CTV News reports that new university graduates worried about high levels of student debt and bleak job prospects in a stagnant Canadian economy should be pleased to learn that bachelor’s degrees remain a valuable asset in the workforce, according to a new study.

The Research Universities’ Council of British Columbia’s annual “Putting Degrees to Work ” reportshows 92 per cent of new grads in the province are working within two years of graduation, primarily in their chosen fields.

For the class of 2012, the most recent graduating cohort surveyed, the median annual salary was $50,000 two years after finishing university. By comparison, Stats Canada estimates the average annual wage of youths entering the workforce, between the ages of 15 and 24, to be $30,400.

A graduate survey conducted by the Council of Ontario Universities earlier this year showed similar results, with 94 per cent of 2012 university graduates securing employment two years after gaining their degrees.

Amongst university graduates with full-time jobs, the average salary was $49,001 in 2014.

But, depending on what degrees students earned, their specific wages vary greatly.

Not surprisingly, health and engineering graduates were earning the most, while visual and performing arts graduates were earning the least.

Average income by degree earned in B.C. (Class of 2012, surveyed in 2014)

  1. Health: $66,560
  2. Engineering and Applied Sciences: $62,000
  3. Human and Social Services: $54,000
  4. Business and Management: $50,000
  5. Education: $46,000
  6. Arts and Science: $42,000
  7. Visual and Performing Arts: $36,000

Highest paying degrees in Ontario, two years after graduating

  1. Dentistry: $99,839
  2. Optometry: $89,706
  3. Pharmacy: $89,461
  4. Veterinary Medicine: $77,001
  5. Law: $73,470

Lowest paying degrees in Ontario, two years after graduating

  1. Fine and Applied Arts: $34,695
  2. Humanities: $38,399
  3. Journalism: $38,734
  4. Theology: $39,359
  5. Agricultural & Biological Sciences: $39,391

Christina Commisso, CTVNews.ca