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Average Salary for Iowa State University Alumni

Combining good value and great education, Iowa State University, a public research university based in Ames, Iowa, is ranked in the top 15 percent of universities by ROI. Students thrive off the school's sports-centered energy and urban environment, which offers countless areas to explore and numerous ways to keep busy. The numbers for this synopsis were furnished by ISU graduates who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.

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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
26 salaries
Software Engineer
22 salaries
Project Engineer
17 salaries
Electrical Engineer
16 salaries
Senior Software Engineer
15 salaries
Software Developer
13 salaries
Interior Designer
10 salaries
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 22 Apr 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 1,012

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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 go into the education industry, the manufacturing industry, and the architectural services industry, not to mention a variety of other lines of work. A large chunk of former ISU students are employed in the aerospace and defense industry; in fact, this is the most popular job sector for this population. The average salary for a grad from ISU is $64K.


There's a noticeable difference between the genders; where the average man hauls in about $71K after graduating from ISU, the average woman earns only approximately $53K.


ISU grads who become Senior Systems Engineers garner financial rewards beyond any other job type for this group — these alumni rake in $97K annually. However, Senior Software Engineers and Software Engineers also rank as top-earners (bringing in around $86K and $81K, respectively). Mechanical Engineers pick up $64K in financial rewards, representing the lowest-paid position among alumni.


A large number of students head to Des Moines after college. ISU alumni seeking the highest salaries end up in Chicago, which offers median salaries of around $72K. Though median pay is subpar ($46K) relative to popular cities, choosing to stay in Ames after graduation is a common decision made by many alumni who have developed a love for the area. Many ISU grads also go on to live in the Midwest, with Minneapolis and Cedar Rapids positioned as top choices.


For above-average pay, former ISU students find their way to Cerner Corporation — the company offers unbeatable salaries at $94K. Those who work for the university itself make less — average earnings come to $58K.

Degree Major

Among the highest-paid ISU alumni are those with a Doctorate (PhD) — they earn close to about $99K per year. Those with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Interior Design face salaries on the lower end, coming in close to approximately $35K per year.


Knowledge of SQL seems to be related to bigger paychecks; in fact, skilled alumni bring in salaries that are 18 percent more than their former classmates' salaries ($75K). 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

A lucky minority (about half of the alumni) are fortunate enough to be compensated for vacation while just one-third of alumni get sick time. Health benefits extend to the greater part of alumni, and most respondents also receive dental coverage. A solid majority of survey participants save for retirement through a 401(k) plan. Other benefits awarded to Iowa State University alumni include life insurance, a casual working environment, a company-subsidized cell phone, and tuition reimbursement.

Related Schools

Median pay for University of Minnesota grads is approximately $64K, making their salaries most similar to those of 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


34 %
66 %
$34,440 - $70,024
$42,480 - $96,572
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 385 votes.
$57,187 - $121,278
$42,282 - $67,146
$61,042 - $85,767
$67,650 - $134,498
$35,535 - $73,177
$46,768 - $93,629
$43,277 - $91,120
$40,766 - $91,882
$29,429 - $61,336
United States (change)

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