Education majors even earn less than business, computer, math, and science majors when pursuing careers in education, $1.8 million versus $1.9 million, though I expect that doesn't reflect a statistically significant difference. That concentration in education seems to put people at a financial disadvantage for the rest of their income-earning lives. In one case, as the report indicates, education majors working in the service sector, the earnings are less than the average for those with just a high school diploma. I'm sure that's not a fair comparison, however; a better comparison would be be within the service sector, education majors compared to those with no more education than the high school diploma.When I was in high school - and this is twenty years ago so my memory may be hazy - those who weren't sure what they wanted to do with their lives were encouraged to study business in college. I would say engineering is a better choice. Just having any college degree creates flexibility in career direction and increases human capital, but from a financial perspective, some degrees are more valuable. For a high school student, there might not always be an available choice between pursuit of a business degree and an engineering degree. The latter could require more intense coursework, and that might not be appropriate for every matriculating student. One conclusion I can draw from the survey is advice for potential college students. Unless there is no career you could possibly conceive of pursuing throughout your life, don't major in education. If you choose to become an educator, you can do so with any college degree without suffering any setback other than taking some extra time to gain certification in most states. There is no setback to teaching without a degree in education, except perhaps if the field you'd like to teach requires specific skills. If you're so inclined, a double major in your field, like math or science, and in education could help.
The fact is that the role of a teacher is not highly valued in American society. The best teachers could be great at any job, and given the choice, many pursue better paying careers where their talents and skills are remunerated more favorably. From a practical perspective, a degree in most fields other than education offers more earning potential while still retaining the option of pursuing a teaching career without any detrimental effects.