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home | Education Today | Where the Top-Paying Jobs Are Today

Where the Top-Paying Jobs Are Today

John Hamilton - April 19, 2013
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This article describes the top-paying 15 jobs a graduate can get with only a bachelor's degree.

Of the top 15, 6 of those were engineering degrees. Of the top 7, only one was not engineering. The average starting salary for these just graduated engineering students was $63,950 per year with a high of just over $70k and a low of just under $58k.

For students to go into engineering, they almost have to come into the freshman year math and science ready. That means being able to start calculus I and university chemistry and quickly become ready for university (calculus based) physics. While many students change majors while in college it is exceedingly rare for a student to start in a soft major and change majors to engineering.

Students who start in engineering but decide to change majors often have an overall higher graduation rate than other students who came in as different declared majors. After a few semesters of rigorous math or science they find transition to other classes simple.

It is not the simple knowledge of the basic sciences that is needed before the student can succeed on a science or engineering track in college, but what is vital is the mental ability to understand and then apply simple principles. This is developed by taking science courses before the student goes to the university. A student who has learned basic physical science and principals and seen those principles in action is much more likely to grasp and understand how to solve a calculus based physics problem when he gets to college. Students can often get through early education by simple rote learning. Many classes a student will take outside the sciences, while good, do not require the kinds of thought processes that analytical sciences do.

As an engineer by education and experience, I am sure I have a bias towards engineering as a career path. Many graduating engineers successfully get jobs in banking and as analyst. This is because employers know that engineers graduate with good analytical skills that are transferable. Those analytical skills are best begun before the student goes to college and can be accomplished with a good science education beforehand.

Going beyond the immediate issue of starting salary of recent graduates we need to also look at the future. The future growth is going to be in technology and in medicine, with an aging population there is going to be an increased need for all types of medical professional, everything from RNs to pharmacists, to dentist to doctors. What these all have in common are a basis in the sciences. When a prospective medical student sits for the MCAT he is tested not only over biology, but also over physics and chemistry.


Mr. Hamilton will be teaching the non-biological science courses in high school. He teaches engineering at the University of Arkansas, Ft. Smith campus.

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