Very often, it seems, conversations with students about any potential career path seem to follow a specific pattern. The student finds that over the course of their education here at Auburn their interests have changed, or perhaps they have found a new potential career path about which they are excited. We will discuss what type of work someone in the particular field might do, what types of degrees might be necessary for advancement in the field, and even potential opportunities for the student to gain more information by job shadowing or informational interviewing. At some point in the conversation, however, the student will ask the same question, sometimes in hushed tones as though to broach such a subject was somehow considered taboo: “How much money can I make?” While this is both a relevant and necessary question for anyone doing research on a potential career, it is one that is easily answered by utilizing the resources made available for all of us on the Career Center website, as well as a few other sites easily accessed on the internet.
For your convenience, I have summarized what some of the more popular resources have to offer:
Accessed via a link on the Web Resources tab of the Career Center webpage, this resource provides salary information for recent graduates of Auburn University divided by major. The most recent data is for graduates from the summer of 2012-spring of 2013. Some of the information is provided for department rather than specific major, but Auburn students should utilize this resource as a great tool for setting reasonable entry level salary expectations for their chosen career field
This handy tool provided via a link on the Career Center website allows one to search for salary date by location, occupation type, and education level. Upon entry of the relevant information, the tool will provide one with salary data for entry level positions, the median for the area specified, and the top ten percent of earners for the desired occupational field. Perhaps most useful, the tool also provides one with the salary one can expect in the market specified, which should equip a student with the information necessary for negotiating that first salary with a potential employer.
Occupational Outlook Handbook (bls.gov/ooh/)
A website maintained by the U.S. Government, the Occupational Outlook Handbook provides information on a wide variety of careers, including degree requirements, expected growth, and, you guessed it, the median salary for a field. One need simply choose an occupation from an extensive list to access this information.
Having a realistic understanding of salary expectations is important, but remember that the your experience level will impact your earning potential. Do yourself a favor and take advantage of opportunities to gain relevant experience while in college to help boost your starting salary.
Written by Christopher Burkhalter
Practicum Student in the Career Center