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 / Updated  / Source: NBC News

College grads on the hunt for jobs may have a little more budgetary breathing room this year. Starting salaries are climbing.

One-third of employers said they plan to offer higher pay than last year, says a new survey of 2,175 hiring managers. While 26 percent said they plan to offer salaries under $30,000, another 26 percent said they do plan to offer at least $50,000. (Certified nursing assistants, teaching assistants and bank tellers are among the worst-paying entry level jobs, according to an analysis by Wallethub.)

But don't breathe a sigh of relief just yet, if you haven't already got a job offer in hand. "Recognize that it's an average," said Kantrowitz. "That doesn't mean you're going to earn that."

Overall, the class of 2015 can expect an average starting salary of $62,998, according to initial estimates from a January survey of 316 employer members of the National Association of Colleges and Employers. To compare, an association salary survey of 45,370 Class of 2014 grads released this week put their average starting salary at $48,127.

There's a lot of variation by discipline and major. Average 2015 starting salary projections from the group range from $80,600 for petroleum engineering majors, for example, down to $43,852 for liberal arts/ general studies grads. A report examining 207 college majors found an even wider scale, with several early career salaries averaging $35,000 or less, including athletic training ($35,000), human services ($33,800) and child development ($32,200).

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-- Kelli B. Grant