Business Degree Salaries

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Earning a business degree prepares graduates for well-paying jobs in a growing field. Potential roles include accountant, budget analyst, management analyst, and training and development specialist. Nearly every industry needs experienced business professionals to help increase efficiency and profitability.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual salary for business and financial occupations is $72,250 as of May 2020.

Business management salaries vary by position, education, experience, and region. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual salary for business and financial occupations is $72,250 as of May 2020. This wage outpaces the national median pay of $41,950.

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Business Jobs at a Glance

Business management salaries vary by industry and specialization, experience and education, and location. Some states pay more for particular business occupations. However, employees generally earn more with experience in the field.

Professionals who specialize in management and finance can pursue some of the highest-paying business careers. Below, we cover business salary expectations for several occupations in the field.

BLS projections indicate that employment in the business and financial sectors will continue to grow at a faster-than-average rate from 2019-2029.

Business and Financial Occupations


Projected Job Growth: +5% | Median Annual Salary: $72,250


Source: BLS, 2020

Which business majors yield the highest salaries?
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Accountants

These professionals prepare and analyze financial records for individuals, government organizations, and businesses. As of 2019, the BLS reported 1,436,100 accountants and auditors working in the U.S., earning a median annual salary of $73,560 as of May 2020. Accounting offers many career opportunities. View our accounting salary page for more information.



Budget Analysts

Budget analysts plan the finances for private and public organizations. They develop budgets, estimate financial needs, monitor spending, and analyze financial plans. These professionals earn a median salary that significantly exceeds the national average. The BLS projects an average job growth rate for budget analysts from 2019-2029.

  • Projected Job Growth: +3%
  • Median Annual Salary: $78,970

Source: BLS, 2020

Career Path

Budget analysts in entry-level positions can advance in their careers by gaining professional experience and pursuing additional education or certifications, such as:

Experience

The average salary for budget analysts increases significantly with experience. PayScale reports that entry-level professionals make $52,000 a year, while those with 20 or more years of experience earn $77,000. Midcareer professionals earn $66,000 on average. Consult the following table for more salary data for budget analysts.

Annual Salaries by Experience for Budget Analysts, June 2021

Years of Experience Average Annual Salary
Entry-Level (<1 year) $52,000
Early Career (1-4 years) $57,000
Midcareer (5-9 years) $66,000
Experienced (10-19 years) $72,000
Late Career (20+ years) $77,000
Source: PayScale

Location

The top-paying states offer significantly higher median annual salaries for budget analysts. The best-paid budget analysts make over $104,000 a year in Washington, D.C. See below for more information on the top-paying states for this profession.

Mean Wages by State for Budget Analysts, 2020

Top-Paying States Annual Mean Wage
District of Columbia $104,330
Maryland $97,390
Virginia $97,020
Maine $94,320
Source: BLS


Financial Analysts

Financial analysts help individuals and businesses make informed decisions on generating profits. They recommend investments, study economic trends, evaluate financial data, and write reports. The BLS projects faster-than-average employment growth for financial analysts from 2019-2029. The median salary for financial analysts more than doubles the national average as of May 2020.

  • Projected Job Growth: +5%
  • Median Annual Salary: $83,660

Source: BLS, 2020

Career Path

An entry-level financial analyst can work in corporations, financial services, or investment banks. After gaining experience, some may advance into portfolio or fund management roles. Financial analysts can also increase their career opportunities by pursuing graduate degrees or professional certifications, such as:

Experience

Financial analysts with more experience typically earn higher salaries. While an entry-level professional earns an average of $56,000 a year, a late-career financial analyst increases their pay by $19,000. The following data includes additional figures on financial analyst salaries by experience.

Annual Salaries by Experience for Financial Analysts, June 2021

Years of Experience Average Annual Salary
Entry-Level (<1 year) $56,000
Early Career (1-4 years) $61,000
Midcareer (5-9 years) $69,000
Experienced (10-19 years) $73,000
Late Career (20+ years) $75,000
Source: PayScale

Location

Business degree salaries vary by state. Some factors include population density, cost of living, and demand for the occupation. Financial analysts in New York, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, and Connecticut earn significantly more than the national median for this profession, which is $83,660.

Mean Wages by State for Financial Analysts, 2020

Top-Paying States Annual Mean Wage
New York $130,670
District of Columbia $109,070
Massachusetts $105,680
Connecticut $105,020
Source: BLS


Human Resources Specialists

Human resources specialists find, interview, and train employees. These professionals also maintain employee records, ensure the organization complies with employment regulations, and administer payroll and benefits. The BLS reports a faster-than-average projected job growth rate for human resources specialists from 2019-2029, along with a higher-than-average median salary as of May 2020.

  • Projected Job Growth: +7%
  • Median Annual Salary: $63,490

Source: BLS, 2020

Career Path

Human resources specialists with experience in the field can become human resources managers. These professionals earn a median annual salary of $121,220 as of May 2020. Entry-level human resources specialists can also advance by obtaining higher education credentials or earning certifications from the Society for Human Resource Management or HR Certification Institute.

Experience

The most experienced human resources specialists make $15,000 more on average than entry-level professionals in the field. Midcareer professionals earn $55,000 a year on average.

Annual Salaries by Experience for Human Resources Specialists, June 2021

Years of Experience Average Annual Salary
Entry-Level (<1 year) $45,000
Early Career (1-4 years) $50,000
Midcareer (5-9 years) $55,000
Experienced (10-19 years) $58,000
Late Career (20+ years) $60,000
Source: PayScale

Location

Human resources specialists in Washington, D.C. earn about $22,000 more a year than their counterparts in California. New Jersey and New York also stand out for high salaries for human resources specialists.

Mean Wages by State for Human Resources Specialists, 2020

Top-Paying States Annual Mean Wage
District of Columbia $101,680
California $79,590
New Jersey $79,360
New York $79,360
Source: BLS


Loan Officers

Loan officers make recommendations for approving or denying business and personal loan applications. They work for banks, mortgage companies, and other financial organizations.

These professionals verify financial information, ensure that loan agreements meet federal and state regulations, and help customers fill out loan applications. The BLS reports loan officers made more than $20,000 above the median annual salary as of May 2020.

  • Projected Job Growth: +3%
  • Median Annual Salary: $63,960

Source: BLS, 2020

Career Path

Entry-level loan officers can increase their employment opportunities by completing further education and professional certifications, such as:

Experience

Entry-level loan officers earn an average salary of $43,000 but can steadily increase earnings with more experience. With 5-9 years of experience, their average annual salary reaches $50,000. Loan officers with 20 or more years working in the field make $57,000 on average.

Annual Salaries by Experience for Loan Officers, June 2021

Years of Experience Average Annual Salary
Entry-Level (<1 year) $43,000
Early Career (1-4 years) $46,000
Midcareer (5-9 years) $50,000
Experienced (10-19 years) $51,000
Late Career (20+ years) $57,000
Source: PayScale

Location

Depending on their location, loan officers can make significantly more than the BLS’ reported median annual salary of $63,960 for this profession. Some states offer higher wages related to the cost of living and job demand. Top-paying states for loan officers include New York, Maryland, Hawaii, and Georgia.

Mean Wages by State for Loan Officers, 2020

Top-Paying States Annual Mean Wage
New York $104,400
Maryland $92,060
Hawaii $91,880
Georgia $86,200
Source: BLS


Management Analysts

Management analysts recommend ways for organizations to become more efficient and profitable. Management analysts earn a median salary of $87,660 as of May 2020. This figure is more than double the median wage for all occupations. The BLS reports a faster-than-average projected job growth rate for the profession from 2019-2029.

  • Projected Job Growth: +11%
  • Median Annual Salary: $87,660

Source: BLS, 2020

Career Path

Management analysts typically advance in their careers as they gain experience and take on new responsibilities. Other ways to become eligible for higher positions include more education and certifications, such as:

Experience

Entry-level management analysts earn an average annual salary of $55,000 but can reach higher incomes with experience. After 5-9 years, they can earn an average annual salary of $73,000. Late-career management analysts make $84,000 a year on average.

Annual Salaries by Experience for Management Analysts, June 2021

Years of Experience Average Annual Salary
Entry-Level (<1 year) $55,000
Early Career (1-4 years) $62,000
Midcareer (5-9 years) $73,000
Experienced (10-19 years) $81,000
Late Career (20+ years) $84,000
Source: PayScale

Location

The highest-paying business careers differ among states. Factors like cost of living, population density, and specific location can affect salary. Management analysts in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. all make significantly more than the mean annual salary for this profession nationally.

Mean Wages by State for Management Analysts, 2020

Top-Paying States Annual Mean Wage
New York $113,560
Massachusetts $113,320
New Jersey $112,380
District of Columbia $110,850
Source: BLS


Personal Financial Advisors

These professionals advise clients about financial decisions related to investments, retirement, and taxes. They explain financial services, research and recommend investments, and help individuals reach their financial goals. As one of the highest-paying business careers, personal financial advisors earn $47,380 more each year than the median annual salary for all occupations as of May 2020.

  • Projected Job Growth: +4%
  • Median Annual Salary: $89,330

Source: BLS, 2020

Career Path

Personal financial advisors can advance professionally by gaining experience, education, and certifications, such as:

Experience

Personal financial advisors can double their average annual salary as they obtain more experience in the field. Entry-level professionals start with average earnings of $45,000 but can make $98,000 with 20 or more years of experience.

Annual Salaries by Experience for Personal Financial Advisors, May 2021

Years of Experience Average Annual Salary
Entry-Level (<1 year) $45,000
Early Career (1-4 years) $61,000
Midcareer (5-9 years) $64,000
Experienced (10-19 years) $73,000
Late Career (20+ years) $98,000
Source: PayScale

Location

Personal financial advisor salaries vary depending on location. Personal financial advisors in New York earn an annual mean wage of $169,310, nearly $80,000 more than the median salary for the profession. Other states offering high personal financial advisor salaries include Maine, Montana, and Minnesota.

Mean Wages by State for Personal Financial Advisors, 2020

Top-Paying States Annual Mean Wage
New York $169,310
Maine $155,240
Montana $154,630
Minnesota $153,830
Source: BLS


Training and Development Specialists

These specialists coordinate training and educational programs for employees. They conduct training seminars and classes, develop training materials, and assess training needs. The BLS projects an excellent job growth rate for training and development specialists from 2019-2029.

  • Projected Job Growth: +9%
  • Median Annual Salary: $62,700

Source: BLS, 2020

Career Path

Training and development specialists typically advance in their careers by accumulating relevant experience. Some become managers in training and development human resources. They also become eligible for higher positions by completing master’s degrees or earning professional certifications from the International Society for Performance Improvement or the Association for Talent Development.

Experience

Entry-level professionals make an average salary of $50,000. Professional experience helps training and development specialists earn higher salaries. Training and development specialists add an extra $11,000 to their earnings after 5-9 years, reaching an average annual salary of $71,000 after 20 years.

Annual Salaries by Experience for Training and Development Specialists, June 2021

Years of Experience Average Annual Salary
Entry-Level (<1 year) $50,000
Early Career (1-4 years) $53,000
Midcareer (5-9 years) $61,000
Experienced (10-19 years) $65,000
Late Career (20+ years) $71,000
Source: PayScale

Location

Training and development specialist salaries vary with location. Top-paying states include New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Washington, and Massachusetts. Cost of living, employer demand, and population density affect salaries.

Mean Wages by State for Training and Development Specialists, 2020

Top-Paying States Annual Mean Wage
New Jersey $84,980
District of Columbia $81,570
Washington $80,520
Massachusetts $78,130
Source: BLS


The Business Job Hunt

Like any other field, finding the right business job takes time and research. You can find opportunities through professional organizations, mentor recommendations, job fairs, or networking events. Your university or college may also offer career development assistance.

Companies also post business opportunities on online job boards. Below, we describe four top job boards where you can find business openings.

  • Indeed

    As the most-visited job site in the world, Indeed posts 10 new jobs every second. Job-seekers can post resumes, research companies, and search for jobs at no cost.

  • Glassdoor

    Glassdoor posts job listings from millions of companies. Employees can also research prospective employers’ company ratings and reviews, salary reports, and interview questions.

  • LinkedIn

    As the largest professional networking website in the world, LinkedIn’s 756 million members post resumes and apply to job openings.

  • ZipRecruiter

    This online employment marketplace connects employers and job-seekers. Nearly three million companies have used ZipRecruiter to fill open positions.

Learn more about business career requirements

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What careers are in business?

    Every industry needs skilled business professionals. Potential careers include accountant, budget analyst, management analyst, and human resources specialist. Candidates can also pursue roles as training and development specialists, financial analysts, and personal financial advisors.

  • How much do business majors make?

    Business degree salaries vary by level of education, experience, industry, and location. The BLS reports that business and finance professionals earned a median annual salary of $72,250 in 2020.

  • What's the best business major by salary?

    High-earning business majors include management and finance. However, the best business major by salary depends on factors like degree level, experience, and location.

  • What are the highest-paying business careers?

    Some of the highest-paying business careers include management analyst, personal financial advisor, and financial analyst. These business occupations earn median annual salaries over $80,000, according to the BLS.

  • Which business careers are in high demand?

    Business careers in high demand include financial analysts, human resources specialists, management analysts, and training and development specialists. The BLS projects faster-than-average growth for business occupations from 2019-2029.


Featured Image: Oliver Rossi / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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