What Is Your Degree Worth?
I graduated from Bowling Green State University in the spring of 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. That's what it says on my resume, at any rate, and I have no reason to doubt it since I put it there myself.
The article linked above lists the degrees that give the holder the highest earnings potential immediately out of college. An English degree is listed eighth, with an average starting salary of $30,157.
Right now, four years out of college, I'm making significantly less than that. Of course, the comparison isn't entirely fair, since my current position doesn't actively involve any knowledge gained in pursuit of that particular degree. That being the case, let's look at it in a different way. Since earning my degree, I've held one job that was related. For that job I was paid $9.00 per hour, which comes out to around $18,700 per year. That's even less than I'm making now, and even further below the average starting salary for someone with an English degree.
Numbers don't lie (although they may omit some information occasionally, unless you apply flame to the bottoms of their feet), and it seems obvious that I should be making more money than I am. I like money (more specifically, I like things that are often traded for money by big corporations, like event tickets and electronic devices), and more of it would definitely be a good thing.
Of course, the article was pretty basic, and there's a lot of information that wasn't mentioned. I'm curious to know what sort of jobs people are getting that pay salaries in that area, and what regions of the country they're in. It's easy to look at a number and realize that you're not making anywhere near that, but there are all these other factors to consider. I'm sure I could move to New York or Chicago and get an editing job for that amount or more, but I'm not really a New York or Chicago kind of guy. They're fun places to visit, but I doubt I would enjoy living there. As much as the people of Ohio frustrate me at times, I like living here, and I have little or no interest in going somewhere else for a job.
Still, it's useful information. I can hope that eventually a job in my chosen field will open up for me in this area, a job that pays fair market value. I'm looking for it now, and I promise that if I should find it, I'll be shouting it from the rooftops.