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Finally, Some Good News for Grads: Starting Salaries Are on the Risecollege

Finally, Some Good News for Grads: Starting Salaries Are on the Rise

Kristin Wong , Gawker Media

Photo by Maura24

Headlines say the job market is improving , but it's more likely that it's just changing -the gig economy has saved workers from unemployment, but it's also kept a lot of them from earning a full-time wage. Speaking of which, wage growth is in the toilet . It's not all doom and gloom, though. There's good news for new grads on the hunt .

Recent data found that the average starting salary for entry-level jobs is now $49,785. That's an all-time high and three percent higher than last year's average.

According to the report , which was commissioned by the advisory firm Korn Ferry, this year's grads will earn 14% more than those who graduated in 2007 (and that's adjusted for inflation). Of course, that number varies quite a bit depending on the job, so Korn Ferry also looked at the five highest and lowest-paying fields. Here's what they found:

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Highest-Paying Fields

  • Software Developer $65,232 (31 percent above average)
  • Engineer $63,036 (27 percent above average)
  • Actuary $59,212 (19 percent above average)
  • Scientist/researcher $58,733 (18 percent above average)
  • Environmental Professional $56,660 (14 percent above average)

Lowest-Paying Fields

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  • Buyer/logistics $44,247 (11 percent below average)
  • Call Center Specialist $41,158 (17 percent below average)
  • Claims Examiner $37,508 (25 percent below average)
  • Customer Service Rep. $35,848 (28 percent below average)
  • Category Assistant $35,592 (29 percent below average)

Thanks to rising college debt , this isn't all about salary. Students have to factor in the return on investment of their degree more than ever, so it's important to consider the cost of each field, too. Prices vary depending on individual debt load, so it's hard to say which degrees will actually pay off the most, considering their cost. Associate's degrees are generally cheaper, though, and we've listed some highest-paying jobs that only require an Associate's. They include:

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  • Air traffic controller: A median annual wage of $122,530
  • Radiation therapists: A median annual wage of $77,560
  • Dental hygienists: A median annual wage of $70,210
  • Nuclear medicine technologists: A median annual wage of $70,180
  • Nuclear technicians: A median annual wage of $69,069

And then there are the highest paying jobs that don't require a college degree at all:

  • Transportation, storage, and distribution managers: A median annual wage of $81,830
  • First-line supervisors of police and detectives: a median annual wage of $78,270
  • Elevator installers and repairers: a median annual wage of $76,650
  • Nuclear power reactor operators: a median annual wage of $74,990
  • Detectives and criminal investigators: a median annual wage of $74,300

You can check out the full study here , which also includes starting salary information for a handful of major cities.

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