Follow the money to these college majors, Fed study says

Chemical engineers come out at the top of the pack in the study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Trailing the pack are theology and social services majors.

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Northwestern University graduation at Ryan Field in 2011. U.S. students graduating with degrees in chemical engineering and computer engineering are expected to make the highest salaries, a new study has found.

Sun-Times file

If you’re forced to take out college loans and want to pay them off quickly, you might avoid getting a degree in theology or social services.

Those two degrees pay, on average, the least of any majors for recent college graduates, according to a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Recent theology graduates earn, on average, $36,000 annually; graduates with degrees in the field of social services earn an average of $37,000; ditto for those with degrees in family and consumer services.

A recent college graduate is someone between the ages of 22 and 27, with a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the study

Chemical engineers came out tops in the study of 73 majors, earning, on average, $75,000 early in their careers. Next in line were computer engineering graduates, earning, on average, $74,000, followed by computer science graduates, earning $73,000.

Midcareer chemical engineers — those 35 to 45 years old, are still earning more than folks working in any other field, with an average annual salary of about $120,000. Computer engineers are close behind, earning about $114,000 on average.

The average salary for all early college graduates is about $50,000, rising to $75,000 by midcareer.

Other higher earners include mechanical, electrical, aerospace and industrial engineers.

To see the complete study, go to

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