According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for workers in the United States in December 2013 was $786 per week or $48,872 a year for a 40 hour work week.
However, salaries can vary significantly based on both on occupation and location. For example, dentists, on average, earn $145,240 annually, while teachers earn an average of $53,400 annually. Jobs in large cities which have a higher cost of living tend to pay more than jobs in more rural areas.
Average Salaries for Men and Women
The average salary also differs between sexes. In December 2013, males earn a median of $45,188, while women earn a national average of $37,076. Weekly earnings for women was 82% of the median for men.
Average Salary Based on Education
The BLS reports that for December 2013, full-time workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $468, compared with $648 for high school graduates. College graduates with a bachelor's degree earned $1,219 per week. College graduates with advanced degrees (professional or master's degree and above),earned $3,469 or more per week (men) and $2,417 (women).
Median Salary vs. Average Salary
What's the difference between the average salary for a job and the median salary? The median salary (also called the midpoint) for a job is the wage at the middle of a range. Half of the workers earn below this level and half earn above it.
The average salary (also called the mean) for a job is an average of all the salaries for a specific job. To get the average salary, you add all the salaries for a job and divide it by the number of people working at that occupation. As mentioned above, the average salary can vary based on location, demand for the job and other factors.
How to Find the Average Salary for a Job
When you are evaluating careers or job searching, it can be useful to know what you can expect to make. There are a variety of calculators you can use to find out what the average salary is for a job in your occupation and location of interest. In addition, you can use a cost-of-living calculator to determine how much it actually costs to live in a specific location.
Salary and Cost of Living Calculators
Salary.com Average Salary
Salary.com reports will give you the average salary for just about every occupation, as well as information on benefits, negotiation, and human resources issues.
PayScale.com Cost of Living Calculator
Use PayScale's Cost of Living Calculator to determine how much your current salary is worth in a new city and to compare the cost of living in two different cities.
PayScale.com Salary Calculator
Evaluate a job offer or compare your salary with equivalent positions.
PayScale.com Median Salary Chart
Use PayScale's Salary Chart to review the median salary for a variety of jobs.
More Salary Calculators
Additional salary calculators for a variety of occupations.