St. Joe’s Workshop is the website of the re-employment ministry at St. Anastasia Roman Catholic Church in Troy, Michigan. The ministry is an effort to help those who are in need of work. Information to help your job search includes: prayers and Christian reflections, job listings, educational opportunities, financial management resources, and job search tips.

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by KHouseman on April 29, 2013

The recent recession caused many job seekers to quit their searching and head back to school for an advanced degree. Yet the trend toward pursuing higher education was growing even before the recession hit. According to the Census Bureau, the number of people who held a master’s degree climbed by 5 million, or 43 percent, from 2002 to 2012.

Yet, there’s some debate about whether a master’s and other advanced degrees benefit those who attain them. While the major and industry pursued may bear some weight, research shows that gaining an advanced degree does pay off — at least when it comes to the pocketbook. According to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the median pay for those with a bachelor’s plus a master’s, doctorate or professional degree are approximately 30 percent higher than for workers with just a bachelor’s.

That’s encouraging news for those seeking or possessing a master’s degree. Yet certain majors offer a higher payout than others. Below is a list of nine academic majors with starting pay of more than $60,000, along with the change in pay from 2011 to 2012, taken from the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ January 2013 Salary Survey.

1. Computer science

Average starting pay in 2012: $73,700

Average starting pay in 2011: $70,900

Percent change: 3.9

2. Business administration/management

Average starting pay in 2012: $69,200

Average starting pay in 2011: $66,400

Percent change: 4.2

3. Mechanical engineering

Average starting pay in 2012: $66,800

Average starting pay in 2011: $64,300

Percent change: 3.9

4. Electrical/electronics and communications engineering

Average starting pay in 2012: $66,100

Average starting pay in 2011: $63,800

Percent change: 3.6

5. Finance

Average starting pay in 2012: $64,300

Average starting pay in 2011: $61,700

Percent change: 4.2

6. Nursing

Average starting pay in 2012: $63,800

Average starting pay in 2011: $61,400

Percent change: 3.9

7. Economics (business/managerial)

Average starting pay in 2012: $63,400

Average starting pay in 2011: $60,800

Percent change: 4.3

8. Health and related sciences

Average starting pay in 2012: $62,900

Average starting pay in 2011: $60,100

Percent change: 4.7

9. Accounting

Average starting pay in 2012: $62,300

Average starting pay in 2011: $59,900

Percent change: 4.0

Debra Auerbach is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

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