Most lucrative college degrees
So, you've graduated. Mom and Dad are proud, now it's time to start earning your keep.
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - You've worked hard to earn that degree. Now it's time get a job.
Thankfully, the class of 2004 has been faring well. After a two year decline, hiring of those grads is up 11.2 percent, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Mom and Dad will also be happy to hear that preliminary data indicates starting salaries for college graduates are rising, enabling you to help pay off all that student loan debt.
"This is definitely a transitional year," said Andrea Koncz, a NACE spokesperson. NACE releases its "Salary Survey" quarterly, with the final report for the 2003-2004 recruiting year due in September.
Engineering majors are seeing the most cash, led by gains from chemical engineering graduates who now earn $52,819 a year, up 1.9 percent from a year earlier. Computer engineering graduates are following closely behind with $51,572, but that figure represents a 0.3 percent decrease from last year.
Those graduating with a degree in computer science are seeing heartier increases. According to NACE, information sciences and systems graduates earn $43,053 a year, up 8.2 percent from a year earlier, while computer science graduates make $49,691 a year, up 4.8 percent.
If those numbers sound enticing, it's probably because computer science graduates are long overdue for a pay increase.
"They have been hit so hard from 2000 on, that they are starting to make a comeback," said Koncz.
Business majors are also doing well. Accounting and economics graduates have received a 1.4 percent and 2.1 percent boost in pay to $41,110 and $40,906 respectively. The average starting salary for business administration graduates has jumped 2.9 percent to $38,188 and 2 percent to $35,321 for marketing and marketing management graduates.
Liberal arts graduates still occupy the lower rungs of the pay scale, but are now earning $30,152, a 2.6 percent year-over-year increase.
Overall, 67 percent of the disciplines surveyed reported an increase in pay compared to 55 percent this time last year.
While that's good news for most graduates, some professions haven't kept pace. On the down side, entry-level salaries for nurses fell 1.9 percent to $38,594. Hard to believe since nursing is a profession that has a constant demand for new blood.
Industrial and manufacturing engineers also saw a slight decrease in pay, down 3.1 percent to $46,021 while the average starting pay for biological and life science majors slipped 2.8 percent to $29,750.