Here’s where college students are working after graduation and how much they’re getting paid
It is no small endeavor to obtain a college degree. There are four years of intensive academic work paired with tuition, textbook costs, and lodging expenses that can reach six figures. Students make sacrifices to attend school so they can use what they’ve learned to obtain a job that will give them a worthwhile, high-quality of life.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular employment options for recent college graduates paired with salary estimates. The options we’ve listed are ranked in no particular order but are based on information compiled by the high-profile, career-focused websites LinkedIn (which quantified salaries for entry-level roles) and Glassdoor (which quantified salary by median base pay). Some career choices may surprise you, while other’s will be exactly what you’d expect. Take a look.
Administrative Assistant: Median base pay – $40,000
There are times when the best way to get started in a company is to support someone with more experience. Many graduates are accepting administrative roles for just this reason. They put their organization, basic computer software, and interpersonal skills to work ensuring that their boss or department is able to function more easily. While it doesn’t pay as well as some of the other positions on this list, the role gives them an opportunity to gain real-world experience, make connections in their chosen industry, and prove their ability to contribute to a company.
Teachers: Average salary for entry-level roles – $40,000
While teachers have a tremendous responsibility for the education and support of young people, their salaries are among the lowest on this list and they can be challenged by demanding requirements and larger class sizes. Graduates who go into this role are generally attracted by the ability to impact, nurture and support students. For many of them, the opportunity to be involved in another’s learning compensates for any difficulties. As they continue in their career, teachers can also move into non-direct service positions such as administration or consulting.
Social media manager: Median base pay – $44,000
Social media managers maintain and monitor a range of social media accounts for their employers. They need to have strong communications skills and to be able to prove their ability to grow a digital audience. Storytelling and graphic design skills don’t hurt either. A lot of entry-level positions in this field are found in PR and marketing firms, though some companies also maintain this role as part of their in-house staff structure.
Account manager: Median base pay – $50,000
An account manager title can mean a number of things depending on the company an employee is hired into. Most of the time, this role serves as a company’s first line employee and is directly responsible for a company’s relationship with a customer, vendor, or sales partner. They can be found in a number of types of companies but most commonly are in services or sales-focused businesses. Holding an account manager role can be a productive way for graduates to learn about and prove themselves in an industry.
Web developer: Median base pay – $60,960
Almost every industry, product, service, and brand uses a website in order to share information, sell products, or have a general presence in the world. Behind each site is at least one person or team that is responsible for creating it, maintaining it, and monitoring its performance. This work is done by web developers who are highly skilled and in-demand. Web development employer-types ranging from solo contractors to boutique communications firms, nonprofit organizations, and world-class businesses. Employers come from every purpose imaginable. Employees can work in a variety of locations ranging from their living rooms, coffee shops, and the beach to traditional office environments.
Nurse: Average salary for entry-level roles: $62,400
Nurses combine a fundamental desire to care for others with a passion for learning about how the human body functions and a desire to problem solve issues. Their specific functions can support a wide range of medical areas including general practice, surgery, cardiology, OB-GYN and more. In addition, nursing career paths are incredibly varied. If desired, they can ultimately lead out of direct care and into staff or even executive-level management positions.
Financial analyst: Median base pay – $64,453
Lots of finance and business majors wind up taking on a financial analyst position as their first job after graduation. The role often offers a direct use for their college coursework and pays at a higher rate than other positions on this list. There is also a need for financially-trained individuals in almost every field. This means that the job can often offer graduates a way to combine their training with another interest they have.
Engineers: Median base pay – $70,000
Any strong structure or system in the world was, at one point, touched by an engineer. The types of engineers are varied enough that they include structural engineers, chemical engineers, electrical engineers, and civil engineers among others. Their skill set and type of education is specific and translates to a relatively high salary.
Software engineer: Median base pay – $90,000
Computer-based engineers are in-demand. They’re prized for their ability to construct and repair software technology issues and are expected to be able to help both with current technology systems and those coming with the future. It is an exciting field to work in. Better yet, this group of workers maintains among the highest entry-level salaries for graduates and there are plenty of openings.