What is the Average Starting Salary Out Of College? [2024 Statistics]

March 29, 2024 0 Comments

Ever thought about life beyond campus? 

Curious about how the job market treats out-of-college candidates?

There has been a 1% or less annual increase in the average starting salaries of college graduates from 2015 to 2018.

2019 saw an average increment of 5.8% in the average starting salary of graduates.

The current average starting salary of out-of-college employees is $55,260.

Ready to turn your degree into dollars? Let’s explore the latest statistics on average starting salaries. 

Top Starting Salary Out of College Statistics: Editor’s Pick

The average starting salary for out of college students is $55,260
  1. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science graduates are paid the highest salary of about $108,500. [1]
  2. Women expect to earn about $48,500 straight out of college, while men expect $74,000. [2]
  3. Some nursing and computer science students underestimate their salaries, while others usually overestimate. [2]
  4. The average starting salary of out-of-college employees is $55,260 in 2022 and 2023. [5]
  5. It is stated that Asian-American graduates have the highest starting salary at $75k. [7]
  6. White graduates have the highest employment percentage of 62.7%

Average Starting Salary for College Graduates

Straight out of college and looking for good pay?

Your pay highly depends on your major and department. Let’s compare the highest and lowest-paying jobs by degree.

MajorAverage Salary 
Electrical Engineering & Computer Science$108,500
Physician Assistant Studies$95,900
Petroleum Engineering$93,200
Operations Research$83,500
Computer Science & Business$81,100
Electronic Systems Technology$81k
Welding Engineering $81k
Source: Payscale

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science graduates are paid the highest salary of about $108,500 with an experience of zero to five years. [1]

Other engineering majors including Nuclear Engineering Technology and Metallurgical Engineering are also paid up to $83k. [1]

Non-technical and non-engineering majors are paid less comparatively. Here is a list of some of the lowest-paying majors.

MajorAverage Salary 
Voice & Opera$34,500
Painting & Printmaking$34,700
Psychology & Human Services$35,600
Equine Studies$35,700
Rehabilitation Services$35,800
Medical Assisting$36,000
Early Childhood Education$36,100
Mental Health Counseling$36,100
Child and Family Studies$36,400
Biblical Studies & Practical Ministries$36,400
Source: Payscale

Starting Salary Out of College Expectations Vs Reality

Students tend to overestimate their salaries after college by 23%. [2]

Get a reality check with these statistics!

Women expect to earn about $48,500 straight out of college, while men expect $74,000. [2]

Some nursing and computer science students underestimate their salaries, while others usually overestimate. [2]

Business majors have reported overestimating their average salaries from college by about $14,200. [2]

As computer Science is the highest in demand, the average salary has risen by $7000 more than expected. [2]

Average starting salary expectations vs reality

Source: Clever

Change in Average Salary Out of College Over Past Years

The average starting salary of out-of-college employees was recorded at $48,127 in 2014. [6]

There has been a 1% or less annual increase in the average starting salaries of college graduates from 2015 to 2018. [3]

2019 saw an average increment of 5.8% in the average starting salary of graduates. [4]

There has not been any significant change in salaries from 2019 to 2021. It was approximately $55k. [5]

The average starting salary of out-of-college employees is $55,260 in 2022 and 2023. [5]

Average Starting Salary Out of College By Demographics

Are you living in a suitable place to be paid well? Let’s check it out!

The mid-Atlantic region has recorded the highest average starting salary for college graduates, approximately $63k. [7]

The next in line is a west-Atlantic region with an average starting salary for graduates at $62k. [7]

It is stated that Asian-American graduates have the highest starting salary at $75k. [7]

Native American graduates have the lowest average starting salary at $53,528. [7]

Pacific Islander graduates are the second-lowest paid graduates about $53,844. [7]

HispanicAmerican graduates have the third-lowest salary at $55,833 and an employment percentage of 57.3%. [7]

White graduates have the highest employment percentage of 62.7%

Native American students have the second highest rate at 60.3%.

Starting salary of graduates by ethnicity

Source: NACE

What is the average starting out-of-college salary of women?

Women have always faced gender discrimination in the workplace. 

  • The average starting salary of females out of college is about $52k. [8]
  • While the average salary of males out of college is about $64k. [8]
  • The average starting salary of nonbinary students who graduated in 2021 was about $50k. [8]

FAQs 

What is the average starting salary out of college?

The average starting salary was $55,260 in 2023.

How much do out-of-college people overestimate about their salaries?

College graduates believe they would earn up to  $104,000 at their first job which is an overestimation.

Who earns the highest straight out of college?

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science graduates are paid the highest salary of about $108,500 with an experience of zero to five years. 

Conclusion 

How much can you make after completing the college degree? Well, it highly depends on your course. While in-demand majors like engineering and technical fields are paid good, others like 

child and family studies, humanities, and biblical studies are low. 

The average starting salary was $55,260 in 2023. If we look at the average starting salary of females out of college, it is about $52k. While the average salary of males out of college is about $64k. 

Students usually tend to overestimate their future earnings straight out of college and get upset when they see the actual scenario. Pro tip- It’s helpful to go through the data first!

Sources

  1. Payscale. College Salary Report: Highest Paying Jobs with a Bachelor’s Degree
  2. Clever. Reality Check: Exploring Unrealistic Undergraduate Salary Expectations
  3. NACE. Class of 2017’s Overall Starting Salary Shows Little Gain
  4. NACE. Average Salary for Class of 2019 Up Almost 6 Percent Over Class of 2018’s
  5. NACE. Salaries for College Graduates Climb Even in the Face of the Pandemic
  6. NACE. Overall Starting Salary for Class of 2015 Graduates Up 4.3 Percent
  7. NACE. First Destinations for the College Class of 2021
  8. CNBC. More Education Doesn’t Always Get You More Money, Report Finds