As I mentioned in the blog “Why CareerDriven,” many people pursue bachelor’s degrees without knowing the
potential earnings that may result from them. Recently, the Department of Education has released The
College Scorecard, a website that provides the program costs, graduation rates, and salary upon
completing programs at various colleges across United States.
For example, I was fortunate to attend Emory University, where I majored in Psychology. Using The
College Scorecard, I discovered that the median total debt for a bachelor’s degree in Psychology is
$19,750 while the median earnings is $34,300. Given these numbers, that seems to be a substantial
amount of debt for the outcome of earnings, especially if a student’s loan debt is even higher than the
median of $19,750.
Furthermore, majoring in Psychology requires graduate coursework to pursue careers within the field,
such as a Counselor or Psychologist, which can lead to higher earnings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for Mental Health Counselors was $46,240 while it was $80,370 for Psychologists in 2019. However, a master’s degree is required for Mental Health Counselors and a doctorate for Psychologists. Thus, it takes more time and money (e.g. student loans) to pursue both of these careers, but they are worth it if students are passionate and willing to invest in them. For this reason, it is important for individuals to have a sense of their plans for obtaining a bachelor’s degree in certain fields, which are not directly connected to a specific career (e.g. Nursing or Business).
Although the data is not available for all programs of study, The College Scorecard is a useful website to conduct research on majors and careers prior to pursuing them. It would have been very helpful in making my
own educational and professional decisions.