Class of 2011 scores higher-paying jobs

@CNNMoney January 12, 2012: 6:02 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The class of 2011 scored higher-paying jobs than graduates the year before, with engineering and computer science majors taking home the fattest paychecks.

The average starting salary for 2011 graduates was $41,701, up 2.3% from the average salary in 2010, according to a new survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

While average salaries rose across every discipline last year, a large gap remains between the highest and lowest earners.

The top earners of the Class of 2011 were engineering students, who were raking in average starting salaries of $61,872 upon graduation -- a 1.5% increase from the previous year. Computer engineering majors were the highest-paid of that bunch, bringing in a whopping $70,400 a year.

Worst major for college grads

Computer Science graduates weren't far behind, with the biggest increase in pay out of all the disciplines. Students in this field landed jobs with an average starting salary of $60,594 last year, up 4.1% from 2010.

Business students, which include economics, accounting, business administration and finance majors, signed onto their jobs with an average salary of $48,144. Within this field, economics majors were the highest-paid in 2011, earning an average starting salary of $54,400.

Majors in the Health Sciences disciplines, including nursing majors, are being paid an average $44,955, up only 1% from the previous year.

Math and Sciences graduates are earning an average salary of $40,204, while Communications students -- including advertising and journalism majors --are bringing in salaries of $39,577 on average.

The lowest-paid graduates majored in Humanities and Social Science disciplines like criminal justice, English and psychology, earning an average salary of $35,503.

Graduates in the education field didn't earn a whole lot more, receiving an average salary of $37,830. Special education majors, however, saw salaries increase 2.9% in 2011, bringing the average salary for that particular major up to $39,100.  To top of page

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