Iowa State University Alumni Average Salary

Students looking for a top-value school need look no further than Iowa State University. It is a university based in Ames, Iowa that is ranked in the top 13 percent of universities by return on investment. Enthusiasm for sports runs deep here (Go Cyclones!), and the urban location affords rich cultural experiences for the students. The information for this snapshot was generated by alumni responses to the PayScale salary survey.

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Iowa State University Alumni

Median Salary by Job

National Salary Data 
Mechanical Engineer
21 salaries
Software Engineer
18 salaries
Project Engineer
14 salaries
Electrical Engineer
12 salaries
Software Developer
10 salaries
Senior Software Engineer
10 salaries
Graphic Designer
9 salaries
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 1 Aug 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 754
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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 work in a variety of sectors including the manufacturing industry, the education industry, and the banking industry. 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. ISU graduates see an average starting salary of $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 $52K.


Electrical Engineers win the contest for best-paid ISU alumni, making around $81K on average every year, though Senior Software Engineers (approximately $79K), and Software Engineers ($76K) are not far behind. Graphic Designers face rather mediocre compensation — average salaries are actually the lowest at about $37K.


Des Moines, Iowa is a hub for ISU graduates — a large number call this city home. Chicago, Ill. is also a common destination for ISU grads and offers the best pay with a median salary of $75K. Though median pay is subpar (around $45K) 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. Popular midwestern cities for ISU alumni include Minneapolis and Cedar Rapids.

Degree Major

Former Cyclones who fare the best in terms of salary hold a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (CS) and earn a median salary of approximately $111K per year. A Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Graphic Design commands less pay, and these degree-holders face median pay of $38K.


Competency in Project Management translates into above-average pay for former Cyclones — they earn 20 percent more than their fellow graduates. ISU grads are usually competent in Project Management, and approximately one-sixth of alumni continue practicing this skill in their career. Engineering Design, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Excel are among other dominant skills.

Benefits and Perks

Slightly less than half of the graduates are allowed to take paid time off for vacation, but only about one in four survey participants get paid sick leave. Dental insurance applies to a strong majority of grads, and most former students report health coverage. A large number of alums participate in a 401(k) retirement savings plan. Alumni of Iowa State University also take in life insurance, a casual working environment, tuition reimbursement, and a company-subsidized cell phone.

Related Schools

Among alumni of similar schools, University of Kansas grads (who make an average of about $63K) earn salaries most similar to ISU alumni. The University of Iowa, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are also similar to ISU.

Iowa State University Job Listings

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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 %
$33,141 - $68,045
$41,319 - $95,443
Less than 1 year
1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 177 votes.
$80,372 - $123,456
$45,140 - $62,781
$35,385 - $73,931
$47,745 - $96,448
$40,025 - $90,432
$44,698 - $94,201
$28,771 - $56,460

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