Where Can I Find Average Salaries by Career?

If you're trying to decide on a career path, you might want information about salaries for careers you're considering, to make sure your pay is competitive with others in the same position. Whatever the reason, you can find salary data for all types of careers online.

Finding Average Salaries by Career

Sometimes using a search engine can yield quick results for a position's salary. However, there are several types of websites where you can find salaries by career, such as websites run by government organizations, professional organizations and schools. To gain the most accurate picture of salaries for a given career, you might search in all of these locations and then compare the results. If you're having trouble finding salary data for a career, you could try searching for alternative names for the position. For example, if you'd like information on database administrator salaries, you might also search for salary information for database coordinators and database programmers, which O*Net Online lists as similar titles for the same position.

Important Facts About Some Career Salaries

Landscape Architect Physical Therapist Teacher Assistant
Required Education Bachelor's degree Doctoral degree 2 years of college coursework or an associate's degree
Licensure Most states require licensing Licensure is required None required
Median Salary (2014) $64,570 $82,390 $24,430
Job Outlook (2014-2014) 5% growth 34% growth 6% growth

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Using Governmental Websites

On the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website, you can find its Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), a source of information on career requirements, job outlook, wages and more (www.bls.gov). You can search the OOH by job title to find average (or mean) and median wages for various professions. The OOH is revised every two years. You can also search for salary information on CareerOneStop.org, which takes its data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program run by the BLS.

Using Salary Websites

Salary websites might not be as good of a source for salary information as governmental websites. This may be because a government site has access to more extensive information and data sets than private organizations. Additionally, some salary sites employ user data to calculate their salary quotes. However, these sites can still be useful.

Websites such as PayScale.com and Salary.com allow you to see salary data by career. This information is generally presented as the middle half of respondents' salaries, i.e. those between the 25th and 75th percentiles; or as the middle 80% of respondents' salaries, i.e. those between the tenth and 90th percentiles; or as a median. This information may include breakdowns on bonuses, profit sharing and more.

Using Professional Organization Websites

Many professional organizations give salary information for the career(s) that they cover. This information may or may not be accessible by the public. For example, the National Society of Professional Engineers offers information from its most recent salary survey, but you might need to pay in order to access it if you aren't a member or survey participant. Other organizations, such as the American Nurses Association, let you access some of their salary information free. If the organization you're interested in only offers salary information to members, you might see what other services it offers; it could be worth it to join.

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