Salary Information

What jobs pay the most money? How hard will it be to find a job? How much will I make?

These are common questions asked by students when considering their major and career path. It’s important to realize that where you start is not where you will end up—by getting a college degree, you have significantly greater future earning potential. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, less than 30 percent of Americans age 25 or older have a bachelors or advanced college degree.

This is why the completion of any degree, rather than a specific major, is important to many employers.

The other factor to take into consideration when evaluating salaries is your benefits package. It’s also important to remember that most NatSci graduates go to work for companies with fewer than 100 employees, not large corporations. Their starting salary may be less, but their opportunities for advancement and promotion in the future are usually greater.

What jobs pay the most?

CarrerOneStop by the US Department of Labor provides a wealth of data in this area.

Based on 2009 Dept. of Labor data, the Top 25; Highest-Paying Occupations by Median Hourly Wages were:

  1. Anesthesiologists $166,400
  2. Internists, General $166,400
  3. Obstetricians and Gynecologists $166,400
  4. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons $166,400
  5. Orthodontists $166,400
  6. Physicians and Surgeons, All Other $166,400
  7. Surgeons $166,400
  8. Chief Executives $160,700
  9. Family and General Practitioners $160,500
  10. Psychiatrists $160,200
  11. Dentists, All Other Specialists $153,300
  12. Pediatricians, General $152,200
  13. Dentists, General $142,100
  14. Engineering Managers $117,000
  15. Podiatrists $116,300
  16. Natural Sciences Managers $114,600
  17. Computer and Information Systems Managers $113,700
  18. Lawyers $113,200
  19. Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates $112,800
  20. Prosthodontists $111,100
  21. Marketing Managers $110,000
  22. Air Traffic Controllers $109,800
  23. Pharmacists $109,200
  24. Petroleum Engineers $108,900
  25. Physicists $106,400

How can I get ahead of the competition?

Throughout your job market research experience, one word will continue to crop up: Internship. Employers everywhere stress the importance of internships. According to NACE’s Job Outlook 2006 survey, nearly 54% of new college hires had internship experience; almost 32% hired gained that internship experience at the company they were hired by. Government and nonprofit employers hire almost 42.2% of their interns.

Other sources of information:

  • Compares cost of living, and crime statistics, for most cities in the U.S.
  • Lets you see the average salary, with highs and lows, for most professions in different geographic areas.

General Labor Statistics:

Managing your money

If you keep having more month than money, now is a good time to start working on changing your spending habits. The National Council on Economic Education has a fabulous website. If you click on “Spending” you will find a calculator that shows you just how much salary you will have left after social security, taxes, and rent.

What about graduate school?

It is true that you can get a higher salary with a graduate degree, but it’s important to realize that admissions are selective, and that graduate school is significantly different than undergraduate education.