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
50For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$51,200$97,30051%12%

50California State University-Northridge
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$51,200
Mid-Career Pay$97,300
% High Meaning51%
% STEM Degrees12%
52Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$54,000$97,20034%0%

52Otis College of Art and Design
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$54,000
Mid-Career Pay$97,200
% High Meaning34%
% STEM Degrees0%
53Party School, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$53,400$97,10056%10%

53Sonoma State University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$53,400
Mid-Career Pay$97,100
% High Meaning56%
% STEM Degrees10%
54Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$53,200$96,60050%18%

54Pitzer College
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,200
Mid-Career Pay$96,600
% High Meaning50%
% STEM Degrees18%
55Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$53,200$96,500N/A0%

55John F. Kennedy University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,200
Mid-Career Pay$96,500
% High MeaningN/A
% STEM Degrees0%
56Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$55,300$95,90065%9%

56Dominican University of California
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$55,300
Mid-Career Pay$95,900
% High Meaning65%
% STEM Degrees9%
57Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$51,100$95,60051%9%

57Whittier College
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$51,100
Mid-Career Pay$95,600
% High Meaning51%
% STEM Degrees9%
58Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$52,500$95,00053%11%

58California Lutheran University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,500
Mid-Career Pay$95,000
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees11%
59State SchoolBachelorsPublic$52,000$94,70047%14%

59California State University-San Marcos
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$52,000
Mid-Career Pay$94,700
% High Meaning47%
% STEM Degrees14%
59Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$53,400$94,70054%6%

59National University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,400
Mid-Career Pay$94,700
% High Meaning54%
% STEM Degrees6%
59Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$53,600$94,70047%0%

59Laguna College of Art and Design
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,600
Mid-Career Pay$94,700
% High Meaning47%
% STEM Degrees0%
62State SchoolBachelorsPublic$50,100$94,20053%9%

62California State University-Stanislaus
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$50,100
Mid-Career Pay$94,200
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees9%
63State SchoolBachelorsPublic$50,300$93,80053%19%

63California State University-Los Angeles
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$50,300
Mid-Career Pay$93,800
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees19%
64Liberal Arts School, Private School, Religious, Sober SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$51,700$93,300N/A0%

64Thomas Aquinas College
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$51,700
Mid-Career Pay$93,300
% High MeaningN/A
% STEM Degrees0%
65Private School, Religious, Research UniversityBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$50,200$92,50058%7%

65Biola University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$50,200
Mid-Career Pay$92,500
% High Meaning58%
% STEM Degrees7%
66Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$50,500$92,10046%0%

66Woodbury University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$50,500
Mid-Career Pay$92,100
% High Meaning46%
% STEM Degrees0%
67Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$51,200$91,50073%2%

67Holy Names University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$51,200
Mid-Career Pay$91,500
% High Meaning73%
% STEM Degrees2%
68Private School, Sober SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$52,000$91,20055%9%

68Mills College
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,000
Mid-Career Pay$91,200
% High Meaning55%
% STEM Degrees9%
69Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$52,500$91,00057%2%

69California Institute of the Arts
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,500
Mid-Career Pay$91,000
% High Meaning57%
% STEM Degrees2%
70State SchoolBachelorsPublic$50,800$90,90051%14%

70California State University-Channel Islands
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$50,800
Mid-Career Pay$90,900
% High Meaning51%
% STEM Degrees14%
70For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$50,100$90,90054%13%

70California State University-Bakersfield
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$50,100
Mid-Career Pay$90,900
% High Meaning54%
% STEM Degrees13%
72Private School, Research UniversityBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$49,000$90,50055%4%

72University of La Verne
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$49,000
Mid-Career Pay$90,500
% High Meaning55%
% STEM Degrees4%
73Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$52,400$90,10060%9%

73Point Loma Nazarene University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,400
Mid-Career Pay$90,100
% High Meaning60%
% STEM Degrees9%
74State SchoolBachelorsPublic$49,800$89,90048%13%

74California State University-Monterey Bay
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$49,800
Mid-Career Pay$89,900
% High Meaning48%
% STEM Degrees13%
75Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$49,800$89,80047%2%

75Concordia University-Irvine
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$49,800
Mid-Career Pay$89,800
% High Meaning47%
% STEM Degrees2%
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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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