Best Colleges in California by Salary Potential

California has more colleges and universities than any other state. Find out which schools are the state’s best four-year colleges by earning potential.

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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
26Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$59,100$109,30059%16%

26University of the Pacific
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$59,100
Mid-Career Pay$109,300
% High Meaning59%
% STEM Degrees16%
27Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$66,300$109,20084%3%

27Loma Linda University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$66,300
Mid-Career Pay$109,200
% High Meaning84%
% STEM Degrees3%
28Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$55,900$106,90047%31%

28University of California-Riverside
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$55,900
Mid-Career Pay$106,900
% High Meaning47%
% STEM Degrees31%
29Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$63,200$106,10042%4%

29Art Center College of Design
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$63,200
Mid-Career Pay$106,100
% High Meaning42%
% STEM Degrees4%
30Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$56,300$105,70048%25%

30Occidental College
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$56,300
Mid-Career Pay$105,700
% High Meaning48%
% STEM Degrees25%
31State SchoolBachelorsPublic$56,900$105,10051%13%

31California State University-Chico
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$56,900
Mid-Career Pay$105,100
% High Meaning51%
% STEM Degrees13%
32Research University, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$58,100$104,70047%38%

32University of California-Santa Cruz
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$58,100
Mid-Career Pay$104,700
% High Meaning47%
% STEM Degrees38%
33Private School, Religious, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$58,300$103,90044%7%

33Pepperdine University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$58,300
Mid-Career Pay$103,900
% High Meaning44%
% STEM Degrees7%
34State SchoolBachelorsPublic$56,600$103,50052%12%

34California State University-East Bay
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$56,600
Mid-Career Pay$103,500
% High Meaning52%
% STEM Degrees12%
34Engineering, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$59,400$103,50048%80%

34Coleman University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$59,400
Mid-Career Pay$103,500
% High Meaning48%
% STEM Degrees80%
36Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$58,900$103,30048%0%

36California College of the Arts
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$58,900
Mid-Career Pay$103,300
% High Meaning48%
% STEM Degrees0%
37Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$55,100$102,80051%16%

37San Diego State University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$55,100
Mid-Career Pay$102,800
% High Meaning51%
% STEM Degrees16%
38Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$54,400$102,40056%18%

38Westmont College
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$54,400
Mid-Career Pay$102,400
% High Meaning56%
% STEM Degrees18%
38Business, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$55,400$102,40057%4%

38University of Redlands
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$55,400
Mid-Career Pay$102,400
% High Meaning57%
% STEM Degrees4%
40For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$52,700$101,70049%16%

40California State University-Long Beach
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$52,700
Mid-Career Pay$101,700
% High Meaning49%
% STEM Degrees16%
41For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$54,400$101,10053%16%

41California State University-Sacramento
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$54,400
Mid-Career Pay$101,100
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees16%
42Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$55,900$99,70048%11%

42Notre Dame de Namur University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$55,900
Mid-Career Pay$99,700
% High Meaning48%
% STEM Degrees11%
43Research University, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$56,900$99,50049%14%

43San Francisco State University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$56,900
Mid-Career Pay$99,500
% High Meaning49%
% STEM Degrees14%
44Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$53,700$99,40046%5%

44Chapman University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,700
Mid-Career Pay$99,400
% High Meaning46%
% STEM Degrees5%
45Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$54,700$98,60047%28%

45Scripps College
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$54,700
Mid-Career Pay$98,600
% High Meaning47%
% STEM Degrees28%
46Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$51,200$98,40048%15%

46California State University-Fullerton
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$51,200
Mid-Career Pay$98,400
% High Meaning48%
% STEM Degrees15%
46Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$53,600$98,40072%0%

46Southern California Institute of Architecture
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,600
Mid-Career Pay$98,400
% High Meaning72%
% STEM Degrees0%
48Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$53,800$97,50057%4%

48Mount Saint Mary's University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,800
Mid-Career Pay$97,500
% High Meaning57%
% STEM Degrees4%
49Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$54,700$97,40061%9%

49Pacific Union College
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$54,700
Mid-Career Pay$97,400
% High Meaning61%
% STEM Degrees9%
50Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$51,100$97,30057%10%

50California State University-Fresno
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$51,100
Mid-Career Pay$97,300
% High Meaning57%
% STEM Degrees10%
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Wondering how to choose the best colleges in California by alumni salary? This list provides data on several of the best four-year colleges by earning potential in California. Selecting a school in the Golden State means plenty of options, as there are nearly 200 colleges to choose from.

Almost every year, alumni of Harvey Mudd College are among the highest-paid college graduates in the state. (Harvey Mudd has had bragging rights to the highest alumni salaries in the country for the past several years, too.) Another California tech powerhouse for early and mid-career salaries is the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

When ranking by early career salary, you might be surprised to find out that Loma Linda University beats some more well-known schools on our list. Loma Linda grants mostly medical degrees and produces lots of nurses, so those who graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Loma Linda are popular hires and see high salaries right away.

The two colleges with the most STEM degrees granted are the mostly-male Coleman University and Caltech, both with roughly 90 percent STEM degrees. For students looking for mentorship and personal attention, both Caltech and Loma Linda University boast extraordinarily low student-to-faculty ratios of one faculty member to every three students. Each of these schools have very specific focuses – Loma Linda offers hands-on medical training to students interested in becoming medical professionals, while CalTech is famous for its scientific and engineering pursuits.

The University of California, San Diego grants the largest share of STEM degrees of any public school. About fifty percent of UCSD students major in a science, technology, engineering or math subject.

California is home to some of the most famous and well-regarded public universities in the nation. The University of California, Berkeley; UC San Diego; and California State University San Louis Obispo. California State University, Northridge is the biggest school in California.

California has one of the most famous coastlines in the United States, and is home to plenty of colleges with easy beach access. But that doesn’t mean that students surf more than they study — alumni of UCSD, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, Pepperdine University and San Diego State University all earn a comfortable median mid-career salary and have beautiful, beachside campuses.


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