What Is a Career Salary Calculator?

People often use career salary calculators to learn about the average earnings for employees in various fields. Read on to learn about some of the different career salary calculators available.

Career Salary Calculator Definition

A career salary calculator is an online tool that job seekers use to get an estimate of the amount of money they can make in specific careers. Some career salary calculators only report data on the base pay for different careers, while others estimate items like bonuses and incentives that workers can earn. Since the money people make for some careers varies greatly by region, most career salary calculators take location into account when reporting salary. Typically, they only require people to enter their desired career and geographic region, but others gather more information before providing an estimate.

Important Facts About Salary Calculators

Academic Considerations When looking into careers, be sure to weigh the potential cost of schooling against the average salary
Job Outlook When considering a job based on salary, consider the growth of the job market for that career to be sure you can find work in that field
Licensure/Certification Consider continuing education requirements and how those costs factor into the salary for your career
Location Comparing salaries between different areas may help you decide if it may be more beneficial to relocate

Items Measured on Career Salary Calculators

The majority of career salary calculators estimate either the average or median salary for a specific career in a certain area. Some allow users to obtain career salary reports by state, city and zip code, while some only provide information by state. A few in-depth career salary calculators factor information about each individual job seeker into the calculation.

Free vs. Premium Career Salary Calculators

Many basic career salary calculators are available for free, but people must pay a fee to access some premium calculators that provide more in-depth salary information. For example, the premium salary report available from Monster.com, which is available for a fee, gathers personal information for each report and provides myriad data about the chosen career. The report includes the total compensation, salary range and the cost of living for the desired region, as well as a detailed description of the career. Free career salary calculators usually report only the average base salary for the selected career and area.

Before using one of these calculators, you might find it useful to check the website and learn how the data is calculated. Some of these calculators, whether free or paid, only survey a small sample of workers who self-report their wages, which could skew the results. Others may compile the data based on salaries reported in job postings, which might be more or less than the salary actually paid once the position is filled. If you're planning to use this data in negotiating for a new position or a raise, knowing how the data was obtained could affect how you approach your negotiations.

Other Salary Sources

Salary calculators aren't the only online resources for individuals seeking salary information. Professional organizations may also have salary calculators on their websites or provide salary surveys of their members on a regular basis. Accessing these sources may require membership in the organization.

Those looking for national or state salary data might check out government resources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Each year, this agency, which is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor, releases mean and median salary information for a number of job titles. The BLS provides data nationally as well as for states and major metropolitan areas. Many states have state labor departments with similar information.

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