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Alums of these Texas schools are earning the most during their first year in the workforce

Here’s a look into which degrees are the highest- and lowest-earning for graduates.
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DALLAS — Texas graduates with advanced degrees in healthcare-related fields unsurprisingly earn the most money after school, but a number of bachelor’s degrees come close to the same entry-level pay.

Advanced-degree nursing students at Baylor, Texas Wesleyan and Texas Christian Universities make the most their first year out of school, according to new data released from the U.S. Department of Education.

The data looks at students from all universities with enough reported data the Department of Education to analyze without releasing identifying information on students. Median earnings are the first-year pay for those who received federal student aid and graduated in 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. The Dallas Business Journal did not include for-profit colleges in its analysis.

For a look at the highest-earning bachelor’s degrees in Texas, click here.

To see the state’s lowest-earning bachelor’s degrees, click here.

Nearly 30 degrees from about 20 schools earned graduates a median of $100,000 or more in their first year in the workforce. More than two-thirds of the degrees were related to health care, while the other 33 percent were predominantly business or finance. Only one of those degrees was a bachelor’s.

On average, about 36 percent of North Texans 25 or older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data. More than half of North Texans have no degree.

A bachelor’s in computer and information science from Houston’s Rice earned graduates $111,900 on the entry-level. It's the highest median pay for any Texas graduate with a bachelor's degree during their first year in the workforce and the 23rd highest of all the colleges in the nation. Alums who received this degree also left Rice with a median of $11,855 in debt. The cost of in-state attendance was more than $65,000 in the fiscal year 2018.

According to U.S. News and World Report, Houston’s Rice University is the top college in the state and 17th in the nation. U.S. News and World Report ranks colleges based on graduation rates, social mobility of students upon graduation and faculty resources among other factors. Only nine of Rice’s bachelor’s degrees had enough data for the Department of Education to analyze.

Engineering degrees also earned Texas graduates with a bachelor’s top entry-level money, with petroleum and chemical engineering at the top.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the lowest-earning degrees were often associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in fine arts or liberal arts from community colleges or smaller public universities.

Of the 44 degrees that earned graduates less than $20,000 in the first year, roughly half were associates degrees, with the other half being bachelors.

By far, the bachelor’s degree that earns graduates the least median entry-level salaries are in theater and performance arts. And it doesn’t matter where you receive your degree from.

Graduates of both The University of Texas at Arlington and Fort Worth’s TCU who majored in theater make just more than $14,000 in the first year. For both schools, the cost of attendance in fiscal year 2018 was more than their first-year pay.

None of North Texas' universities were home to degrees that earned graduates more than $75,000 in their first year. The top degree in North Texas was a computer science degree from Southern Methodist University that earned graduates $72,100 in the first year—more than $2,500 less than the cost of in-state attendance.

For a specific look at the highest-earning degrees from North Texas institutions, click here.

For the lowest-earning in North Texas, click here.

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