Study reveals best way to future-proof your college degree

FILE-Graduating students arrive for their commencement ceremony. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

College graduation marks a major milestone for students who earned their degrees and want to celebrate their hard work as they enter the real world.

With a highly competitive job market and soaring living costs, a recent study by Ohio State University suggests that graduates and students with double majors could improve their future earning potential. 

The study found that double majors had a substantial protection against an unexpected decline in earnings, an average of 56%, compared to those with a single major.

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Researchers noted that individuals with two unrelated majors are protected from a possible decline in income or "earnings shock" (64%), compared to 36% for those with related majors.

To gather findings for the report, researchers evaluated data between 2009 and 2019 from the American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. 

This data featured more than 100,000 participants and found that some had double majors in related fields (30%) while others were in unrelated fields (70%). 

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Researchers then used additional data from the National Survey of College Graduates to examine one issue with their results noting that people with double majors have special interests and abilities that protect them from income shocks later in life. 

However, the results suggest that these factors don’t explain away the value of double majors later in life. 

"Diversifying skills and knowledge throughout your career could help you weather labor market volatility," Andrew Hanks, lead author of the study and associate professor of consumer sciences in the college, said in a statement in the study. 

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The report finds that grads with double majors have a greater diversity of skills they can offer companies, with researchers explaining that this can not only help future and recent graduates find stable jobs but could prevent them from earning less money if changes in the job market cause wages to shift. 

According to the study, income protection grew when students earned double majors in different fields. 

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.