Business Degree Salary: 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn more about the salary you can expect once you graduate with a business degree.

[Featured image] Business degree student sits in a computer lab with a laptop in his lap and is smiling.

Business is the most popular major among US undergraduate students. In the 2019-2020 school year, about 19 percent of the two million bachelor’s degrees conferred were in business [1]. Business majors are also in high demand among employers, with six of the top 10 most in-demand majors being in business [2].

In this guide, we’ll look at the salaries associated with this popular bachelor’s degree and discuss some factors that can elevate that salary further.

Average business degree salary

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for people with a business degree is $65,000 [3]. That’s a bit higher than the median wage for bachelor’s degree holders across all fields, $60,000.

However, several factors can influence salary beyond the field of your degree, such as your:

  • Major

  • Occupation

  • Location

  • School

Let’s take a closer look at each.

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Business degree salary by major

Several majors or concentrations fall under the umbrella category of business degrees. The most common business majors are management and administration, general business, accounting, finance, and marketing or market research. According to the BLS, about 88 percent of business degrees are in these focus areas [3].

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the business majors associated with the highest average starting salaries—or entry-level salaries—are management information systems and actuarial science [2].

Here are the average business degree starting salaries ranked by major, according to NACE:

MajorAverage starting salary (2022)
Management information systems$66,117
Actuarial science$65,543
Logistics/supply chain$61,798
Business administration/management$59,514
International business$57,841
Human resources$57,357

Business degree salary by occupation

You may decide to pursue several career paths with a business degree, and each is associated with different salary expectations over time. (Still, most business occupations with a bachelor’s degree as the minimum education requirement are associated with salaries exceeding the national median wage for all occupations, $45,760 [4].)

Most people with a business degree will work in management or business and financial operations occupations, according to the BLS. The median salary for all careers that the BLS classifies as management occupations is $102,450 [5], while the median salary for business and financial operations occupations is $76,570 [6]. (Note that management salaries tend to be higher since they are often higher level positions requiring several years of work experience.)

Here are the median wages and job growth rates for the top-employing roles for people with a business degree, according to the BLS [3]:

JobMedian salary (2021)Job growth rate
Financial manager$131,71017%
Management analyst$93,00011%
Human resources specialist$62,2908%
Accountant and auditor$77,2506%
Manager (other types)$124,6506%

Learn more: 10 In-Demand Jobs You Can Get with a Business Degree 

Business degree salary by location

Where you live may influence your compensation. Often, salaries will be adjusted to reflect your local cost of living. Places where the cost of living is high, such as in a major city, tend to reflect higher salaries than places where the cost of living is lower, such as a less expensive suburb. Additionally, employer demand for specific roles may be higher in some areas than others, which can drive up the average salary.

Here are the states with the highest average salary for business majors, according to Zippia [7]:

StateAverage salary
New York$61,825
New Jersey$60,714

Additionally, here are the cities with the highest average salary for business majors [7]:

CityAverage salary
New York, New York$61,944
San Francisco, California$61,581
Washington, DC$61,537
Hartford, Connecticut$59,264
Boston, Massachusetts$57,600

Business degree salary by school

Degrees from certain business schools may be associated with higher starting salaries. There are many reasons this may be true, such as a school’s reputation, the quality of education, or a robust alumni network.

Here are the business schools associated with the highest starting salaries, according to an analysis from Poets & Quants [8]:

SchoolAverage starting salary (2021)
University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)$85,345
Georgetown University (McDonough)$85,213
New York University (Stern)$81,669
Cornell University (Dyson SC Johnson)$79,777
Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)$79,385
University of Virginia (McIntire)$77,926
University of Michigan (Ross)$76,295
Washington University in St. Louis (Olin)$75,539
Texas Christian University (Neeley)$73,488
Southern Methodist University (Cox)$73,054

Tip: Look for your school’s employment report to see the salary ranges your program’s previous graduates earned once they completed their degree. In the report, you may also see the specific job roles and companies where they accepted job offers.


Business degree salary growth

A bachelor’s degree is the typical entry-level education requirement for several business occupations. However, about 25 percent of business graduates continue their education with an advanced degree [3]. Earning an advanced business degree, such as a business Master of Science (MS) or Master of Business Administration (MBA), can help you qualify for higher level positions and increased salaries as you continue to grow within your field.

Here are the median starting salaries in the US for recent graduates of business master’s degree programs, according to a survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council [9]:

DegreeMedian starting salary (2022)
Master of Business Administration (MBA)$115,000
Master of Finance$110,000
Master in business analytics$105,000
Master of Data Analytics$105,000
Master of Accounting$95,000
Master in management$95,000

Learn more: MBA vs. MS: Choosing Which Is Better for You

Keep learning

Learn business essentials with Coursera. Pursue your bachelor’s degree in business administration or marketing from the University of London, or study general business at the University of North Texas—all completely online. Join Coursera for free and start exploring new business courses today.

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Article sources


National Center for Education Statistics. “Bachelor's degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions, by field of study: Selected years, 1970-71 through 2019-20,” Accessed February 6, 2023.

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