College degrees with best and worst value

2013-06-10T13:00:00Z College degrees with best and worst valueAngela Pittenger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 10, 2013 1:00 pm  • 

College is expensive. No doubt about that. did a recent study to find which degrees prove to be most lucrative when taking into account how long it will take to pay off student loans. Here's what they found:

--Advertising/marketing/promotions specialist. The median annual salary for this group is over $100,000 and graduate degrees are not usually required. A high salary and a lower schooling cost means that advertising/marketing/promotions specialists should be able to pay off their student loans in under six years.

--Economists should also be able to pay off their student loans quickly (7.1 years, according to the estimate). Their median salary is almost $92,000 and they have a below-average degree cost of about $53,000.

--Civil engineer. With a below-average degree cost and a healthy median annual salary of approximately $80,000, civil engineers should achieve student loan freedom in about 8.5 years.

Advanced degrees mean more time spent paying off student loans:

-- Although doctors earn a comfortable salary ($172,020), the extra years in school will cost them. According to’s analysis, it should take almost 11 years for a doctor to pay off his/her student loans.

--Lawyers face an even steeper climb: estimates that the typical lawyer will battle his/her student loans for over 13 years.

--Journalists and teachers could take even longer to dig out from under their student loans. With median annual salaries of about $37,000 and $43,000, respectively, these groups don’t have much extra money to put towards their debt. If 10% of each year’s salary goes towards student loans, it would take journalists almost 32 years to pay them off, and teachers almost 22 years.

Here's more information from

Chart: What is the return on investment of a college degree in various fields?

Calculator: How long will it take to pay off your student loans?

8 high-paying, non-traditional college degrees

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The Star’s Centsible Mom, Angela Pittenger, blogs about great deals, tips to stretch your dollars and ideas for living frugally.

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