Best Community Colleges in Illinois by Salary Potential

Thinking about going for that associate degree? Check out Illinois’ top community colleges based on graduate earning potential.

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RankSchool NameSchool SectorEarly Career Pay
Mid-Career Pay
% High Meaning
% STEM Degrees
Rank:1School Name:Prairie State CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$47,600Mid-Career Pay:$71,400% High Meaning:67%% STEM Degrees:2%
Rank:2School Name:William Rainey Harper CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$45,100Mid-Career Pay:$71,000% High Meaning:49%% STEM Degrees:2%
Rank:3School Name:Lewis UniversitySchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$47,100Mid-Career Pay:$69,400% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:14%
Rank:3School Name:Morton CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$45,100Mid-Career Pay:$69,400% High Meaning:59%% STEM Degrees:3%
Rank:5School Name:Oakton Community CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$46,400Mid-Career Pay:$68,600% High Meaning:47%% STEM Degrees:7%
Rank:6School Name:Trinity College of Nursing & Health SciencesSchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$47,600Mid-Career Pay:$68,500% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:7School Name:Morrison Institute of TechnologySchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$44,900Mid-Career Pay:$68,400% High Meaning:50%% STEM Degrees:29%
Rank:8School Name:Benedictine UniversitySchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$45,700Mid-Career Pay:$66,300% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:6%
Rank:9School Name:Southern Illinois University-CarbondaleSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$44,700Mid-Career Pay:$65,800% High Meaning:56%% STEM Degrees:17%
Rank:10School Name:College of DuPageSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$43,100Mid-Career Pay:$65,500% High Meaning:51%% STEM Degrees:8%
Rank:11School Name:Triton CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$43,500Mid-Career Pay:$65,300% High Meaning:57%% STEM Degrees:1%
Rank:12School Name:Elgin Community CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$42,500Mid-Career Pay:$65,000% High Meaning:56%% STEM Degrees:2%
Rank:13School Name:South Suburban CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$46,800Mid-Career Pay:$64,800% High Meaning:62%% STEM Degrees:3%
Rank:14School Name:Moraine Valley Community CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$41,200Mid-Career Pay:$64,200% High Meaning:53%% STEM Degrees:6%
Rank:15School Name:City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$43,800Mid-Career Pay:$64,100% High Meaning:68%% STEM Degrees:3%
Rank:16School Name:Joliet Junior CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$41,800Mid-Career Pay:$64,000% High Meaning:52%% STEM Degrees:2%
Rank:17School Name:City Colleges of Chicago-Harry S Truman CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$44,600Mid-Career Pay:$63,100% High Meaning:66%% STEM Degrees:2%
Rank:18School Name:Waubonsee Community CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$42,300Mid-Career Pay:$62,300% High Meaning:47%% STEM Degrees:1%
Rank:19School Name:MacCormac CollegeSchool Sector:Private not-for-profitEarly Career Pay:$41,300Mid-Career Pay:$62,200% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:20School Name:City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$44,100Mid-Career Pay:$62,100% High Meaning:78%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:20School Name:Rock Valley CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$39,900Mid-Career Pay:$62,100% High Meaning:54%% STEM Degrees:4%
Rank:22School Name:Sauk Valley Community CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$41,300Mid-Career Pay:$61,900% High Meaning:67%% STEM Degrees:4%
Rank:23School Name:College of Lake CountySchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$42,800Mid-Career Pay:$61,600% High Meaning:56%% STEM Degrees:2%
Rank:24School Name:Lincoln Land Community CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$39,300Mid-Career Pay:$61,500% High Meaning:67%% STEM Degrees:1%
Rank:25School Name:City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright CollegeSchool Sector:PublicEarly Career Pay:$40,200Mid-Career Pay:$61,100% High Meaning:59%% STEM Degrees:6%

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College Student

An associate degree can kickstart your career with a smaller time and money investment than attending four-year college. If you are looking for a school to pursue an associate degree in Illinois, make sure to look at how much alumni from that college earn as you consider your decision.

Of the 2-year colleges in the PayScale database, the College of DuPage is the largest. Two colleges have under 5,000 undergraduates: Robert Morris University and Danville Area Community College. Only one college has a strong STEM focus, DeVry University, which grants about 58 percent STEM degrees. The next highest in STEM degrees is Robert Morris University, with only about 10 percent. Interestingly, both Jim Belushi and Paul Spicer graduated from the College of DuPage.

With the largest concentration of land, air and water transportation facilities in the world, Illinois acts as a national hub. Top job industries include machinery, food processing, electric equipment, chemical products and coal and transportation equipment.