List of Average Starting Salaries for Each College Major

With the economy on the rise, many of you will return to school or graduate soon. You’ll be starting your careers and entering a new phase in life, which means it’s time to start thinking about how much money you’ll make at your first job out of college. Wherever you attend college, there are plenty of ways to land a high-paying position right after graduation. Are you considering changing majors but unsure of how to measure the benefits? Perhaps you’ve already graduated and are trying to decide if your financial situation would be better with a different major. Or maybe you’re still in school, wondering if your degree will pay off in the long run. Here is a list of  average starting salaries for each college major.

11. English

When you major in English, you will gain a thorough understanding of English literature and develop skills in writing effectively, analyzing texts, and becoming an expert in the language. Having an English degree will open up a variety of career possibilities to you.

English teachers, blog writers, proofreaders, and editorial assistants are examples of positions an English degree may lead. Having an English degree typically will earn an individual a starting salary of $45,000. The option of getting a master’s degree or even going into law would help you more advance in your career. You can use an English degree to enter many different post-graduation opportunities to increase your salary during your career.

10. Business

Typically, the cost of a bachelor’s degree in business begins at around $54,019 after you graduate. In essence, business majors tend to start on the lower end of the salary spectrum, with the average starting salary for a business major far closer to $55,000 than $60,000. After high school, the average salary for business majors is substantially less than what they expect to earn through an MBA.

9. Petroleum Engineering

When it comes to the highest initial compensation of all the degrees available, engineering degrees top the list in terms of salary. Engineers working in the oil and gas industry pay the highest salary of all of the degrees available. Professionals in this field are responsible for researching, designing, and developing new extracting fossil fuels from the Earth.

It is estimated that when you graduate with a bachelor’s degree in this field, you can earn as much as $93,200. A typical salary for this position during mid-career increases to a staggering $187,300 on average. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2020 and 2030, the employment growth is expected to be around 8% – which is comparable to other industries.

8. Marketing

According to NACE, bachelor’s degree programs in marketing usually serve a starting salary of around $52,988, depending on the institution. While significant marketing salaries are lower than general business degrees, a master’s degree in marketing earns about $86,318 at the master’s level.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, nuclear engineers will earn a median annual salary of $116,140. However, it is predicted that this industry will show an 8% decline in employment between 2020 and 2030, with only 900 additional jobs expected to be opened up each year over that time frame.

7. Health

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health majors earn an average of approximately $66,440 per year. However, it is essential to note that this figure is likely to be slightly higher than starting salaries. As a health major, your salary will vary greatly depending on the level of experience, some being assistants while others are becoming full-fledged doctors.

6. Construction Management

Next on my list is a degree in constriction management. If you are someone who enjoys being in charge, this may be a good choice for you. You will be able to supervise and plan out large construction projects with a construction management degree. As long as the construction industry is ever-growing, it pays very well.

You can go into several careers with a degree in construction management, such as construction or project manager. The salary is usually around $69,200, which is a considerable increase over what you received when you worked in the previous position.

5. Finance

The NACE reports that college majors in Finance earn approximately $55,609 their first job out of college. The cost of a master’s degree in this field jumps up to roughly $70,957. As far as salary expectations go, finance majors face various options depending on their career goals. Several individuals continue to work in consulting roles while others decide to start their businesses.

4. Exercise Physiology

Next, I would like to introduce you to a degree you may not be familiar with. This degree is designed to offer you comprehensive knowledge about the human body and how physical activity affects it, and how you can maintain it.

Physical therapists, personal trainers, exercise physiologists, and athletic trainers are just some of the jobs you could get with this degree. On average, these types of jobs will have a starting salary of $52,164 per year. Further increasing your income would be achieved by getting a doctorate. This will allow you to enter into other medical fields.

3. Math 

As a private company or government, you probably have a vast amount of data at your fingertips, which means that you need professionals who will be able to interpret it all. I believe this is one of the main reasons why obtaining a degree in math will open the door to a wide range of rewarding careers. 

A professional who works as an actuary assesses financial risks for investment and insurance companies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary for an actuary was $111,030 in 2020. To reach the highest levels of their field, actuaries must pass a series of certification exams while in college and after they graduate. 

The average salary for a statistician in 2020 will be $93,290 per year, requiring at least a master’s degree. Actuaries and statisticians can both expect good employment growth between 2019 and 2029, with actuaries’ expected growth rate of 27% and statisticians’ expected growth rate of 35%.

2. Technology

Management information systems majors are the highest paying, such as those with a $59,642 starting salary. Almost seventy-five percent of this amount, or $75,433, is paid by those earning a master’s degree. The amount of technology degrees available varies widely, just as these numbers do not apply to every position.

1. Nursing

In this career field, it is estimated that the average starting salary is $72,249, which is close to the national average.

The average nurse graduate makes between $58,000 and $92,000 a year, with the majority making around $75,000 annually. Nurses’ salaries can be affected by their location, certification, and the type of healthcare they specialize in. California and Hawaii are at the top of the list among the states where nurses can earn the most money.


While many factors influence starting average salary, including job location and the current state of the economy, it’s clear that specific majors pay more than others. By choosing a high-paying college major, you can help ensure your financial future.

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