Best Value Colleges For Engineering Careers

If you're thinking about an engineering career, you're already on your way to making a smart decision.  Read More

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1University of California - San Diego (UCSD)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$925,000
Total 4 Year Cost$118,000
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$22,440
2University of California - Santa Barbara (UCSB)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$874,900
Total 4 Year Cost$128,200
Grad Rate81%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,120
3Louisiana Tech University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$873,600
Total 4 Year Cost$69,400
Grad Rate49%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,840
4Louisiana Tech University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$839,500
Total 4 Year Cost$103,500
Grad Rate49%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,840
5University of California - San Diego (UCSD)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$833,500
Total 4 Year Cost$209,500
Grad Rate86%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$22,440
6University of Virginia (UVA) - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$805,100
Total 4 Year Cost$97,900
Grad Rate93%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$29,760
7California State University - Long Beach (CSULB)(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$804,100
Total 4 Year Cost$88,900
Grad Rate60%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,480
8University of Louisiana (UL) at Lafayette(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$788,400
Total 4 Year Cost$64,600
Grad Rate45%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,880
9University of California - Santa Barbara (UCSB)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$783,300
Total 4 Year Cost$219,700
Grad Rate81%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,120
10Colorado School of Mines(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$761,000
Total 4 Year Cost$112,000
Grad Rate70%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$30,480
11California State University - Long Beach (CSULB)(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$759,000
Total 4 Year Cost$134,000
Grad Rate60%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$21,480
12University of Louisiana (UL) at Lafayette(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$752,700
Total 4 Year Cost$100,300
Grad Rate45%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$19,880
13 (tie)Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$750,300
Total 4 Year Cost$82,700
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$24,640

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

Engineers of all types are in high demand and receive high salaries in exchange for the valuable skills they offer employers. But if you want to set yourself up for real financial success, you want to choose a college that has a proven track record for producing alumni who go on to have successful engineering careers. PayScale's College ROI Report can help you identify the best value colleges for engineers by calculating which school provides the highest return on investment for alumni who go on to work in engineering or architecture fields.

PayScale builds the list of best value colleges for engineers and architecture workers based off the salary data provided by people who have taken the PayScale Salary Survey. We calculate how much alumni from each school who work in engineering or architecture earn over 20 years compared to the typical US worker without a bachelor's degree and subtract the cost of attending their school. This way you can look at the money spent on tuition at each college as an investment, the same way you would when you invest in stocks, real estate or other financial ventures.

It's not hard to find a high return on investment for engineering majors. So where should you attend college if you want to be an engineer or work in the architecture field? The University of California, San Diego provides the highest 20-Year Net ROI for students who go on to become engineers. The 20-Year Net ROI for in-state students who do not receive financial aid is $925,000. If they qualify for financial aid and/or grants (54 percent of UCSD students receive financial aid), that number goes up to $987,700. An ROI of almost one million dollars is a pretty great reason to head to UC San Diego if you're considering a career in engineering. The fact that you get to attend college next to the beautiful beaches in La Jolla, California is an added bonus.

Just a few hours north, UC Santa Barbara is the second best value college for engineers. UCSB also boasts a beautiful, beachside campus, and even though it has a reputation as a party school, it provides the second-highest ROI for engineering alumni ($874,900 if you pay sticker-price, $946,900 with financial aid factored in.) That's a whole lot of burritos from Freebirds, the famous taco shop UCSB students flock to.

The third-highest ROI comes from Louisiana Tech University. Though Louisiana Tech may not be as well-known as schools like Caltech, MIT or UC Berkeley, it's academic program combined with it's proximity to a major petroleum engineering hub makes it a good bet for students who want to explore an engineering career path. Over 20 years, alumni who don't receive financial aid see an ROI of $873,600 if they live in-state, and $839,500 if they are out-of-state students. Since Louisiana Tech has such low relatively tuition for in-state students, Louisiana residents who go into engineering with a degree from Louisiana Tech see an annualized ROI of 14.1 percent.