You Won't Believe The Starting Salaries For 2012 Liberal Arts Grads

Top-Paying Liberal Arts Majors

With all the press given to the astronomical wages that computer science or engineering grads can earn, you might think that a liberal arts degree is, well, fairly worthless in the job market. Not so. A new report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers finds that three liberal arts majors had average starting salaries that topped $40,000 in 2012. They are:

  • Liberal arts and sciences/general studies, $43,100
  • History, $41,900
  • Literature/letters, $40,200

NACE's report also shows that starting wages for these majors are significantly higher than those paid in 2011, up by 3.6 to 3.9 percent -- hefty jumps by today's measures. That's welcome news, especially for graduates who are carrying substantial college-loan debt.

What's more, even starting wages earned by visual and performing arts majors, at the bottom of NACE's most recent survey, showed an upswing last year of 3 percent, to an average $33,800.

Similar increases in starting salaries have been seen in other disciplines, too, such as engineering and computer science, as the graphic below shows:

top paying liberal arts majors

Further, earnings don't tell the whole story. As Forbes recently noted, liberal arts majors are just as satisfied or more satisfied with their lives as their classmates in other disciplines are.

What do you think? What major would you want your child to have -- or would you pursue if you're in college?

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