Determining a major to study in college leads to career choices that make money and to some careers that must compete for wage increases and bonuses.
Some majors lead to jobs that start with higher salaries due to their demand. Engineering, finance and nursing majors have higher demand in the work force than philosophy and performing majors do.
Vicki Fox, an Associate Director at the Fulton Schools Career Center helps students with internships and getting professional experience.
“Of course salaries vary by size and health of the company, regional cost of living, the individual’s experience, demand for the major or skillset. Salary is one aspect, but total compensation packages are what should be considered,” Fox said.
Looking for the jobs with the highest salaries would lead to engineering majors. In the Employment Outcomes of Bachelor’s Degree Recipients from the National Center for Education Statistics electrical and mechanical engineering hold the top spots for beginning salaries.
“The key is early and often,” Fox said. “What I always want students to remove from their language is ‘just’ and ‘only’. I’m just a sophomore, I’ve only had classwork. Everybody has to start somewhere.”
The opportunities for engineers versus performing arts majors — listed 32 out of 34 on beginning salary — are vastly different.
“The war on talent is real,” Fox said. “It is important to know recruiting cycles,”
Janae Cox, a music performance major, plays the oboe and wants to be a performer. Her salary start point and increases fluctuate.
“I’m a musical because I love it, not just to pay the bills,” Cox said.
Selling a skillset and personality can bring outliers to general starting salaries for certain majors.
“Think about building a brand and that brand is going to change and evolve as you go through your academic studies,” Fox said.
With any major and with any starting salary there is room for growth.
“The more that a professional knows about a person the easier it is to guide them,” Fox said.
Guidance in a career make more experiences and bigger salary increases possible.
“Money is always going to be an issue,” Fox said. “For one person where money is most vital other people are going to say it’s more about the experience,”
Hannah Gardner’s major is interior design. When she graduates, she wants to go into commercial design, hotel design and retail. Having experience drives a lot of salary increases and bonuses.
“I don’t really have any concerns about salary growth, as I get more experienced my salary goes up,” Gardner said.
The cost of living rising increases are what Gardner believes makes salary gaps.
“I think that salaries need to stop going up in fact. That is why the cost of living is going up,” Gardner said.
Salary gaps are present because of the demand for certain skillsets and knowledge that will keep humanity moving forward.
“Engineers are more needed than us, performers just entertain. I think it makes sense,” Cox said.
Money isn’t the only factor in career finding.
“Someone should choose something they are passionate about and if they work hard enough and share it that other people will appreciate that passion,” Gardner said.
Starting off with a big salary means different experiences. Choosing to get experience before moving up in the salary food chain is a decision to make depending on circumstances.
“A lot of start ups may not have a lot of money but you might you might get a very broad spectrum of experience quickly,” Fox said.
The world is big and branding yourself for the most job opportunities is what can make or break a career in competitive fields.
“As whatever majors just as human beings, you’ve got to ask for help. No one is in this alone,” Fox said.