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By Sara Mead — May 24, 2011 1 min read

This new report from Georgetown University quantifying the earnings of people with different college majors was bound to get a lot of attention. Two quick observations worth noting:

First, Early Childhood Education is the second-lowest paying of all college majors surveyed--with a median earning of $36,000 beating out only Counseling psychology. The relatively low wages of Early Childhood Education bachelor’s degree holders has serious implications for efforts to improve the quality of the early childhood profession--particularly those that focus on requiring pre-k teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree.

Second, it’s interesting to note that of the three majors in which African American graduates are most disproportionately concentrated, two are among the three lowest-earning majors (and the third is also not very high-earning). I don’t really have anything informed to say about that, but it seems like something worth thinking about. There is a concerted effort underway to improve college-going and graduation rates for African American young people, which is much needed given the large disparities in educational attainment. But it’s possible that college counseling efforts to help more African American students prepare for and succeed in college should also address guidance/support in choosing majors.

The opinions expressed in Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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