Heads up, youths: Graduate pay outlooks for Harvard versus South Dakota

posted at 4:41 pm on September 18, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

By at least one measure, the young-people (aged 18 — 29) unemployment rate for the past summer hovered just under thirteen percent. That means that more than one in ten members of last May’s whole new crop of graduates spent the summer looking for jobs in our already-contracted labor market, without success — and President Obama has been touring college campuses, capitalizing on their fears of being unable to pay off the loans they took out for their skyrocketing tuition prices. (…I wonder if these youths realize that President Obama’s more-people-should-go-to-college and lowering-loan-rates goals are only pushing educational costs higher? Supply, demand? Anyone?)

While a lot of this mainstream educational wisdom tends to lead today’s kids into thinking that they absolutely must go to college and that they need to do whatever they can to get into the very best, most well-known conventional four-year institution they can, here’s an interesting look from Bloomberg about the high-paying boom going on in the mining industry — and implicitly about making sure that when you’re deciding upon a major investment in your future, be sure to do your research and make sure that the juice is worth the squeeze:

Harvard University’s graduates are earning less than those from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology after a decade-long commodity bull market created shortages of workers as well as minerals.

Those leaving the college of 2,300 students this year got paid a median salary of $56,700, according to PayScale Inc., which tracks employee compensation data from surveys. At Harvard, where tuition fees are almost four times higher, they got $54,100. Those scheduled to leave the campus in Rapid City, South Dakota, in May are already getting offers, at a time when about one in 10 recent U.S. college graduates is out of work. …

As many as 78,000 additional U.S. workers will be needed by 2019 to replace retirees, the Society of Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration said in a report in January. In Australia, the largest shipper of coal and iron ore, there will be a shortfall of 1,700 mine engineers, 3,000 geoscientists and 36,000 other workers in the five years ending in 2015, the report said.

Demand for mining-school graduates is exceptional in the U.S., where the unemployment rate for 20-to-24 year olds with Bachelor’s degrees was 11.8 percent in July. The jobless rate across the economy held above 8 percent for a 43rd month in August, government data show.

I am not in any way knocking Ivy League or big four-year institutions, not in the slightest — and clearly, in the long run, there are plenty of industries that will value a high-profile degree under the right conditions, especially if you’re willing to wait some decades for the major returns. But is it worth paying hundreds of thousands of dollars more for an education, and carrying that big ol’ chunk of debt and the interest with you into your life, when there are comparable opportunities to be had if you do a little searching off the much-less-expensive, beaten path? That’s an individual choice, but you really shouldn’t go crying to the government if your $100k liberal arts degree in Women’s Studies doesn’t help you land a great job — the government’s (and, specifically, President Obama’s) furthering involvement in the student-loan industry (and entire economy) is only helping to take those opportunities away.


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Harvard University’s graduates are earning less than those from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

At least one thing in the world is just and true. Maybe after November more will follow.

HoustonRight on September 18, 2012 at 4:46 PM

So real-world useful skills trump a degree in Womyns Studies?

gwelf on September 18, 2012 at 4:47 PM

I was born in the wrong decade. When I graduated from college with a geology degree, oil prices were dropping through the floor. Married a geologist and we both ended up in the medical field.

bopbottle on September 18, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Did I hear correctly that McDonald’s and other fast-food operations were paying a BONUS for workers?

In other news today…

“Calgary and Edmonton to lead Canadian economic growth” http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Calgary+Edmonton+lead+Canadian+economic+growth/7260000/story.html

How about “Go North! Young Man & Young Lady, Go North!”

CiLH1 on September 18, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Nothing to see here, Obama the marvelous can hand this…

The Obamanation Administration Lies while the Middle East Burns.

SWalker on September 18, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Do they compare average or median? Do they include the unemployed into the count? Inquiring statistical minds want to know…

Archivarix on September 18, 2012 at 4:52 PM

How about “Go North! Young Man & Young Lady, Go North!”

CiLH1 on September 18, 2012 at 4:50 PM

How about “Go South! Obama, Go South!”

Archivarix on September 18, 2012 at 4:53 PM

How about “Go North! Young Man & Young Lady, Go North!”

CiLH1 on September 18, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Being willing to go where the jobs are is as important as anything.

forest on September 18, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Did I hear correctly that McDonald’s and other fast-food operations were paying a BONUS for workers?

They did this in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and other areas of Louisiana post-Katrina, especially in New Orleans since the cost of housing shot up immensely in the months immediately after the storm.

ND is in the same boat, as the boom in jobs has far outpaced contruction of places for workers to live.

teke184 on September 18, 2012 at 4:55 PM

So real-world useful skills trump a degree in Womyns Studies?

gwelf on September 18, 2012 at 4:47 PM

Depends on whether or not you want a real-world job or one of those public sector ones.

Happy Nomad on September 18, 2012 at 4:56 PM

(…I wonder if these youths realize that President Obama’s more-people-should-go-to-college and lowering-loan-rates goals are only pushing educational costs higher? Supply, demand? Anyone?)

not alot of Finance and Econ in those oh so useful Liberal Arts degrees. It’s easier to be bitter, angry, self righteous and ill-informed

fulhamfc on September 18, 2012 at 4:58 PM

bopbottle on September 18, 2012 at 4:50 PM

I hear ya! Wanted to follow into the family business after college but there was not a job to be had in the oil patch. Must be near the same age.

HoustonRight on September 18, 2012 at 4:59 PM

They did this in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and other areas of Louisiana post-Katrina, especially in New Orleans since the cost of housing shot up immensely in the months immediately after the storm.

teke184 on September 18, 2012 at 4:55 PM

At least in NOLA it wasn’t the cost of housing as much as it was the lack of workers. You had thousands who had temporarily or permanantly relocated (most churches including mine lost about 50% of their congregration in the year after Katrina).

Happy Nomad on September 18, 2012 at 4:59 PM

I just sent the article link and school url to my 17yo.

peski on September 18, 2012 at 5:00 PM

My daughter will be graduating in May with a degree in Industrial Engineering from SDSM&T. She worked for Caterpillar this summer on an internship. She was offered over $62,000 to go back to work for them when she graduates. She turned it down because it wasn’t quite what she wanted. I about had a heart attack about that, but she has had other offers since, so I am less worried. Our son is a 2009 graduate and he makes more than that.

So yes it is true, if you get a STEM degree you will do much better. And SDSM&T has a great reputation and does a lot to help place their students in their chosen field.

I dunno about Harvard, rumor has it you can get a good education there, but based on what I have seen from recent presidential graduates, I’m not so sure.

Lily on September 18, 2012 at 5:01 PM

I was born in the wrong decade. When I graduated from college with a geology degree, oil prices were dropping through the floor. Married a geologist and we both ended up in the medical field.

bopbottle on September 18, 2012 at 4:50 PM

What? You graduated with marketable degree, married, adjusted to difficult circumstances, worked hard, and have presumably flourished?

Congratulations, thank you, and some people probably think you’re racist.

tomg51 on September 18, 2012 at 5:02 PM

Indiana is doing well, too, since they made it a right to work state. The salaries were better than CA and the housing was 1/3!

I had a student a couple of years ago who graduated with degrees in geology and business. He was one happy camper. He’s probably mining
“gold” these days!

PattyJ on September 18, 2012 at 5:06 PM

I wonder if these youths realize that President Obama’s more-people-should-go-to-college and lowering-loan-rates goals are only pushing educational costs higher? Supply, demand? Anyone?)

I don’t think they teach economics at colleges much anymore. I am almost certain they must have stopped teaching economics altogether some 35 years or so ago at Harvard, Columbia, Occidental and pricey Hawaiian prep schools.

MessesWithTexas on September 18, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Lily on September 18, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Awesome, congrats. I’m afraid mine is going to end up with a BA in lit or some such and a Masters in Education. Bleh. She’s a great kid, but much stronger in English/History/Art/ than in math.

Trying to push her towards something useful…

peski on September 18, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Kind of apples and oranges. Better would be to compare an engineering from from xx-state to MIT, or business to business or women’s studies to women’s studies. Harvard only offers a general engineering degree or some such thing.

STL_Vet on September 18, 2012 at 5:15 PM

I just sent the article link and school url to my 17yo.

peski on September 18, 2012 at 5:00 PM

And I to my 19 year old.

So, what would employment in this and related fields be like if the Obama Admin and the eco-Marxists would stop hindering the use of our mother lode of natural resources? Can you say economic boom?

Charlemagne on September 18, 2012 at 5:17 PM

I am not in any way knocking Ivy League or big four-year institutions, not in the slightest — and clearly, in the long run, there are plenty of industries that will value a high-profile degree under the right conditions, especially if you’re willing to wait some decades for the major returns. But is it worth paying hundreds of thousands of dollars more for an education, and carrying that big ol’ chunk of debt and the interest with you into your life, when there are comparable opportunities to be had if you do a little searching off the much-less-expensive, beaten path? That’s an individual choice, but you really shouldn’t go crying to the government if your $100k liberal arts degree in Women’s Studies doesn’t help you land a great job — the government’s (and, specifically, President Obama’s) furthering involvement in the student-loan industry (and entire economy) is only helping to take those opportunities away.

Erika, you have become my favorite writer on HA, and I usually agree with you, but I would be careful here.

First, Harvard has a great financial aid program, as do many top schools. Your opportunities coming out of Harvard (or a comparable school) and South Dakota are night and day. Second, while debt for certain degrees is a bad idea, for many degrees it is still worth it, and it is not as hard to pay off if you lead a responsible life as many people pretend. When people complain about 20k in debt, they really need to stop, because it is not that hard to pay off that debt, even at a 40k salary. Heck, even 100k of debt is not that hard to pay off, if you live responsibly.

Finally, it doesn’t take decades to earn a payoff from a good school and/or degree. If you dont pursue a stupid major, and do engineering, sciences (leading to med school or just a career as a scientist), business, accounting, and to some degree pre-law, you should be able to get a decent salary right away, and by your mid 30′s, if you are even remotely good at your job, should be in the salary-range where Obama wants you to pay your “fair share.”

So, the premise just does not hold water. And for most people, taking more debt and going to a good school is a lot better option than going to a worse school and not having much debt.

milcus on September 18, 2012 at 5:17 PM

The mindset that every single person should go to college has become so engrained in American culture that we make people feel virtually worthless if they don’t have a college degree. And yet the notion of everyone going to college is utterly ridiculous. Not everyone is cut out for the college environment, and not every career requires a college degree. Last time I checked, we still needed everything from electricians to auto mechanics, plumbers to house painters, and none of those things will be done any better if you have a degree from Harvard.

Worse yet, the notion that everyone should go to college has been immediately followed by the notion that since not everyone can afford to go, things are unfair and the government should make it fair. And so we have government grant and student loan programs that have done nothing but (a) drive the price of college up way, way, way higher than the market would normally allow and (b) leave people with tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt that they have no hope of ever paying back.

The two best things we could do for higher education in this country are to admit that not everyone should pursue it and get the government out of the business of funding it.

Shump on September 18, 2012 at 5:17 PM

Half of recent college graduates unemployed or partime

ama on September 18, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Supply, demand? Anyone?

They don’t teach that no more. It got in the way of basket weaving and gender studies. You know, the stuff that’s important.

squint on September 18, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Screw the Tinkers!!

Go JACKETS!!!

BigWyo on September 18, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Never thought my alma mater would make the pages of Hot Air.

As for:

Screw the Tinkers!!

Go JACKETS!!!

BigWyo on September 18, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Far beyond the hills of Rapid…..

weaselyone on September 18, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Harvard University’s graduates are earning less than those from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology after a decade-long commodity bull market created shortages of workers as well as minerals.
Those leaving the college of 2,300 students this year got paid a median salary of $56,700, according to PayScale Inc., which tracks employee compensation data from surveys. At Harvard, where tuition fees are almost four times higher, they got $54,100. Those scheduled to leave the campus in Rapid City, South Dakota, in May are already getting offers, at a time when about one in 10 recent U.S. college graduates is out of work. …

Might this have something to do with the oil boom in North Dakota, where the oil is under private land?

If they opened up government land for shale oil extraction, they could have a similar boom in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.

Open up new leases for offshore drilling, and let the jobs boom from Virginia to Georgia.

But Obummer would never do that–they’re all red states except Virginia and Colorado. But if Romney promised to do it, he could take VA and CO, and he should also talk about fracking in Ohio!

Steve Z on September 18, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Finally, it doesn’t take decades to earn a payoff from a good school and/or degree. If you dont pursue a stupid major, and do engineering, sciences (leading to med school or just a career as a scientist), business, accounting, and to some degree pre-law, you should be able to get a decent salary right away, and by your mid 30′s, if you are even remotely good at your job, should be in the salary-range where Obama wants you to pay your “fair share.”

So, the premise just does not hold water. And for most people, taking more debt and going to a good school is a lot better option than going to a worse school and not having much debt.

milcus on September 18, 2012 at 5:17 PM

I wouldn’t read too much into it. I would like to make the point that you can obtain an engineering degree at a top notch school (SDSM&T) for far less than what kids are paying at other larger institutions for the same degree. One could even argue that you would receive a better education at the South Dakota School of Mines, depending on which engineering/science degree you pursue.

weaselyone on September 18, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Yes, you can either be a ‘Tech Hardrocker or a Harvard Crimson which I’m told is only a shade away from “Folly” and “Razzmatazz”

HarneyPeak on September 18, 2012 at 5:33 PM

So yes it is true, if you get a STEM degree you will do much better. And SDSM&T has a great reputation and does a lot to help place their students in their chosen field.

I dunno about Harvard, rumor has it you can get a good education there, but based on what I have seen from recent presidential graduates, I’m not so sure.

Lily on September 18, 2012 at 5:01 PM

http://careers.sdsmt.edu/
97% Career placement for graduates. $56,723 average annual starting salary.

Most universities tell you they will do all they can to help your child graduate.

This school tells you they will do all they can to get your kid a job after they graduate.

weaselyone on September 18, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Awesome, congrats. I’m afraid mine is going to end up with a BA in lit or some such and a Masters in Education. Bleh. She’s a great kid, but much stronger in English/History/Art/ than in math.

Trying to push her towards something useful…

peski on September 18, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Thanks, I just wanted to put a good word in for SDM&T though. However, if you want to know about other options, two of my other kids are linguists. One is a language analyst for the military. He does very well for himself. The other is an editor for a magazine run by the Oxford Group in Istanbul Turkey. She also does very well. They are both fluent in several languages so they have many options about where to work.

Native English speakers who have good English skills are high in demand, world-wide. But you have to be willing to travel or live overseas if you want to make good money. Or work for the military.

My nephew who has an English major from Creighton university is a manager at a Hollister. By the time he finishes his master in Ed. program he will be $120,000 in debt and earn, if he can find a job, maybe $35,000 starting out.

If you are planning on teaching, it will NEVER pay off to take out loans for a master’s. And there are NO JOBS.

The medical fields are good choices for people who don’t want to be engineers.

Lily on September 18, 2012 at 5:43 PM

We need more producers and less paper pushers….

redguy on September 18, 2012 at 5:45 PM

President Obama has been touring college campuses, capitalizing on their fears of being unable to pay off the loans they took out for their skyrocketing tuition prices.

Anyone want to take bets on whether President Obama will be visiting the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology? I somehow don’t think the students there would be to keen on his message.

weaselyone on September 18, 2012 at 5:47 PM

The other field young people should consider is welding. The older, experienced welders are going to start retiring in droves any minute now and there is no one to take their place.

Especially if one does specialty welding (underwater).

Mommynator on September 18, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Especially if one does specialty welding (underwater).

Mommynator on September 18, 2012 at 5:47 PM

I think kids would rather focus on specialty basketweaving (underwater).

weaselyone on September 18, 2012 at 5:50 PM

Native English speakers who have good English skills are high in demand, world-wide. But you have to be willing to travel or live overseas if you want to make good money. Or work for the military.

Lily on September 18, 2012 at 5:43 PM

Yes, this one of the directions we’re investigating.
Thanks.

peski on September 18, 2012 at 5:51 PM

While comparing Harvard with SDSM&T is kinda sorta like comparing apples and oranges, the comparison does hold up for STEM degrees. Harvard’s rep is pretty well over blown. It’s Engineering programs are not among the best. Not even close. MIT, close by, is pretty good on the grad school level, but the small Engineering Schools tend to be better for the under grad programs. You will actually get to meet your prof – in class, no less. The big schools use their Grad student TAs to handle the lectures too often and the prof on the class schedule is there as a formality. The small schools don’t do that trash, and they also tend to be cheaper too boot.

My son attended UMR and got a MSEE and less than two years after graduation is at $85K. He’s making $15K more than his BSCE (with PE, PS, and CFedS license and certification) old man is. I told him if he ever made more than me I’d have to kill him. :-)

Quartermaster on September 18, 2012 at 5:57 PM

There are many that think a degree in anything will open many doors but 10,000 degrees and 50 doors does not make any sense. Our youth are brain washed into college and many are not college material. Blue collar workers were chastised severely in the 50 and 60′s and the lunch buckets were made fun of and after four years of fun and games in college many saw those Blue Collar workers were building their own houses and trading each others skills to help one another start into the fast lane of success. The years of the Hippy generation provided many useless degrees to stay ahead of the draft, not all but enough to tip the scales of talent to the negative. End of rant.

mixplix on September 18, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Averages are averages, it doesn’t say anything about 5 or 10 years later…many law students take “low” paying jobs in prestigious law firms, knowing that the pay off comes later, as they build their own clients.

Both of my kids started off from law school at normal, average paying jobs, within a couple of years that was accelerated, and now after just about 6 for one and 7 years for the other, it is almost triple what the starting salary was, and that will probably double the next 5 years.

So the SD worker may make $57,000 now, will that same student, in mining, be making 2 or $300,000+ for the balance of their life?

I am reminded of a friend, who received his MBA, decades ago, and he took a job at Jack in the Box, his Jewish mother cried and he said at her weekly card games would not tell them what he was doing…5 years later, he was a VP…it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish in life.
In a race, everyone starts at the starting line…

right2bright on September 18, 2012 at 6:07 PM

My son graduates from Colorado State U in May with Business and Philsophy double major and 2 certificates (Entrepreneurialship and HR Mgmt). He quit Mech Engineering after the first year because of math troubles and incompetent professors. So he WAS thinking Law School (the reason for the double major), but dropped that idea after talking to some law grads about the lack of jobs in that field. He did an internship this summer with Dish Network (at HQ in Denver) and was told by a senior VP to expect a job offer soon – to start after graduation. Expectation is somehwere between $35K and $50K to start.

On the other hand, my other son, 1 year out of high school, no interest in college, is making over $11 / hour with benefits at Costco – and has no college loans to pay off. If he gets promoted to management eventually, he could be making nearly as much as his brother in a few years – with no college at all.

dentarthurdent on September 18, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I am not in any way knocking Ivy League or big four-year institutions, not in the slightest

Why not? It’s obvious a degree in something where there’s a demand trumps a Poli Sci degree from an Ivy League university.

I’ll knock the unproductive of an Ivy League over the productive coming out of a mining college any day.

MNHawk on September 18, 2012 at 6:15 PM

On the other hand, my other son, 1 year out of high school, no interest in college, is making over $11 / hour with benefits at Costco – and has no college loans to pay off. If he gets promoted to management eventually, he could be making nearly as much as his brother in a few years – with no college at all.

dentarthurdent on September 18, 2012 at 6:10 PM

A university dean, I believe it was Oklahoma, years ago did a study:
What if you invested your college tuition in the stock market, instead of school, and took an average paying job in a retail store, investing every quarter for 4 years and not go to college, what would the outcome be?
He was shocked at the amount of money the student would have made in just those 4 years, enough so college would have been a waste of time and money.
His conclusion, go and get a degree for a specific purpose…if it’s to earn money, there are other ways.

right2bright on September 18, 2012 at 6:15 PM

My son attended UMR and got a MSEE and less than two years after graduation is at $85K. He’s making $15K more than his BSCE (with PE, PS, and CFedS license and certification) old man is. I told him if he ever made more than me I’d have to kill him. :-)

Quartermaster on September 18, 2012 at 5:57 PM

I would guess most of us hope our kids do better than we did – although it may be hard to swallow. My Dad had no college, became a meteorologist (weather observer) and retired from government (National Weather Service) at the GS-9 level after 31 years. That was about $35K a year back then. I got an BS Enginering and went into the USAF, so I passed his highest income level about 5 years after college. I have no doubt my oldest is likely to pass me by in a few years. I hope he does so he can pay me back for all the college and car expenses he’s racked up.

dentarthurdent on September 18, 2012 at 6:16 PM

right2bright on September 18, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Ya – along that line, my son (at Costco) at only 19 is already saving up to buy a house. He didn’t do so well at his first stock market venture, so he’s thinking real estate. I think that’s a good move – prices are down, mortgage rates are down, and rents are high – good time to buy. And he’s already planning for a house near one of the colleges in town so it would make a good rental some day. He’s a smart kid and works hard – just doesn’t like sitting in a classroom.

dentarthurdent on September 18, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Averages are averages, it doesn’t say anything about 5 or 10 years later…many law students take “low” paying jobs in prestigious law firms, knowing that the pay off comes later, as they build their own clients.

Both of my kids started off from law school at normal, average paying jobs, within a couple of years that was accelerated, and now after just about 6 for one and 7 years for the other, it is almost triple what the starting salary was, and that will probably double the next 5 years.

So the SD worker may make $57,000 now, will that same student, in mining, be making 2 or $300,000+ for the balance of their life?

I am reminded of a friend, who received his MBA, decades ago, and he took a job at Jack in the Box, his Jewish mother cried and he said at her weekly card games would not tell them what he was doing…5 years later, he was a VP…it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish in life.
In a race, everyone starts at the starting line…

right2bright on September 18, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Well said. That 57k in 20 years might be no more than 80k. A degree from a top 100 school might have a lower starting salary, but with the right major, in 20 years, if you are good at your job, you will be making over 100k, with room for a lot more.

As long as you enjoy life and do what you are good at, you will get to where you want to be. It’s like Paul Ryan says – there are no stations in life, there are destinations if you aspire to dream (I am adding my own language to that end).

It’s just a lot easier to get places with a Harvard degree than it is a SD degree.

milcus on September 18, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Averages are averages, it doesn’t say anything about 5 or 10 years later
right2bright on September 18, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Good point, engineers traditionally top out lower than many other professions. The following quote is from this website regarding MIT engineering graduates.

For example, new employees earn a median $65,107 per year, but at one to four years of work, they receive $72,705. With five to nine years of experience, they make $89,524, and at 10 to 19 years, they get $115,626. Finally, at 20 years or more of employment, they top out at $129,359, according to PayScale.com.

For anyone interested, latest ranking by U.S. News and World report of undergraduate engineering schools is here.
top ten are as below. Harvard didn’t make the list.

#1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
#2 Stanford University
#3 California Institute of Technology
#3 University of California–Berkeley
#5 Georgia Institute of Technology
#5 University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign
#7 University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
#8 Carnegie Mellon University
#8 Cornell University
#10 Princeton University
#10 Purdue University–West Lafayette
#10 University of Texas–Austin

STL_Vet on September 18, 2012 at 6:31 PM

right2bright on September 18, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Well said. That 57k in 20 years might be no more than 80k. A degree from a top 100 school might have a lower starting salary, but with the right major, in 20 years, if you are good at your job, you will be making over 100k, with room for a lot more.

milcus on September 18, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Depends on what you do. Acutally an engineer who starts at $57K, if he/she moves into project management over time, could easily be in the 6 figure range within 15 or 20 years – maybe less.

dentarthurdent on September 18, 2012 at 6:43 PM

STL_Vet on September 18, 2012 at 6:31 PM

The top 10 you list are for the undergrad programs at colleges where you can get up to a PhD.
For colleges where only a Bachelor’s degree is offered (no post-grad), #1 is Rose-Hulman, #2 is Harvey Mudd, #3 is West Point, and #4 is Air Force Academy (my school).

dentarthurdent on September 18, 2012 at 6:50 PM

dentarthurdent on September 18, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Good catch, missed the second list.

STL_Vet on September 18, 2012 at 6:57 PM

For example, new employees earn a median $65,107 per year, but at one to four years of work, they receive $72,705. With five to nine years of experience, they make $89,524, and at 10 to 19 years, they get $115,626. Finally, at 20 years or more of employment, they top out at $129,359, according to PayScale.com.
STL_Vet on September 18, 2012 at 6:31 PM

I believe this all depends on what you actually do through your career. These figures are probably for someone who stays doing direct engineering work for their whole career.

I got a (General) Engineering BS and went into the Air Force as an officer and space systems analyst, then became a DoD contractor doing various kinds of engineering (software and systems mostly). I’ve never gotten any post-grad degrees, but over time I got into management and business development, so just past my 20 year point I was over $100K. I know people who got into higher levels of management who are making much more.

dentarthurdent on September 18, 2012 at 7:07 PM

These comparisons are getting rather tiring. The top 20 schools don’t cost what the sticker price says. The only people who end up paying more than what a state school cost are those that come from wealthy families. I did like the post the other day about giving interest rate on loans based off of what major was chosen. Reflects earning potential and gets people thinking about these things sooner.

ArkyDore on September 18, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Yes, this one of the directions we’re investigating.
Thanks.

peski on September 18, 2012 at 5:51 PM

China is the highest paying country for English speakers to relocate to, on average, but then you have to live in China:) And, if you can translate from any language into English, you should be able to find a job in that country. People with a neutral mid-western accent are in high demand. And English copy editors, who may not even be fluent in the local language, do well overseas. English is such an irregular language it is very hard for non-native speakers of English to do well at copy-editing.

But as far as a cheap education for people who go that route, the military can’t be beat. If you go in as a linguist or language analyst you get incredible training. However, it’s tough to pass the entrance exam and even tougher to get through the training. But totally worth it if you can do it.

Lily on September 18, 2012 at 7:24 PM

blergh

stvdog on September 18, 2012 at 7:34 PM

I have a few friends who graduated from SDSM&T, they are making a TON of money.

The Notorious G.O.P on September 18, 2012 at 7:35 PM

I don’t remember reading that universities were started in medieval Europe so that the graduates could make a lot of money or “get a job”. Trade schools on the other hand are just about making money and securing a job.

Apples and oranges.

There are manicurists that make a heck of a lot more money than many college grads even working in their chosen fields. That’s not the point.

As civilizations thrive and grow, the denizens generally thirst for knowledge, want to spread that learning.

As civilizations decline, they ridicule academic education and thirst for more wealth.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 18, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Comparisons of school and salary often roll wealthy medical and law school grads with the underwater basket weaving majors. Tends to hide the real picture.

Sekhmet on September 18, 2012 at 7:59 PM

The wage index is even higher if you go to a real school like the Montana College of Mineral Science & Technology! Montana Tech…Go Diggers! Seriously though, mining & metallurgy are booming engineering fields and you don’t have to go into huge debt to get a great education. This market currently has mining and met engineers starting at $74K right out of school. I’ve been in the industry 20 years and my income is high on Obama’s hit list. The problem…Maobama is going to kill all extractive industry if he has his way. He’s started on coal and oil. Mining and metals are under heavy attack right now. I work at a gold mine that employs over 2000 people. Underground miners make over $70K with hourly wage and bonus…yeah, we need to kill those jobs.

Wyznowski on September 18, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Wyznowski on September 18, 2012 at 8:04 PM

I feel our trade school/vocational system is woefully lacking. I was talking to a co-worker about this today and brought up the old Glenn Ford movie, Blackboard Jungle. One thing that was interesting was that it was set in a public high school vocational school, another thing is that it included thugs who were most likely destined for prison anyway. So, rather than screwing up algebra class or British lit, they were screwing up shop class.

A well-trained master whatever in the trades is analogous to someone holding a Master’s or Doctorate’s degree from Academia. One is not better than the other-they are simply different in their focus. An academic should be increasing our knowledge of X, while a tradesman applies (and hopefully to a high standard of excellence)an existing technology.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 18, 2012 at 8:45 PM

(…I wonder if these youths realize that President Obama’s more-people-should-go-to-college and lowering-loan-rates goals

…anybody see a loan rate that HASN’T gone up?…please let me know!

KOOLAID2 on September 18, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Comparisons of school and salary often roll wealthy medical and law school grads with the underwater basket weaving majors. Tends to hide the real picture.

Sekhmet on September 18, 2012 at 7:59 PM

I agree. A fair comparison would be the average income of law schools or med schools with the South Dakota school. They are essentially trade schools.

ArkyDore on September 18, 2012 at 11:32 PM

You mean capitalism ” will find a way” ?

Whodathunkit?

connertown on September 18, 2012 at 11:43 PM

Let me plug another good Science/Engineering school… Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan. They have a world-class program, comparable to MIT but much more affordable. They are definitely worth checking out. They also have business and liberal arts programs, but they still require a lot of science and math as part of the major requirements, at least compared to many liberal arts programs.

Boudica on September 19, 2012 at 3:21 AM

dentarthurdent on September 18, 2012 at 6:50 PM

What class?

Those of you looking to compare “down the road” salaries, remember that extra initial salary can be invested, the potential salary can’t. Played correctly, the person with the higher starting salary could have a higher wealth in the long run than the one with the later sky-high salary.

GWB on September 19, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Sorry, gotta throw in the old restroom joke for those who remember it
For those who don’t, too bad
#1-I’m from Harvard, cleanliness matters
#2-I’m from Princeton, the environment is everything
#3-I’m from South Dakota, we don’t p*** on our hands

KornKing on September 19, 2012 at 10:10 AM