As a recent story from the American Historical Association's blog indicates, college graduates with degrees in U.S. History earn the highest salaries among Humanities graduates, and also have higher earnings than graduates in many other fields. As the story notes,
Students who majored in U.S. history earned $57,000, as compared to $50,000 for other majors in history. The average salary for U.S. history majors was 18.7 percent higher than the average for all the humanities....U.S. history is also quite high relative to most of the other fields in the survey (especially in fields outside of the scientific, engineering, and business fields). [emphasis added]The story in the AHA blog is based on data from a 2011 report by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, entitled "What's It Worth: The Economic Value of College Majors." According to the report's analysis, the median salary associated with degrees in political science & government was $59,000/year; the median salary for those who hold degrees in international relations was $50,000/year. (This report includes a wealth of information about many degrees, not just history and political science.)
The salary information above reflects full-time, full-year salaries for people who hold terminal Bachelor's degrees (that is, no education beyond a B.A.). Graduates in these disciplinary fields end up working in a wide variety of occupations. For example, the top areas of employment for those earning degrees in history include management positions in business, sales positions, and education (see the chart, below).
For these fields (history and political science), as for other disciplines in humanities and social sciences, it is essential for students to recognize the valuable skills and knowledge they have acquired through education (like reading, textual analysis, critical thinking, synthesis of information, and writing) and to be able to see how those skills and knowledge can be applied in a variety of careers. Students in the liberal arts and sciences learn how to learn, and can be well-situated for an employment market for which change is a constant factor.
Completing additional graduate and professional training may generate a boost in income; consult the full report from the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University for more information.