When we think of happiness, it’s often associated with money. Recent studies found that having more money can lead to greater happiness, a rise scene over the past few decades. The study, published in the journal Emotion, found that happiness of whites with no college education has declined since 1972, the beginning year in which the study compiled data to 2016. Whites with a college education reported a steady happiness level, while blacks with college experience saw rises in overall happiness.
The one consistent in the study is how education can lead to happiness, which likely explains how education can often lead to more money. The average person with a college education and degree tends to make $30,000 more a year compared to those without, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. If you’re into percentages, that’s almost 75% more than someone with just a high school education who makes around $45,000 a year.
While money can bring some type of satisfaction to your life, the field in which you work can also bring more meaning and feel better than money can.
“The pattern was clear: the majors men choose are associated with significantly higher earning than the majors women choose – regardless of men’s and women’s major preferences,” said Natasha Quadlin, an assistant professor of sociology at the Ohio State University, in a press statement.
For instance, in fields where both men and women want to help people — like the medical field — men chose paths such as biology since it’s the route in which doctors tend to go, while women were found to gravitate toward nursing. While nursing does pay well, it doesn’t match what doctors can potentially make.
In the real world, men being doctors and women being nurses is called “occupational segregation” – women clustering in lower-paying careers and men in more lucrative professions.
In another example, “Some STEM careers that pay the most may not be as receptive to women as they are to men, so women adjust what majors they select.” Therefore, telling women that STEM careers are a way to help people or a way to make a lot of money isn’t a way to attract them to the field.
“Instead, we may have more to do with changing the culture around STEM so that women feel the field is more open and receptive to them.”
Having a degree can put you ahead in life and make times feel more comfortable but there’s still something to be said about what you major in at college and how it equates to money.
A recent study found majors such as computer science, engineering, and nursing are some of the most lucrative subjects to major in due to median base salary. While those didn’t rank highly on the “high meaning” rankings, money can also be another pathway toward happiness for some.
Here’s a rundown of those majors, their median base salary, and popular entry-level jobs:
1. Computer Science
Median Base Salary: $70,000
Popular Entry-Level Jobs: Software Engineer, Systems Engineer, Web Developer
2. Electrical Engineering
Median Base Salary: $68,438
Popular Entry-Level Jobs: Electrical Engineer, Systems Engineer, Software Developer
3. Mechanical Engineering
Median Base Salary: $68,000
Popular Entry-Level Jobs: Mechanical Engineer, Design Engineer, Project Engineer
4. Chemical Engineering
Median Base Salary: $65,000
Popular Entry-Level Jobs: Chemical Engineer, Process Engineer, Project Engineer
5. Industrial Engineering
Median Base Salary: $64,381
Popular Entry-Level Jobs: Industrial Engineer, Quality Engineer, Production Planner
6. Information Technology
Median Base Salary: $64,008
Popular Entry-Level Jobs: Programmer Analyst, Technical Support, Systems Engineer
7. Civil Engineering
Median Base Salary: $61,500
Popular Entry-Level Jobs: Civil Engineer, Structural Engineer, Field Engineer
Median Base Salary: $60,000
Popular Entry-Level Jobs: Data Analyst, Statistician, Data Scientist
Median Base Salary: $58,928
Popular Entry-Level Jobs: Registered Nurse, Licensed Vocational Nurse, Case Manager
10. Management Information Systems
Median Base Salary: $58,000
Popular Entry-Level Jobs: Network Administrator, Help Desk Analyst, Business Analyst
In general, you can’t go wrong with college and certainly some majors can lead to more happiness (and wealth) than others.