PayScale’s 2018-19 College Salary Report Reveals the Top 50 Bachelor’s Schools by Earning Potential
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PayScale’s 2018-19 College Salary Report Reveals the Top 50 Bachelor’s Schools by Earning Potential

Harvey Mudd Tops the List Once Again for Alumni Whose Highest Degree Is a Bachelor’s. Top 50 Schools Fall Into 16 States with New York and California Home to 22 of the top 50.

Seattle, WA – September 25, 2018 PayScale, Inc., the world’s leading provider of on-demand compensation data and software, issued its annual College Salary Report for the 2018-19 school year, with the addition of 205 schools. PayScale’s 2018 College Salary Report provides estimates of early and mid-career pay for 2,646 associate and bachelor’s degree-granting institutions throughout the U.S. Specifically:

  • 1,388 schools for people with only an associate degree
  • 1,655 schools for people with only a bachelor’s degree
  • 1,680 schools for people with a bachelor’s degree or higher

“Our annual report provides data to inform decisions about which school may make the most sense to attend, and even which major to choose based on a variety of factors. Students and parents want to make informed decisions about future career and income opportunities associated with their college education investment,” said PayScale Vice President Lydia Frank. “While earning potential should not be the only consideration, it is an important factor, especially when evaluating the cost of education today.”

For associate degrees, nursing and healthcare provide the biggest payoff for graduates at half the cost of a four-year institution. For four-year institutions, it pays to attend a private school, as seven out of ten of the top ten schools are private institutions. Harvey Mudd tops the rankings for the 2nd year in a row, beating out MIT and military academies.

Highlights from the 2018-19 report:

Best Associate Degree Schools

  • Once again, Helene Fuld College of Nursing tops the list of schools with the most financially rewarding associate degrees, followed by Pacific Union College, and Cochran School of Nursing (a new entrant).
  • The majority of the highest earning two-year programs are schools with strong reputations and a specific focus in nursing and healthcare professions.

Best Bachelor’s Only Schools

  • Harvey Mudd retained the number one slot this year with mid-career pay of $157,400, $7k above the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the second place ranking. Princeton, last year’s runner-up, fell to 9th place. The US Naval Academy, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and Stanford round out the top five.
  • The top of the list continues to be dominated by the Ivy League, elite technical universities, and military academies. Though there was some jockeying in the rankings year-over-year, all the usual suspects remain at the top of the list.
  • Harvey Mudd College is a liberal arts school that grants degrees in only science, engineering and mathematics. It is a member of the Claremont Colleges, and its fellow member schools, Claremont McKenna, Pomona, Pitzer and Scripps rank 43rd, 67th, 355th and 374th, respectively.
  • Colorado is the first interior state to appear on the list, with the Colorado School of Mines in 11th place and the US Air Force Academy in 16th.

Best Bachelor’s or Higher Schools

  • This list includes workers who furthered their education with an advanced degree (JD, MBA, MD, PhD, etc.), but gained their bachelor’s degree from the listed institution.
  • There are only small differences between this list and the Bachelor’s Only list.
  • Stanford again takes the top spot in the rankings when we include alumni who attend graduate school.

Best Schools by Major

  • By focusing on major groups, strong programs at schools that do not appear at the top of the overall list can shine. The following schools have the highest earnings for graduates in these programs, but do not appear in the top 50 for bachelor’s only:
    • Vanderbilt for Communications
    • Newman University for Education
    • Union College in New York for Humanities

Highest-Paying Majors

  • Most of the highest paying two-year majors are technology focused, with software engineering in the top spot. Construction project management is the first non-tech focused major in the list, ranking fourth.
  • Engineering and math dominate the bachelor’s rankings, but petroleum engineering majors make far and away the most money mid-career. Operations research & industrial engineering, a newly included major, comes in second place, followed by actuarial mathematics.

Common Jobs by Major

  • Mathematics, education and physical & life sciences majors tend to end up in the most specialized positions. Mathematics majors are 45 times as likely to be actuarial consultants than college graduates at large.
  • Business, social science and humanities majors end up in the least specialized roles, with some exceptions (e.g. sign language interpreter or economist).

About PayScale:

PayScale offers modern compensation software and the most precise, real-time, data-driven insights for employees and employers alike. More than 7,000 customers, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, use PayScale to power pay decisions for more than 18 million employees. These companies include Dish Network, Getty Images, Skullcandy, Time Warner, T-Mobile, Macy’s, Sunsweet, UnitedHealth Group, Stihl and Wendy’s. For more information, please visit: https://www.payscale.com/ or follow PayScale on Twitter: https://twitter.com/payscale.

Press Contact:

Phyllis McNeice
Email: phyllis@fireflycmns.com
Tel: 206-954-1481

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