2022 Average College Graduate Salaries [50+ Statistics] (2023)

Report Highlights:

  • The average college graduate salary is $55,260 in 2022.
  • Petroleum engineers have the highest starting salary $87,989.
  • Technical majors have the highest starting salaries with an average of around $80,000.
  • $85,000 was the most common starting salary expected by college students.
  • 39% of students are not worried about COVID impacting their job search.

2022 Average College Graduate Salaries [50+ Statistics] (1)

Average Starting Salary for College Graduates

The average salary in 2022 for college graduates is $55,260, according to a National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey. This figure is 2.5% higher than the starting salaries of the past year. Technical majors have the highest starting salaries with an average starting salary of $87,989 for petroleum engineers.

Average starting salaries for college graduates are a reflection of the value of their combined skill and knowledge.

Several factors affect these numbers including the cost of living, the area in which the graduate lives, and demand for the skill that a graduate possesses. The numbers reflected in this report are averages and may vary slightly depending on these various factors.

  • The national average salary for college graduates (overall) has remained steady over the last few years at around $50,000 to $60,000.
  • Business, mathematics, health science, engineering, and computer science majors are shown to make a higher average salary at between $52,000 and $71,000 per year.
Top Paying ProfessionsAverage Starting Salary with a Bachelor’s Degree
Computer Science$67,539
Math and Sciences$62,177
Social Sciences$57,310
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The above figures are according to a study done by NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers)

Those salary averages reflect the need and demand for the skills that these college graduates have when they enter the job market.

Although the average starting salary is $50,000 to $60,000, some professions have an average starting salary much lower than the national average.

Lowest Paying ProfessionsAverage Starting Salary With a Bachelor’s Degree
Fine Arts$48,871
Art and Music Education$45,613
Drama and Theater Arts$44,538
Visual and Performing Arts$42,465
Studio Arts$41,762
Early Childhood Education$39,097

The above figures reflect a study done by Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Salary Averages Shown Per Industry

While the figures above show the average salary according to a student’s major and specific professions, there are also figures to be shown across certain industries, as a whole.

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When looking at these various industries, it has to be understood that there can be a wide variety of starting salaries. This variation is a direct result of the education level of the individual. It also depends on the profession within that given industry.

  • Health majors are shown to earn an average salary of around $66,440. This can vary widely across this industry as it includes everything from doctors to assistants.
  • Technology majors are sought as a high commodity in our economy today. Those with a bachelor’s degree can make an average of around $59,642 and $75,433 at the master’s degree level.
  • Business majors tend to land on the lower side of the starting salary range at around $60,000. Many graduates expect to make much more than this and are surprised by what they find in the job market.
  • Marketing majors start with around $52,988 with a bachelor’s degree. When they hit the master’s degree level, that salary can jump to around $86,318.
  • Finance professions range from consulting to owning a personal business. These majors can, realistically, expect to make around $55,609 with their bachelor’s and around $70,957 with a master’s.

Looking At College as An Investment

Overall, college is seen as an investment in a person’s future. The return on that investment is shown in many ways and is affected by several factors. Three factors that will dictate the success of that investment include sex, educational institution attended, and the level of education that is pursued.

A survey of 20,000 college students was conducted on the expectations that current college students and recent graduates have for their starting salary and their job prospects.

  • Around 17% of students and recent graduates expect to earn around $85,000 upon graduation.
  • Around 50% of those in the survey are stressed about finding a job in the current conditions.
  • 39% of those in the survey are not worried about Covid impacting their job search.
  • Most of the 39% were freshman and sophomore students.

Men vs Women

When looking at the role that the sex (biologically speaking) of a graduate has on salary, these figures reflect earnings throughout a graduate’s complete career (average of around 40 years).

There is a large disparity between the earnings of men and women, at both the bachelor’s degree and master’s degree levels. This has been a topic of discussion and activism across all industries within the United States economy and around the world.

  • It has been shown that men with a bachelor’s degree can earn upwards of $900,000 more than a man with just a high school level education.
  • A man who goes on to receive his master’s degree can make $1.5 million more.
  • A woman with a bachelor’s degree can earn upwards of $630,000 more than a woman with a high school level education.
  • A woman with a master’s degree can earn upwards of $1.1 million more.

By Educational Institution

Degrees earned by certain institutions carry more prestige, clout, and respect than others and it is shown in the salary. There is much to be said about starting average salaries for those who have recently graduated from prestigious colleges and universities, but the true value of an investment is shown in long-term results.

Here is a list of the top 5 colleges with the highest average salaries. These salaries are the salaries earned 10 years after enrollment at the college or university.

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  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is ranked the 6th best college in America but has the graduates earning the best average salary after 10 years, $91,000. This world-renowned engineering school has 22% of undergraduates go on to get jobs in their field of study.
  2. Harvard University is ranked as the 2nd best college in America and one of the oldest. Graduates of Harvard earn, on average, about $87,000 10 years after enrollment.
  3. Georgetown University is ranked the 11th best college in America. Graduates earn around $83,300 10 years after a graduate’s enrollment.
  4. Stanford University is ranked as the 4th best college in America and graduates make, on average, around $80,900 10 years after enrollment.
  5. The University of Pennsylvania is ranked as the 7th best college in America. Graduates of this university make around $78,200 10 years after their enrollment.

By Education Level

Education level is another major factor at play when it comes to the average salary for a college graduate. As the level of knowledge grows, so do the earnings that an individual can expect to make.

Associates Degree

  • Graduates with an associate degree earn weekly, on average, about $887 and around $46,124 yearly.
  • They see a lower rate of unemployment than those with just a high school education at around 2.7%.
  • Many who earn an associate degree tend to go back to earn their bachelor’s and this additional education can add $18,772 to their yearly average earnings.

Bachelor’s Degree

  • A bachelor’s degree holder earns an average of $1,248 a week and about $64,896 yearly.
  • Their rate of unemployment is lower than those with an associate degree at about 2.2%.
  • This will net a graduate with a bachelor’s degree about $750,000 more than an associate degree holder throughout a 40-year career.
  • It is thought that the work put in to earn a bachelor’s degree, and higher degree levels offer graduates invaluable skills as well as resilience and self-confidence.

Master’s Degree

  • A master’s degree translates into an average weekly pay of around $1,497 and around $77,844 yearly.
  • The unemployment rate at this level stands at around 2%.
  • Graduates with a master’s degree can expect to earn around $13,000 more than a bachelor’s degree holder.
  • To get to this level, graduates must have the prerequisite of a bachelor’s degree.
  • The financial difference between a bachelor’s degree holder and a master’s degree holder is not as substantial as the difference between an associate and a bachelor’s.

Professional Degree

  • A professional degree prepares a graduate for work in a specific field such as pharmacy, law, or medicine. A doctoral degree (which will be discussed next) has an increased focus on research and other scholarly work.
  • A graduate with a professional degree can expect to make around $1,861 a week and about $96,772 yearly.
  • Their rate of unemployment is extremely low at around 1.6%.
  • Professional degree holders can expect to earn around $19,000 more than a graduate with a master’s degree.
  • Over the course of a 40-year career, they can earn around $760,000 more than a master’s holder.

Doctoral Degree

  • Those holding a doctoral degree can expect to earn around $1,883 a week and an average of about $97,916 a year.
  • Their unemployment rate is the lowest of all at 1.1%.
  • Those with a doctoral degree will earn an average of about $20,000 a year more than a graduate with a master’s degree.
  • This yearly increase translates to about $800,000 throughout a 40-year career.
  • Doctoral degrees can be earned in a multitude of different disciplines with a serious focus on original and unique research in their field.
  • These degree holders are considered experts within their given field.



What is the average US salary 2022? ›

Average salary in the US. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national average salary in 2020 was $56,310. In 2022 average salary in the US is $53,490 per year.

What is a typical graduate salary? ›

According to the High Fliers report, "The Graduate Market in 2019", the median starting salary for UK graduates in 2022 is expected to be £30,000 for the fifth consecutive year.

Whats a good starting salary for a graduate? ›

The average starting salary for a graduate in the UK for 2022 is £24,291 – this is a 5% decrease from 2021 (£25,466).

What colleges has the highest average salary after graduation? ›

The highest salary among the top 25 is at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at $98,100; the lowest is at the University of California, Davis (68,700).

What percentage of Americans make over 100k? ›

Over 34% of American households make over $100k a year.

In 2022, 34.3% of American households earned more than $100,000. This was an increase from 33.6% in 2020 and 15.2% back in 1980.

What percentage of Americans make over 50k? ›

Overall, the highest percentage of Americans (16.5%) have an income between $50,000-$74,999. With the second and third highest percentages being those who make between $75,000-$99,999 (12.2%) and $100,000-$149,000 (15.3%).

Which graduates earn the most? ›

  • Petroleum Engineering. Average Salary: $102,300 to $176,300. ...
  • Actuarial Mathematics. Average Salary: $60,800 to $119,600. ...
  • Nuclear Engineering. Average Salary: $67,000 to $118,000. ...
  • Chemical Engineering. ...
  • Electronics and Communications Engineering. ...
  • Computer Science Engineer. ...
  • Aerospace Engineer. ...
  • Electrical Engineer.

How much more do graduates earn over lifetime? ›

Research, Statistics & Policy Analysis

Men with bachelor's degrees earn approximately $900,000 more in median lifetime earnings than high school graduates. Women with bachelor's degrees earn $630,000 more. Men with graduate degrees earn $1.5 million more in median lifetime earnings than high school graduates.

How much does a masters increase salary? ›

Their median wage was about 30 percent higher for workers with a master's degree than for those with a bachelor's degree.

Are graduate salaries negotiable? ›

Can you negotiate a graduate scheme salary? Usually, salaries for entry-level and graduate jobs are fixed and there is less room for negotiation than for a more senior role where candidates may have varying levels of experience and expertise to offer the employer.

Does having a degree increase your salary? ›

College-educated workers enjoy a substantial earnings premium. On an annual basis, median earnings for bachelor's degree holders are $36,000 or 84 percent higher than those whose highest degree is a high school diploma. The earnings gap between college graduates and those with less education continues to widen.

What is the highest paying starting salary job? ›

The highest-paying entry-level job in the US pays $95,000 per year—here are the other 9
  • Product Manager.
  • Investment Banking Analyst. ...
  • Product Designer. ...
  • UX Designer. ...
  • Implementation Consultant. ...
  • Java Developer. ...
  • Systems Engineer. Median Annual Base Salary: $70,000. ...
  • Software Developer. Median Annual Base Salary: $68,600. ...
16 May 2019

What college has the wealthiest students? ›

When it comes to producing Ultra High Net Worth alumni, Harvard University dwarfs the competition. The Ivy League research university has produced a whopping 13,650 UHNW individuals — more than twice the number to have graduated from the #2 school on our list!

What type of degree yields the highest salary on average? ›

Salaries for the 25 highest-paying majors
  1. Chemical Engineering. Median wage early career: $68,000.
  2. Computer Engineering. Median wage early career: $65,000. ...
  3. Electrical Engineering. Median wage early career: $65,000. ...
  4. Aerospace Engineering. ...
  5. Industrial Engineering. ...
  6. Mechanical Engineering. ...
  7. Computer Science. ...
  8. General Engineering. ...

What college has the highest family income? ›

1. Harvard University. Harvard University produces the richest grads in the country (to no one's surprise), as well as the most billionaire alumni. Nearly 80% of Harvard's UHNW alumni are considered self-made, and more than a quarter are of international origin.

How common is a 6 figure salary? ›

How Common Is a Six-Figure Salary? These days, a six-figure income is not as rare as it used to be. However, a 6 figures salary is still not that common in the US. According to a report by IBISWorld, in 2020, about 30.7% of Americans received a salary of more than $100,000.

What salary is considered rich in USA? ›

How much more than average income would be considered “rich?” One common indicator is being in the nation's “top 1%” of earners. According to the Economic Policy Institute Opens in new window, those include Americans who earn at least $421,926 a year—but their average annual income is far higher: $1,316,985.

What is top 10 percent income in US? ›

This section's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information.
DataTop thirdTop 10%
Household income
Lower threshold (annual gross income)$37,500$75,000
Exact percentage of individuals33.55%10.29%
3 more rows

What is the top 10% income? ›

In 2021, the average adult worldwide makes $23,380 and owns $102,600 in net worth. Someone in the top 10% of the global income distribution makes $122,100 per year.

What is considered upper class? ›

Upper Class Is Relative To The Median

Everything is relative when it comes to finances. Pew defines the upper class as adults whose annual household income is more than double the national median. In 2022, the national median household income is around $75,000, up from $68,000 in 2021.

What is considered a high income earner? ›

For high earners, a three-person family needed an income between $106,827 and $373,894 to be considered upper-middle class, Rose says. Those who earn more than $373,894 are rich.
What Is a Middle-Class Income?
Income groupIncome
Rich$373,894 and up
4 more rows

What is a high salary in 2022? ›

How much does a Highest make? As of Sep 24, 2022, the average monthly pay for a Highest in the United States is $9,182 a month.

What degree gets the most jobs? ›

Most In-Demand Degrees
  1. Pharmacology. For a lucrative career helping people, pharmacology is at the top of the list for in-demand degrees. ...
  2. Computer Science. ...
  3. Health Science. ...
  4. Information Technology. ...
  5. Engineering. ...
  6. Business Administration. ...
  7. Finance. ...
  8. Human Resources.

What is the average income of US citizens without a college degree? ›

The Department of Education's 2017 IES Report

In 2014, workers without high-school diplomas earned $24,000 annually; workers with high-school diplomas earned $30,500; workers who completed some college earned $31,900 and workers with a bachelor's degree earned $49,900.

Are people who went to college more successful? ›

Bachelor's degree holders earn an average of 66 percent more than high school graduates. People with a bachelor's degree will add $1 million to their total lifetime earnings compared to someone without a degree.

What is the average lifetime earnings of an American? ›

Overall, the median lifetime earnings for all workers are $1.7 million, which is just under $42,000 per year ($20 per hour). Over a 40-year career, those who didn't earn a high school diploma or GED are expected to bring in less than $1 million, which translates into slightly more than $24,000 a year ($11.70 per hour).

Do masters make you overqualified? ›

A majority (72 percent) of recruiters believe applicants with a master's degree would likely be overqualified for an average entry-level position.

Is having a master's degree impressive? ›

Master's degree holders enjoy greater job security and earn higher salaries than their counterparts with only an undergraduate degree. In addition, a master's degree can open the door to new career opportunities and provide the opportunity to develop new skills.

What is the average PHD salary? ›

A mid-career PHD Student with 4-9 years of experience earns an average salary of ₹5.2 Lakhs per year, while an experienced PHD Student with 10-20 years of experience earns an average salary of ₹12.7 Lakhs per year.

How much does a PhD increase your salary? ›

This means a doctorate brings about $20,000 more annually than a masters, and over $32,000 more than a bachelor's. So if your are wondering if the investment in a doctorate is worth it, the median and average PhD salary, according to multiple sources, shows that it certainly can be.

Is a master's degree worth it? ›

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of graduates with a master's degree will earn more than the median bachelor's degree holder, according to the CEW. It's even higher for doctoral (73%) and professional (83%) degree holders. Having a higher degree could also strengthen your ability to stay employed during economic downturns.

Is a college degree worth it 2022? ›

Going to college in 2022 is worth it for individuals who want access to more higher-paying jobs after graduating between 2026 and 2028. It's ideal for those who want higher lifetime earnings, too. Although costly, scholarships and grants can help make earning a bachelor's degree in 2022 affordable.

What jobs pay 100k straight out of college? ›

Best jobs with a bachelor's degree that pay over $100,000 per year
  • Sales executive.
  • Compensation manager.
  • Economist.
  • Actuary.
  • Risk manager.
  • Strategy manager.
  • Chief financial officer.
  • Loan officer.
8 Feb 2021

What job pays the most without a degree? ›

What Is the Highest-Paying Job Without a Degree?
  • Commercial Pilots: $121,430.
  • Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers: $94,560.
  • First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives: $91,090.
  • Power Plant Operators, Distributors, and Dispatchers: $85,950.
  • Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers: $84,990.

What is a good paying job right out of college? ›

25 of the highest-paying out-of-college jobs
  1. Financial analyst. National Average Salary: $71,418 per year. ...
  2. Industrial engineer. National average salary: $78,626 per year. ...
  3. Mechanical engineer. National average salary: $80,118 per year. ...
  4. Biomedical engineer. ...
  5. Nuclear engineer. ...
  6. Petroleum engineer. ...
  7. Civil engineer. ...
  8. Aerospace engineer.

What is a good income in 2022? ›

As this is often based on multiple incomes in the one household, a single person earning at least $67,521 can be considered a good salary. What is this? This is especially the case when you consider the current median income levels in the US. For men, this is $61,417 and for women, it's $50,982.

What is the average U.S. salary 2021? ›

The average gross annual wage per full-time employee in the USA was $74,738 in 2021, or around $6,228 per month ($4,648/year more than in the previous year).

What is a high salary in 2022? ›

How much does a Highest make? As of Sep 24, 2022, the average monthly pay for a Highest in the United States is $9,182 a month.

What is the average income in U.S. 2021? ›

The national median family income for the United States for FY 2021 is $79,900, an increase over the national median family income in FY 2020 of $78,500.

What is considered upper class? ›

Upper Class Is Relative To The Median

Everything is relative when it comes to finances. Pew defines the upper class as adults whose annual household income is more than double the national median. In 2022, the national median household income is around $75,000, up from $68,000 in 2021.

What is considered a high earner? ›

HENRY stands for "high earner, not rich yet," and is typically a younger earner who enjoys an income of $100,000 to $250,000 a year.

What's the 50 30 20 budget rule? ›

What is the 50/30/20 rule? The 50/30/20 rule is an easy budgeting method that can help you to manage your money effectively, simply and sustainably. The basic rule of thumb is to divide your monthly after-tax income into three spending categories: 50% for needs, 30% for wants and 20% for savings or paying off debt.

What is the top 2% salary in US? ›

Across the US, the average income for the top 2% of all earners is $206,000.

What salary is considered rich in USA? ›

How much more than average income would be considered “rich?” One common indicator is being in the nation's “top 1%” of earners. According to the Economic Policy Institute Opens in new window, those include Americans who earn at least $421,926 a year—but their average annual income is far higher: $1,316,985.

What percentage of males make over 100k? ›

How many men and women made $100,000 in 2021? In 2021, somewhere around 19,504,449 men made $100,000 or more in income (about 23.4% of male workers).

Is a 6 figure salary good anymore? ›

Basically, any career that earns more than $100,000 in a year but not over a million dollars is considered a six-figure salary. As you see the range is quite wide when you consider what a 6 figure income is. That said, a 6 figure income is considered a high income.

Is 100k still a good salary? ›

There's no denying that earning $100k a year is a very good salary, but it's what you do with it that counts. Salaries that are above $80,000 are considered middle class in the USA. The median household gross income for 2021 in America was $53,490 per year.

Is 100k a year rich? ›

Is Earning $100,000 Considered Rich? Earning $100,000 is not considered rich either. You are considered middle class to lower middle class in expensive coastal cities. $100,000 is considered upper middle class in lower cost areas of the country.

What salary is upper middle class? ›

Those who earn more than $373,894 are rich.
What Is a Middle-Class Income?
Income groupIncome
Poor or near-poor$32,048 or less
Lower-middle class$32,048 - $53,413
Middle class$53,413 - $106,827
Upper-middle class$106,827 - $373,894
1 more row

What percentage of Americans make 150k? ›

Percent by Household
Annual Household Income% of Americans Earning More
$125,000 to $129,99911.78%
$130,000 to $134,99910.74%
$135,000 to $139,9999.85%
$140,000 to $144,9999.03%
38 more rows
27 Oct 2011

What is the top 10 percent income? ›

In 2021, what was the threshold for the top 10% individual income in the United States? Top 10% of individual earnings started at $129,181 in the United states in 2021.


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