.74 million, and at the 90th percentile, $5.09 million.” This large of a variation within the major of economics is not one that I had thought about when considering my major. Lastly, this article showed me how much finishing your degree can help you in your career earnings. On average, a college graduate will earn nearly double the amount of a high school graduate at their peak salaries. That was not that surprising to me. The surprising difference came in the difference between the earnings of someone with a bachelor’s degree and someone with an associate’s degree. That difference is greater than the difference between someone with an associate’s degree and a high school education, and that was one of the more shocking takeaways I took from this article.

  19. When first hearing the title and at first glance this article immediately caught my attention. The fact that there is a study looking at what majors and jobs pay the most for a lifetime is unheard of. I would not even know how to start to conduct this research. Would you just multiply average salary for each and every job? After reading further into the article I was astounded at the results that they found after conducting this research. First, they show a graph that looks at average earnings per year for each of the education classes. These classes are as follows: Highschool education, some college no degree, associate degree, average of all majors. The average of all majors makes twenty thousand dollars more annually than an associate degree. I do not find this too surprising as I figure there are some very high paying majors out there. After looking over this graph they start to get into what each education level gets over their entire lifetime. By looking further into this graph, the author states, “Median career earnings for a bachelor’s degree holder are $1.28 million in 2018 dollars. This marks a gain of between 1 and 2 percent, after accounting for inflation, from our 2014 analysis. At the median, career earnings for a bachelor’s degree graduate are more than twice as high as for someone with only a high school diploma or GED, roughly 70 percent higher than for someone with some college but no degree, and more than 45 percent higher than for someone with an associate degree.” This again is right in a line with what I would have thought it would be, but I did not know it would have been this drastic of a number. After this the article goes into how hard it will be to pay off a student loan, and this is the most surprising factor that I read in this article. For a standard 10 year loan pay off, you pay 10% in the first year, when you are making the least money, and 6% the last year when you should be making the most money of your career. This surprises me how it is not the other way around. Overall, this was a very interesting article to read and it really emphasizes the need for a bachelors degree and a college education in this day and age.

  20. This article written by Kristen Broady and Brad Hershbein was informative. However, I don’t believe that the information in this article is particularly useful to me. The article talks about how much money people make depending on their education level and what major they chose. It also divided the majors up to show the most one could make and the least someone could make. Overall, the trends are interesting. I did not know that the average bachelor’s degree graduate made substantially more money than the average associate degree graduate. When the authors talk about majors and how much money each makes, I find it interesting but not very useful to myself, as I already know my major and these charts and interactives won’t change my mind. While these numbers are to be taken as fact, I am very aware of the outliers of these data. For example, I love to tell the story of my father. My father grew up in Concord, Staten Island. This neighborhood is not far from where I live. Concord is and always has been a bad neighborhood. The crime rate is high and the average household income is low. He went to Concord high school, a notoriously bad high school, and never went to college. His parents weren’t around much because his father lived on his own and his mother worked from 3:00-11:00, so he never really saw her. He had to learn on his own to make his own food and take care of the house. He started working in construction at 16 and had many jobs in the trades. For a period in time, he traveled every day from Staten Island to the Bronx and back to make seven dollars an hour. Eventually, he landed a job in the Local 3 electrical union and worked there for years. Eventually, he left the union and lost his benefits so he could start his own business. After years of struggle and long days and nights, he became very successful, now running jobs across the boroughs and is putting me through school. His story taught me that what matters most is hard work. At the end of the day, if you work harder than your peers and continue to push yourself, regardless of major, you will be successful.

  21. Personally, I do not wish to be dependent upon my major in hopes of attaining more money. In pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in the major or concentration of finance, I wish to receive a substantive education in fully understanding how to critically analyze investment portfolios, potential of ROIs (return on investment), and how to manage my asset allocation, in order to maximize its growth whilst minimizing its opportunity cost. The peak median income of any career or occupation, as the article states, typically occurs around the thirtieth year of employment. The median annual salary is entirely dependent on which career is chosen, but in my case (i.e. bachelor’s degree in finance), I am expected to earn slightly above $61,000. Even lower than that, the median real estate salesperson earns barely above $45,000 per year. These are not acceptable standards that I wish to adhere by; thus, I am willing to do whatever is deemed necessary to ensure that I earn above a six-figure salary per year. I am well-aware that some people shall tell me that this idea of mine sounds ignorant or overly-optimistic. While this may be true, it is a reality that I face and will never, in my lifetime, not actively fight for.

    Seton Hall University presents a great opportunity in attaining knowledge about your major. Among the many, and probably most important, reasons that I selected to accept admission to this university, in particular, is due to the cost of tuition. Fortunately, I was blessed with the opportunity to be able to outright afford college without taking out any student loans in my name nor the name of my parents. In fact, from an early age, my parents made it abundantly clear to me that they would not pay for my college tuition nor any similar expense, since their success and wealth accumulated in life came from hard work. Neither of them attended college; they graduated after having a one-year-old daughter, together, in senior year of high school. From there, it was working multiple jobs, every day of the week to make it by. Here I am, today, fortunate enough to have been privileged a lifestyle full of chance and opportunity, with a smile on my face and nothing more than a dream in my back pocket.

    I was never one to be interested in a nine-to-five job. There is nothing wrong with anyone who works in one. Moreover, the discipline and consistent scheduling found in that lifestyle can be extraordinarily beneficial to individuals. However, I struggle picturing myself working entirely under someone other than myself, or at least, on the same wage basis as a peer. Commission-based income is, in my opinion, a competitive and strategic method of earning income that pushes the best performance out of someone. In my case, I foresee I future in which I will constantly strive to be better than the day prior. My abilities will always be constrained and stressed, which is okay. Based off of experience working for commissions, I would much rather work based off of commissions for ten-to-twelve hours per day than set wages for eight. So, in terms of how much a degree will earn me over my lifetime, setting an expected number is useless and only serves as a limitation to the potential I wish to uncover. Having a business of my own has always been an aspiration on my mind since the earliest times I could remember. I absolutely agree that persistently competing against yourself is the best way to exceed the mere expectation, or median, of income to be made.

  22. From a young age, children are often told that in order to be successful in life, they have to go to college and get a degree. This article was really interesting because it compared the different types of college majors and who makes the most money. I believe that this is extremely useful because we’re all told we need a degree to go somewhere in life. Some people may not want to go to college because they do not see it as useful. However, they’ve been taught that if they want to make a good amount of money, they have to attend. This article shows which majors make the most amount of money. It’s also eye opening looking at all the different graphs and comparing them and seeing how they’re all different. As a sociology major, I often wonder why things work the way they do. And this article made me wonder why us as college students all endure the same thing throughout our years at a university, but some will be making significantly less than others. Another thing that I found interesting was how much debt each major had according to their majors. Personally, I do not believe that people should base what they want to do with their life based on the salary. They should be able to pick any job they want and be happy with it and still make enough money to be financially stable.

  23. This article was very interesting to read and look at. I feel like most times students either pick a career that makes money or a career that they would genuinely enjoy. IF you are lucky then you can get both in one career. In high school, it is tough to try and decide what you want to do with the rest of your life and it is not an easy decision to make. I remember when I was growing up and all throughout school I wanted to be a sports journalist. I love sports and I am a decent writer so I wanted to become a journalist and work for ESPN and that was my dream. As I got older and we would do career exercises in classes I started to realize that journalism is a dying field. I really enjoyed writing and talking about sports but I also realized that I needed to be realistic. In order to be able to have the life that I want and support a family, I needed to find something else I liked. I took an accounting class my senior year of high school and liked it. My teacher said I was good at it and should think about doing it so I decided to make that my major. While that obviously makes more money than journalism careers do, I probably will not enjoy it as much.

    For a lot of people I think picking a career or job just comes down to what you want to prioritize. Some people may prioritize money and some people may prioritize enjoyment of their job and both are fine. It all depends on what the person believes in and how they want to live their life. In my case I would not say I am prioritizing money because I do like accounting. It happens to be the case that accountants make a lot of money and that is not a bad thing. I am sacrificing some enjoyment most likely but I am okay with that. If I end up not liking accounting when I start working I can always try and find something else to do. Money is nice but I do think that happiness is more important. The classic saying “Money can’t buy happiness” definitely has some truth to it. In order to be truly happy I think you need to genuinely enjoy what you do and enjoy your life no matter the situation you are in. If you think making a lot of money is going to make you happy then I would say best of luck with that. It may work short term but probably will not work long term. People just need to do what is bets for themselves in their unique situation and things will work out.

  24. I was intrigued by the title of the blog and article. It has always been an interest and concern to me in regards to school and work outcomes. Some people go to school to increase their marketability in the job force or for personal accomplishments. However, the outcome can be personal or can potentially have a well-paying job with repayment for school.
    The article had two main analyses: “one set that showed career earnings profiles and lifetime earnings and another that showed an undergraduate student loan repayment calculator”. It was very interesting to learn that the average cost of JUST a bachelor’s degree is about $70,000, give or take. The average career peak earrings are approximately $49,000 (at age 30).
    For the average income is about $50,000, does a $70,000 education seem like the right path? Some may think yes, while others disagree. I believe the more you take out of the education you pay for and receive can increase your chances of making more money in the long run. However, this is not always the case. Some people do not make the money they hope for or want which is where the college education might not pay off. There are instances where people do not go to college or get any degrees and can make money they did not even know was possible.
    This is all dependent on the major and life choices that are made. A person looking to become a doctor will have the potential to make more money than a teacher. What surprised me was that the median pay for a person with a bachelor’s degree was “at least as high as median earnings for associate degree holders”. This was a surprise to me because I would have expected a bachelor’s degree to have more of a median income, than an associate degree.
    I was able to take a look at the interactive link for loan repayment, and the outcome is overwhelming. The amount of extra interest money a person has to pay for loans has the potential to be a large chunk of their salary.
    My biggest takeaway from this article and blog would be to do what you want and love. However, it isn’t always about a fancy school or education. The less debt you have the better off you will be no matter what. The debt and loan repayment is what is hurting these graduates. Great real-world article. I enjoyed reading it.

  25. Today it is extremely important to have a college degree in order to have a career in the future. Of course, there are exceptions for those who become famous in the arts or entrepreneurs who have succeeded without the degree, however, it would be a stretch to assume you can “make it big” without getting a higher education. The questions presented at the beginning of the article about which college majors earn the most money was something I used to ask myself all the time when I first came to Seton Hall undecided. I wanted to love what I do while also making a lot of money. I think a lot of students tend to gravitate towards one or the other – passion or money. For undergrad, I decided to major in social work because it is something I love learning about, and I am very passionate about it. However, since I know I would not be able to support myself I made the decision to earn a graduate degree in healthcare administration, this way I know I can support myself in the future. I think that is one thing this article is missing, that even though a student is majoring in one subject they can get their master’s degree in another subject, therefore what their major is may not define how their life will be financially in the future.

    Regarding how long it will take students to pay back their loans I was surprised to see that even ten years after graduating, they still have to pay about 6% of their yearly income. I do not believe that college debt should be erased because for those who paid to go, it would not be fair. However, I think the interest in student loans should be completely eliminated because after ten years only a small percentage of the loan may be paid off because throughout that time most of the payments were towards interest. It is unfathomable why banks allow teenagers to sign off on a loan when they know for sure it will take them their entire lives to pay back.

  26. Every individual is different, so different people have different priorities. Some people set their goals to higher education and some people are satisfied with a high school degree or GED. However, the modern day that we are now in requires higher education for higher earnings. Most jobs nowadays have a prerequisite of at least an associates degree. Even Aldi, which is a grocery store, requires at least a high school diploma. But many people still question if a higher education is worth it. This article highlights that with only higher education can an individual obtain a higher income. I am a strong believer that one must invest in themselves in order to obtain the success they are looking for. But I think that that success does not have to come from a higher income but just happiness in general. For me, happiness comes from succeeding in school. I worked hard in high school to have the opportunity to go to a four year school and get lots of academic scholarships to help me. I am currently at Rider University, who gave me the best scholarships and I came from a small school and wanted to continue on in a small school so Rider was a perfect fit for me. I like having a smaller class so the professor is able to concentrate on each student and become familiar with their students. This article was able to address the bigger purpose for education, higher income. A link was provided within the article that displayed a range of majors and you can choose one to see different annual earnings within the major’s different job titles. I am a Behavioral Neuroscience and Organizational Psychology major, and so I looked up both and found different job titles within the major and their median annual earnings. It was nice to see that my hardwork in school will eventually pay off. What I also liked in the link was that it provided a percentage of people that went on to receive a graduate degree for my majors. I have been contemplating graduate school especially now that I am a junior. It is becoming more important for me to figure out if I want to go to graduate school straight after undergrad or in my later years. I noticed that in both of my majors, 50% or more people have continued their schooling beyond a Bachelor’s degree. Now, I believe I should just go straight to graduate school and invest in myself to have the highest education I can possibly achieve because in the end it will all amount to something.
    The article also included a loan calculator that was very helpful in displaying the percentage of earnings that a student must use to pay off their student loans. All students should take part in calculating their estimated earnings for the major they are choosing, or are on the fence of choosing, and subtracting their estimated student loans from that earning. I am fortunate enough to have very low student loans compared to some of my friends but it will still be a hassle to pay back. I have a plan, however, to stay at home for the year or two after I graduate and try to pay off my student loan either entirely or pretty close to it. However, as a freshman coming into college I wish I went and used some of the student loan calculators that are out there, as that would have helped me figure out my specific payment plan and which major to consider. I never thought about my major’s income because I just wanted to be happy with what I wanted to do. I have come across so many people in my life who hated their jobs and I saw how miserable that made them so money isn’t important to me. I was always told to do what makes me happy so I strive to do that. That is why I say success does not always depend on how much a person is making, happiness is the key to success. If a person is happy with a high school diploma that is fine, it becomes a problem when they feel unsuccessful and disappointed that they didn’t do any further schooling. I also do not trust the estimated earnings given based on majors because there are multiple job fields that can be done within just one major. Also, people can start and end at different positions in a job so a specific amount of money is never guaranteed within a major. I did like this article though because it didn’t just display the income for each major but different job fields within the major. This article was very informative and it was nice to look at my specific major and the income I could possibly receive one day, just made me excited for what the future has in store for me.

  27. I found this article to be one of the more interesting ones we have had to read thus far. While I agree that the data is viable and correct, I believe some of this to be redundant. Of course on average business majors will make more than theatre majors. Certain industries offer higher salaries than others. Accountants on average would earn more than a public servant who has not seen major offices. The idea that there are successful people in all areas of life should be motivational, however, if one is studying theatre, don’t expect a Hollywood life. Unfortunately these graphs don’t take into account advantages certain students have over their peers. Certain students have parents or family friends in high places and with these connections and a good work ethic, you can make it. Fortunately for those with those advantages, their lives will be easier. However, they will have to work harder than their coworkers to prove that they are worth the position. The graphs illustrate the wage disparity of different majors quite well. This is a good thing as it allows people to visually identify if they care about money and their financial potential or if they want to do something that is somewhat unnecessary but yields happiness for them.

  28. I thought this article was very interesting to read as it directly relates to my future. I will say, what the median earnings for a bachelor’s degree at peak of career was lower than I expected. Sure, $68,000 seems like a lot of money, while that may be true for some areas, living in New Jersey especially that amount of money does not go very far. It was almost alarming to read this article at some points, as it truthfully put a harsh reality many college students will face after earning their degrees, especially regarding the repayment of loans. In my opinion, the value of a college degree has significantly declined over the years, while the costs to attend colleges has become unattainable for some. For my parents, a college degree was not necessary for success. Neither of my parents, or many older family friends I know attended college as you could still get a job without a degree. Now, it is almost imperative one has a college degree to obtain a decent paying job and even with a college degree graduates still struggle to find jobs. It is crazy to me that the median earnings for a bachelor’s degree at peak of career is what it costs to attend college for just one year at some institutions. This article was very informative, and I think it is important as college students to be aware of employment rates, average salaries, and other statistics regarding their majors. I think it is especially important to be aware and have a plan for your future employment, especially for those who will graduate college with a large sum of borrowed money or loans. While I think this article was very informative, it is also a small consideration of facts for the future. These numbers change frequently with the times and demand. There is also significant room for growth in the workplace and these numbers are simply just averages. Even for those of the same major, everyone’s income and career path will look a lot different based off a number of different factors.

  29. This article made me open my eyes and realize what life will be like after I get a full tine job. Seeing that the average amount a person makes with a college degree is only 68k is good, but not great. After taxes are taken out, that amount will only equate to 55k-60k. It brings up the question if the 4 years is even worth it. Living in new jersey is a economical disaster when it comes to the cost of living. Taxes are through the roof and only continue to increase. Personally, my parents pay property taxes around 13k/year. This is an unacceptable amount taking into consideration all the other bills and expenses that have to be paid on top of this. Additionally, when thinking about education and the average income, one starts to doubt the education system in this country. Student loans are at an all time high and it makes getting a degree that much less interesting. Whats the point of getting a degree that will put you into debt for the most of your life? I have asked myself this question plenty of times and If I could go back I would have went to trade school. Many high schools don’t even talk about trade school as an option, only college. Going to trade school not only saves you money but allows you to get experience while taking classes and it sets you up to make good money. The reality is, I can only see schools start to charge more and more to the point there’s less people attending college. Not only this, but buying textbooks is another issue in itself. I think this article does give some upsides but overall given the low income average and all the expenses that have to be paid, you might be better off going to trade school or not going to school at all. Depending on everyones views on education and achievement, this will impact their decision on attending college.

  30. Everyone wants to make a great amount of money throughout their life time. However not many make more than 68k a year with a full time job. Many people don’t realize that they spend more money at school then their salary. For example if you pay over 100k for school, and you make 68k in a year, school was basically a waste because you paid more to gain knowledge and now to use that knowledge you making 30k less which is a loss. This questions a lot of people and they don’t know whether to stay a full 4 years at school is worth it. Many want to be rich and live a great life, but not everyone wants to do what comes with being rich or the hard work that follows along with it. This is the reason why you have to master what you’re good at. For example, some majors make tons of money, but If you don’t get a good gpa in the course or class or that subject, then you won’t get a high salary or a higher job in that series. Taxes also take away so much money from people that if you’re only getting paid 68k, taxes are taking away about 8-10k so you’re left with 58-60, and yeah that is good, but its not great. everyone wants to earn more and keep getting paid for, but the real task is what I have to do to get there and keep getting better at what you want to succeed at. Many successful people nowadays sacrificed a lot and took risks, that now probably benefit them, which is what some people need in this world, they need to always be positive and keep working at what they want. Taking out loans for your student tution or school wise, yes it helps you but you have to then pay it all off, and if you don’t then you will be in debt, and your credit will be bad, and you’re going to have to work from bottom to top. Many people are at the top and keep moving up so that’s where you want to be and that’s where life will take you if you keep working at and do what you’re great at, and always be aware of the situation, and always push to be great.

  31. All in all, going to college is not for everyone, but over 60% of high school students enroll in a form of higher education in the following fall. It works like this because generally, people who have a degree make more money and have more job opportunities than those who only graduate high school or a high school equivalent. This article can be very valuable to anyone thinking about going to college or someone who is already enrolled. One downfall is the graphs only show the median of all majors. I think is it especially helpful for a person who finds this article to also find more resources regarding what specific majors they are interested in or what types of careers they would like to have in the future.
    Personally, I do not think college is for everyone. I know plenty of people who did not go to college and have very successful careers. One important factor with these people is that their careers do not require for them to have a college degree. My father, for example, owns his own business. My father owns apartment complexes, duplexes, townhouse complexes, houses, and properties which he rents and leases to other people. My father now has the money to buy houses, flip them, and resell them for as much as ten times what he bought them for originally. If a person wants to own their own business, a degree is not required. It may be helpful, but not necessary. On the other hand, if a person wants to be a doctor, they would HAVE to obtain a college degree. I feel like what a person wants to do with their life has the largest impact on whether they should go to college or not.

    • Hi Amanda, I enjoyed reading your post. You raise some excellent points. I agree that college is not for everyone and think that this article should have also included information about trades (electric, plumbing, automotive etc.). Those fields can also yield large incomes and should certainly not be discounted. In fact I believe that there is a shortage of trade workers in this country. They’re an essential group of people and those jobs should get more recognition and be posed as an option to young people just like college.

  32. This article should be a mandatory read for all high school students. It provides a look at what your future can look like depending on what path you follow, but more than showing you what you might make out of college it shows you what you might make over time. In addition, it provides a look at the average debt that college students face after graduation, even breaking it down into monthly payments.
    I was specifically interested in the difference between different majors. It wasn’t surprising to me that the STEM field has some of the highest earnings. What did shock me was the data surrounding drama and theatre majors who “can expect to pay over 10 percent of earnings for the first six years in a standard repayment plan (including more than 20 percent in the first year)” (Hamilton). These numbers are alarming and make me question how someone in those fields can support themselves after college. What’s more is that the coronavirus has decimated the theatre and performance industries so current drama and theatre students will likely suffer even more unless aid can be provided to them.
    Regardless of the path that we choose I think that making an informed decision is so important and that young people should be exposed to information like this early on.

  33. Throughout High School, I never gave any thought to what I wanted to do with my life. Since I did not have the option to choose which classes I took, there was no way for me to find something I was interested in. Unsurprisingly, I still have not declared my major, but I have come close to finance on multiple occasions. This is not because I have a deep-rooted interest in finance, it is because that is what my dad has experience with, and there is potential for me to make a lot of money. However, the more I research and educate myself, the more I see that every major provides an opportunity to make an abundance of money. There is no major that will guarantee that you will become rich. As this article states, the top tenth of economics graduates earns more than ten times over their career what the bottom tenth earns. Because earnings vary so much within each major, it would be a mistake to choose a major solely based on earning potential. I always believed that money equaled happiness and that if I made a lot of money, I would have nothing else to worry about. However, this idea is fading. Although I do want to and plan on making a lot of money, it is not everything.
    However, I still do believe that some majors are a dead end. I have friends who became communications majors because they love sports. I am not saying that you should ignore your passions, but it important to recognize and accept that a passion might not be enough to make a career. Again, there are sports broadcasters who make millions per year, but even well-known ESPN broadcasters do not make over 60K a year. Another important thing to monitor is the outlook for your job. If there has been a steady decline and that trend is going to continue, it is probably best to avoid that job. An average job growth rate is between 5 and 8 percent. Anything lower than that should be a cause for concern. Deciding what you want to do with your life is a huge decision, but there is always time to change your mind and do what makes you happy.

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