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Salary Report Reflects Range of Earnings by College Major

What size paycheck will that college degree deliver? The answer depends a lot on the major a student selects, according to the latest PayScale College Salary Report.

Students who major in petroleum engineering can look forward to a starting salary of $103,000 and a mid-career income of $160,000. Others topping the list were those who study actuarial mathematics, nuclear engineering, chemical engineering, and aerospace engineering.

The lowest paid major was child and family studies, with an expected starting income of $30,300 and $37,200 by mid-career. Elementary education, social work, athletic training, and human development majors were also among those ranked lowest for earnings.

The Payscale website also includes a search tool by college to find the average salaries of graduates. It includes the percentage of students who report they have jobs with "high meaning." To search a particular college, click here.

There are also listings for the best schools for pay by major, by region, and type.

The Payscale website has a section that helps students choose a major by sorting through options by salary potential and majors that can change the world, such as nursing and special education.

It's not so much the school students choose, as it is the major. Other research, such as studies done at Georgetown University, also have found that earnings and employment are closely tied to major.

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