Home / Economy / Articles / What are the average salaries for four-year college graduates?

In 2022, the average earnings for prime-working age[1] people with bachelor’s degrees — people aged 25 to 64 working full-time jobs — were $100,311, according to Census Bureau estimates.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also collects wage data, which it shares as weekly medians rather than annual averages. According to BLS data, people working full-time whose highest level of education was a bachelor’s degree made a median of $1,432 per week in 2022. No matter which way you choose to look at it, people in the prime age group with Bachelor's degrees earn more than people without any post-secondary education, at least when they're working full-time.

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Which are the highest-earning bachelor’s degrees?

People with bachelor’s degrees in actuarial science had the highest average annual earnings in 2022, earning $160,180. A collection of business, science, and engineering degrees round out the top 10 highest-paid majors, each with an average above $134,000.

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Which are the lowest-earning bachelor’s degrees?

In 2022, full-time workers between 25 and 64 who majored in clinical psychology earned the least, averaging $44,991 in 2022. Other low-earning fields of study included school counseling ($48,978), early childhood education ($55,873), teacher education ($57,510), and elementary education ($61,526). Note that this data includes people whose highest educational level is a bachelor’s degree, so it doesn’t include anyone who went on to complete further education. This data also doesn’t take into account if people who earned a degree in a certain field of study are currently working in that same field.

Which bachelor’s degree occupations are projected to grow the most?

The five occupations projected to add the most jobs in a decade all have above-average salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that data scientists will add the most jobs (35.2% employment growth) from 2022 to 2032 among occupations that typically require a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions.

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What are the highest-paying occupations for people with bachelor’s degrees?

In 2022, airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers had the highest annual median wages for occupations that typically require a bachelor’s degree. Many of the highest-paying occupations require five or more years of experience in a related occupation in addition to having a bachelor’s degree.

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Where do the highest-paying jobs pay the highest wages?

In May 2022, airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers in Washington state made the highest mean wages, at $278,260 per year. Chief executives had the highest mean wages — $414,350 — in New Jersey.

Computer and information systems managers earned the most in New York, at $217,630, while architectural and engineering managers in California had the highest mean wages in their fields with $193,600. And natural sciences managers had the highest mean wages in Massachusetts, at $227,460.

Learn more about how the cost of college is rising faster than wages for people with degrees, and get the data directly in your inbox by signing up for our email newsletter.

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Employment Projections

Among people with any earnings whose highest educational attainment is a bachelor’s degree. Prime working age is a commonly used age category that captures people between the ages of 25 and 64, as people in this age group are most likely to have completed their education, entered the workforce, and not be retired. The Census Bureau further restricts this data to workers who worked at least 50 weeks of the year (including vacations, holidays, and sick leave) and usually worked at least 32 hours per week to more accurately approximate the earnings of a full-time worker.