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Old 06-29-2011, 12:42 PM   #41
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At the time I attended Texas A&M, the chemical engineering department was new and extremely small. As far as I know it may still be small and the salaries listed may not be typical.

It's not small now. I think it's one of the largest programs in the country and very well rated. To qualify for admittance the first two year's GPA in their general engineering program has to be very good. UTx also has a large, well rated program.

Right now the big money is in petroleum engineering. ChemE grads get pulled into that too.
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:13 PM   #42
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Three points:
  1. Local junior college then state university.
  2. Get a degree in a field in which there are available jobs.
  3. Not everyone needs a college degree.
There are some fine technical training opportunities in just about every state. Even the local high school offers welding, certified nurses assistant training as well as pharmacy tech training. These young people have jobs waiting for them when they pass the certification requirements.
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Old 06-29-2011, 02:43 PM   #43
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i don't mind sharing mine, as i was looking at it just last week. If you google career center + institution name, the career center home page popped up and even had this bit of information.



nonetheless, here is the salary information from my college (and i actually view it every year or so).

http://careers.mines.edu/Files/2009-...0(updated).pdf

I do think these kids in the article absorbed a gross amount of debt based on a thought of entitlement. getting any old college degree isn't like rounding second in the game of becoming a CEO. the unfortunate thing is, most students have a gross misunderstanding of the real world, what people actually make opposed to how they act/say they make and their real value in society.

also, these statistics can be very deceiving. law school is a perfect example. they'll report they have an average starting salary of $80k. so, what does that say? most people think, if i do ok and am just average and get through law school, i'll be making $80k. wrong, no one actually starts making $80k. There are people who are way over and even more people who are way under that average. seeing the actual distribution helps.
That's excellent information. I'm not surprised that an engineering school would be happy to provide it.

I'm thinking all schools should do that with all their majors. I'm pretty confident that engineering grads often get good offers, the real issue is "What do English Lit grads do after graduation?" and "What's the gap between English Lit grads from Harvard and those from MyStateU?" I'm thinking that's where the dollars get wasted.

A couple details. It seems that "outcomes" should be "employed". I'd rather see actual salaries for accepted positions (probably 25th and 75th percentiles) than the average offer. I'm thinking the better students get more and higher offers.
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Old 06-29-2011, 02:51 PM   #44
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I'm more familiar with chemical engineering salaries. I have heard that the current graduates are getting $80 - 85K right out of school. As an old fart I am being paid considerably more.
If the Census data is correct, the median for all working CE's is $86k, so $80k-85k seems possible for the best new grads, but not for the average. OTOH, I've heard that in engineering the experience slope isn't as steep as in some fields.
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:21 PM   #45
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If the Census data is correct, the median for all working CE's is $86k, so $80k-85k seems possible for the best new grads, but not for the average. OTOH, I've heard that in engineering the experience slope isn't as steep as in some fields.
Are you sure the data is for chemical and not civil engineers? My whole department would get up and walk out if we were informed we were going to get an average pay of $86K. ChemE salaries are lower in drug, power and food companies but they don't really hire that many. Most are in the O&G or chemical fields.

As for increases with experience, it really depends on whether you consider management positions that effectively require or strongly prefer a chemical engineering background. True techno-weenies might top out a 150 to 200% of starting salaries but management can go a good bit higher.
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Old 06-30-2011, 09:56 AM   #46
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Are you sure the data is for chemical and not civil engineers? My whole department would get up and walk out if we were informed we were going to get an average pay of $86K. ChemE salaries are lower in drug, power and food companies but they don't really hire that many. Most are in the O&G or chemical fields.

As for increases with experience, it really depends on whether you consider management positions that effectively require or strongly prefer a chemical engineering background. True techno-weenies might top out a 150 to 200% of starting salaries but management can go a good bit higher.
They had Civil Engineers at $78k median.

I have no feeling for how much engineering salaries vary by location - that was the original issue.

All surveys have accuracy issues. My source is this: Center on Education and the Workforce -

Note there's a two page methodological appendix link way at the bottom of the page.
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:05 AM   #47
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Here is a comprehensive list of salaries by major both starting and mid career:

BEST UNDERGRAD COLLEGE DEGREES BY SALARY, 2010-2011 | Department of Economics
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:15 AM   #48
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It's not small now. I think it's one of the largest programs in the country and very well rated. To qualify for admittance the first two year's GPA in their general engineering program has to be very good. UTx also has a large, well rated program.

Right now the big money is in petroleum engineering. ChemE grads get pulled into that too.
ChemE's currently won't get hired for petroleum engineer jobs and this has been true for the last 3 years. At least for my major oil company and I know of a few others that won't hire any other type of engineer for petro eng jobs. When they were getting hired in the "boom" time, they were intially paid 5 to 10% less than a pet eng. This is just based on being a pet eng. recruiter for a major oil company. ymmv.

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As for increases with experience, it really depends on whether you consider management positions that effectively require or strongly prefer a chemical engineering background. True techno-weenies might top out a 150 to 200% of starting salaries but management can go a good bit higher.
I disagree with this as well. for one, after 6 years, I am at 172% of my starting salary. I may have hit the peak, but I have recently put the feelers out for what I could get if I switch to another company, and just switching would put me well over 200%. I also know many "techno-weenies" who make more than their supervisor.

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That's excellent information. I'm not surprised that an engineering school would be happy to provide it.

I'm thinking all schools should do that with all their majors. I'm pretty confident that engineering grads often get good offers, the real issue is "What do English Lit grads do after graduation?" and "What's the gap between English Lit grads from Harvard and those from MyStateU?" I'm thinking that's where the dollars get wasted.
I agree all students should see these numbers. but, does it really influence a young adult? for instance, if they are majoring in music, they most likely see some successful musician as their path opposed to a music teacher making $40k. It is most likely tough to "crush" a young adult's "dreams," but i suspect very few are passionate enough about their "dreams" to be scraping by day to day.
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:52 AM   #49
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Here is a comprehensive list of salaries by major both starting and mid career:

BEST UNDERGRAD COLLEGE DEGREES BY SALARY, 2010-2011 | Department of Economics
Not comprehensive to include my field, linguistics. (Salaries are probably quite low.)
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Old 06-30-2011, 12:19 PM   #50
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Not comprehensive to include my field, linguistics. (Salaries are probably quite low.)
But you get more for being a cunning linguist...
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Old 06-30-2011, 12:43 PM   #51
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Not comprehensive to include my field, linguistics. (Salaries are probably quite low.)
Maybe a subsection under English
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:25 PM   #52
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Here is a comprehensive list of salaries by major both starting and mid career:

BEST UNDERGRAD COLLEGE DEGREES BY SALARY, 2010-2011 | Department of Economics
Good info, but a few caveats:

One of the big issues regarding major choice is whether the grads get any job at all (and also any that uses their degree). The source for this data is payscale.com which says "Full-Time Employees Only: Only graduates who are employed full-time and paid with either an hourly wage or an annual salary are included."

Also note their definition of "Starting Employees":
Quote:
These are full-time employees with 5 years of experience or less in their career or field who hold a bachelor's degree and no higher degrees.

For the graduates in this data set, the typical (median) starting employee is 25 years old and has 2 years of experience.
I'm also thinking this isn't the type of carefully randomized sample that pollsters or the US census would use. It's just people who happen to use this website.

That said, this is still useful data. Their "Top Ten Job Titles for English Majors" include Admin assistant and Customer service rep.

What I really want, of course, is jobs by school-major combination. Do English Lit grads from school A do a lot better than English Lit grads from school B? It seems that PayScale would have that level of detail, but their database may be too small to make it accurate.
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:35 PM   #53
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I agree all students should see these numbers. but, does it really influence a young adult? for instance, if they are majoring in music, they most likely see some successful musician as their path opposed to a music teacher making $40k. It is most likely tough to "crush" a young adult's "dreams," but i suspect very few are passionate enough about their "dreams" to be scraping by day to day.
I'm sure it won't influence everybody. Some will intentionally shut their eyes. Many will assume "I'll beat the odds".

But, I still think that many will use it (and many parents will). In some cases it may not change a major but simply change spending habits in college, that's still a plus.

I would really like to see the starting jobs/salaries by school. I think students/parents try to decide whether the more expensive school is worth the extra money. What if the starting salaries are the same? What if they are a lot different, but the school with the better job results won't accept me? Does that serve as a wake-up call?

I'd even like to see each school list median GPA by major. That gives the student some feeling for whether he/she is likely to end up in the upper/lower end of the salary range.
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Old 06-30-2011, 02:02 PM   #54
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ChemE's currently won't get hired for petroleum engineer jobs and this has been true for the last 3 years. At least for my major oil company and I know of a few others that won't hire any other type of engineer for petro eng jobs. When they were getting hired in the "boom" time, they were intially paid 5 to 10% less than a pet eng. This is just based on being a pet eng. recruiter for a major oil company. ymmv.
Things have been somewhat slow in the industry since 2008. Things are picking up so your company's approach may change. Paying ChE's less to start isn't unusual but I suspect any wage difference will disappear with a couple of years' performance evaluations. In my hiring days some schools would get a premium as a new grad but that disappeared after a couple of years of performance reviews.


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I disagree with this as well. for one, after 6 years, I am at 172% of my starting salary. I may have hit the peak, but I have recently put the feelers out for what I could get if I switch to another company, and just switching would put me well over 200%. I also know many "techno-weenies" who make more than their supervisor.
I meant as a percentage of the current starting salary. I'm well over 1000% of my original starting salary. Of course, I think the Periodic Table was still only half done when I graduated. In my group leader days I had senior technical engineers making more than I was as a young supervisor. Division managers the same age as the senior technical personnel are much more highly paid.

FWIW, you may peak with a company for performance reasons but the bulk salaries of ChE's peaks about age 50 unless you are in the rising senior manager ranks. Last year wasn't that good for the graduating class but it seems to have picked up significantly this year. There's also more interest being shown in hiring experience engineers.
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Old 06-30-2011, 02:07 PM   #55
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What I really want, of course, is jobs by school-major combination. Do English Lit grads from school A do a lot better than English Lit grads from school B? It seems that PayScale would have that level of detail, but their database may be too small to make it accurate.
There are studies on this. The "big picture" studies consistently show that the Ivy League schools outperform their liberal arts counterparts from the less prestigeous schools. More detailed studies show that equally qualified high school students that do not go to Ivy League schools (with their highly selective admissions standards) perform nearly the same in post graduation pay.
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Old 06-30-2011, 02:47 PM   #56
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Do English Lit grads from school A do a lot better than English Lit grads from school B? It seems that PayScale would have that level of detail, but their database may be too small to make it accurate.
I suspect that for English majors the diversity of jobs can be pretty broad and it would be hard to compare how one grad does from one school compared to one from another school. For example, some grads may go on to become: teachers, professors, editors, journalists, web masters, technical writers, linguists, authors, playwrites, communication specialists, speechwriters, script writers, or even on to law school. So unless you drill down to like jobs, the data could be misleading

May be there are studies out there that would show what you are looking for, but that goes well beyond my curiosity to search for them
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:30 PM   #57
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There are studies on this. The "big picture" studies consistently show that the Ivy League schools outperform their liberal arts counterparts from the less prestigeous schools.

More detailed studies show that equally qualified high school students that do not go to Ivy League schools (with their highly selective admissions standards) perform nearly the same in post graduation pay.
The second sentence is more interesting to me than the first. The only paper I know of along those lines is this one http://www.international.ucla.edu/cms/files/w7322.pdf
It's very narrowly focused. I would like to see many researchers doing studies that try to control for the quality of the students starting, but focusing on less selective schools. Do you know of any others?

Re the first sentence, yes, that's true if you look at all grads. I'd like to see the detail for various majors and for all schools.
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:32 PM   #58
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I would really like to see the starting jobs/salaries by school. I think students/parents try to decide whether the more expensive school is worth the extra money. What if the starting salaries are the same? What if they are a lot different, but the school with the better job results won't accept me? Does that serve as a wake-up call?
A few thoughts. As I recall the research shows that yes people who go to very selective name schools make more money than people who go to the local state university. However, not every student can get into the selective name schools. When you look at students who were accepted to the name school and then went to a non-name school my understanding is that long term earnings are basically the same. It's the student...not the school.

As far as wake up calls for kids. Let's take my son. He is 17 and just finished his first year of community college, starting with no idea what he wanted to major in. He has considered a lot of things -- engineering, psychology, criminal justice, computer science, and to my surprise -- English.

He is actually extremely good at math and science so intellectually could study engineering or a science and end up with one of the higher paying degrees.

But...he is interested in English. He isn't really interested in engineering or science. I've mentioned the likely pay range for English. But, here's the thing. He thinks that ending up earning, say, $50,000 a year sounds fine to him. He isn't very money oriented, but is happiness oriented.

However, he does understand that it would be foolhardy to go into great student loan debt for such a degree so I expect he will be going to a state university after community college.
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Old 06-30-2011, 08:12 PM   #59
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However, he does understand that it would be foolhardy to go into great student loan debt for such a degree so I expect he will be going to a state university after community college.
I'm not so sure that it really is foolhardy to incur lots of student loan debt. That seems to be the sense of most contributers to this thread, but that doesn't make it true. My loan debt for my undergraduate degree was only a year's salary, when I finally started paying it off after completing grad school. And I would have been happy to pay off a debt that was three or four times as much. Compared to, say, a home mortgage, a student loan seems to me like a really, really good investment.
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Old 06-30-2011, 08:21 PM   #60
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May be there are studies out there that would show what you are looking for, but that goes well beyond my curiosity to search for them
They're not exactly peer-reviewed analyses, but Business Week has done some studies:
College ROI: What We Found - BusinessWeek

College: Big Investment, Paltry Return - BusinessWeek

College's Holy Grail: Low Cost, High Returns - BusinessWeek
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