Best Universities and Colleges by Salary Potential

Want to earn a college degree, but not sure which school to choose? Check out this list of colleges with the highest alumni salaries.

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Bachelor's Only
Salary data for alumni who earned a bachelor's degree and did not go on to earn any additional degrees.
All Alumni
Salary data for all alumni who earned a bachelor's degree, including but not limited to those who went on to earn additional degrees from any school.
Rank 
School Name 
School Type
Degree Type 
School Sector
Early Career Pay
 
Median salary for alumni with 0-5 years experience
Mid-Career Pay
 
Median salary for alumni with 10+ years experience
% High Meaning
 
% alumni who say their work makes the world a better place
% STEM Degrees
 
% degrees awarded in science, technology, engineering or math subjects
1Engineering, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$80,900$156,70062%51%

1Stanford University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$80,900
Mid-Career Pay$156,700
% High Meaning62%
% STEM Degrees51%
2Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$86,800$156,50057%69%

2Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$86,800
Mid-Career Pay$156,500
% High Meaning57%
% STEM Degrees69%
3Engineering, Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$88,000$154,70055%85%

3Harvey Mudd College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$88,000
Mid-Career Pay$154,700
% High Meaning55%
% STEM Degrees85%
4Engineering, Liberal Arts School, Sober School, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPublic$83,500$154,10068%58%

4United States Naval Academy
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$83,500
Mid-Career Pay$154,100
% High Meaning68%
% STEM Degrees58%
5Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$75,300$151,60056%19%

5Harvard University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$75,300
Mid-Career Pay$151,600
% High Meaning56%
% STEM Degrees19%
6Liberal Arts School, Sober School, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPublic$83,500$151,20065%39%

6United States Military Academy
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$83,500
Mid-Career Pay$151,200
% High Meaning65%
% STEM Degrees39%
7Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$87,300$150,80054%96%

7California Institute of Technology
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$87,300
Mid-Career Pay$150,800
% High Meaning54%
% STEM Degrees96%
8State SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPublic$74,800$150,40057%32%

8SUNY Maritime College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$74,800
Mid-Career Pay$150,400
% High Meaning57%
% STEM Degrees32%
9Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$74,500$147,80053%45%

9Princeton University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$74,500
Mid-Career Pay$147,800
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees45%
10Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$70,800$147,50049%35%

10Dartmouth College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$70,800
Mid-Career Pay$147,500
% High Meaning49%
% STEM Degrees35%
11Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$72,300$146,30059%20%

11Yale University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$72,300
Mid-Career Pay$146,300
% High Meaning59%
% STEM Degrees20%
12Business, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$70,000$145,50035%0%

12Babson College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$70,000
Mid-Career Pay$145,500
% High Meaning35%
% STEM Degrees0%
13Ivy League, Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$72,900$145,20046%21%

13University of Pennsylvania
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$72,900
Mid-Career Pay$145,200
% High Meaning46%
% STEM Degrees21%
14Private School, Religious, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$68,300$143,10046%29%

14Santa Clara University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$68,300
Mid-Career Pay$143,100
% High Meaning46%
% STEM Degrees29%
15Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$79,000$143,00082%2%

15Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$79,000
Mid-Career Pay$143,000
% High Meaning82%
% STEM Degrees2%
16Liberal Arts School, Sober School, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPublic$76,000$142,90073%43%

16United States Air Force Academy
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$76,000
Mid-Career Pay$142,900
% High Meaning73%
% STEM Degrees43%
17Private School, Religious, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$71,200$142,80054%26%

17Duke University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$71,200
Mid-Career Pay$142,800
% High Meaning54%
% STEM Degrees26%
18Engineering, Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$74,900$142,40049%79%

18Stevens Institute of Technology
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$74,900
Mid-Career Pay$142,400
% High Meaning49%
% STEM Degrees79%
19Engineering, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$79,700$141,90053%100%

19Webb Institute
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$79,700
Mid-Career Pay$141,900
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees100%
20Engineering, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$84,800$141,50051%100%

20Franklin W Olin College of Engineering
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$84,800
Mid-Career Pay$141,500
% High Meaning51%
% STEM Degrees100%
21Engineering, State SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPublic$81,400$141,30065%56%

21United States Merchant Marine Academy
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$81,400
Mid-Career Pay$141,300
% High Meaning65%
% STEM Degrees56%
22Engineering, Research University, State SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPublic$74,700$141,10060%93%

22Colorado School of Mines
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$74,700
Mid-Career Pay$141,100
% High Meaning60%
% STEM Degrees93%
23Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$66,700$140,90052%32%

23Williams College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$66,700
Mid-Career Pay$140,900
% High Meaning52%
% STEM Degrees32%
24Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPublic$69,900$140,10051%36%

24University of California-Berkeley
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$69,900
Mid-Career Pay$140,100
% High Meaning51%
% STEM Degrees36%
25Private School, Religious, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$65,700$140,00046%14%

25Georgetown University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$65,700
Mid-Career Pay$140,000
% High Meaning46%
% STEM Degrees14%
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Choosing a college isn’t a simple task – you want to pick a school that will challenge you intellectually and provide you with life experiences that help you grow as a person. But unless you want to live in your parents’ basement for the rest of your life, you also want to pick a school that prepares you for a successful career, both in terms of getting hired and equipping you with the skills to properly do your job. PayScale’s College Salary Report has ranked colleges and universities by the median salaries of their alumni. By knowing how much you can expect to earn after getting your bachelor’s degree, you can choose a school wisely and set yourself up for future financial security, especially when evaluating how much to borrow to help pay for your education.

The data used to calculate all salary information comes from millions of people who have taken the PayScale Salary Survey and told us where they received their bachelor’s degree. If you want to see salaries based off alumni who only received a bachelor’s degree, use the Bachelor’s Only tab. To see median alumni salaries that include data from graduates who went on to earn a graduate degree (at any school, not just the university where they obtained a bachelor’s degree), use the All Alumni tab.

The Best College By Alumni Salary

You might assume that the highest earners in the country come from well-known Ivy League Schools like Harvard or Princeton, but the truth is, the highest median alumni salaries often come from students who attended small colleges with strong engineering programs.

If we focus on early career earnings, elite military schools reign supreme. For bachelor’s-only graduates, the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Naval Academy at Annapolis are often home to high earners. The fact that West Point and Naval Academy alumni graduate with military experience probably increases their worth to employers.

The colleges with the highest-earning alumni almost all have one thing in common – they produce a lot of engineers and other workers with valuable STEM degrees. However, that doesn’t mean that everybody should become an engineer. PayScale publishes this data to help students understand the typical salaries they will likely go on to earn, and the corresponding amount of student debt they can afford to take on.

But don’t count liberal arts schools out just yet. Harvey Mudd and the USNA are both technically liberal arts schools as well because of the curriculums they require of graduates before receiving their degrees. However, even more classically styled liberal arts schools, like Washington and Lee University, Colgate University, Carleton College and Williams College produce high-earning graduates. Prospective students should just be aware that a liberal arts degree may mean it takes them a longer time to get settled in the career of their dreams, but their well-rounded, analytical skillsets and ability to clearly communicate can set them up for successful careers.

Both public and private schools can produce high-earning alumni. All military academies produce high-earning grads (again, when looking at grads in civilian jobs), and SUNY – Maritime College, the University of California – Berkeley and the Georgia Institute of Technology produce very high-earning alumni, beating out some Ivy League Schools.


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