Average Salary for Iowa State University Alumni

Ranked in the top 13 percent of universities by return on investment, Iowa State University is a university based in Ames, Iowa, and it's home to around 28,000 undergraduates. The school is known for its strong athletic tradition (Go Cyclones!), and the urban environment gives students ample opportunity to discover new neighborhoods, restaurants, concerts, and more. Alumni participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.

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Overall College ROI Rank

out of 1223
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ROI Rank for Public (In-State) Universities

out of 408

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
24 salaries
Software Engineer
21 salaries
Project Engineer
17 salaries
Electrical Engineer
16 salaries
Senior Software Engineer
13 salaries
Software Developer
12 salaries
Interior Designer
10 salaries
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 19 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 934

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About This School

3410 Beardshear Hall
Ames, IA 50011-2030



State School, Research University, For Sports Fans

68 %

26 %

43 %

21 %

Freebase CC-BY Source: Freebase, licensed under CC-BY; IPEDS (As of January, 2015)


Graduates of ISU head into a range of vocations when it comes to work; the education industry, the manufacturing industry, and the banking industry are just a few professional areas popular among alumni. The most popular field is the aerospace and defense industry. Following graduation, ISU students earn an average of around $63K.


There's a noticeable difference between the genders; where the average man hauls in $71K after graduating from ISU, the average woman earns only approximately $52K.


The biggest paychecks among ISU alumni are earned by Senior Software Engineers — these former students make $90K on average per year. The next biggest paychecks ($80K) go to Software Engineers and Electrical Engineers. Relative to other positions, compensation dwindles for Interior Designers; alumni in this role face average salaries of $37K.


A large number of students head to Des Moines, Iowa after college. The top-paying city popular with ISU alumni is Chicago, Ill., which offers a median salary of about $74K. 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 (approximately $46K). Additionally, ISU grads are often spotted setting up shop in the Midwest; in particular, Minneapolis and Cedar Rapids are popular cities for alumni to settle.

Degree Major

With a median annual earnings of $102K per year, former Cyclones who have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) are the best paid among the alumni population. A Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Interior Design is less advantageous in terms of earnings; alums with this degree are the lowest earners with a median annual pay of $37K.


Project Management is a common skill among ISU alumni — one-sixth of grads mention using it at work. For former Cyclones, proficiency in SQL warrants a paycheck that is 16 percent more than other alumni salaries. Also considered top-notch skills are Microsoft Office, Engineering Design, and Microsoft Excel.

Benefits and Perks

As for time away from work, a little less than half of the survey participants are compensated for vacation days, but only one-fourth of alumni can take paid time off due to illness. A large number of graduates enjoy benefits like health insurance, while a strong majority of survey participants receive dental plans, too. A large number of former students take advantage of a 401(k) plan. Graduates of Iowa State University are also recipients of life insurance, a casual working environment, tuition reimbursement, and a company-subsidized cell phone.

Related Schools

Compensation averages $63K for University of Kansas alumni, making their earnings most comparable to ISU grads. Other schools similar to ISU include the University of Iowa, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Test Scores

Academics 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Scores*
* SAT writing score is not included.
990 1300
ACT Scores 22 28

Key Stats for Iowa State University


35 %
65 %
$33,951 - $68,160
$41,790 - $95,872
Less than 1 year
1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 235 votes.
$41,054 - $121,278
$45,658 - $68,824
$64,140 - $102,870
$34,837 - $71,024
$47,103 - $94,219
$40,559 - $90,846
$41,156 - $90,000
$29,226 - $60,340
United States (change)

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