List of Average Starting Salaries for Each College Major

A lot of jobs in the United States require a Bachelor’s Degree. I have compiled a list of majors and potential jobs that can be obtained right after graduation so it’s easy to see what you can do with your education.

15. Theater

Theater Starting Average Salary: $26,000 – $40,000

Entry-level jobs for theatre majors might include:

  • Theatre Teacher – Many lovers of theatre like to spread their love by going to teach at schools
  • Actor – Whether this be in the community or on the big stage, you can definitely obtain a job as an actor if you have the talent and the courage.
  • Stage Manager – Many local productions need cast and crew and with this degree you have the knowledge to lead them.

As a theatre or performing arts major, you will learn how to do improv, work well with others, memorize and have self-discipline. Theatre majors are charismatic and know how to make others feel emotions.

In this major, you will study film, playwrights, and the history of performing arts. Part of the major is learning set design and costume design, and most importantly, how everything fits together.

One way to increase your salary is to take lessons or additional classes, whether that be in music or in dance. Having a versatile skill set will increase your employers desire to have you on stage.

Also think about set designing, light design, or behind the scenes factors of theatres to help increase your chances.

If you want to work on a stage, live somewhere where there are a lot of job options. If you live in a location where there are a lot of productions, you will have more success.  

14. Art

Art Starting Average Pay: $30,720 – $55,860

The starting wages for Art majors differ in whether you are in pursuit of being a teacher or an artist. Those who become teachers make more on average than craft artists. Elementary-school art teachers can make on average of $54,000 while middle-school teachers of the arts make $55,860 annually, according to

Entry-level jobs for art majors include:

  • Art Teacher – art teachers are necessary for all levels of schooling, from 1st grade to senior year.
  • Freelance Artist – this job is a payed-by-the-product type job. Individuals hire you to make paintings, drawings, sculptures, etc.
  • Beginning Graphic Designer – Graphic designers work through technology to create art digitally.
  • Content Artist – Jobs under this name means creating images and videos for websites, blogs, etc.

An Art degree includes studying the history of art, whether that be sculptures in Rome or the Impressionist Era. Getting a bachelor’s degree in art often includes taking hands-on classes, like drawing, ceramics, and painting. Through studying art, majors have a strong grip on the theory behind Art and the power to create it.

They understand how to critique and judge art as well. A degree in art helps an individual think more creatively.

Looking for ways to increase your annual salary? A good place to start is to look into gettings a Master’s Degree. Having a Master’s Degree increases the possibility of jobs and income. Those who have a Master’s in Art can become curators, a job that which can increase your salary by $20,000 (at least) a year.

Other ways to increase your salary is to get experience while still in college. Getting an internship is a great way to show future employers that you are serious and you know what you are doing already.

Also consider moving to a place where art is more appreciated, like San Francisco or New York. You’ll have a higher chance of selling art pieces if you aren’t living in a small town.

13. Biology

Biology Starting Average Pay $41,250

Entry level job opportunities include:

  • Biological Technician – Perform lab tests under the supervision of a biologist.
  • Paramedic – Provide urgent care to those in medical emergencies.
  • Zoologist – Studies wildlife and how it interacts with the environment.

Biology is a flexible degree that allows you to work both out in the field and in a lab. This flexibility expands the types of jobs that you could have. From working as a scientist, an EMT, or a forensic analyst biology has a wide berth of influence due to its instrumental use in anything involving living organisms and analyzing them.

Biology is well received by college students for the enlightening nature of the degree. You are able to discover the hidden functions of the world and can later use them in your life. While a lot of studying is required for a biology degree, you’ll have plenty of options after you get your bachelor’s.

To increase your pay as someone with a biology degree, you can either earn a doctorate or a master’s to go into the medical or advanced science fields. The best paying jobs for someone with a biology degree are a physician, dentist, and a podiatrist. Each of these degrees requires a doctorate.

For more information on what you can do with your biology degree check out this Get Educated article.

12. Psychology

Psychology Starting Average Pay $42,000

Some entry-level jobs that are available to psychology graduates are:

  • Case Manager – organize a facilitate an individual or families health needs.
  • Mental Health Counselor – Help those facing emotional or mental problems through open discussion and professional care.
  • School Psychologist – Provide help to students that are facing psychological issues.
  • Guidance Counselor – Guide students in the later years of there school to proper academic paths and career fields.

Psychology is a field that is continuing to grow since its rather recent creation. With more and more evidence pointing to the need for counseling for many people the field of psychology is ever expansive. The field provides flexibility to serve in a medical field, a researching field, or in a lab environment.

The benefits to a psychology degree are similar to a biology degree in the sense that both provide the student with knowledge about the everyday world around them.

This is why psychology can often be found as the major or minor of many people in varying fields as understanding how the mind works is very beneficial.

To earn more money with a psychology degree you may want to earn a doctorate as that will lead you to the high paying jobs such as a child psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist.

Additionally, psychologist are well known for their writing abilities, and write a book may be a strong way to earn a passive income.

You can find out more about what you can do with a psychology degree to improve your paycheck in this business insider article.

11. Education

Education Starting Average Salary: $43,000

A job in the education field can look like:

  • A Special-Ed Teacher – In this job you will work with children with disabilities and help them learn and grow in unique ways.
  • High School Teacher – This will require teaching at a higher level and having a certain subject(s) to teach.
  • Elementary School Teacher – You will work with younger kids, and teach them many subjects opposed to having one subject.
  • Tutor – You can help tutor kids on an after-school basis

After getting a degree in education, to become a teacher, there are tests that need to be taken before a teacher can be certified. Make sure you get certified for the state you will be teaching in.

An Education degree will include courses on basic math, English, science give you reminders. You will also have classes that instruct you on how best to teach in an effective way and to perform to the necessary standards.

Many colleges will have you select a subject or two to major in, like English and history. You will become well-rounded and informed on the subjects you will be teaching.

A great way to increase your base pay is to look at different states to teach in. Alaska has the highest average annual salary for teachers at $80,000+. New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and California are other top paying states.

Another way to increase your salary is to consider going to Grad School. Getting more education is going to be a way to raise that pay, always. With a Master’s you can also become a school counselor or often a college professor.

10. Chemistry

Chemistry Starting Average Pay $44,000

A job in chemistry starting off could be:

  • Pharmacy Technician – Work as the messenger between customers and pharmaceutical companies.
  • Chemist – Study substances and their interactions at an atomic and molecular level.
  • Laboratory Technician – Assist laboratory scientists through assessing and analyzing the substances used in the lab.

This is another science field that opens up the world to all the possibilities around you. Chemistry is a beneficial degree for many reasons including the orderly nature of the job.

You need to make consistent precise measurements and will often need to write down your findings. So having a strong sense of organization is beneficial in this job. You’ll have limited flexibility as most chemistry jobs involve you working in a lab of some kind.

What you are paid in a chemistry field is based on the kind of work that you do. As such clinical discoveries are more significant than food studies. Use this to your advantage by studying some of the more complicated parts of chemistry.

The best option to further your education is to get a Master’s that way you’ll be able to expand further on the concepts that you want to use in your future career.

9. English

English Starting Average Salary: $45,000

Entry-level jobs for English degree majors include:

  • English Teacher – Instead of getting an education degree, English majors can be instructors with the right certification to teach middle-school or high-school.
  • Editorial Assistant – This a great job for a professional or technical writer. In this job, you will edit work from writers and see how the publishing world works.
  • Blog Writer – Many companies hire young graduates to write articles for content on up-and-coming websites.
  • Proofreader – This job will entail going over news articles and blog content with a fine-tooth comb to make sure the content is perfect.

Studying English can include going through literature, studying rhetoric and the theory of writing to writing creatively. Through studying English, majors will learn how to analyze text, and perfect grammar. Going through the programs means a lot of paper writing, reading, and research. This field of study opens your door to a wide-range of job opportunities.

There are a few things that you can do to help increase your average salary. Getting a grad degree or even going on to law school is a great option for an English major. With a Master’s you can become a professor, or a librarian.

If you are considering this field of study, picking technical or professional writing will increase your pay as well. Creative writing may not make you quite a big of an income on average.

Another way to increase your salary is to get experience. Even if your school does not require it for graduation, do an internship.

8. Business

Business Starting Average Pay: $47,850

Entry-level jobs for business include:

  • Sales Representative – In this job you will market products to customers
  • Financial Analyst – This could be working in banks, for business, basically you use number crunching to help people succeed
  • Assistant Buyer – In this job, you help calculate, evaluate suppliers, and analyze the cost of products.
  • Business Consultant – Many corporations and companies look to hire consultants to get great clients. Consultants also help find the weaknesses within the business.  

As a business major, you learn numbers, management styles, techniques. A lot of people who go the business route are looking to run their own business, or become higher-up in companies. Going through the Bachelor Degree program, majors will learn how to think analytically and problem solve.

Most majors will take classes in marketing, economics and communications. Studying these things make for a well-rounded candidate for the world of employment.

To increase the entry-level salary, you should take advantage of internship opportunities. Doing so will give real-world experience that is much needed. Experience will be crucial for increasing pay, so if you find a good job, stick with it.

Grad school can also increase your pay greatly. It will help you stick out of the crowd and help you get a job as an accountant. With a Bachelor’s in business, it’s not uncommon to become a lawyer. Don’t limit your possibilities by stopping your schooling.

7. Communications

Communication Starting Average Pay $52,000

Here are some entry-level jobs for this major:

  • Client Services Representative – Establishing and maintaining a positive relationship with either clients or a company
  • Social Media Coordinator – Makes social media posts. Tracks the amount of traffic on pages and sites and specializes in modifying posts to create more traffic.
  • Public Relations – Working in a firm or company build up and expand reputation for a given company.

Generally, the starting jobs for a bachelor degree in communications is a Client Services Representative, Marketing Coordinator, Editorial Assistant, etc.

As a starting job, you’ll be a support job to a higher job. These jobs really help you to gain experiences in the communication field. The person/people you will be assisting will be mentors to you, or at least they should.

There are specified fields that you can go into like a Public Relations Assistant or a Social Media Coordinator. These generally start out a little higher in pay but it is because they are a specialist job.

One of the best ways to expand your communications degree is training to be a specialist in a certain area. Communications specialists are like swiss army knifes. They have to have a lot of skills in their pocket. So any extra skills you can have will make you more valuable.

People will be willing to pay you more because of the skills you have. If you can make a firm or a company happy and successful, they will not want to lose you to someone who will pay you more.

6. Exercise Physiology

Exercise Physiology Starting Average Pay 52,164

A job in this field is going to look like:

  • Physical Therapist – Work throguh a patients physical disabilities by slowly exercising their bodies and working throguh any stress they feel.
  • Personal Trainer – Work on a one-to-one basis with a person to help them with getting or keeping themselves in shape.
  • Exercise Physiologist – Analyze the habits and routines of their patients so that they can improve their health.

These jobs focus on a relationship between you your patient and your patients body. Your job is to get them to do something they ultimately don’t want to do as any form of exercising is as exciting as it is hard. So having skills of persuasion and being able to convince them through to whole process.

This field is a beneficial study as you get to learn the best way to take care of your body and can apply that to others as well then. So take care of yourself and you will look like a better option for someone selse to pick.

Earning a doctorate is probably your best bet in this degree to further your pay. This will allow you to get to other medical fields.

5. Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering Starting Average Pay: $58,000

Entry-level jobs include:

  • Service Engineers – Replace and/or install parts to keep operation of machinery smooth and functional.
  • Machine Operators – Work with heavy machinery for set up and operation. Sometimes works with computer-controlled equipment.

Most of these jobs that you will find will say “Entry-Level” in the title. A lot of jobs in Mechanical Engineering sound intimidating. That’s because when creating the job, the company puts everything they hope to have a person be in that position.

Because of this, entry level people think that they are not nearly enough experienced to do the job so they don’t even apply. The thing is though,

Engineering jobs are looking for the “ideal worker” for this job. They will take the best they can get. Apply for the jobs anyway and you’ll gain the experience.

Go get your MBA! If you are interested in business and management, this is a huge boost to your career as an engineer. Getting your MBA will help you understand money and the structure of a project so much better with this knowledge you will learn from a business degree.

Another way to move up in your field is to become a Professional Engineer (PE). PEs generally get higher supervisor jobs and that naturally means more money.

Look for other ways to help like if your company needs to send somebody to travel to a project, do it. The next time you have an interview for your merit, you can tell them about what you have done and then they can see the time and effort you put into your job and they might even give you a better job.

4. Nursing

Starting Average pay $58,928

  • Registered Nurse – Carry out the general day to day workflow of the medical field.
  • Case manager – work to assess a person or a families health issues and lead them to the necessary help that they need.
  • Nurse Assistant – Work as an assistant to a specific type of doctor to ease the work that they’ll face.

A nursing degree is all about being able to stay calm in an environment where people may be offended and be able to get information out of frantic or ignorant individuals. You will often need to pass information between parties so having a strong memory or note taking abilities is a large plus.

Nursing is a largely beneficial degree to those studying it as you will be able to help those facing medical emergencies in your daily life. It is also a rewarding field due to the helpful nature of the job.

To increase your pay in this field you will want to get a doctorate. The greater expertise that you have as a nurse the more doctors you can work for. The better or more advanced of a doctor that you can assist the greater your pay will be. So work to learn as much as you can and build strong relationships with your coworkers.

3. Construction Management

Construction Management Starting Average Pay: $69,200

An entry-level job in this field might look like:

  • Construction Manager: Commercial – Oversees multiple projects. Works closely with the owner
  • Project Manager: Need to have comprehension of the entire project, budget, and schedule to make sure things get done on time.

If love to be in charge and watch things come together than this is the job for you. Construction Managers will oversee all of the project and the different areas. They work closely with the owners and the building specialists. They work closely with the trade workers as well like stonemasons and electricians.

The types of things you will build are endless. It could be a concert hall or even a hotel. It can be local or a huge corporation. There are many opportunities for you to experience.

You can specialize and go into a specific area. You could become a management consultant. You are a motivated person and you enjoy problem solving then this would be a good fit.

If you are into technology and have studied that, you could be Computer-aided Design (CAD) technician. They are super useful and you can visual with the technology what your building will be like. It is incredibly useful.

2. Mathematics

Mathematics Starting Average Pay: $74,000

Here are some entry level jobs for this major can include:

  • Mathematician – Problem solving through the process of numerical analysis. You’ll be researching concepts and analyzing data.
  • Actuary – Use Mathematics knowledge calculate risks for insurance companies.

A lot of people think that Mathematics is just a bunch of crunching numbers but there are many options available to you. Math is used in everything and because of that, they are useful and in high demand everywhere.

Government agencies and medical fields need people in math. There is so much. There is so much opportunity out there for a mathematician.

The way to expand your career is through just seeing what kinds of jobs will challenge you. How about a job in the space/aircraft industry? That sounds intimidating but imagine what you could learn.

Being a mathematician is all about pushing yourself and how creative you can be with your problem solving. You could even become a teacher and expand your skills that way.

1. Computer Science

Computer Science Starting Average Pay: $75,000

A starting job in this field of study can include:

  • Software Engineer – They work with operating systems and networks. Their job is to keep things functioning and running smoothly.
  • Computer Programming – Writing code in various languages like Java or CSS. They work closely with IT and managers.

Computer Science is a really well-paying job, especially after getting a Master’s Degree according to Forbes.

With Computer Science, you have to be analytical and understand new languages. There are quite a few computer languages that a Computer Science major will have to learn. They are not like any oral languages.

You have to think complexly about how to solve problems and you really have to understand the structure of the code. It takes patience but it is a worthwhile job. Most people I know that do it, love it. If you do not love it, do yourself a favor and do not go into it.

Computers and technology are expanding and ever-changing in our modern day. Because of that, you’ll have to keep learning and adapting. Like I said earlier, you do not love it or love learning about new tech, then you are in the wrong job.

Companies don’t just want people with a computer science degree. They want people with that and other skills. Creativity is key to the new ways of tech. The more experience you have in other areas, the more you can bring to the table.

With every job, I recommend having as much experience as you can. Put in the effort and you will reap the rewards.

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