Special Report

The Lowest Paying Jobs for College Grads

In the United States, a college education opens up a far wider range of career opportunities than would otherwise be available. And most of those careers pay far more than average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical American worker with only a high school diploma earned only about 60% of what the typical worker with a bachelor’s degree earned in 2020. 

While college-educated workers are more likely to have higher compensation than average, a four-year degree by no means guarantees a high salary. There are over two dozen occupations that require at least a bachelor’s degree where the average annual wage is either in line with or below the average annual earnings of $56,310 across all occupations. 

Using wage data from the BLS, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 25 lowest paying jobs for college graduates. Average annual wages for the occupations on this list range from about $36,000 to just under $57,000. We excluded all non-specific occupation classifications used by the BLS from consideration, specifically those jobs labeled as “all other,” a catch-all designation.

Compensation is one of a number of factors to take into account when choosing a job, and for many who go into the kinds of careers on this list, compensation is a secondary consideration. Such jobs include service occupations, like social work and counseling, some of which require a master’s degree — a level of education some of the highest paying jobs require. Here is a look at the 87 jobs with six-figure salaries

While the jobs on this list are not especially well paying, they are relatively secure. Demand for workers in the majority of these fields is projected to grow faster than the 3.7% average employment growth rate across all occupations between 2019 and 2029. Here is a look at America’s fastest growing jobs

Click here to see the lowest paying jobs for college grads.

Click here to see our detailed methodology.