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College Majors Handbook

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657 pages

This terrific handbook offers the most accurate and helpful information available for making decisions on a college major—or what to do with a degree you have.


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College Second Edition Majors HANDBOOK with Real Career Paths and Payoffs The Actual Jobs, Earnings, and Trends for Graduates of 60 College Majors Neeta P. Fogg, Ph.D. Paul E. Harrington, Ed.D. Thomas F. Harrington, Ph.D. Foreword by Michael Farr, America’s Foremost Career Author FMnew.p65 1 4/23/2007, 10:44 AM College Majors Handbook with Real Career Paths and Payoffs, Second Edition The Actual Jobs, Earnings, and Trends for Graduates of 60 College Majors Previous edition was titled The College Majors Handbook. © 2004 by JIST Publishing, Inc. Published by JIST Works, an imprint of JIST Publishing, Inc. 8902 Otis Avenue Indianapolis, IN 46216-1033 Phone: 1-800-648-JIST Fax: 1-800-JIST-FAX E-mail: info@jist.com Web site: www.jist.com Visit our Web site at www.jist.com for information on JIST, free job search information, book excerpts, and ordering information on our many products. Quantity discounts are available for JIST products. Have future edi- tions of JIST books automatically delivered to you on publication through our convenient standing order program. Please call our sales department at 1-800-648-JIST for a free catalog and more information. Acquisitions Editor: Susan Pines Development Editor: Lisa S. Williams Editor: Stephanie Koutek Cover Designer: Nick Anderson Interior Designer: Aleata Howard Interior Layout: Carolyn Newland Proofreader: Jeanne Clark Indexer: Kelly D. Henthorne Printed in the United States of America 11 10 09 08 07 9 8 7 6 5 4 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Fogg, Neeta. College majors handbook with real career paths and payoffs : the actual jobs, earnings, and trends for graduates of 60 college majors / Neeta P. Fogg, Paul E. Harrington, Thomas F. Harrington ; foreword by Michael Farr.— 2nd ed. p. cm. Rev. ed. of: College majors handbook. c2001. Includes index. ISBN 1-59357-074-0 1. Vocational guidance—United States. 2. Vocational interests—United States. 3. College majors—United States. 4. Professions—United States. I. Harrington, Paul. II. Harrington, Thomas F. III. Fogg, Neeta. College majors handbook. IV. Title. HF5382.5.U5F644 2004 331.702’0973—dc22 2004007907 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles or reviews. Making copies of any part of this book for any purpose other than your own personal use is a violation of United States copyright laws. For permission requests, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at www.copyright.com or (978) 750-8400. We have been careful to provide accurate information throughout this book, but it is possible that errors and omissions have been introduced. Please consider this in making any career plans or other important decisions. Trust your own judgment above all else and in all things. Trademarks: All brand names and product names used in this book are trade names, service marks, trademarks, or regis- tered trademarks of their respective owners. ISBN 978-1-59357-074-3 FMnew.p65 2 4/23/2007, 10:44 AM Foreword Where was this book when I needed it? I went through four years of high school without any meaningful career counsel- ing or help in selecting a college major. Fortunately, I assumed I would go to college, but I selected my first major based on little information. In college, I still didn’t get any useful help in exploring career options or selecting a college major, so of course I changed my pre-med major to something impractical, English. After working a few years in unrelated jobs, I went on to a master’s degree in counseling psychology with no meaningful career counseling. Too many people make similarly important decisions with little solid informa- tion. I’ve turned out okay, but it sure would have been helpful back then to know more about majors that interested me and how they related to career outcomes. I often still hear people say things like ◗ “Liberal arts (or whatever) is not a good degree, since you can’t get a good job with it.” ◗ “Get a degree in physical therapy (or whatever) because it pays well.” ◗ “A college degree is a waste of time. My sister-in-law has one and is working as a waitress.” But are these and similar statements true? And are earnings and job prospects the most important things to consider when selecting a college major? This book will help you get solid answers to these and other important ques- tions. Instead of presenting someone’s opinion, this book presents the actual employment experiences of 150,000 people who obtained four-year college degrees. It gives us the facts about the actual jobs they work in, how much they earn, and other employment-related details for graduates in 60 majors. FMnew.p65 3 4/23/2007, 10:44 AM College Majors Handbook with Real Career Paths and Payoffs _______________________________ Finally, we know what actually happened to those who majored in the liberal arts, education, psychology, business, engineering, and so many other fields. And the results will sometimes surprise you! For example, I would not have guessed that the job most often held by psychology majors is “managers, ex- ecutives, or administrators.” Or that political science majors end up in the wide range of jobs that they actually do. It makes for interesting reading and will certainly help you look at some college majors in different ways. And as for wondering whether going to college is worth it, this book answers that question with an emphatic “YES!” by laying out the compelling economic data that supports doing so. More importantly, the book will encourage you to understand how to afford going to college, as well as help you make a good de- cision regarding just what college majors best meet your interests, values, and employment goals. I consider this book to be the most helpful one on its topic, and I recommend it without hesitation for anyone who is considering going to college or who is selecting or changing a college major. I only wish the authors had written it earlier. Michael Farr Editor’s note: Mike is an author of more than 20 books on job seeking and exploring career and learning options, including The Very Quick Job Search, The Quick Resume & Cover Letter Book, Same-Day Resume, and Best Jobs for the 21st Century. Mike also holds the position of publisher at JIST Publishing. He enthusiasti- cally volunteered to write this foreword for a book he very much believes in. iv FMnew.p65 4 4/23/2007, 10:44 AM Table of Contents Part 1 What You Need to Know About the College Investment Decision, College Success, and Career Choice ................................... 1 Chapter 1 What Pays Off in High School: Pre-College Decisions and College and Career Choices .................................................................................................................. 3 Chapter 2 The Psychology of Career Choice: Assessing Abilities, Interests, and Values.............. 213 The Economics of Career Choice ................................................................................... 41 Part 2 Behavioral and Medical Sciences .....................................................73 Chapter 4 Audiology and Speech Pathology 75 Chapter 5 Criminal Justice and Criminology 83 Chapter 6 Health and Medical Technology ...................................................................................... 91 Chapter 7 Home Economics: Dietetics, Food, and Nutrition..........................................................101 Chapter 8 Medical Preparatory Programs 111 Chapter 9 Nursing ........................................................................................................................... 121 Chapter 10 Parks, Recreation, Fitness, and Leisure Studies129 Chapter 11 Pharmacy ........................................................................................................................ 139 Chapter 12 Physical Therapy ............................................................................................................ 145 Chapter 13 Psychology ..................................................................................................................... 153 Chapter 14 Social Work..................................................................................................................... 165 Part 3 Business and Administration ........................................................ 175 Chapter 15 Accounting ...................................................................................................................... 177 Chapter 16 Applied Mathematics, Operations Research, and Statistics ........................................185 Chapter 17 Economics.......... 195 Chapter 18 Financial Management .................................................................................................. 205 Chapter 19 General Business ........................................................................................................... 215 Chapter 20Mathematics... 225 Chapter 21 Marketing............ 235 Chapter 22 Public Administration 243 Part 4 Education ...................................................................................... 253 Chapter 23 Elementary Teacher Education 255 Chapter 24 Mathematics and Science Teacher Education .............................................................. 263 Chapter 25 Physical Education and Coaching ................................................................................ 271 Chapter 26 Secondary T ....................................................................................... 279 Chapter 27 Special Education .......................................................................................................... 289 FMnew.p65 5 4/23/2007, 10:44 AM Part 5 Engineering ................................................................................... 297 Chapter 28 Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical Engineering ........................................... 299 Chapter 29 Architecture and Environmental Design ....................................................................... 307 Chapter 30 Chemical Engineering ................................................................................................... 315 Chapter 31 Civil Engineering ............................................................................................................ 323 Chapter 32 Computer Systems Engineering .................................................................................... 333 Chapter 33 Electrical and Electronics Engineering ......................................................................... 343 Chapter 34 Industrial Engineering .................................................................................................... 353 Chapter 35 Mechanical Engineering ................................................................................................ 363 Part 6 Humanities and Social Sciences ................................................... 373 Chapter 36 Anthropology and Archaeology ..................................................................................... 375 Chapter 37 Communications 385 Chapter 38 Dramatic Arts .................................................................................................................. 393 Chapter 39 English Language, Literature, and Letters .................................................................... 401 Chapter 40 Foreign Languages and Literature ................................................................................ 411 Chapter 41 Geography ...................................................................................................................... 421 Chapter 42 History ............................................................................................................................. 431 Chapter 43 Journalism 437 Chapter 44 Legal Studies and Pre-Law ...........................................................................................445 Chapter 45 Liberal Arts and General Studies ..................................................................................453 Chapter 46 Music and Dance............................................................................................................ 463 Chapter 47 Philosophy 473 Chapter 48 Political Science, Government, and International Relations ........................................ 483 Chapter 49 Sociology ........................................................................................................................ 491 Chapter 50 Visual Arts ....................................................................................................................... 499 Part 7 Natural Sciences ........................................................................... 509 Chapter 51 Animal Food Sciences ...................................................................................................511 Chapter 52 Biology and Life Sciences .............................................................................................519 Chapter 53 Chemistry 527 Chapter 54 Forestry and Environmental Sciences .......................................................................... 535 Chapter 55 Geology and Geophysics............................................................................................... 545 Chapter 56 Microbiology and Biochemistry ..................................................................................... 555 Chapter 57 Physics and Astronomy..................................................................................................565 Chapter 58 Plant Food Sciences ...................................................................................................... 575 Part 8 Technology ................................................................................... 583 Chapter 59 Computer Science.......................................................................................................... 585 Chapter 60 Data and Information Processing ..................................................................................595 Chapter 61 Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technology ..................................................... 605 Chapter 62 Industrial Production Technology 615 Chapter 63 Mechanical Engineering T ............................................................................ 625 Index ............................................................................................................... 632 FMnew.p65 6 4/23/2007, 10:44 AM Preface “What’s your major?” Every first-year student entering a college or university is asked that question. A major is a concentration of specialized courses, usually a minimum of 24 credit hours (such as eight three-hour courses), taken during a student’s third and fourth years in a four-year program. Some colleges and universities require students to declare a major immediately upon entering their freshman year, most often in specialized technical areas such as electrical engineering, nursing, or computer science. In a liberal arts college or university, students are exposed to a spectrum of courses from differ- ent academic disciplines during the first two years for a general education. At the beginning of the third, or junior, year, most colleges require students to con- centrate their studies in a particular field, such as psychology, journalism, or chemistry, as preparation for a career after graduation. Some first-year students know exactly what they want to major in and what career they want to pursue after graduation. At the other extreme, some fresh- men enter college without having made any decision about either a major or a career. Between the two extremes are most students, who have tentative or—at best—provisional ideas about possible majors and subsequent careers. Decisions for choosing one major above another are sometimes made for superficial yet practical, short-term reasons, such as which courses are less difficult and which departments have professors who give better grades. We believe that the choice of major field of study should be based on long-term career and lifestyle goals and informed by sound information. Most of the publications offering guidance for enrolling in college contain little more than a description of the more than 3,500 colleges and universities across the nation. They provide a sketch of each college in terms of the types of stu- dents enrolled and the nature of the educational process at each college, includ- ing class sizes, student-faculty ratios, and proportion of faculty with a doctoral degree. They also provide some information on the types of programs offered. In recent years, this type of publication has provided a quality ranking of the colleges based on the admissions competitiveness of the school. Although these publications can provide a thumbnail sketch of a large number of colleges across the country, they don’t provide much insight into perhaps the most important decision that a college student will make—a decision that is even more important than the actual college selection—the choice of a major field of study. FMnew.p65 7 4/23/2007, 10:44 AM College Majors Handbook with Real Career Paths and Payoffs _______________________________ This book provides substantive information on long-term career alternatives for bachelor’s degree holders in 60 major fields of study. The basic tenet of this book is that cost of a college or university education is an investment that can yield “payoffs” in the form of economically rewarding and personally fulfilling careers. Sixty chapters—each devoted to a single major field of study—detail the economic rewards and employment experiences of graduates within each field. The chapters also discuss training opportunities at work, the types of duties per- formed at work, and the most common occupations in which the graduates from each of the 60 major fields of study are employed. To be sure, salary is not the only form of payoff from a college education. Inter- ests, values, and abilities are also personal goals in seeking job satisfaction. The information needs of guidance counselors, teachers, parents, or administrators do not neatly fall into one of the respective disciplines of the authors—economics or psychology. Rather, these educators and parents seek to understand the choices that could provide their students and children with solid opportunities yet still meet their psychological needs and personal aspirations. This book responds to these needs by integrating the work of psychology and economics into a single comprehensive volume. The reader receives informa- tion about the personality and labor market implications of his or her choice of an undergraduate major field of study. We have tried to cross the boundaries of a single academic discipline to provide new and more meaningful information to those confronted with the task of making a college investment decision. Recognizing that investment in a college education will yield rewards in the future, this book also provides projections of labor market demand for gradu- ates from each of the 60 major fields of study. For those inclined toward graduate education, this book discusses the role of graduate education in career advancement. It also presents the actual post- graduate schooling experiences of bachelor’s degree holders in each of the 60 major fields, including the types of postgraduate degrees earned and the major field of study in which a degree was received. This informative book should help anyone replace superficial, short-term assess- ments about a major with long-term considerations of several economic, per- sonal, and psychological dimensions of their choice of major that should have a positive impact on a graduate’s future employment and lead to a professionally rewarding career. This book enables you to easily compare the different payoffs of each of the 60 majors on the basis of a survey of 150,000 bachelor’s degree holders. For par- ents, students, career counselors, and anyone involved in the choice or use of a college major, this book is an enlightening and indispensable resource for choosing one major above another. viii FMnew.p65 8 4/23/2007, 10:44 AM ____________________________________________________________________________ Preface Organization of the Book Chapter 1 starts out with the relationship between pre-college decisions on col- lege and career choice. This chapter describes the importance of decisions made during high school on college and career outcomes. Chapters 2 and 3 provide a discussion of the psychology and economics involved in the choice of major field of study. Psychologist Thomas Harrington writes about the role that per- sonal values, interests, personality, and abilities play in the selection of majors and career fields. Economists Neeta Fogg and Paul Harrington examine the eco- nomics of the college investment decision. We focus on the economic benefits and costs of a college diploma and the impact that the choice of a major field of study has on long-term labor market success. The remainder of the book provides specific information on 60 major fields of study. A description of each undergraduate major and the various subfields that compose the major are provided. Next, a discussion of the skills required to enter the field successfully and the types of values, interests, personalities, and abilities that persons in the field generally possess are included. For each major field of study, different kinds of data are provided on the em- ployment and earnings outcomes as well as on graduates’ educational pathways. Information is provided on the kinds of jobs held by graduates with a bachelor’s degree in each major field of study, the activities that they undertake at work, and the sector in which they are employed. An extensive discussion of the earn- ings of graduates by major field of study—including their long-term earnings experiences—is provided. The level of company-supported training and the future educational activities of graduates are presented as well. Finally, we provide data on the employment outlook—developed by the U.S. Bu- reau of Labor Statistics—for each of the most commonly held jobs by graduates in every major field of study. All the data and analysis included for the sixty ma- jors pertain to college graduates who have earned a bachelor’s degree only. The outcomes for persons with an earned graduate degree are not included, although information on the likelihood of earning a graduate degree of some type and the kinds of advanced degrees earned is included for each major field of study. Sources of Information Many of the findings and analyses included in this book are based on the results of the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG). The NSCG is a sample of more than 148,000 respondents in the United States who completed a compre- hensive questionnaire designed to gather information on the educational, em- ployment, and earnings experiences of a cross section of college graduates across the nation. The NSCG represents the largest and most comprehensive study of college graduates ever conducted. ix FMnew.p65 9 4/23/2007, 10:44 AM
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