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Average Salary for Iowa State University Alumni

When it comes to ROI, Iowa State University, a public research school located in Ames, Iowa, with around 26,000 students, ranks in the top 15 percent of universities — students enjoy incredible value for their tuition dollars. Students here support their sports teams in droves (Go Cyclones!), and the urban campus allows them to explore the city's many neighborhoods and cultural events. This overview is derived from alumni replies to PayScale's salary survey.

Overall College ROI Rank

out of 1312
See full list

ROI Rank for Public (In-State) Universities

out of 420

Mid-Career Salary Rank for State School

out of 445

Typical Early Career Salary

Iowa State University Alumni

Median Salary by Job

National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are the gross, national median (50th percentile). Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
Mechanical Engineer
34 salaries
Software Engineer
26 salaries
Project Engineer
24 salaries
Electrical Engineer
21 salaries
Senior Software Engineer
19 salaries
Senior Systems Engineer
15 salaries
Software Developer
14 salaries
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 17 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 1,334
United States (change)

Iowa State University Details

3410 Beardshear Hall
Ames, IA 50011-2030


State Schools, Research Universities, For Sports Fans

71 %

26 %

42 %

24 %

Suggest changes »

Freebase CC-BY Source: Freebase, licensed under CC-BY


Professionally, the education industry, the manufacturing industry, and the architectural services industry are popular business areas among ISU alumni. The majority of ISU alumni wind up in the aerospace and defense industry. Starting salaries of $64K are common among ISU grads.


Male graduates of ISU out-earn their female counterparts significantly, earning an average of $71K versus about $53K for women.


Among ISU alumni, those working as Senior Systems Engineers report the highest median pay of around $95K, followed by Senior Software Engineers (approximately $88K), and Software Engineers ($81K). Project Engineers face rather mediocre compensation — average salaries are actually the lowest at $65K.


Those with a degree from ISU often relocate to Des Moines after college. It is no surprise that Chicago, which hands out the biggest paychecks (the average salary is $72K), is another of the most popular spots for former ISU students. Iowa State University pride remains intact long after college is over, and many former students choose to live in Ames despite the city offering some of the lowest median pay ($46K). The Midwest is also home to many ISU alumni, many of whom are concentrated in Minneapolis and Cedar Rapids.


ISU alumni can earn the most money ($94K) at Cerner Corporation. The lowest compensation is found among school employees, where average earnings come out to approximately $58K.

Degree Major

ISU students with a Doctorate (PhD) can expect to make the most money (around $98K per year) compared to their fellow graduates. Those holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Interior Design are less fortunate in terms of earnings, bringing in about $35K per year.


For former Cyclones, proficiency in SQL warrants a paycheck that is 17 percent more than other alumni salaries. Project Management is a popular skill among ISU alumni, with a little less than a fifth of grads reporting using it on the job. Demonstrated ability in Microsoft Office, Engineering Design, and Microsoft Excel rank among leading skills as well.

Benefits and Perks

Only about half of the alumni enjoy paid vacation and one-third of alumni receive sick leave. A solid majority of alums enjoy benefits like health insurance, while a fair portion of grads receive dental plans, too. The greater part of alums allocate some part of their earnings to a company-sponsored 401(k) savings plan. Other benefits that Iowa State University alumni receive are life insurance, a casual working environment, a company-subsidized cell phone, and tuition reimbursement.

Related Schools

University of Iowa grads bring in salaries of around $64K, making them the most similar to ISU alumni in terms of earnings. Other schools similar to ISU include the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Test Scores

Academics 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Scores*
* SAT writing score is not included.
1000 1290
ACT Scores 22 28

Key Stats

34 %
66 %
$34,250 - $69,975
$42,716 - $95,374
Less than 1 year
1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 432 votes.
$57,187 - $121,278
$42,282 - $67,146
$61,042 - $85,767
$67,650 - $134,498
$35,561 - $73,882
$46,289 - $91,810
$43,571 - $92,202
$40,819 - $91,671
$28,958 - $61,903

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