Planet Money 485- What’s Your Major: Relevant for today’s student, or not?

In this episode 485, NPR’s Planet Money talked about expected earnings for each college major. They based their discussion on Georgetown Professor Caravelli’s study. There’s lots of useful, detailed data included for each college major. But does this information give us the whole picture?

 recent college graduates holding diplomas

Salary and industry info
Most college students enter college and choose a major without knowing their future job prospects. So this data is a huge advantage for students to consider. At least this gives them an idea of how much they might expect to make, as well as the top four industries where each major ends up employed.

Who’s included in the study?
They survey bachelors degree holders without advanced degrees, who also work full time, year round. It excludes those who are unemployed and underemployed. They include workers of all ages and experience levels, and don’t break down this information by category.

Is it applicable to today’s students?
This study isn’t focused on recent graduates.  It includes everyone.  Since results aren’t segregated, it’s hard to tell what the job market looks like for each major now. It would be silly for current college students to base their future on workers in their 40s and 50s.

The jobs of today aren’t necessarily the jobs of tomorrow
If young people want clearer guidance on their career options, they should think about which professions are growing, or disappearing. So many jobs can be (and have been!) off shored in a heartbeat. Or eliminated due to changing technology.

How can we know the jobs of tomorrow?
While no one can predict the future with 100% certainty, there are factors we can take into account to help us figure out tomorrow’s recession resistant jobs. In the next few posts, we’ll discuss what to look for to determine this, as well as alternative career options. They might not be what you think.

Photo via Flickr user Aine D

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