The most (and least) lucrative degrees in Ontario

Pity the poor arts grad

by Josh Dehaas

Dentist photo by ^@^ina on Flickr.

The new Council of Ontario Universities’ study of the 2008 graduating class reveals big differences in what graduates were making two years after tossing their mortarboards in the air. Below are the average salaries reported by nearly 20,000 Ontario graduates in 2010, from highest paid to lowest paid. In parentheses are the employment rates two years after graduation. It’s clear that people with plain old humanities, arts and biology degrees are in lower demand and get paid less than those with more specialized degrees.

$98,333—Dentistry (100.0)
$92,667—Pharmacy (98.6)
$89,091—Optometry (100.0)
$72,452—Law (94.4)
$71,410—Veterinary Medicine (97.6)
$67,256—Medicine (99.3)
$62,865—Nursing (99.0)
$60,548—Engineering (94.9)
$58,587—Computer Science (95.8)
$56,117—Mathematics (91.6)
$53,643—Other Health Professions (93.9)
$52,276—Business and Commerce (94.9)
$50,760—Other Arts and Science (92.6)
$49,469—Average Graduate Salary
$47,857—Therapy and Rehabilitation (96.0)
$46,765—Education (95.8)
$45,427—Physical Sciences (93.7)
$45,104—Food Science and Nutrition (93.8)
$43,468—Social Sciences (92.5)
$42,181—Agricultural and Biological Sciences (89.9)
$43,571—Journalism (95.2)
$42,000—Forestry (100.0)
$41,667—Architecture and Landscape Architecture (96.4)
$38,407—Humanities (90.9)
$35,000—Theology (100.0)
$34,653—Fine and Applied Arts (93.5)

Click here for a list of the Top 10 most (and least) lucrative degrees in the United States.

The most (and least) lucrative degrees in Ontario

  1. I have also read that dentists have the highest suicide rate. Not entirely surprising. I would have to be paid a very large amount of money to spend my life scraping plaque from other people’s teeth. Faced with that prospect, who would not rather brush up their Shakespeare? Scorn not the humanities. Your own Scott Feschuk was once an English student. What does he have to say about this article?

    • Dentists have the highest suecide rate historically becaused they used to drill mercury fillings and the mercury would spray up into their face. mercury causes minismatas (sp?) disease which causes depression.

  2. Pity the poor Arts grad? It’s not all about the money. Why don’t they show the job satisfaction rate after 5-10 years.

    I graduated with an Honours degree in Medieval English Literature, and even though my current profession has nothing to do with my degree, I make a very good living, and more importantly, I have never once regretted my choice of degree. I learned so much about history, culture, language, and the world, and I think it’s sad that this is not required knowledge for everyone.

    It’s a shame that a lot of youth (both past and present) choose high paying professions only for the money, and not because they really want to be dentists, doctors, lawyers, etc.

    • “I learned so much about history, culture, language, and the world, and I think it’s sad that this is not required knowledge for everyone.”

      I think it is sad that you have likely never taken higher than a high school level calculus, if that…..I like to think that is required knowledge for everyone…

      • Maybe if you had taken an English course or two you would have read the article and noticed that mathematics graduates have the third lowest employment rate of the majors listed above. Seems that calculus would have done a lot of good, eh.

  3. Maybe it would be better to compare all these degrees at the same age of the person, rather than two years after they graduate. When you graduate from Medical school with a specialty you are ~29. That is 8 years of increasing debt and no income. While the Arts student is working and earning a salary, decreasing their debt. Likely too they are earning far more money at 29 than they were at 23. So yes the doctors etc do earn more after two years of graduation, but the other financial factors should be taken in to account as well. Otherwise it is misleading. I would prefer to see how, after a lifetime of working, the average total income – minus educational expenses, each degree earns. Also, over time, is it worth the extra time, expenses and lost wages in getting a Masters and PhD in your chosen degree?

  4. Everyone goes to school for different reasons, and whether people choose to pursue an arts degree or go into engineering shouldn’t be based on only money. There is nothing to be gained by arguing over the value of one degree over another: calculus isn’t required in every profession, neither is an understanding of medieval English literature. Each subject is valuable to the overarching big picture of the world we live in, so why engage in such a superficial and immature competition over the “value” of Arts vs. Science etc?

    It’s more important that each individual comes out of their own personal university experience with the conviction that what they learned is valuable TO THEMSELVES FIRST, and hopefully they also feel positive about contributing to the communal workforce following their interests and passions.

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