Career

Buzz: Readers find major payoffs in some college degrees

May 31, 2013 at 6:08 PM ET

What’s your major? It’s not just a good icebreaker at college parties – it also could be a good test of how much job security you might have over your lifetime.

This week, we wrote about a new report showing that people who major in certain fields, such as education and health, have much lower unemployment rates than those who major in other fields, such as architecture and the arts.

On the other hand, the median earnings of people who major in fields such as engineering are higher than for those who major in areas such as liberal arts.

Most of the more than 20,000 people who took our survey said they thought their choice of college major paid off.

“Yes, most definitely. I majored in Business Administration. I have always been able to find a good paying job even in the worst economy. I took off work to raise kids and still was able to rebound with my Business Degree,” one reader wrote.

Some said they’d found success even though they hadn’t gone for the high-money majors.

“My liberal arts degree led to success in three fields so far. Daughter's philosophy degree led to success as computer guru,” another reader wrote.

Still, about one quarter of our readers who voted said their choice of major hadn’t paid off.

“I am an archeologist, and I can tell you this, don’t get a degree as one if you are looking for any sort of financial future, or retirement,” one reader wrote.

Others said they didn’t go to college at all.

“18 (years) so far working for a major American manufacturer as a technical professional, (excellent) pay and benefits and now soon a pension. I did not graduate college. A college degree is not a magic ticket,” one reader wrote.

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