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Average Salary With A Bachelor's Degree

Oct 20, 2021

There is a wide range of potential salary outcomes for bachelor's degree recipients. Average bachelor degree salary depends on various factors such as field of study, specialty, career choice, and employment duration. Obtaining a bachelor's degree in a lucrative field can improve the chances of making near or above the average salary for adults with a bachelor's degree.

Different degree programs such as Bachelor of Science (BS), Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) have programs of study that are developed to give skills generalized for an area of study. For example, a Bachelor of Business Administration degree aims to teach students how companies are managed in general. All bachelor programs have some core studies that are shared by all students. Generally, diversion occurs in the 3rd and 4th years to create a more specialized program to match student goals. The average salary with a college degree is listed below.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, an individual's median weekly average salary without a high school degree was $606 (or $31,512 annually). An individual with a high school diploma had a median weekly average salary of $749 (or $38,948 annually). An individual with some college or an associate's degree had a median average weekly salary of $874 (or $45,448 annually). The average salary of someone with a bachelor's degree had a median weekly income of $1,281 (or $66,612 annually). Individuals with advanced degrees such as masters, professional, or doctorate had a median average weekly salary of $1,559 (or $81,068 annually).

Best Bachelor's Degree to Earn Based on Salary

The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that the average salary for young adults with a bachelor's degree ranged from Engineering at $69,961 to Agriculture and Natural Resources at $53,504 for 2020. However, the average salary for people with a bachelor's degree varies widely based upon several factors, including their major, job position, location, and years of experience.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducted a salary survey that determined the average entry-level starting salary for bachelor's degree recipients. They determined that graduates of bachelor's degree programs in engineering and computer science earned the highest average starting salaries. According to the results of their Winter 2020 salary survey for bachelor's degree graduates, graduates of these programs earned the highest average starting salary.

Field of Study Average Starting Salary for a Bachelor's Degree
Engineering $69,961
Software Applications $67,638
Computer Science $67,411
Information Science $65,690
Mathematics $64,445
Management Information Systems $63,445
Math & Sciences $62,488
Economics $60,390
Advertising $58,500
Finance $58,472
Business $57,939
Accounting $57,734
Social Sciences $57,425
Communications $56,484
Public Relations $55,583
Psychology $54,786
Humanities $53,617
Agriculture & Natural Resources $53,504

PayScale Individiual Positions Median Salary
Senior Software Engineer[1] $106,000
Creative Director[3] $88,000
Attorney/Lawyer[2] $84,000
Marketing Director[2] $79,000
Software Engineer[1] $78,000
Product Designer[3] $75,000
Project Manager[1] $71,000
Electrical Engineer[1] $71,000
Executive Director[4] $69,000
Financial Analyst[1] $68,000
Mechanical Engineer[1] $68,000
Software Developer[1] $66,000
Project Engineer[1] $65,000
Operations Manager[1] $65,000
Art Director[3] $65,000
Civil Engineer[1] $64,000
Human Resources (HR) Manager[1] $64,000
Senior Accountant[1] $64,000
Marketing Manager[1] $62,000
Technical Writer[5] $57,000
Executive Assistant[2] $51,000
Accountant[1] $50,000
Interior Designer[3] $50,000
High School Teacher[2] $49,000
Middle School Teacher[4] $49,000
Editor[5] $49,000
Copywriter[5] $49,000
Special Education Teacher[4] $48,000
Staff Accountant[1] $48,000
Social Media Manager[2] $48,000
Graphic Designer[3] $45,000
Elementary School Teacher[4] $44,000

[1] PayScale average salary for a Bachelor of Science Degree

[2] PayScale average salary for a Bachelor of Arts Degree

[3] PayScale average salary for a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree

[4] PayScale average salary for a Bachelor of Education Degree

[5] PayScale average salary for a Bachelor of Arts, English Degree

PayScale salaries are listed in descending order starting at Senior Software Engineer at $106,000. Organizations will define license and degree requirements plus years of experience to attain these positions.

Some degree programs facilitate entry into the same position, leading to entry into multiple positions and salaries. For example, a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts degree may lead to the same position, such as an Executive Assistant or High School Teacher. Experience, qualifications, and licensing (if required) for each position, in addition to the degree, would be defined by the organization.

The salary of a bachelor's degree or the salary for an undergraduate degree is dependent on many factors in an organization. For example, the organization may practice starting individuals at a defined level in their salary structure. This is often considered the minimum wage for a bachelor's degree and is used by the organization to comply with corporate and governmental guidelines.

When an individual asks, 'how much should I make with a bachelor's degree,' they need to consider several items.

  • What is the size of the organization they are targeting for hire?
  • What are the policies and practices of the organization?
  • Is the organization public or private?
  • How do they rate in social media such as Glassdoor?
  • Does the organization have a defined career path?

To assist undergraduate students with companies to target, many universities sponsor job boards or job fairs where an individual can meet and briefly interview with several companies at the same time and location.

Organizations will pay job market competitive rates to onboard the best individuals. They take the average pay for a bachelor's degree into account when making their hiring decisions. Some organizations have self-improvement programs that include attaining a bachelor's degree. After attaining a bachelor's degree, the average salary draws employees to these programs since the reward for success directly increases their pay upon completion.

Another area of attention for individuals seeking to attain their bachelor's degree is which schools are considered by their targeted organization to be acceptable. Some school programs are not considered challenging enough by some organizations to make a hire. Clearly, individuals have to consider the cost of education, but they should know upfront if their school is considered acceptable by any potential new hire company.

Individuals should take advantage of their schools' placement office (or equivalent) to ensure their studies aim to achieve their end goal. Sharing one's hopes and dreams with a counselor can often help in determining which courses to take.

Having an end goal in sight makes the effort and focus needed to graduate a lot easier to accept.

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