These are the lucrative degrees which are attracting Australian students who are now being paid as much as a law graduate — or more. Search and see the list.
These are the lucrative degrees which are attracting Australian students who are now being paid as much as a law graduate — or more. Search and see the list.

Big bucks after uni: Who’s earning more than a lawyer

Teeth, tech and teaching are the keys to earning big bucks straight out of university.

Information technology is lucrative for graduate geeks, with a median salary this year of $65,000 - on par with law.

Dentists earn the most money straight out of university, with a median salary of $84,000, an exclusive new survey of graduate salaries reveals.

But dentistry is the only profession to cop a pay cut this year, with a median salary $4200 lower than last year.

Nationally, the median wage for all university graduates who started work this year is $64,700 - 3.3 per cent higher than last year.

Architecture graduates pocketed the biggest pay rise, with starting salaries soaring to $64,700 in 2020 - up from $60,300 last year.

Science and maths graduates were also paid significantly more this year, earning $64,000 - $4000 more than graduates the previous year.

Pharmacists are paid the lowest starting salary of $49,600 - just 25 per cent above Australia's minimum wage - because they are required to finish a mandatory paid internship the year after university.

Even artists earn more than pharmacists, with creative arts graduates paid $52,000 this year.

Veterinarians are also lowly paid, earning only $57,800 in their first job - far less than the average Australian wage of $90,000.

A veterinary degree is one of the most difficult and competitive courses at university.

An exclusive News Corp analysis of federal government Graduate Outcomes Survey data for 2020 reveals that new teachers now earn $70,000 - more than most other professionals in their first year of work.

 

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Doctors, who require on-the-job training in a hospital after university, earn a median salary of $75,000 in their first full-time job - despite requiring a top tertiary entrance score and seven years of study.

They barely earn more than nurses, who start their careers with a $64,200 salary.

Engineers earn a median salary of $69,500 in their first job, with high rates of employment.

 

'I HAVEN'T LOOKED BACK SINCE'

Karen Zhou, who graduated with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering with honours from the University of Queensland last year, quickly found full-time work with APA in Brisbane.

"I had never considered engineering until Grade 12, when my older sister encouraged me to talk to an engineer she knew,'' Ms Zhou said.

 

Engineer Karen Zhou who has found work. Picture: Supplied
Engineer Karen Zhou who has found work. Picture: Supplied

 

"What stuck with me the most was how engineering is needed and utilised across many different sectors such as energy, minerals, water and the environment.

"I haven't looked back since.''

Business graduates earn $60,000 - even less than psychology graduates, who are paid $63,000.

University graduates with a humanities, culture or social sciences degree earn a median salary of $62,600 - up 2.6 per cent in a year.

'I'M HOPING TO GET A JOB'

Student Ico Ho is doubling her chances of job security and a high salary by combining law with marketing in a double degree at the University of South Australia.

"I'm not sure yet if I want to practice law - I'm hoping to get a job that overlaps law and business,'' she said yesterday.

 

Univeristy of South Australia student Ico Ho. Picture: Tait Schmaal.
Univeristy of South Australia student Ico Ho. Picture: Tait Schmaal.

 

'TEACHERS SHAPE OUR FUTURE'

Naomi Zhang is in her final year of a teaching degree at Monash University, specialising in maths teaching, and already has a job lined up in a Melbourne primary school next year.

Ms Zhang said the family-friendly hours of teaching were just as important as the salary.

"I do love children, and it's a very family friendly job which was a consideration of mine,'' the 23-year-old said.

"It's one of the best ways to nurture the future influencers in our society.''

New teachers are paid more than veterinarians, lawyers or engineers in their first job, the latest graduate salary data reveals.

Teachers earn a median wage of $70,000 straight from university - and enjoy up to 12 weeks' holiday a year compared to four weeks for most other jobs.

Australian Education Union president Correna Haythorpe said a teaching career was an "excellent choice for school leavers''.

"Every day, teaching is interesting, challenging and rewarding, helping children and young people reach their potential,'' she said.

"Teachers also shape the future of this country.''

 

Teachers get the best salaries in their first year in the job after graduating: Naomi Zhang, 23, final year teacher about to graduate from Monash University. Picture: Jason Edwards
Teachers get the best salaries in their first year in the job after graduating: Naomi Zhang, 23, final year teacher about to graduate from Monash University. Picture: Jason Edwards

 

'I CAN'T BELIEVE I GET PAID TO DO THIS'

Nethanel Graham, dropped out of high school but now enjoys watching children's "light bulb moments'' as a Year 1 teacher at Rosemeadow Public School in Sydney.

"I was part way through Year 11 and in the middle of a geography exam I stood up and walked out and never came back,'' the 25-year-old said.

"But I really wanted to make a difference, so I did night school and put myself through five years of university at the University of Wollongong.

"Now that I've come back to school, I love teaching.

"I can't believe I get paid to do this - it's so interesting to see how much students can learn and it's the most amazing feeling to see the light bulb moment when the students light up and realise they can do something.''

 

Primary Schoolteacher Nethanel Graham at Rosemeadow Public School with his students (L-R) Jennifer Worth 6, Nisa Sina 6, Nataylia Field 7, Karas Fayek 6, Hunter Reason 7 Maddison McDonald 7, Bethany O'Neill 7 and Umar Gulseven 7. Picture: Tim Hunter.
Primary Schoolteacher Nethanel Graham at Rosemeadow Public School with his students (L-R) Jennifer Worth 6, Nisa Sina 6, Nataylia Field 7, Karas Fayek 6, Hunter Reason 7 Maddison McDonald 7, Bethany O'Neill 7 and Umar Gulseven 7. Picture: Tim Hunter.

'IT WAS A CAREER CHANGE'

Alison Asome was working in law when she realised a career change and a "refresher" was needed.

The mature age student, who moved from the UK to Tasmania last year, is set to complete her Masters of Teaching degree once her work placement at Ogilvie High School is complete.

She said choosing to become a teacher fulfilled a 15-year itch.

"I think becoming a teacher is a really good opportunity to be included in the community. For me, it was a bit of a career change, a refresher, something different," she said.

"I think teaching is one of those degrees that isn't uncommon for people to turn to later down the track like I have. My grandparents are both teachers as well so teaching has been in my family for years."

Alison Asome who is a doing her teaching prac at Ogilvie High School as part of her teaching course at UTAS. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones
Alison Asome who is a doing her teaching prac at Ogilvie High School as part of her teaching course at UTAS. Picture: Nikki Davis-Jones

New data graduate salary released this week shows teachers are paid more than veterinarians, lawyers and engineers in their first job.

Ms Asome said her six-week placement teaching at Ogilvie had been a rewarding experience.

"I've just really enjoyed getting to know the girls - to get to see them inside and outside the classroom has been great," she said.

"I was a bit fearful about teaching kids but I really like it."

'CARING PROFESSIONS PAID MORE THAN LAWYERS'

Graduates in the "caring professions'' are paid even more than lawyers, with social workers earning $70,000 and rehabilitation and health services and support graduates paid $65,100.

Agriculture and environmental studies graduates earn $61,500 while graduates in tourism, hospitality, personal services, sport and recreation are paid $53,500.

Communications graduates earned $55,600.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said the federal government's Job-ready Graduates legislation would make it cheaper for Australians to study degrees in areas of expected job demand.

"Australia will need more job-ready graduates in health care, teaching and science, technology, engineering and mathematics related fields, including IT, and we have made it cheaper to study those degrees,'' Mr Tehan said.

Starting next year, degrees in teaching, psychology and nursing will be 42 per cent cheaper, and a maths degree will cost 59 per cent less in tuition fees.

But the federal government will more than double the cost of a degree in communications or humanities, while law and business degrees will cost 28 per cent more for new students.

The graduate pay data reflects wages for graduates' first full-time job, which might not be in the same field as their degree.

Graduates' median full-time salaries in 2020 are the middle of the highest and lowest salaries paid in each field of study.



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