Average Salary With A Bachelor's Degree

It is difficult to be precise in stating what a graduate with a bachelor's degree may expect concerning salary. Salaries depend upon the discipline of the bachelor's degree, the job position and the employee's years of experience.

What Is the Average Salary for Someone with a Bachelor's Degree?

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that the median (not average) salary for young adults with a bachelor's degree was $48,500 in 2013. 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 conducted a salary survey that determined the average starting salary for graduates of various bachelor's degree programs. They determined that graduates of bachelor's degree programs in computer science and engineering earned the highest average starting salaries. According to the results of their September 2013 salary survey for bachelor's degree graduates, graduates of these programs earned the highest average starting salary:

Field of Study Average Starting Salary
Petroleum Engineering $96,200
Computer Engineering $70,300
Chemical Engineering $66,900
Computer Science $64,100
Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering $63,900
Mechanical Engineering $63,900

A selection of other fields of study and their corresponding average starting salary for 2013 bachelor's degree graduates include:

Field of Study Average Starting Salary
Advertising $47,300
Business Administration/Management $56,000
Chemistry $44,900
Criminal Justice and Corrections $34,800
Elementary Education $39,000
Finance $58,100
History $42,100
Nursing $52,000
Sociology $37,000
Special Education $45,600

Best Bachelor's Degree to Earn Based on Salary

PayScale.com conducted a survey on the best college bachelor's degrees according to salary in 2015-2016 based off of 129 different bachelor's degrees. Employees who took the survey were graduates from U.S. schools, full-time employees in the U.S. and possessed just a bachelor's degree.

The starting employees had two years of experience or less in their career, while mid-career employees had 15 years of experience. Based off of the survey results, the top degrees and their corresponding median salaries are listed below:

Degree Starting Median Salary Mid-Career Median Salary
Petroleum Engineering $101,000 $168,000
Nuclear Engineering $68,200 $121,000
Actuarial Mathematics $58,800 $119,000
Chemical Engineering $69,500 $118,000
Electronics & Communications Engineering $65,000 $116,000
Computer Science (CS) & Engineering $69,100 $115,000
Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) $67,000 $114,000
Systems Engineering $67,100 $114,000
Aeronautical Engineering $65,100 $113,000
Computer Engineering (CE) $68,400 $109,000
Mining Engineering $71,500 $109,000

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