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How the Average American Spends Their Lifetime Earnings

Have you wondered how much you will make in your lifetime and whether you will make enough to sustain your expenses after retirement?

This article will talk about how much money you can expect to make and how much of your income you will spend in your lifetime.

How Does Your Salary Compare to Those of Your Peers?

According to a survey conducted by the US Census Bureau in 2015, the median individual salary of an average American is $33,617.

Based on calculating the average career expectancy to be 40 years and assuming the annual salary to remain static throughout the career, an average individual in United States is expected to earn approximately $1,344,680 in his/her lifetime.

As for couples, the median income is $82,078.

When calculated with the same formula, the average household is expected to earn $3,283,120 in its lifetime.

You probably think that this number is highly inaccurate for aby of the following reasons:

  1. How much you actually make in comparison to that number
  2. The unlikeliness of your salary remaining the same throughout the years
  3. The fact that you may work more or less than 40 years.

You may think these numbers are not relatable to your situation at all, but quite the contrary!

It plays an important role in allowing you to start visualizing how much money you can make in your lifespan and how you measure up against the rest of the country.

If you are over the median range, you are off to a great start.

But if you are below the median, do not be discouraged.

By understanding how various factors can affect your salary earnings, you can work towards a better future.

Breakdown of Average American Salary by Age

One of the reasons that you may earn less than the country's median annual income range is that you are a relatively fresh employee.

Because age is often correlated with job experience and knowledge/expertise, it is rather predictable that younger workers earn less than older workers.

But the question is how much salary change can you expect in your career?

And can you expect your salary to plateau in a certain age range?

To answer,, let us first look at the median yearly income for various age ranges:

Age Median Yearly Income
16 - 19 $22,152
20 - 24 $27,456
25 - 34 $40,456
35 - 44 $49,244
45 - 54 $52,052
55 - 64 $50,024
65 and over $46,800

Median Yearly Income by Age Range

As illustrated in the graph, the age group between 16 and 19 has a much lower annual income.

This is because the jobs available to individuals in this age range tend to be minimum wage entry occupations that are often related to manual labor workforce.

As seen in the 20 to 24 age group, the wage increase leaps by about $5,000.

This has to do with the number of workers achieving a higher education and receiving much better wages in their early 20s.

Now here is the catch:

According to statistical studies done by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, your salary in your 20s has a major effect on how your salary will increase in the future.

In essence, the higher your start-off salary is, the more drastically your wages will increase between the ages of 25 and 55 before tapering off until your retirement.

For the average employee, the wage will surge by 38% between the ages of 25 and 55 and then plateau as they shift towards retirement.

Sadly, this only applies to individuals who are within the average range.

Those who remain among the lowest 5% of earners in society actually see a decline in their incomes over the years between the ages of 25 and 55.

You may wonder why.

This is because many of these low-paying jobs are manual, labor-intensive occupations and individuals are much more likely to suffer from physical injuries and to be pushed out of their jobs as they become less productive.

The only individuals who continue to see their salaries surge ahead are those lucky ones who rank in the 95th percentile range of America's economic status.

These individuals are most likely highly educated professionals such as lawyers, engineers, doctors, technology-related experts, and large business owners.

During their career, they can expect their income to grow 1,500% of their starting wage.

Education Matters

With so many college students so heavily in debt, many people wonder if higher education is really worth the investment.

This debate boils down to whether people with a college degree will earn more than those without a college degree…

The answer is YES.

As mentioned earlier, from the analysis of the wage difference based on age differences, those in the 16 to 19 age group are usually workers who do not have a college education.

There are even individuals within that group that have not graduated from high school.

Relying only on their restricted amount of knowledge and skills, they have a very limited amount of occupation selections.

On the other hand, just by having a college degree, individuals will considerably increase their occupation options and are 20% much more likely to be hired than those who only hold a secondary school diploma.

As of 2015, fresh college grads already earn $5,000 more than workers without higher education.

Over time, the wage gap between the two groups will drastically become wider as the higher schooling group sees a constant wage increase whereas the latter group remains as minimum wage workers of the society.

Debate on High Tuition Fees and Student Loans

For skeptics who raise the problem of student loan debts, here is an analysis of whether a college degree is truly worth your time and money.

According to the data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, the cost of a 4-year college education averages around $56,000.

In 2010, the cost of the same education deal averaged around $82,000.

Although it seems that the price has soared by 50% over 30 years, many people have not accounted for several factors:

  1. Economic inflation over 30 years
  2. Increase of financial aid available to students that charges a much lower interest rate now than 30 years ago
  3. Increase of scholarships provided to students with great grades and/or who have made great contributions to society
  4. Forgiveness programs available for high-demand occupation degrees
  5. More tax-deductible benefits available for individuals who are paying back their student loans

Just by going over these four factors, one notices the rise of tuition fees is not so drastic after all.

Even though you are required to pay back the student loan, your immediate higher pay and substantial wage increase over time will allow you not only to get out of debt sooner but also to purchase a home faster.

However, if you decide to forego higher education and opt to enter the job environment sooner, even though you may start earning money earlier, you will have less chance of a wage increase.

Over time, that will make you the hare in the money race.

If you are still not convinced, let us take a closer look at the survey conducted in 2016 by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the data:

  • Full-time employees who are 25 years old and over without a high school diploma have a median weekly wage of $494.
  • Full-time employees who are 25 years old and over with only a high school diploma and no higher education have a median weekly wage of $679.
  • Full-time employees who are 25 years old and over with some higher education (e.g. associate's degree or some college experience) have a median weekly wage of $782.
  • Full-time employees who are 25 years old and over with a bachelor's degree have a median weekly wage of $1,155.
  • Full-time employees who are 25 years old and over with an advanced degree (e.g. professional training, master's, and/or doctoral degree) have a median weekly wage of $1,435.

If these individuals work all 52 weeks in a year, their median annual income comes to:

Median Annual Wage Differences by Education Level

If you take a look how much the median bachelor's diploma-holding individual makes in a year ($60,060), a 4-year education merely costs 1 ½ years of their earnings.

In exchange for the tuition fee, you can climb to a much higher earning status within a shorter amount of time.

If you need even more proof, according to the information provided by U.S. Census Bureau, it is estimated that a master's degree will earn you about $1.4 million more in lifetime earnings than if you were to hold only a bachelor's degree.

Solely from this information, we can see that a higher education degree will boost both your starting income and your wage increase over the years.

Hidden Perks of Higher Education Jobs

Something often not mentioned is the added work-related benefits enjoyed by people in higher education jobs.

They can enjoy more paid vacation days, which translates into fewer actual working weeks, than the lower education group does.

Moreover, these individuals also enjoy other work-related benefits such as better health insurance and life insurance plans as well as more money put towards their retirement savings.

All these can decrease their annual expenses and increase the money they can enjoy after retirement.

So unless you are the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Mike Zuckerberg, attending college is always a great investment to boost your earning power.

Not All Degrees Are Created Equal

Even though a college degree is a crucial factor contributing to a person's earning advancement prospects, there are a number of things you should know:

  1. Any college degree, associate degree, and even some college education, will allow individuals to earn more than those with only a high school education. This fact is true whether you are comparing income during the start of a career, midway in a career, or at the end of a career.
  2. There is always a discrepancy in salary amongst individuals within the same occupation. Those who are more qualified or trained in a more prestigious college will often receive a pay rate that is higher than others.
  3. There are always exceptions to the rule. Some individuals with only a high school diploma will out-earn those with a bachelor's or associate's degrees. And there will be some college graduates who will earn an income that is within the low-income range.
Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs That Do Not Require College Degree
Rank Job Entry Career Wage
1 Janitorial Managers $93,500
2 Auto Body Service Managers $93,400
3 Nuclear Reactor Operators $91,170
4 Transportation, Distribution, and Storage Managers $89,190
5 Aircraft Mechanics $85,200
6 First-line Supervisors of Detectives and Police Officers $84,840
7 Power Distributors and Dispatchers $81,900
8 Elevator Installers and Repairers $78,890
9 Detectives and Criminal Investigators $78,120
10 Commercial Pilot $77,200
10 Lowest Paying Bachelor Degrees 10 Lowest Paying Graduate Degrees
Rank Major Degree Entry Career Wage Rank Major Degree Entry Career Wage
10 Elementary Education Bachelor $34,700 10 Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) Master's $40,300
9 Youth Ministry Bachelor $32,900 9 Counselor Education & Counseling Psychology Master's $40,400
8 Human Development & Family Studies Bachelor $34,300 8 Studio Art Master's $38,800
7 Therapeutic Recreation Bachelor $35,200 7 Professional Counseling Master's $39,400
6 Social Work (SW) Bachelor $33,800 6 Reading & Literacy Master's $40,000
5 Human Services (HS) Bachelor $34,000 5 Divinity Master's $44,000
4 Child Development Bachelor $32,000 4 Mental Health Counseling Master's $40,200
3 Early Childhood & Elementary Education Bachelor $34,800 3 Community Counseling Master's $40,400
2 Child & Family Studies Bachelor $31,400 2 Early Childhood Education Master's $38,100
1 Early Childhood Education Bachelor $30,700 1 Human Services (HS) Master's $38,000
  1. The top 90th percentile high school graduates out-earn the bottom 10th percentile of college graduates no matter what major they studied.
  2. Degrees that accentuate measureable specialized skills tend to project the highest earnings. Some examples are engineering, physics, logistics, computer science, finance, and economics.
  3. Degrees that are associated with children education, home economics, religion studies, counselling, social work, and fine arts tend to have the lowest median incomes.

Should People Make the Switch to More Profitable Degrees?

After looking at the earnings data, many people might jump to the conclusion that if they immediately switch to another major, their salaries will make the adjustment and subsequently increase their lifetime earnings.

This assumption is flawed, however, as many other factors can contribute to differences in salary.

  1. Your grades matter. If you make a sudden change, you might not be as well-prepared as other students who have concentrated on the same field since as far back as high school. With much more knowledge and experience (e.g. intern jobs, related volunteer work, awards, and scholarships), they will have better opportunities to score much higher-paid starting positions than you.
  2. You may lack many prerequisites to make the faculty switch. In a worst-case scenario, your college may not offer the program you are looking for.
  3. Your current college may not be known for certain degrees. Even if you make the change, your resume may look less impressive than those of individuals who have graduated from more prestigious programs.
  4. Even if you make the switch right away, you have wasted the last few years and will lose more time in catching up with your peers. By entering the job force later than your peers, your lifetime earnings will be significantly less than individuals who have graduated earlier with relevant work experience.

The truth is that the data presented only shows the median salary calculated from the census survey of all individuals who work full-time in their industry.

It means that 50% of these individuals will earn more than the median and 50% will earn less than the median.

As mentioned before, there is always an exception to the rule.

Depending on your knowledge, credentials, and skills, you have the ability to make much more money than your peers.

What matters is whether your knowledge and skills are in high demand.

For example, a hairdresser is expected to earn about $30,000 as their annual salary.

However, elite hair stylists who work with performers and are top of their game can expect to earn upwards of $80,000.

Other Occupation-Related Factors that Contribute to Salary Differences

Aside from education, there are many factors that contribute to the difference in salary amongst professions:

Labor Hours Differences

Although there is a relatively fixed amount of hours an individual has to work throughout a week, the total hours of work can vary depending on a person's attachment to their job.

The top percentile earning group can work as many as 18 hours per day for 6 days of the week.

Others may be forced to work a flexible part-time schedule to accommodate their family needs (many mothers choose this as a way to juggle both work and kids in their lives).

Based on the working hour differences, it is no wonder that some individuals earn less than the median while others thrive way past their peers in income gain.

Skills Demands

Many employers are willing to pay extra for an employee who obtains more credentials, job experiences, and skills.

They are also willing to pay for individuals who have knowledge of more than one major, so instead of hiring two persons for the purpose, they can hire one person to multitask.

This scenario is also true for jobs that do not require a diploma.

For example, individuals who are knowledgeable in both auto repair and business administration can expect to earn an income of around $93,500, whereas an auto technician will only earn about $59,000 as their annual income.

Shift Differential Premiums

There are certain jobs that demand employees to work odd hours.

In order to compensate for the physical and social strain result from working outside of regular hours, these individuals are paid a premium bonus or increased wage for the sacrifice.

As a result, they can earn more money than individuals who work the same number of hours during normal working hours.

Hazardous and Undesirable Working Conditions

This applies whenever a job requires one to work under unsafe conditions or handle dangerous chemicals.

Some examples are nuclear reactor operators, petroleum engineers, professional golf ball divers, pilots, firefighters, stunt doubles, grinders, commercial fishermen, and mining machine operators.

Other times, it is the undesirable nature of the job that makes a certain occupation higher in salary status.

Some examples are funeral home directors, plumbers, farmers, ranchers, ship engineers, water vessel captains and mates, and criminal investigators.

Job Availability

Job availability is a contributing factor of lower annual income for minimum-wage occupations.

For the blue-collar group and minimum-wage group, many companies try to cut down on expenses by putting their workers in permanent part-time positions.

This is a way for them to avoid paying for workers' health insurance benefits and paid vacation days.

As a result, employees are forced to earn a limited amount of income even though they are willing to work more hours.

In many cases, these individuals are forced to work several jobs and finagle a schedule that will fit into all their part-time hours and earn enough to pay for their living expenses.

Another problem with job availability is the balance among 3 factors:

  1. The demand of the position
  2. The skills and knowledge required for the position, and
  3. The number of candidates who qualify for the position.

Occupations that require less specific skills are more prone to have lower wages.

This is because employers have more applicants to choose from. In most cases, they choose a candidate who is willing to work for a lower wage.

On the other hand, jobs that require very specific knowledge and skills tend to foster a higher income as there are fewer candidates who have the aptitude for these positions.

In extreme cases where there is great demand for a job yet very few candidates who have acquired both the knowledge and skill prerequisites, the salary will be extremely high.

Some examples are medical surgeons, international affair lawyers, forensic accounting investigators, and petroleum engineers.

In addition, some jobs do not involve work for an entire year.

As a result, some occupations may suffer lower incomes due to hour-limitation issues.

For example, teachers often do not teach during the summer; in order to receive continuous pay, they may be required to pick up summer teaching jobs.

The same goes for job fields that only operate during certain seasons such as commercial fishermen, mining machine operators, skiing instructors, and stunt doubles.

Industry Differences

There is an income discrepancy within a field depending on the position within the industry.

For example, individuals who work as accountants in the local public education system will have a much lower pay no matter how many hours and how hard they work compared to an accountant at a prestigious firm or a forensic accountant.

Income Difference by Geographic Locations

What many people neglect about variations in earnings is geographic location.

Depending on where you reside, you may earn more or less than your peers from other parts of the United States.

Just to make a point, the United States median household income is $50,296, whereas Maryland has a median household income of $70,004 and Mississippi has a median household income of $36,919.

If you are wondering how your income matches to your home state, please refer to the chart below:

Rank State Median Annual Household Income
United States $50,296
1 Maryland $70,004
2 New Jersey $69,825
3 California $67,753
4 Connecticut $65,753
5 Massachusetts $64,859
6 New Hampshire $64,712
7 Virginia $62,881
8 Hawaii $62,814
9 Minnesota $61,814
10 Alaska $60,287
11 Delaware $57,954
12 Washington $57,835
13 Wyoming $56,322
14 Utah $55,869
15 Colorado $55,387
16 New York $55,246
17 Rhode Island $53,636
18 Illinois $53,234
19 Vermont $52,776
20 North Dakota $52,704
21 Wisconsin $50,395
22 Nebraska $50,296
23 Pennsylvania $50,228
24 Iowa $49,427
25 Texas $49,392
26 Kansas $48,964
27 Nevada $48,927
28 South Dakota $48,321
29 Oregon $46,816
30 Arizona $46,709
31 Indiana $46,438
32 Maine $46,033
33 Georgia $46,007
34 Michigan $45,981
35 Ohio $45,749
36 Missouri $45,247
37 Florida $44,299
38 Montana $44,222
39 North Carolina $43,916
40 Idaho $43,341
41 Oklahoma $43,225
42 South Carolina $42,367
43 New Mexico $41,963
44 Louisiana $41,734
45 Tennessee $41,693
46 Alabama $41,415
47 Kentucky $41,141
48 Arkansas $38,758
49 West Virginia $38,482
50 Mississippi $36,919

But why is there such a big discrepancy in annual earnings among the states?

Here's why:

Job availability varies in different regions of the country.

According to research studies, job availability has a lot to do with innovations and technology.

It has been estimated that, for every high-tech invention job that is added in a region, five jobs are added to the local workforce.

As a result, cities such as San Jose, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Los Angeles continue to have a great number of jobs available.

At the same time, these high-tech jobs tend to be much higher-paying as they require specific expertise and skills using the latest innovations.

On the other hand, remote areas that are far from high-tech centers continue to suffer from job loss.

And because these areas focus on agriculture or manufacturing, the only jobs available tend to be blue-collar and labor-intensive positions.

As a result, the population tends to receive lower pay.

The cost of living differs from city to city.

In high-tech-savvy areas, because there are so many high-paying positions, many people can afford to spend more money.

This results in businesses' charging higher prices for products and services.

By contrast, the population of remote areas tend to have lower wages and less spending power, therefore making the cost of living significantly lower.

State differences in tax regulations also cause discrepancies in salary.

States that have higher taxes tend to have higher median wages.

By contrast, states that have lower taxes tend to have lower median wages.

Gender Inequality Issue

Many articles tend to skip over this crucial fact – gender inequality still exists in the realm of salary.

Even though women now make up almost half of the employees in the United States, they continue to earn at least 20% less than their male colleagues.

This means for every dollar earned by men, women earn only 80 cents.

According to the statistics compiled by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the average earnings ratio between men and women falls at 80%.

However, a look through the data of each state points out that the ratio fluctuates between 89% and 64%.

State Income Ratio Between Male and Female Employees in the United States
Rank State Male Median Annual Earnings Female Median Annual Earnings Earnings Ratio
United States $51,212 $40,742 80%
1 New York $52,124 $46,208 89%
2 Delaware $51,037 $45,192 89%
3 Florida $41,105 $35,604 87%
4 North Carolina $42,039 $36,113 86%
5 Rhode Island $51,368 $44,050 86%
6 California $50,562 $43,335 86%
7 New Mexico $41,440 $35,070 85%
8 Hawaii $48,074 $40,434 84%
9 Vermont $47,960 $40,173 84%
10 Nevada $43,681 $36,565 84%
11 Maryland $60,591 $50,635 84%
12 Arizona $44,421 $37,084 83%
13 Massachusetts $61,761 $51,343 83%
14 Connecticut $61,666 $50,802 82%
15 Kentucky $43,037 $35,294 82%
16 New Jersey $61,462 $50,373 82%
17 Minnesota $51,979 $42,137 81%
18 Tennessee $42,525 $34,427 81%
19 South Carolina $42,238 $34,182 81%
20 Oregon $48,001 $38,774 81%
21 Colorado $51,628 $41,690 81%
22 Georgia $45,396 $36,650 81%
23 Illinois $52,161 $41,327 79%
24 Washington $56,161 $41,327 79%
25 Texas $46,791 $36,934 79%
26 Pennsylvania $50,976 $40,214 79%
27 Arkansas $40,570 $32,003 79%
28 Nebraska $46,763 $36,834 79%
29 Maine $46,934 $36,841 78%
30 Wisconsin $49,306 $38,594 78%
31 South Dakota $42,605 $33,268 78%
32 Alaska $55,752 $43,455 78%
33 Missouri $45,897 $35,759 78%
34 Virginia $54,392 $42,342 78%
35 Iowa $47,298 $36,264 77%
36 Kansas $47,864 $36,671 77%
37 New Hampshire $56,525 $43,172 76%
38 Alabama $45,057 $34,310 76%
39 Indiana $47,092 $35,753 76%
40 Mississippi $41,092 $31,110 76%
41 Ohio $50,051 $37,365 75%
42 Michigan $50,479 $37,486 74%
43 Idaho $43,264 $31,808 74%
44 Oklahoma $43,829 $32,096 73%
45 Montana $46,123 $33,443 73%
46 North Dakota $52,031 $37,016 71%
47 Utah $50,741 $36,060 71%
48 West Virginia $45,082 $31,824 71%
49 Louisiana $49,730 $33,832 68%
50 Wyoming $55,965 $36,064 64%

Why is there such a gender inequality when it comes to salary?

Can education be the key to the earning difference?

Here is the result of men and women's median weekly earnings categorized by their education level:

Median Weekly Income of Men and Women

Even when the data is analyzed based on education level, the gender inequality persists.

As a matter of fact, the variation becomes much more severe in the bachelor's degree and advanced degree categories.

The main reason why women's median earnings are significantly less than men in the United States is that there is a lower concentration of females working in the highest median earning positions, which tend to be in the high-tech innovative science field.

Majors with Highest Earnings Median Earnings Percent of Female Majors with Lowest Earnings Median Earnings Percent of Female
Petroleum Engineering $136K 14% Early Childhood Education $39K 96%
Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Science $113K 59% Community Services $41K 85%
Metallurgical Engineering $98K 23% Studio Arts $42K 69%
Mining & Mineral Engineering $97K 13% Social Work $42K 82%
Chemical Engineering $96K 32% Education $42K 67%
Electrical Engineering $93K 12% Visual/Performing Arts $42K 67%
Aerospace Engineering $90K 14% Theology $43K 32%
Mechanical Engineering $87K 12% Early Childhood Education $43K 91%
Computer Engineering $87K 10% Theater $45K 63%
Geological/ Geophysical Engineering $87K 40% Family Science $45K 90%

Another reason women tend to earn less than men is that they tend to work fewer hours so that they can be more available for their children and for family needs.

Consequently, their annual incomes suffer from the sacrifice.

How Much Does an Average American Spend?

Most Americans live from paycheck to paycheck and burn through money much faster than they can think without realizing where their salary went.

Assuming that an individual starts paying for expenses at 20 years old and dies at the age of 80, they will have 60 years to spend their incomes.

Below is a breakdown of what an average individual's lifetime spending may look like if he/she makes an average income of $1,344,680:

Lifetime Expenses from a Lifetime Income of $1,344,680
Category Item Lifetime Spending
Income Taxes Assumption of 20% tax rate $268,936
Mortgage Average house in the US costs $350,000 $350,000
Mortgage Interest Assumption of 10% down payment on $350,000 home, amortized over 25 years at 3% interest $180,000
Property Taxes Assumption of $3,000 annual fee for 60 years $180,000
Utilities Electricity, water, heat, gas, and other necessities of $400 per month for 60 years $288,000
Home Maintenance $3,000 per year for 60 years $180,000
Car Payments (6 cars) Survey shows that an average individual will own 6 cars in their lifespan. The cost of an average new car is $30,000 $180,000
Car Loan Interest Assumption of a 5-year repayment term at 5.5% interest for each 6 cars you will own at $30,000 each $25,000
Car Insurance $2,000 per year for 60 years $120,000
Gasoline $3,000 per year for 60 years $180,000
Student Loan Debt Average Student Loan Debt costs $30,000 in the United States $30,000
Student Loan Interest Assuming Repayment of $426.95 for 10 years at 6.8% interest $21,234
Wedding Average wedding costs $40,000 $40,000
Children child expense from birth to age 18 $240,000
Entertainment $3,000 per year for 60 years $180,000
Food $2,400 per year for 60 years $144,000
Medical Care Average annual cost of $10,345 for 60 years $620,700
Clothing $3,000 per year for 60 years $180,000
Cellphone Fee Assumption of getting a free smartphone by signing up for a plan that cost $90 per month for 60 years $65,000
Cable & Internet $100 per month for 60 years $72,000
Credit Card Interest Average balance of $16,000 at 20% interest costs of $3,200 per year for 60 years $192,000
Total Lifetime Spending 2,355,934

Please note that these calculations are based on average expenses compiled by various consumer survey studies.

In reality, most people will either pay more or less than these numbers depending on a combination of variables such as their residing location, needs, income, and their economic status.

Please also know that not everyone will retire at age 60; some people will retire before 60, whereas others will continue to work into their 70s or even older.

It's scary how easily expenses can stack up and run you into debt.

As you can see in the example, lifetime spending appears to be more than lifetime income.

Although it may not be an issue when you are earning money, it can turn into a disastrous problem when you retire and you have no investments or savings to cover your living expenses.

The Reality of Savings

Even though the United States Census Bureau reports the average lifetime earnings to be $1,400,000, do Americans actually have this money in their bank at their retirement?

Just browsing the total lifetime spending of the average American would tell you that the answer is no.

Then how much money do people have in their savings accounts?

Take a look at the median household savings of individuals in various age ranges:

Median Household Savings of Individuals

For a lot of people, especially younger, it's frankly just way too hard to save.

Don't let this discourage you, as there's always a different approach to start saving, no matter what you've tried before.

What You Should Know About Your Taxes

Almost no one will make exactly the same amount as the average income.

If you want to know how your earnings compare to the rest of America, the IRS has a better way for taxpayers to find out where they stand by categorizing tax return data into salary group ranges.

Here is the percentile list of each earning threshold of the percentage of people whose household income is less than the set threshold:

Percentage of Households with Less Than AGI Threshold
$2,000 3.9%
$4,000 6.8%
$6,000 9.8%
$8,000 12.7%
$10,000 16.2%
$12,000 19.5%
$14,000 22.8%
$16,000 26%
$18,000 29.2%
$20,000 32.1%
$30,000 44.8%
$40,000 54.6%
$50,000 62.4%
$75,000 75.4%
$100,000 84%
$200,000 95.8%
$500,000 99.2%
$1,000,000 99.7%
$1,500,000 99.8%
$2,000,000 99.9%

Now, here is the problem:

What you earn is not really how much you get.

As a taxpayer, you are required to pay both federal tax as well as state and local taxes.

The table above only takes federal tax into account.

In reality, the amount of tax you can expect to pay depends on your annual income, taxed at 7 marginal rates: 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and 39.6%.

These percentages are based on the tax year and whether you are filing as a single individual, jointly as a couple, separately as a couple, a widow/widower, or head of a household.

To illustrate, here were the tax brackets for 2016:

Tax Rate Single Filing Jointly Married or Widow/Widower Married Filing Separately Head of Household
10% $0 - $9,275 $0 - $18,550 $0 - $9,275 $0 - $13,250
15% $9,276 - $37,650 $18,551 - $75,300 $9,276 - $37,650 $13,251 - $50,400
25% $37,651 - $91,150 $75,301 - $151,900 $37,651 - $75,950 $50,401 - $130,150
28% $91,151 - $190,150 $151,901 - $231,450 $75,951 - $115,725 $130,151 - $210,800
33% $190,151 - $ 413,350 $231,451 - $413,350 $115,726 - $206,675 $210,801 - $413,350
35% $413,351 - $415,050 $413,351 - $466,950 $206,676 - $233,475 $413,351 - $441,000
39.6% $415,051 or more $466,951 or more $233,476 or more $441,001 or more

These tax rate brackets can adjust over the course of a taxpayer's lifetime due to policy changes and inflation costs.

At the same time, no one earns the exact same amount of income over the course of their career.

Plunging Your Money on Interests in Your Lifetime

Apart from tax fees, did you know that most Americans will spend a chunk of their income paying for interests?

According to the statistics provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average American consumer is expected to pay $280,000 in their lifetime on interests from their home mortgages, credit card debts, and car loans.

Similarly to income, where you live can affect your debt amount and credit score.

In areas that have higher median salaries, home prices, auto values, and costs of living are higher.

Consequently, people will owe more money due to their mortgage and loan rates.

Here is a list of the 10 states with the highest average debt and 7 states with the lowest average debt:

Rank Top 10 States with Highest Average Debt Average Debt Cost Rank Top 7 States with Lowest Average Debt Average Debt Cost
1 Washington, D.C. $451,890 1 Iowa $129,394
2 California $368,745 2 Nebraska $137,174
3 Hawaii $312,747 3 Wisconsin $144,127
4 New Jersey $309,500 4 Maine $154,340
5 New York $300,031 5 North Dakota $157,011
6 Maryland $294,720 6 South Dakota $157,136
7 Virginia $280,516 7 Montana $160,849
8 Washington $267,964 8 Pennsylvania $163,513
9 Massachusetts $261,220 9 West Virginia $166,232
10 Colorado $255,232 10 Vermont $167,042

How Much of Your Income Goes into Living Expenses?

Americans have long enjoyed spending their paychecks on shopping.

Many people see it as a sense of joy to have their hands on the latest fashion or technology gadgets.

Also, when spending is so easy with the help of credit cards and online shopping, many do not think about how much they have spent until the bank statements come in the mail.

Even though the previous spending template has touched on how much money is spent on food, drinks, and clothing, just how do these numbers arise?

Moreover, what living options will affect the increase or decrease of the average spending cost?

Food Expenses

According to the United States Census Bureau, the average American household comprises 2.5 people with an average spending of $6,000 on food each year.

Suppose a household has three meals every day within a year - the total adds up to 2737.5 meals for these 2.5 people annually.

If you divide this number by $6,000, it means that the average individual in the United States spends $2.41 per meal and $7.23 a day on food.

So, for the families that enjoy going out for meals or drinking alcohol, they will find that their expenses are much higher than $6,000 per year.

For those looking to cut costs in this area, it's not impossible to eat well on just $50 per person, per month.

Entertainment Expenses

For the average American household, an average annual spending of $3,000 goes into entertainment.

This can involve anything from going out to get Redbox rentals to signing up for Netflix subscriptions. If this amount were to be broken up into 12 months, it would come to $250 per month.

For those people who have expensive hobbies, this can significantly increase their annual expenses.

On the other hand, those who use volunteering and free entertainment resources (e.g., make use of library rentals, free outdoor activities, or free gaming apps, to name a few) can minimize their spending for saving purposes.

Housing Expenses

Housing expenses can differ drastically depending on whether an individual has purchased a home or is renting a home.

If you own your home, your expense will include your mortgage fees, mortgage interest, maintenance fee, and property tax.

However, if you are renting, your expense will be much lower as you only have to worry about your monthly rent.

Although your rent may accumulate to a much lower amount than the expenses of a homeowner, the amount you pay to the landlord cannot be recouped.

On the other hand, even though homeowners have to pay higher expenses, they can recover some costs by treating their home as an investment since real estate has a tendency to increase in value over time.

Unless you are forced to sell your home when the market demand is low, a housing investment is often a safe choice for individuals who have little experience in investing their money.

At the same time, if you own your home, you will have much less expense to worry about, as you will have paid off your mortgage before your retirement.

As long as you can pay your annual property tax and other debts, no one can kick you off your property.

For people who are interested in purchasing a home, the United States Census Bureau concludes that the average American will own 5 homes in their lifespan.

If you are regarding your home as an investment, you should know that every time you sell your home, about 10% of the price will be used on agent commissions, transaction fees and tax, and moving costs.

So before you sell a home for profit, you should consider whether you will still earn money after deducting 10% of the asking price.

Also, if you are using the money to purchase your new home, you are channeling the money not into your spending but into your net worth until you sell the home for another profit.

Transportation Expenses

When it comes to owning a car, the average cost of transportation expense will be around $8,500.

Unlike the value of a home after purchase, automobile values depreciate the moment the car hits the ground.

So, opting for public transportation that can cut down the expense makes sense for people who live in cities.

However, for individuals who live in smaller cities or in remote areas where public transportation is scarce, owning a car is the only way to get to work and deal with essential chores.

The Reality of Spending

You may think that if people are spending more money than they can earn, they are obviously not saving any money and probably wasting a lot on unnecessary expenses.

Nevertheless, once you go over the details of various expenses, you may be surprised to find that the average American is actually not wasting an enormous amount of money and there is truly not anything you can reduce and instead set the money aside for savings.

Then, why are some people able to accumulate a great amount of wealth while others find themselves left with very little savings upon their retirement?

This is because there really are expenses that can be cut out.

The problem is that most people hate the idea of making changes and shrinking their spending.

The current retail market thrives on convincing everyone that they deserve finer things in life because they are worth the splurge.

A lot of times, the splurge expenses have very little effect on your daily quality of life, and when you go over the details of your spending, you can probably find ways to shrink your expenses with some habit changes.

Conclusion

Running by the numbers, you can see the importance of saving diligently so that you can have plenty of money to sustain your quality of living after retirement.

However, you may also notice that saving alone will not be enough to accumulate more money as you only make so much as your annual salary.

Some individuals may pick up another part-time or freelance job to increase their earnings.

Another great way to increase your wealth is to learn how to invest your money.

Otherwise, you will forever be stuck in the paycheck-to-paycheck spending routine and end up broke by the time you retire.

In our current society, we have no other choice but to become more flexible in spending our money and using inventive ways to invest our salaries for further profit.

The sooner you begin the process, the faster you can see your money grow.

If you decide to skip saving and investing, you will find yourself very helpless against financial difficulties and unexpected hardships.

In the worst case scenario, you may find yourself without shelter and scraping for your last dollars on food and basic needs.

As many investing counselors can tell you:

It's not about your income; it's what you do with it.

It's definitely doable to become rich even if your income is below the United States wage average.

It is also possible for high-income individuals to become completely broke!

The important difference that separates success and failure is how you choose to use your money.

By living within your set limits and prioritizing saving and investing habits, you will enjoy having financial freedom and concentrating your energy and time on your family and your career.

Earnings Depending on Education

Click to expand any of the tables below:

  • Median Earnings of Bachelor Degrees

    Rank Major Entry Career Wage Mid-Career Wage
    1 Petroleum Engineering $96,700 $172,000
    2 Systems Engineering $66,400 $121,000
    3 (TIE) Actuarial Science $60,800 $119,000
    3 (TIE) Chemical Engineering $69,800 $119,000
    5 (TIE) Computer Science (CS) & Engineering $71,200 $116,000
    5 (TIE) Nuclear Engineering $68,500 $116,000
    7 Electronics & Communications Engineering $68,000 $115,000
    8 Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) $68,100 $114,000
    9 (TIE) Aeronautical Engineering $63,000 $113,000
    9 (TIE) Computer Engineering (CE) $69,600 $113,000
    11 (TIE) Computer Science (CS) & Mathematics $63,500 $111,000
    11 (TIE) Physics & Mathematics $56,200 $111,000
    13 (TIE) Applied Mathematics $56,100 $110,000
    13 (TIE) Electrical Engineering (EE) $67,000 $110,000
    15 (TIE) Electrical & Electronics Engineering (EEE) $64,000 $108,000
    15 (TIE) Industrial & Systems Engineering $63,800 $108,000
    15 (TIE) Materials Science & Engineering $65,800 $108,000
    15 (TIE) Physics $55,100 $108,000
    19 (TIE) Computer Science (CS) $65,300 $107,000
    19 (TIE) Engineering $62,600 $107,000
    19 (TIE) Industrial Distribution $56,800 $107,000
    19 (TIE) Mining Engineering $70,200 $107,000
    23 Aerospace Engineering $65,400 $106,000
    24 Government $49,600 $105,000
    25 (TIE) Biomedical Engineering (BME) $62,700 $104,000
    25 (TIE) Industrial Engineering (IE) $63,800 $104,000
    25 (TIE) Structural Engineering (SE) $58,700 $104,000
    28 (TIE) Mechanical Engineering (ME) $63,500 $103,000
    28 (TIE) Physician Assistant Studies $85,200 $103,000
    30 Construction Engineering Management $59,500 $102,000
    31 Finance & Real Estate $59,500 $101,000
    32 Economics $53,900 $100,000
    33 Electronics Engineering $61,300 $99,600
    34 Engineering Management $62,800 $98,400
    35 Finance & Economics $56,700 $98,200
    36 Software Engineering $64,700 $98,100
    37 (TIE) Biochemistry & Molecular Biology $46,000 $97,500
    37 (TIE) Statistics $57,400 $97,500
    39 Management Information Systems (MIS) $58,100 $97,400
    40 Building Construction Management $54,400 $96,500
    41 Civil Engineering (CE) $57,200 $96,300
    42 Mathematics $54,000 $95,700
    43 Computing $51,400 $95,500
    44 Mathematics & Statistics $53,700 $95,300
    45 Management Science $57,200 $95,000
    46 Marketing & International Business $45,400 $94,800
    47 Packaging Science $61,100 $94,600
    48 Construction Management $57,400 $94,500
    49 Building Construction (BC) $56,000 $94,000
    50 Manufacturing Engineering $62,000 $93,200
    51 Environmental Engineering $53,900 $92,800
    52 Business Information Systems $56,300 $92,600
    53 (TIE) Information Systems (IS) $56,300 $92,200
    53 (TIE) Operations & Supply Chain Management $52,600 $92,200
    55 Civil & Environmental Engineering $57,200 $91,100
    56 (TIE) Construction Engineering $59,800 $91,000
    56 (TIE) International Business $48,800 $91,000
    58 Engineering Technology (ET) $52,500 $90,800
    59 Agricultural Engineering (AE) $55,000 $90,600
    60 Government & Politics $44,600 $90,400
    61 Aviation Management $41,900 $90,200
    62 Molecular Biology $45,500 $90,100
    63 Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) $59,900 $89,900
    64 (TIE) Architectural Engineering $61,700 $89,800
    64 (TIE) Environmental Health & Safety $51,200 $89,800
    66 Finance $53,300 $89,600
    67 Computer Information Systems (CIS) $54,300 $89,500
    68 Informatics $60,100 $88,800
    69 Industrial Management $51,600 $88,200
    70 (TIE) Business Economics $52,100 $87,500
    70 (TIE) Telecommunications Management $50,000 $87,500
    72 Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) $57,600 $87,400
    73 Information Systems Management $54,000 $87,200
    74 (TIE) Information Technology (IT) & Systems $52,800 $87,100
    74 (TIE) Telecommunications $40,800 $87,100
    76 Information Technology Management $53,700 $86,800
    77 Agricultural Economics & Business $44,600 $86,700
    78 Physical Therapy $60,300 $86,600
    79 (TIE) Accounting & Finance $52,800 $86,400
    79 (TIE) International Relations $46,500 $86,400
    81 Operations Management (OM) $54,800 $86,200
    82 (TIE) Information Security $58,300 $85,600
    82 (TIE) Manufacturing Engineering Technology $59,100 $85,600
    84 Business & Marketing $45,800 $85,300
    85 Construction Project Management $52,500 $85,200
    86 Technical Communication $45,300 $85,100
    87 Electronics Engineering Technology (EET) $58,100 $84,900
    88 Marketing & Management $44,700 $84,800
    89 Real Estate $55,400 $84,500
    90 (TIE) Organizational Behavior $47,000 $84,400
    90 (TIE) Supply Chain Management $54,500 $84,400
    92 (TIE) Civil Engineering Technology (CET) $51,300 $84,300
    92 (TIE) Information Technology (IT) $53,000 $84,300
    92 (TIE) Politics $45,600 $84,300
    95 Philosophy $44,700 $84,100
    96 Industrial Engineering Technology $60,100 $83,600
    97 Industrial Technology (IT) $55,200 $83,400
    98 (TIE) Agribusiness $43,200 $83,100
    98 (TIE) Public Affairs $46,800 $83,100
    100 (TIE) Biochemistry (BCH) $44,700 $83,000
    100 (TIE) Business Management & Marketing $45,000 $83,000
    100 (TIE) Chemistry $45,700 $83,000
    103 Computer Information Systems $47,100 $82,800
    104 Meteorology $43,600 $82,700
    105 Computer Programming $50,500 $82,600
    106 Marketing $45,300 $82,500
    107 (TIE) Industrial Design (ID) $48,600 $82,100
    107 (TIE) Occupational Health and Safety $54,900 $82,100
    109 Financial Accounting $45,100 $82,000
    110 Pre-Medicine $42,700 $81,200
    111 Food Science $46,700 $81,100
    112 Sales & Marketing $45,400 $80,800
    113 Risk Management & Insurance $52,300 $80,600
    114 Food Science & Technology $49,000 $80,400
    115 (TIE) Biology & Chemistry $41,500 $79,900
    115 (TIE) Political Science (PolySci) $44,300 $79,900
    117 (TIE) Advertising $41,400 $79,800
    117 (TIE) Advertising & Marketing Communications $43,400 $79,800
    117 (TIE) Geology $44,800 $79,800
    120 (TIE) Architecture $45,100 $79,300
    120 (TIE) Microbiology $44,600 $79,300
    122 Biological Sciences $42,900 $79,200
    123 Marketing & Communications $44,900 $79,000
    124 Transportation & Logistics Management $47,800 $78,900
    125 Marketing Management $45,300 $78,500
    126 Urban & Regional Planning $44,000 $78,100
    127 (TIE) Fashion Design $41,400 $77,700
    127 (TIE) Project Management $49,500 $77,700
    129 Logistics & Supply Chain Management $51,800 $77,400
    130 (TIE) Financial Management $49,300 $77,300
    130 (TIE) Law $47,600 $77,300
    132 (TIE) Accounting $48,300 $77,200
    132 (TIE) Environmental Design $42,900 $77,200
    134 Organizational Development $52,800 $77,100
    135 Environmental Science $43,300 $77,000
    136 Business Communication $44,400 $76,600
    137 Logistics $51,500 $76,500
    138 Technology Management $52,500 $76,400
    139 History & Political Science $44,500 $76,000
    140 Finance & Banking $48,600 $75,900
    141 Technical Management $46,300 $75,700
    142 (TIE) Dental Hygiene $65,400 $74,900
    142 (TIE) Industrial Psychology $44,000 $74,900
    144 (TIE) Aeronautics $53,900 $74,600
    144 (TIE) Entrepreneurship $48,000 $74,600
    146 Agronomy $45,600 $74,400
    147 English Literature $41,100 $74,300
    148 (TIE) Digital Media $40,800 $74,200
    148 (TIE) Environmental Studies $41,500 $74,200
    148 (TIE) Foreign Languages $42,500 $74,200
    148 (TIE) Information Systems Security $57,100 $74,200
    152 Nursing $57,500 $74,100
    153 Landscape Architecture $44,400 $74,000
    154 General Business $45,000 $73,900
    155 History $42,200 $73,600
    156 (TIE) Film Production $41,400 $73,500
    156 (TIE) Literature $40,400 $73,500
    158 Biology $40,800 $73,100
    159 Management $45,000 $73,000
    160 Computer Aided Drafting & Design (CADD) $43,300 $72,800
    161 Design $42,400 $72,700
    162 General Science $41,600 $72,600
    163 Business Management & Human Resources Management (HRM) $42,100 $72,500
    164 (TIE) American Studies $45,100 $72,400
    164 (TIE) Business Administration $46,100 $72,400
    164 (TIE) Professional & Technical Writing $42,700 $72,400
    167 (TIE) Business Management $45,800 $72,300
    167 (TIE) Communication $42,100 $72,300
    167 (TIE) Theatre & Drama Studies $40,400 $72,300
    167 (TIE) Urban Studies $44,500 $72,300
    171 (TIE) Communication Studies & Journalism $39,800 $72,100
    171 (TIE) Interior Architecture $43,200 $72,100
    173 Computer Networking Systems $46,900 $71,900
    174 (TIE) German Language & Literature $44,400 $71,700
    174 (TIE) International Studies $43,300 $71,700
    176 Pre-law $42,300 $71,300
    177 Public Relations & Communication $39,800 $71,200
    178 Diagnostic Medical Sonography $57,700 $71,100
    179 (TIE) French Language $43,900 $71,000
    179 (TIE) Journalism & Mass Communication $41,100 $71,000
    181 Accounting & Management $48,700 $70,800
    182 Public Relations (PR) $40,100 $70,700
    183 Speech Communication $42,000 $70,600
    184 Accounting & Business $45,200 $70,500
    185 Environmental Biology $40,900 $70,400
    186 Film Studies $39,800 $70,000
    187 American History (United States) $42,000 $69,600
    188 Journalism $41,200 $69,400
    189 Environmental Management $47,400 $69,300
    190 Marketing & Mass Communications $40,600 $69,000
    191 (TIE) Broadcast Communications $35,600 $68,700
    191 (TIE) Geographic Information Systems (GIS) $44,900 $68,700
    191 (TIE) Natural Resource Management $39,500 $68,700
    194 (TIE) English Language & Literature $40,400 $68,200
    194 (TIE) Geography $43,800 $68,200
    196 Human Resources Management (HRM) $42,300 $68,100
    197 Nuclear Medicine Technology $55,200 $67,900
    198 Linguistics $44,500 $67,800
    199 Technical Theatre $35,100 $67,700
    200 Agriculture $40,800 $67,600
    201 Business Administration & Accounting $44,900 $67,500
    202 Forestry $41,500 $67,400
    203 Zoology $35,600 $67,300
    204 Advertising & Graphic Design $42,400 $67,100
    205 Writing $38,000 $67,000
    206 Computer & Network Administration $50,800 $66,900
    207 Business Management & Administration $46,100 $66,700
    208 International Affairs $44,200 $66,600
    209 Multimedia & Web Design $42,300 $66,500
    210 (TIE) Film, Video & Media Studies $39,600 $66,300
    210 (TIE) Human Resources (HR) $41,900 $66,300
    210 (TIE) Mass Communication $40,200 $66,300
    210 (TIE) Organizational Management $44,000 $66,300
    214 Radio/Television & Film Production $40,700 $66,200
    215 Public Administration $40,900 $66,100
    216 Radiologic Technology $45,100 $66,000
    217 Creative Writing $38,900 $65,900
    218 Media Communication $39,400 $65,500
    219 (TIE) Leadership $47,100 $65,300
    219 (TIE) Organizational Leadership $43,900 $65,300
    221 Sports Management $39,100 $65,200
    222 (TIE) Cultural Anthropology $41,000 $65,000
    222 (TIE) Music Performance $39,900 $65,000
    222 (TIE) Organizational Communication $41,400 $65,000
    225 Radio & Television $38,000 $64,300
    226 Broadcast Journalism $38,400 $64,200
    227 Medical Laboratory Technology $48,500 $64,000
    228 Criminal Justice Administration $39,000 $63,900
    229 (TIE) Health Information Management $41,700 $63,800
    229 (TIE) Visual Arts (VA) $39,600 $63,800
    231 Secondary English Teacher Education $37,800 $63,700
    232 (TIE) Criminology $39,500 $63,600
    232 (TIE) Spanish Language $40,300 $63,600
    234 Art History $40,800 $63,300
    235 Fashion Merchandising $41,200 $63,000
    236 Respiratory Therapy $46,200 $62,900
    237 (TIE) Hotel & Restaurant Management $41,000 $62,800
    237 (TIE) Illustration $39,000 $62,800
    239 (TIE) Clinical Laboratory Science $48,800 $62,700
    239 (TIE) Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management (HRIM) $50,500 $62,700
    241 (TIE) Art & Design $39,500 $62,600
    241 (TIE) Health Sciences $38,300 $62,600
    243 (TIE) Business & Healthcare Management $40,000 $62,500
    243 (TIE) Fine Arts $38,400 $62,500
    243 (TIE) Visual Communication Design $40,700 $62,500
    246 Visual Communications $40,500 $62,400
    247 (TIE) Liberal Arts $39,100 $62,300
    247 (TIE) Sociology $40,400 $62,300
    249 Hospitality & Tourism $37,900 $62,200
    250 (TIE) Communication Design $45,300 $62,100
    250 (TIE) Psychology $38,300 $62,100
    252 Kinesiology $37,800 $61,800
    253 Nutrition $40,700 $61,600
    254 Medical Laboratory Science $47,900 $61,500
    255 Secondary Education $40,200 $61,400
    256 Interior Design $39,600 $61,000
    257 Health $35,700 $60,700
    258 Studio Art $36,700 $60,600
    259 (TIE) Anthropology $39,900 $60,500
    259 (TIE) Dietetics $44,300 $60,500
    259 (TIE) Graphic Design $40,000 $60,500
    259 (TIE) Public Health (PH) $38,300 $60,500
    263 (TIE) Exercise Physiology $38,400 $60,300
    263 (TIE) Religious Studies $38,500 $60,300
    265 Hospitality Management $40,500 $60,200
    266 Health & Physical Education Teaching $35,900 $60,100
    267 (TIE) Music Business $39,100 $60,000
    267 (TIE) Social Science $39,700 $60,000
    269 (TIE) Health Care Administration $39,400 $59,900
    269 (TIE) Theater $39,500 $59,900
    271 Interdisciplinary Studies (IS) $39,800 $59,500
    272 Human Resources Development $40,400 $59,400
    273 Graphic Design, Illustration $36,800 $59,300
    274 (TIE) Criminal Justice $37,000 $59,100
    274 (TIE) Nutrition & Dietetics $44,000 $59,100
    276 Health Administration $36,600 $59,000
    277 (TIE) Animal Science $35,800 $58,900
    277 (TIE) Exercise & Sports Science $36,800 $58,900
    279 (TIE) Foods & Nutrition $40,900 $58,700
    279 (TIE) Painting $37,200 $58,700
    279 (TIE) Photography $38,000 $58,700
    282 Liberal Studies $39,600 $58,600
    283 Restaurant & Food Service Management $40,600 $58,400
    284 (TIE) Music $38,300 $58,300
    284 (TIE) Theatre $36,500 $58,300
    286 (TIE) Practical Nursing $45,300 $58,100
    286 (TIE) Social & Criminal Justice $40,800 $58,100
    288 English Teacher Education $35,900 $58,000
    289 (TIE) Education $38,700 $57,800
    289 (TIE) Legal Studies $40,200 $57,800
    291 Administration $39,500 $57,600
    292 (TIE) Graphic Communication $40,500 $57,300
    292 (TIE) Physical Education Teaching $39,500 $57,300
    294 (TIE) Humanities $40,900 $57,200
    294 (TIE) Psychology & Sociology $37,800 $57,200
    296 Media Arts $39,600 $57,100
    297 Family & Consumer Science $35,900 $56,500
    298 (TIE) Art $36,500 $56,400
    298 (TIE) Religion $37,800 $56,400
    300 (TIE) Behavioral Science $35,800 $56,200
    300 (TIE) Recreation Management $37,800 $56,200
    302 Human Development $36,700 $55,900
    303 Communication Arts $40,000 $55,800
    304 Music Teacher Education $36,800 $55,600
    305 Healthcare Management $37,800 $55,500
    306 Culinary Arts $33,100 $55,300
    307 (TIE) Community Health Education $37,200 $55,200
    307 (TIE) Culinary Arts & Culinary Management $33,600 $55,200
    309 (TIE) Paralegal Studies $35,200 $54,900
    309 (TIE) Theatre Arts $37,200 $54,900
    311 (TIE) Dance $38,200 $54,800
    311 (TIE) Women's Studies $40,400 $54,800
    313 Exercise Science $35,900 $54,700
    314 (TIE) General Studies $38,700 $54,300
    314 (TIE) Recreation & Leisure Studies $39,000 $54,300
    316 Athletic Training $36,000 $51,900
    317 Parks & Recreation Management $38,200 $51,700
    318 (TIE) Health Services Administration $36,300 $51,500
    318 (TIE) Special Education $35,000 $51,500
    320 Art Teacher Education $35,300 $51,300
    321 Theology $37,600 $51,200
    322 (TIE) Culinary Arts & Food Service Management $34,700 $50,500
    322 (TIE) Horticulture $37,600 $50,500
    322 (TIE) Pastoral Ministry $32,800 $50,500
    325 Bible Studies & Theology $34,900 $50,400
    326 Biblical Studies $36,200 $49,400
    327 Elementary Education $34,700 $48,900
    328 Youth Ministry $32,900 $48,400
    329 Human Development & Family Studies $34,300 $47,800
    330 Therapeutic Recreation $35,200 $47,700
    331 Social Work (SW) $33,800 $46,700
    332 Human Services (HS) $34,000 $44,600
    333 Child Development $32,000 $42,500
    334 Early Childhood & Elementary Education $34,800 $41,900
    335 Child & Family Studies $31,400 $40,700
    336 Early Childhood Education $30,700 $37,500
  • Median Earnings of Associate Degrees

    Rank Major Entry Career Wage Mid-Career Wage
    1 Computer Engineering (CE) $41,000 $77,300
    2 Economics $36,500 $76,500
    3 Management Information Systems (MIS) $43,600 $76,400
    4 Construction Management $44,500 $73,400
    5 Electrical Engineering (EE) $42,200 $70,800
    6 Electronics & Communications Engineering $43,100 $70,700
    7 Engineering $37,800 $70,500
    8 Dental Hygiene $62,100 $69,100
    9 Computer Programming $42,900 $68,800
    10 Occupational Health and Safety $52,700 $68,700
    11 Electrical & Electronics Engineering (EEE) $39,700 $68,200
    12 Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) $41,300 $68,100
    13 Mechanical Engineering (ME) $42,700 $67,500
    14 Computer Science (CS) $40,400 $67,300
    15 Civil Engineering (CE) $35,000 $67,000
    16 Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) $42,000 $66,900
    17 Nursing $52,500 $65,600
    18 Electronic Systems Technology (EST) $43,400 $65,000
    19 Diagnostic Medical Sonography $52,300 $64,800
    20 Mechanical Design $43,800 $64,600
    21 Electronic & Computer Technology $41,900 $64,500
    22 Civil Engineering Technology (CET) $36,900 $64,400
    23 Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) $44,100 $63,900
    24 Electronics Engineering $44,900 $63,600
    25 (TIE) Architecture $38,600 $63,500
    25 (TIE) Fashion Design $36,200 $63,500
    27 Biomedical Equipment Technology $40,900 $62,600
    28 Electronics Engineering Technology (EET) $41,300 $61,200
    29 Physical Therapy $47,100 $60,800
    30 Aviation Maintenance Technology $41,800 $60,600
    31 (TIE) Computer Information Systems (CIS) $40,100 $60,500
    31 (TIE) Electronics & Computer Technology $38,200 $60,500
    33 Network Administration $39,100 $60,400
    34 Electrical Construction & Maintenance $41,300 $60,000
    35 (TIE) Radiologic Technology $43,500 $59,700
    35 (TIE) Radiology $43,600 $59,700
    37 (TIE) Industrial Technology (IT) $41,700 $59,600
    37 (TIE) Mathematics $37,700 $59,600
    37 (TIE) Radiography $44,400 $59,600
    40 Information Technology (IT) $39,400 $59,500
    41 Electronics $41,300 $58,600
    42 Computer & Network Administration $40,200 $58,500
    43 (TIE) Drafting & Design $39,000 $58,400
    43 (TIE) Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Studies $51,100 $58,400
    45 Computer Aided Drafting & Design (CADD) $39,400 $58,200
    46 Heating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation & Refrigeration (HVAC) Maintenance Technology $35,300 $58,100
    47 Information Systems (IS) $41,300 $57,900
    48 Respiratory Therapy $44,700 $57,800
    49 Physical Therapist Assistant Studies $47,400 $57,400
    50 Network Technology $40,500 $57,000
    51 Architectural Technology $36,700 $56,800
    52 Chemistry $33,500 $56,700
    53 Fire Science $34,700 $56,600
    54 Respiratory Care $45,200 $56,500
    55 Computer Networking Systems $40,600 $56,400
    56 Multimedia & Web Design $36,200 $56,200
    57 (TIE) Mortuary Science $35,500 $55,400
    57 (TIE) Political Science (PolySci) $32,700 $55,400
    59 Mechanical Drafting $39,100 $55,200
    60 Diesel Technology $39,300 $55,100
    61 Computer Technology $38,900 $54,800
    62 Machine Tool Technology $38,100 $54,200
    63 Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, & Refrigeration (HVAC) Studies $37,800 $54,000
    64 Architectural Drafting $37,200 $53,800
    65 Visual Communications $32,600 $53,200
    66 Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) $37,400 $53,000
    67 (TIE) Biology $30,500 $52,900
    67 (TIE) Culinary Arts & Culinary Management $31,100 $52,900
    67 (TIE) Human Resources Management (HRM) $34,900 $52,900
    70 (TIE) Automotive & Diesel Technology $37,800 $52,800
    70 (TIE) Industrial Maintenance Technology $40,700 $52,800
    72 English Language & Literature $33,100 $52,500
    73 Communication $33,600 $52,200
    74 Health Sciences $29,900 $51,900
    75 (TIE) Legal Studies $32,300 $51,300
    75 (TIE) Marketing $34,400 $51,300
    77 Business Management $35,000 $51,200
    78 Business Management & Marketing $31,500 $51,100
    79 (TIE) General Science $31,400 $51,000
    79 (TIE) Welding Technology $36,700 $51,000
    81 (TIE) Accounting & Finance $34,000 $50,800
    81 (TIE) Fashion Merchandising $33,300 $50,800
    83 Interior Design $35,000 $50,300
    84 (TIE) Criminal Justice Administration $36,800 $50,200
    84 (TIE) Law Enforcement $34,000 $50,200
    86 English Language $31,300 $50,000
    87 Finance $31,900 $49,700
    88 (TIE) Business & Marketing $34,700 $49,600
    88 (TIE) Business Administration $33,900 $49,600
    88 (TIE) General Business $34,000 $49,600
    91 Automotive Technology $31,500 $49,300
    92 Graphic Design, Illustration $34,900 $49,100
    93 Hotel & Restaurant Management $33,900 $48,900
    94 Medical Laboratory Technology $37,200 $48,500
    95 (TIE) Graphic Design $32,500 $48,400
    95 (TIE) Management $33,200 $48,400
    97 Photography $33,100 $48,300
    98 Culinary Arts & Food Service Management $33,700 $48,200
    99 Liberal Arts $31,700 $48,000
    100 History $28,600 $47,800
    101 (TIE) Health Information Management $33,900 $47,600
    101 (TIE) Paralegal Studies $32,300 $47,600
    103 Hospitality Management $32,200 $47,400
    104 Marketing & Management $33,800 $47,200
    105 General Studies $31,100 $46,900
    106 Advertising & Graphic Design $32,000 $46,600
    107 Surgical Technology $35,600 $46,400
    108 Legal Assistant Studies $33,400 $46,300
    109 Criminal Justice $31,100 $46,000
    110 Culinary Arts $29,700 $45,500
    111 Medical Laboratory Technician $35,400 $45,300
    112 (TIE) Art $28,900 $45,200
    112 (TIE) English Literature $26,700 $45,200
    114 (TIE) Accounting $33,200 $45,000
    114 (TIE) Accounting & Business $33,600 $45,000
    116 Social Science $29,800 $44,800
    117 Fine Arts $30,100 $44,500
    118 Human Resources (HR) $34,400 $44,000
    119 Sociology $30,900 $43,900
    120 Psychology $28,800 $43,300
    121 Graphic Communication $31,400 $42,900
    122 Vocational Nursing $41,300 $42,600
    123 Dental Assisting $31,100 $42,500
    124 Practical Nursing $37,400 $42,300
    125 Horticulture $33,200 $41,200
    126 Administrative Assistant & Secretarial Science $29,100 $40,000
    127 Health Information Technology $32,000 $39,300
    128 Health Care Administration $29,600 $38,800
    129 Education $27,500 $38,300
    130 Office Administration $27,400 $38,000
    131 Office Management $27,900 $37,600
    132 Veterinary Technology $28,600 $35,000
    133 Medical Assisting $27,800 $34,500
    134 Medical Office Administration $28,200 $34,400
    135 Elementary Education $24,900 $34,200
    136 Human Services (HS) $28,600 $33,400
    137 Medical Billing & Coding $29,600 $33,200
    138 Social Work (SW) $26,700 $32,800
    139 Child Development $25,400 $29,600
    140 Early Childhood Education $23,300 $28,900
  • Median Earnings of Graduate Degrees

    Rank Major Degree Entry Career Wage Mid-Career Wage
    1 Nurse Anesthesia Master's $140,000 $156,000
    2 Strategy MBA $96,200 $149,000
    3 (TIE) Chemical Engineering PhD $96,100 $146,000
    3 (TIE) General & Strategic Management MBA $85,200 $146,000
    3 (TIE) Organic Chemistry PhD $83,400 $146,000
    6 Computer Science (CS) PhD $118,000 $145,000
    7 Electrical Engineering (EE) PhD $103,000 $144,000
    8 Pharmacology PhD $75,400 $141,000
    9 Entrepreneurship MBA $70,300 $139,000
    10 (TIE) Corporate Finance MBA $78,100 $138,000
    10 (TIE) Physical Chemistry PhD $73,600 $138,000
    12 (TIE) Engineering PhD $93,600 $137,000
    12 (TIE) Finance & Economics MBA $66,700 $137,000
    14 Physics PhD $93,700 $135,000
    15 Computer Science (CS) & Engineering Master's $95,900 $134,000
    16 Biomedical Engineering (BME) PhD $88,100 $133,000
    17 Statistics PhD $105,000 $131,000
    18 (TIE) Finance MBA $69,400 $130,000
    18 (TIE) Operations Research Master's $80,800 $130,000
    20 (TIE) Electrical & Electronics Engineering (EEE) Master's $79,500 $129,000
    20 (TIE) Taxation Master's $61,100 $129,000
    22 (TIE) Aerospace Engineering PhD $94,900 $128,000
    22 (TIE) Materials Science & Engineering PhD $88,900 $128,000
    24 (TIE) Electrical Engineering (EE) Master's $79,900 $127,000
    24 (TIE) Technology Management Master's $65,900 $127,000
    26 (TIE) Business & Marketing MBA $61,700 $126,000
    26 (TIE) Marketing & Management MBA $63,900 $126,000
    26 (TIE) Pharmacy PhD $108,000 $126,000
    29 (TIE) Chemical Engineering Master's $73,100 $125,000
    29 (TIE) Computer Engineering (CE) Master's $86,700 $125,000
    29 (TIE) Computer Science (CS) Master's $84,800 $125,000
    29 (TIE) Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) Master's $82,000 $125,000
    33 (TIE) Information Technology (IT) MBA $72,400 $123,000
    33 (TIE) Marketing MBA $61,700 $123,000
    35 (TIE) Biomedical Engineering (BME) Master's $70,500 $122,000
    35 (TIE) Marketing Management MBA $66,200 $122,000
    35 (TIE) Strategic Management MBA $69,200 $122,000
    38 (TIE) Analytical Chemistry PhD $77,400 $121,000
    38 (TIE) Applied Mathematics Master's $67,800 $121,000
    38 (TIE) Economics PhD $101,000 $121,000
    38 (TIE) Finance Master's $63,900 $121,000
    38 (TIE) International Business MBA $62,600 $121,000
    38 (TIE) Nuclear Engineering Master's $74,000 $121,000
    38 (TIE) Operations Management (OM) MBA $75,500 $121,000
    38 (TIE) Telecommunications Engineering Master's $74,200 $121,000
    46 Engineering Master's $72,300 $120,000
    47 (TIE) Industrial Engineering (IE) Master's $70,500 $119,000
    47 (TIE) Software Engineering Master's $83,900 $119,000
    49 (TIE) Aerospace Engineering Master's $76,300 $118,000
    49 (TIE) Industrial & Systems Engineering Master's $69,800 $118,000
    49 (TIE) Management Information Systems (MIS) MBA $64,600 $118,000
    52 (TIE) Business Management & Marketing MBA $66,400 $117,000
    52 (TIE) Global Business Management MBA $66,600 $117,000
    54 (TIE) Biochemistry & Molecular Biology PhD $80,200 $116,000
    54 (TIE) Engineering Management Master's $73,600 $116,000
    54 (TIE) Information Technology Management MBA $68,600 $116,000
    54 (TIE) Materials Science & Engineering Master's $71,500 $116,000
    54 (TIE) Mechanical Engineering (ME) Master's $72,900 $116,000
    59 (TIE) Accounting & Finance MBA $67,700 $115,000
    59 (TIE) Economics Master's $64,900 $115,000
    59 (TIE) Financial Management MBA $61,700 $115,000
    59 (TIE) General Business MBA $61,800 $115,000
    59 (TIE) Operations & Supply Chain Management MBA $72,700 $115,000
    59 (TIE) Physics Master's $67,700 $115,000
    59 (TIE) Systems Engineering Master's $76,700 $115,000
    66 Information Systems (IS) Master's $67,800 $113,000
    67 (TIE) Information Systems (IS) MBA $70,100 $112,000
    67 (TIE) Political Science (PolySci) PhD $66,200 $112,000
    69 Immunology PhD $83,600 $111,000
    70 (TIE) Computer Information Systems (CIS) Master's $70,700 $110,000
    70 (TIE) Information Technology Management Master's $71,100 $110,000
    70 (TIE) International Business Master's $59,200 $110,000
    70 (TIE) Statistics Master's $71,500 $110,000
    74 (TIE) Human Computer Interaction Master's $81,900 $109,000
    74 (TIE) Neuroscience PhD $72,100 $109,000
    76 (TIE) Geotechnical Engineering Master's $60,800 $108,000
    76 (TIE) Information Security Master's $74,100 $108,000
    76 (TIE) Management Information Systems (MIS) Master's $70,200 $108,000
    76 (TIE) Manufacturing Engineering Master's $67,100 $108,000
    76 (TIE) Supply Chain Management MBA $71,400 $108,000
    81 (TIE) Business Management MBA $59,500 $107,000
    81 (TIE) Structural Engineering (SE) Master's $62,400 $107,000
    83 Cell & Molecular Biology PhD $76,900 $106,000
    84 (TIE) Information Assurance Master's $70,100 $105,000
    84 (TIE) Microbiology PhD $73,500 $105,000
    84 (TIE) Organizational Development Master's $55,800 $105,000
    87 (TIE) International Relations Master's $53,300 $104,000
    87 (TIE) Management MBA $57,000 $104,000
    87 (TIE) Physician Assistant Studies Master's $88,400 $104,000
    90 (TIE) Civil Engineering (CE) Master's $60,900 $103,000
    90 (TIE) Construction Management Master's $61,500 $103,000
    90 (TIE) Marketing & Management Master's $52,500 $103,000
    90 (TIE) Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Studies Master's $92,800 $103,000
    94 (TIE) Civil & Environmental Engineering Master's $61,300 $102,000
    94 (TIE) Information Technology (IT) Master's $66,000 $102,000
    94 (TIE) Leadership MBA $57,500 $102,000
    97 (TIE) Adult Nurse Practitioner Studies Master's $89,900 $101,000
    97 (TIE) Business Administration MBA $58,100 $101,000
    97 (TIE) Cybersecurity Master's $67,800 $101,000
    97 (TIE) Integrated Marketing Communications Master's $49,600 $101,000
    97 (TIE) Marketing Master's $54,100 $101,000
    97 (TIE) Mathematics PhD $85,700 $101,000
    103 (TIE) Project Management Master's $64,600 $100,000
    103 (TIE) Supply Chain Management Master's $63,800 $100,000
    105 (TIE) Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) Studies Master's $93,200 $99,900
    105 (TIE) Design Master's $65,300 $99,900
    105 (TIE) International Studies Master's $50,300 $99,900
    108 Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Studies Master's $89,200 $99,500
    109 Business & Marketing Master's $58,000 $99,000
    110 Business Administration Master's $57,700 $98,500
    111 (TIE) Accounting & Taxation Master's $57,500 $98,400
    111 (TIE) Environmental Engineering Master's $60,200 $98,400
    113 Information Security & Assurance Master's $71,300 $98,300
    114 Chemistry Master's $54,700 $98,000
    115 Mathematics Master's $62,300 $97,800
    116 Nurse Midwifery Master's $82,100 $97,500
    117 Epidemiology PhD $78,700 $97,300
    118 Organizational Leadership MBA $58,200 $97,200
    119 Biotechnology Master's $57,200 $96,900
    120 Food Science Master's $56,900 $96,300
    121 Clinical Psychology PhD $70,300 $96,100
    122 Health Care Administration MBA $59,900 $95,900
    123 Operations Management (OM) Master's $64,400 $95,700
    124 Business & Healthcare Management MBA $65,200 $95,300
    125 Accounting Master's $56,900 $94,300
    126 Business Management & Administration MBA $57,300 $94,100
    127 Project Management MBA $61,200 $94,000
    128 (TIE) General Business Master's $55,600 $93,500
    128 (TIE) Microbiology Master's $48,700 $93,500
    130 Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Studies Master's $84,500 $93,100
    131 Organizational Psychology Master's $55,800 $92,600
    132 Health Care Management MBA $51,200 $92,500
    133 (TIE) Business Management Master's $56,800 $92,200
    133 (TIE) Environmental Management Master's $55,500 $92,200
    135 (TIE) Food Science & Technology Master's $56,400 $91,800
    135 (TIE) Master of Science in Nursing Master's $81,200 $91,800
    137 Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Studies Master's $82,500 $91,600
    138 Industrial Psychology Master's $54,600 $91,200
    139 Accounting & Finance Master's $56,100 $90,900
    140 Management Master's $54,300 $90,600
    141 Health Care Administration Master's $57,100 $89,900
    142 Geology Master's $53,600 $89,700
    143 Industrial Design (ID) Master's $58,100 $89,500
    144 Nursing Master's $81,700 $88,800
    145 Accounting MBA $54,000 $87,900
    146 (TIE) Health Policy & Management Master's $60,700 $87,700
    146 (TIE) Marketing & Communications Master's $48,600 $87,700
    148 Occupational Health and Safety Master's $61,500 $87,100
    149 (TIE) Epidemiology Master's $55,500 $86,700
    149 (TIE) Urban & Regional Planning Master's $50,600 $86,700
    151 Educational Leadership PhD $72,500 $86,300
    152 Physical Therapy Master's $72,800 $85,800
    153 Digital Media Master's $50,100 $85,600
    154 Leadership Master's $51,900 $85,400
    155 (TIE) Accounting & Business Master's $52,300 $85,200
    155 (TIE) Informatics Master's $71,200 $85,200
    157 (TIE) Linguistics Master's $52,300 $85,100
    157 (TIE) Public Policy Analysis Master's $54,500 $85,100
    159 Organizational Leadership Master's $52,400 $85,000
    160 Environmental Science Master's $49,500 $84,700
    161 Human Resources Management (HRM) Master's $50,100 $83,500
    162 Biology Master's $47,800 $82,800
    163 Speech-Language Pathology Master's $62,000 $82,300
    164 (TIE) Accounting & Business MBA $54,900 $81,900
    164 (TIE) Management & Leadership Master's $58,600 $81,900
    166 Biochemistry (BCH) Master's $54,400 $81,800
    167 (TIE) Counseling Psychology PhD $61,700 $81,500
    167 (TIE) Occupational Therapy (OT) Master's $64,300 $81,500
    169 Human Resources (HR) Master's $50,700 $81,300
    170 (TIE) Human Resources Management (HRM) MBA $49,600 $81,100
    170 (TIE) Public Health (PH) Master's $52,400 $81,100
    172 Human Resources Development Master's $54,100 $80,900
    173 (TIE) Communication Master's $48,200 $80,700
    173 (TIE) Mass Communication Master's $45,500 $80,700
    175 Architecture Master's $46,300 $80,600
    176 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Master's $51,700 $80,500
    177 Public Relations & Communication Master's $47,100 $80,000
    178 Journalism & Mass Communication Master's $43,800 $79,500
    179 (TIE) Communication Sciences & Disorders Master's $62,300 $79,400
    179 (TIE) Organizational Management Master's $51,900 $79,400
    181 Human Resources (HR) MBA $48,400 $79,200
    182 Health Care Management Master's $59,700 $79,100
    183 Speech Pathology Master's $65,600 $78,600
    184 Instructional Design & Technology Master's $59,700 $78,500
    185 Nursing Education Master's $65,900 $78,000
    186 Instructional Design Master's $52,800 $77,500
    187 Communicative Disorders Master's $63,500 $77,300
    188 Public Administration Master's $47,200 $77,000
    189 Instructional Technology Master's $55,500 $75,900
    190 Landscape Architecture Master's $48,100 $75,700
    191 Journalism Master's $46,100 $75,200
    192 Social Science Master's $52,400 $75,100
    193 Educational Administration Master's $53,900 $74,400
    194 Film, Video & Media Studies Master's $46,000 $73,700
    195 Health Administration Master's $51,800 $73,100
    196 Graphic Design Master's $46,600 $72,500
    197 Geography Master's $48,600 $72,300
    198 English Literature Master's $43,200 $72,100
    199 Educational Leadership Master's $52,700 $72,000
    200 Educational Technology (EDT) Master's $52,900 $71,200
    201 Criminal Justice Administration Master's $42,000 $70,400
    202 Nonprofit Management Master's $44,900 $70,300
    203 (TIE) Adult Education & Training Master's $47,100 $70,000
    203 (TIE) Creative Writing Master's $43,800 $70,000
    205 Art History Master's $41,300 $69,900
    206 School Psychology Master's $53,400 $68,000
    207 Nutrition Master's $50,700 $67,900
    208 (TIE) Anthropology Master's $42,300 $67,700
    208 (TIE) English Language & Literature Master's $42,600 $67,700
    208 (TIE) Sports Management Master's $43,800 $67,700
    211 Secondary English Teacher Education Master's $41,800 $67,100
    212 Education Master's $46,200 $66,500
    213 Secondary Education Master's $44,000 $66,300
    214 Interior Design Master's $45,100 $65,900
    215 Higher Education Administration Master's $43,600 $65,100
    216 Mental Health Master's $43,700 $64,500
    217 Music Performance Master's $41,200 $64,100
    218 Teaching Master's $44,300 $63,500
    219 Educational Psychology Master's $46,600 $63,000
    220 (TIE) Criminal Justice Master's $41,500 $62,900
    220 (TIE) Rehabilitation Counseling Master's $43,200 $62,900
    222 Applied Behavior Analysis Master's $51,300 $62,500
    223 Library & Information Science Master's $47,500 $61,800
    224 (TIE)) Clinical Social Work (CSW) Master's $46,500 $61,300
    224 (TIE) Counseling Psychology Master's $43,000 $61,300
    226 Nutrition & Dietetics Master's $48,600 $61,100
    227 Fine Arts Master's $40,500 $61,000
    228 Gerontology Master's $46,000 $60,600
    229 (TIE) Curriculum & Instruction Master's $43,800 $60,400
    229 (TIE) Pastoral Ministry Master's $47,000 $60,400
    231 (TIE) Clinical Psychology Master's $44,400 $60,000
    231 (TIE) Marriage & Family Therapy Master's $43,000 $60,000
    231 (TIE) Special Education Master's $44,500 $60,000
    234 School Counseling Master's $41,900 $59,900
    235 (TIE) Exercise Science Master's $41,600 $59,400
    235 (TIE) Social Work (SW) Master's $43,500 $59,400
    237 Theology Master's $45,300 $58,700
    238 (TIE) Counseling Master's $41,500 $58,300
    238 (TIE) Library Science Master's $42,200 $58,300
    240 Music Master's $44,300 $58,200
    241 Exercise Physiology Master's $43,600 $56,000
    242 (TIE) Early Childhood Special Education Master's $42,600 $55,100
    242 (TIE) Elementary Education Master's $41,200 $55,100
    244 Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) Master's $40,300 $55,000
    245 Counselor Education & Counseling Psychology Master's $40,400 $54,900
    246 Studio Art Master's $38,800 $54,800
    247 Professional Counseling Master's $39,400 $54,200
    248 Reading & Literacy Master's $40,000 $54,100
    249 Divinity Master's $44,000 $53,800
    250 Mental Health Counseling Master's $40,200 $51,800
    251 Community Counseling Master's $40,400 $51,600
    252 Early Childhood Education Master's $38,100 $48,400
    253 Human Services (HS) Master's $38,000 $48,200
  • Median Earnings of Highest Paid Jobs that Do Not Require a College Degree

    Rank Job Median Career Wage
    1 Janitorial Managers $93,500
    2 Auto Body Service Managers $93,400
    3 Nuclear Reactor Operators $91,170
    4 Professional Golf Ball Diver $90,050
    5 Transportation, Distribution, and Storage managers $89,190
    6 Aircraft Mechanics $85,200
    7 First-line Supervisors of Detectives and Police Officers $84,840
    8 Power Distributors and Dispatchers $81,900
    9 Elevator Installers and Repairers $78,890
    10 Detectives and Criminal Investigators $78,120
    11 Commercial Pilot $77,200
    12 Executive Chef $75,820
    13 Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay Electrical Repairers $75,670
    14 Funeral Service Directors $73,830
    15 Water Vessel Captains, Mates, and Pilots $72,680
    16 First-Line Supervisors of Non-Retail Sales Workers $70,060
    17 Ship Engineers $70,570
    18 Stunt Double $70,000
    19 Grinder $69,500
    20 Farmers, Ranchers, Agricultural Managers $69,300
    21 Instrument Technicians $69,200
    22 Power Plant Operators $66,130
    23 Casino Gaming Managers $65,220
    24 Plumber $65,070
    25 Makeup Artist $64,450
    26 Fashion Designer $63,690
    27 Transportation Inspectors $63,680
    28 Electrical Power Line Installers and Repairers $63,250
    29 Mail Superintendents and Postmasters $63,050
    30 Subway and Streetcar Operators $62,730
    31 Petroleum-Pump-System Operators, Gaugers, and Refinery Operators $61,850
    32 Aerospace Operations and Engineering Technicians $61,530
    33 Gas-Plant Operators $61,140
    34 First-Line Supervisors for Repairers, Installers, and Mechanics $60,250
    35 Claim Adjusters, Investigators, Examiners $59,960
    36 Fine-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers $59,700
    37 Loan Officer $59,820
    38 Construction Foreman $59,700
    39 Computer Network Support Specialist $59,090
    40 Purchasing Agents $58,760
    41 Real Estate Brokers $58,350
    42 Commercial Fisherman $58,000
    43 Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians $57,850
    44 First-Line Supervisors of Correctional Officers $57,840
    45 Boilermaker $56,560
    46 Railway Conductor $54,700
    47 Iron Worker $53,000
    48 Small Business Owner $51,470
    49 Commercial Diver $51,020
    50 Mining Machine Operator $50,650

Infographic: How Much the Average American Earns and Spends in Their Lifetime


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