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Average Salary Ranges
Based on a 2009 report and salary survey by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of auditors was $67,430 a year. Those in the bottom 10th percentile reported earning less than $37,690 a year while auditors in the top 10th percentile, perhaps the most experienced and credentialed, made over $104,450. However, most internal auditors fell into the middle 50 percent of wages, averaging between $46,740 and $79,470 a year. The number of positions and salaries for auditors is expected to increase at a much faster than average rate over the next several years.
Influence of Location
The area in which internal auditors work greatly affects wages, possibly due to cost of living as well as the concentration of wealthy firms and corporations. In the 2009, states like Delaware and Colorado report wages close to the national average, $68,950 and $68,910 a year respectively. However, the five highest paying states were all on the east coast and all known as centers of big business. Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) all provided annual mean wages between $73,290 and
$79,900. The highest paying state in the country was New York, boasting an average of $84,280 a year for auditors.
Some employers paid less than the national average. According to the bureau report, the government only paid on average $54,040 at the state level and $57,490 at the local level for auditors. By far the largest number of auditors were employed by accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services firms and reported an average wage of $73,920 a year. Securities and commodities brokerage firms and tobacco companies paid between $80,780 and $81,560 on average. However, in 2009, the highest paying employer was the federal government, where an auditor could expect an average salary of $88,190 a year.
Most positions for auditors require a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Most commonly, auditors have studied accounting, but courses in economics, finance and business administration are valuable as well. Some positions demand a master's degree and more and more auditors are seeking certification as a Certified Public Account as well as a Certified Internal Auditor. Those who wish to work for the government should also consider the Certified Government Auditing Professional license.