Average Salaries for Americans - Median Salaries for Common Jobs

Would you like to know how your salary stacks up against the average American, or would you rather know how you stack up to your professional peers? Either way, we have you covered.

In the September 2014 Census Bureau report on income and poverty in the U.S., the median household income in America across all jobs was $51,939. That reflects 2013 information; 2014 data will be out in September of this year. That figure was not statistically different from 2012, reflecting continually stagnant wages.

A median salary means that the same number of working Americans have salaries above that mark as those with salaries below that mark. Medians are used instead of arithmetic averages because the salaries of the so-called 1% wealthiest Americans are so high that they skew the overall average, giving a false impression.

Data on individual jobs may be found in several locations such the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and PayScale.com. BLS data uses information from the Census Bureau, and while BLS contains other useful information about long-term job opening projections, educational requirements, and training, it lags behind in salary information. PayScale.com data is drawn from their own separate surveys and stays relatively recent with its salary information.

Here are some examples of median salaries for specific jobs across the US, according to Payscale.Com as of July 2015.

  • Administrative Assistant – Median salary of $14/hour, with an hourly range of $10.58-$20.41. The total pay range is $23,421-$48,187.
  • Sales/Marketing Manager – Median salary of $54,657 with a total compensation range from $31,121-$106,383.
  • Cashier – Median salary of $8/hour, with an hourly range of $7.34-$11.01. Total pay range is $15,268-$24,229. This likely will go up thanks to minimum wage adjustments.
  • Quality Assurance/Control (QA/QC) Inspector – Median salary of $16/hour, with an hourly range of $11.06-$27.19. Total pay ranges from $25,111-$71,333.
  • Registered Nurse – RNs have a median salary of $26/hour and an hourly range of $20.51-$37.95. Total pay ranges from $42,727-$82,093.
  • Police Officer – $47,938 for a median salary, with a total pay range of $30,757-$81,485.
  • Office Manager – Median salary of $42,491 with a total pay range of $26,128-$59,189. Medical office managers skew slightly higher.
  • Manufacturing Engineer – Median salary of $63,745, with a total pay range between $47,379 and $86,473.
  • Information Technology (IT) Manager – IT Managers earn a range of $46,052-$127,625, with a median salary of $79,584.
  • Electrician – A journeyman electrician can expect a range from $29,679-$80,787, with a median wage of $20/hour.

If your job is not listed above, you can check for yourself at PayScale.com. Click on the link for the job that most closely matches your profession. You can see the median salary with accompanying graphs showing the typical salary ranges, as well as typical perks such as bonuses and profit-sharing options. Other career-specific information, such as typical career paths, is included in the job summary.

Keep in mind that this is a national composite based on survey information (there may be some time lag in wage information), and the cost of living and other factors where you live may place you lower (or higher) in the national scale than your experience would warrant.

Now that you know this information, what will you do with it? You can use it as motivation to improve your position, ask for a raise, or consider career changes...or you can decide that the job you have stacks up pretty well, all things considered. Regardless of what you do with this information, it is always good to know what your current job position and skills should be worth on the open market.

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