Special Report

Lowest Paying Jobs for College Grads

Detailed findings & methodology:

Only eight occupations that typically require a college degree have a lower median wage than the national median wage of $37,690. The typical proofreader makes $37,550 that year. Religious workers also make less than the typical American, with a median salary of $29,310. Education workers, including teachers, graduate teaching assistants, and coaches are some of the lowest-paid employees. Most make less than $33,000 per year.

Radio and television announcers make a median salary of $32,450 a year, one of the lowest among careers that are typically filled by college graduates. From 2016 to 2026, the BLS expects 11.6% fewer people will be working as radio and television announcers, the largest drop of any occupation.

Among the jobs paying below the U.S. median, rehabilitation counselor is the only one that typically requires a master’s degree. Despite the high level of education that is usually required, the occupation’s median annual salary is just $34,860.

The lowest paying job for a college graduate is a legislator. While many people view politicians as wealthy, there are thousands of Americans writing laws at the state, county, and city level who are not well compensated compared to other college graduates. The median annual salary for a legislator is just $25,630, thousands of dollars below any other occupation that typically employs college graduates.

To identify the lowest paying jobs that typically require a college degree, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed annual median wage estimates for all occupations from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wage data is from the 2017 survey. Data concerning the typical education needed for each occupation came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections report.

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