Most lucrative college degrees
In survey of the Class of 2006, engineers still get top salary offers, but accounting and finance majors are climbing quickly.
By David Ellis, staff writer

NEW YORK ( - If the offers that are already starting to roll in are any indicator, the class of 2006 will probably be thinking more about their first paycheck than their freshly minted diploma by the time graduation arrives.

So far this academic year, college seniors in most majors are experiencing an increase in starting-salary offers, according to a quarterly survey published by the National Association of Colleges & Employers' (NACE).

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"By and large, the average salary increases employers offered to new college graduates were respectable, and some were standouts," Marilyn Mackes, executive director of NACE said in a statement.

Topping the list of highest-paid majors were chemical engineers who fetched $55,900 on average, followed by electrical engineering degrees at $52,899. Despite taking a 0.3 percent dip compared to the 2004-2005 academic year, mechanical engineers took third place with an average salary of $50,672.

The survey, which polled 83 different private and public schools across the country, revealed that computer science graduates might not get as much as they did in previous years, as offers fell slightly to $50,046.

Accounting and economics or finance experienced the biggest growth, claiming the fifth and sixth spots, and rounding out the list, in order, were civil engineering, management and marketing.

Liberal arts majors, which includes social science majors such as history and english, finished last with a starting salary of $30,828, but experienced an increase of 6.1 percent compared to last year.

NACE's newest survey, which only includes majors that have received 50 offers or more, also noted that employers planned to hire 14.5 percent more college grads this year, compared to the 2004-2005 academic year.

Terri LaMarco, the associate director of the University of Michigan's career center, said that NACE's forecast matches up with what she is seeing on campus so far this year.

"Recruiting activity is up and job fair attendance (by employers) has certainly increased," said LaMarco.

NACE plans on publishing its next quarterly report in April.


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