Technically, your degree is not worth anything. The printed diploma would not fetch a penny on eBay. However, your hard-earned degree is valuable when it translates into employment. Jobs earn a salary, which is when your diploma transforms itself into potential dollars. The financial gain could be the primary reason you spent the past sixteen years (since Grade 1) receiving an education. Although, those early years probably lacked all ambition to someday think about joining the workforce.

Your education culminates, for many, into the hours of searching for, discussing with various people, talking about, and contemplating a job. The principal component is the interview. DegreeQuery has written about what graduates can expect when interviewing. This post looks from the perspective that regardless of the degree you earned, you may benefit from knowing about salaries. Not what certain professions pay, but what to expect when it comes to your monetary value.

Most Human Resource professionals advise against asking about salary during the first interview. However, there are exceptions when the first interview is the only interview. You want to know what the job pays, in most instances, before you accept the position.

Employer Perspective

Employers typically have a salary range for the position. Even entry-level jobs can have some latitude in what the employer is willing to pay. Factors influencing this range are education level (bachelor’s vs. master’s), prior experience (internships, summer or part-time jobs), extracurricular activities (clubs, associations, sports), personality (professionalism, communication skills), and more. Your interviewer(s) takes all of these into consideration — the interview functions as an assessment.

As stated, most companies have set salary ranges based upon the level of experience or the value of your knowledge to the organization. Public companies may share information about their salary data. Public access to wages usually applies to executive officers and governmental positions. Most companies do not divulge salary information, except for job postings. The exception is a job that pays hourly, which most companies advertise freely to lure applicants.

When calculating salary offers, employers consider several factors. Human resource departments are familiar with what the employment market pays for a particular position. The attractiveness of the benefits can offset the wage. A company offering a generous pension plan or medical benefits may reduce the salary. Mid-level jobs in the business world may adjust the salary according to the ancillary financial incentives.

As a prospective employee, you can conduct the same analysis of wages. Your research will give you the confidence to discuss salary when the employer mentions the topic. When considering money, look at the big picture. Examine the benefits (medical, dental, vision plans), 401k (does the company match a portion), stock options (if applicable), promotion opportunities, and even the pension plan (do they have one?), and other related criteria.


Finding a job that suits your degree, interests, and career aspirations requires diligent research. You should also extend your research into the organization or corporation. Information is available online for public companies, including their finances for public companies, senior officers, accomplishments, mission, history, and more. Does their philosophy concur with yours? Are they financially strong? Do their goals coincide with yours?

Your research should not overlook salaries. You can find, from several sources, the median national pay for this type of work. To illustrate the point, an individual has an accounting degree. What can the accountant expect to earn? Research into this question reveals the following.

PayScale: Many employers use compensation data from this company. It is a means to see what others are paying for a comparable job. Using an accountant as an example, Payscale reports the average pay at $46,000. The figure is inclusive of overtime or related monetary elements connected to the job. These numbers came from the submission of 15,804 salaries from accountants with up to five years of experience. Another example of a Junior or Assistant Accountant with up to 2 years experience has a median income of $51,901.

Indeed: This employment site reports the average salary of an accountant at $51,058 per year — this number based on wages from over twenty-one thousand anonymous submissions.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): The Department of Labor reported a median pay of $69,350 for accountants, as of May 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree.

Keep in mind these are average numbers based on all reported salaries from entry-level to experienced accountants. The statistics also provide a glimpse into what salary you may anticipate with a few years experience.

The BLS also furnishes a geographic profile for their listed occupations. You can see which industries the majority of accountants work and the average pay for each of these sectors. In this example, most accountants work in tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services.

Additional Resources

What Is the Salary Potential for Someone With a Business Degree?

What Is the Salary Potential for Someone With an MBA?

What Is the Salary Potential for Someone With an Entrepreneurship Degree?

What Is the Salary Potential for Someone With an Actuarial Science Degree?

What Is the Salary Potential for Someone with a Finance Degree?

What are the Best Paying Jobs with a Degree in Web Development?

Top 50 Degrees for the Future