BETHLEHEM, PA—Master's degree graduates in many fields realize significantly higher starting salaries than their counterparts who hold bachelor's degrees, according to a new report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
NACE's September 2012 Salary Survey indicates that there can be a significant "payoff" for the higher-level degree.
"In many fields, average starting salaries fluctuate by more than 20 percent between master's and bachelor's degrees," says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.
In fact, average salaries for accounting, business administration, and English majors all fluctuate by more than 20 percent for the higher-level degree. (See Figure 1.)
In some fields, however, the differential is even larger.
The average starting salary for a master's degree level elementary education major is $48,900-30 percent higher than the average salary to the same major at the bachelor's degree level ($37,600). Similarly, the master's degree computer science major commands an average salary of $80,400, nearly 30 percent more than the $62,200 average salary for a computer science grad at the bachelor's degree level.
For political science majors, the master's degree earns nearly 43 percent more: Bachelor's level graduates earn an average starting salary of $40,400, while master's degree graduates average $57,700.
An executive summary of the September 2012 Salary Survey report is available at www.naceweb.org/salary-survey-data/.
NACE's next update on starting salaries for new college graduates will be available in the January 2013 issue of Salary Survey.