Class of 2011 scores higher-paying jobs

CNN Wire Service

The class of 2011 scored higher-paying jobs than graduates the year before, with engineering and computer science majors taking home the fattest paychecks.

The average starting salary for 2011 graduates was $41,701, up 2.3% from the average salary in 2010, according to a new survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

While average salaries rose across every discipline last year, a large gap remains between the highest and lowest earners.

The top earners of the Class of 2011 were engineering students, who were raking in average starting salaries of $61,872 upon graduation — a 1.5% increase from the previous year. Computer engineering majors were the highest-paid of that bunch, bringing in a whopping $70,400 a year.

Computer Science graduates weren’t far behind, with the biggest increase in pay out of all the disciplines. Students in this field landed jobs with an average starting salary of $60,594 last year, up 4.1% from 2010.

Business students, which include economics, accounting, business administration and finance majors, signed onto their jobs with an average salary of $48,144. Within this field, economics majors were the highest-paid in 2011, earning an average starting salary of $54,400.

Majors in the Health Sciences disciplines, including nursing majors, are being paid an average $44,955, up only 1% from the previous year.

Math and Sciences graduates are earning an average salary of $40,204, while Communications students — including advertising and journalism majors –are bringing in salaries of $39,577 on average.

The lowest-paid graduates majored in Humanities and Social Science disciplines like criminal justice, English and psychology, earning an average salary of $35,503.

Graduates in the education field didn’t earn a whole lot more, receiving an average salary of $37,830. Special education majors, however, saw salaries increase 2.9% in 2011, bringing the average salary for that particular major up to $39,100.