Compare Lifetime Earnings by College Major

Excerpt of chart showing median lifetime earnings by college major in millions of dollars (The Hamilton Project)New research released by The Hamilton Project today explores median lifetime earnings for select majors, including those with the highest earnings, those with the lowest earnings, and those that are among the most common. “Over the entire working life, the typical college graduate will earn $1.19 million in today’s dollars,” the research shows. “This is more than twice as much as the lifetime earnings of a typical high school graduate ($580,000), and $335,000 more than that of a typical associate degree graduate.” But how does what you study affect your earnings? A new interactive chart allows you to compare the annual and lifetime returns of 80 college majors, and to those with a high school degree only.

Median Lifetime Earnings for Select Majors (in Millions of Dollars), from The Hamilton Project

Visit the project for the complete list, which also compares median earnings by college major to sub-baccalaureate educational levels, plus also get technical appendix and data tables.

The report also contains a number of interactive charts showing how even the highest-earning high school graduates can out-earn the lowest-earning graduates of any major. But, generally speaking, “College degrees may not be a guarantee of higher income, but they come closer than just about any other investment one can make.”

Fred Dews
Managing Editor, New Digital Products

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