A new report, from the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, on median salaries for undergraduate majors finds that history majors go on to earn fairly respectable salaries. Looking at the median salary for everyone aged 18 to 64 years old with an undergraduate degree in any one of 171 different fields, the report finds that history majors do the best in the humanities, and better than students in a majority of the other fields.
The report separates majors in U.S. history from the rest, and finds it makes a big difference. Students who majored in U.S. history earned $57,000, as compared to $50,000 for other majors in history. The average salary for U.S. history majors was 18.7 percent higher than the average for all the humanities. The average salary for other history majors was the second highest, and on a level only with art history and criticism. U.S. history is also quite high relative to most of the other fields in the survey (especially in fields outside of the scientific, engineering, and business fields).
The report also highlights a few other interesting pieces of information—a significant portion of the history majors (43 percent) went on to earn graduate degrees in history or another field. And a substantial number of history students went into business—one in five said they were in management positions, for instance, and over 15 percent in sales (see figure below).
For further analysis of the report see this article from The Chronicle, along with their interactive graphic. Inside Higher Ed also weighs in on the data, noting the surprising finding that “women and minorities clustered in low-paying fields with few opportunities for advancement.”