There is an assumption, whether fair or not, that the more well-educated someone is, the better their earning power. The U.S. Census Bureau shows that 42% of Americans over 25 years of age have an associate, bachelor’s, graduate or professional degree. To get these degrees, people need to stay in school for two years or more after high school. For some degrees, like an M.D., the period may be many years longer. Does a college degree pay off? That has become the subject of more and more analysis as the number of student loans people carry has grown larger.
While college-educated workers are more likely to have higher compensation than average, a four-year degree by no means guarantees a high salary. More than two dozen occupations that require at least a bachelor’s degree have an average annual wage that is either in line with or below the average annual earnings of $56,310 across all occupations.
Using wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. identified the lowest-paying job for college graduates. Average annual wages for the occupations we considered range from about $36,000 to just under $57,000. We excluded all non-specific occupation classifications from consideration, specifically those jobs labeled as “all other,” a catch-all designation.
The lowest-paying job for college graduates is short-term substitute teachers. Here are some details:
- Average annual wage: $36,090
- Typical entry-level education: Bachelor’s degree
- Total employment: 512,030
- Projected employment change (2019 to 2029): +2.6%