S&E Degree Recipients Earn More Than Others
Individuals with college degrees in science and
engineering (S&E) are earning more than their counterparts in other
fields, according to a recent study by the Science Resources Studies (SRS)
The median annual salary for individuals who received S&E bachelor's degrees
between 1963 and 1992 is 17.6% higher than the median salary of other bachelor's
degree recipients, according to Science Resource Analyst Mark Regets. Individuals
with S&E master's and professional degrees earn 6.1% more than do their non-S&E
Regets wrote the study using data compiled by the 1993 National Survey of College
Graduates (NSCG). NSCG surveyed 215,000 individuals under 75 who held a bachelor's
degree or higher in any field at the time of the 1990 census. In total, the United
States has 29 million college graduates, 10.3 million of whom have one or more
S&E degree, the survey showed.
Although only 28.6% of individuals with bachelor's degrees in science
or engineering work in a S&E occupation, most graduates reported finding
some use for their training. Only 29.6% of the bachelor's degree recipients
reported working in non-S&E occupations completely unrelated to their
degree. This suggests, says Regets, that the undergraduate education is
producing skills valued in the labor market.
Regets found that S&E graduates maintain their salary advantages throughout
their careers. After 26 to 30 years in the work force, S&E bachelor's degree
recipients earn an average of 30.8% more than their non-S&E cohorts. After
the same time period, master's and professional S&E degree holders earn an
average of 8.8% more than their counterparts.
Within S&E fields, the highest paid individuals have degrees in engineering,
physical and math/computer sciences. The lowest paid individuals have degrees
in social and life sciences.