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.

Read more

Bachelor's Only
All Alumni
RankSchool NameSchool TypeEarly Career Pay
Mid-Career Pay
% High Meaning
% STEM Degrees
Rank:49School Name:California State University-San MarcosSchool Type:State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$52,700Mid-Career Pay:$100,300% High Meaning:47%% STEM Degrees:14%
Rank:52School Name:California State University-FresnoSchool Type:Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$52,000Mid-Career Pay:$99,800% High Meaning:57%% STEM Degrees:10%
Rank:53School Name:Thomas Aquinas CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private School, Religious, Sober SchoolEarly Career Pay:$52,900Mid-Career Pay:$99,500% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:53School Name:Notre Dame de Namur UniversitySchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$57,700Mid-Career Pay:$99,500% High Meaning:52%% STEM Degrees:11%
Rank:53School Name:California State University-Monterey BaySchool Type:State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$51,300Mid-Career Pay:$99,500% High Meaning:52%% STEM Degrees:13%
Rank:56School Name:California State University-StanislausSchool Type:State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$50,700Mid-Career Pay:$98,500% High Meaning:54%% STEM Degrees:9%
Rank:57School Name:Sonoma State UniversitySchool Type:State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$54,200Mid-Career Pay:$97,700% High Meaning:56%% STEM Degrees:10%
Rank:58School Name:Mount Saint Mary's UniversitySchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$56,100Mid-Career Pay:$97,400% High Meaning:58%% STEM Degrees:4%
Rank:59School Name:Pacific Union CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$55,800Mid-Career Pay:$96,800% High Meaning:66%% STEM Degrees:9%
Rank:60School Name:Biola UniversitySchool Type:Private School, Religious, Research UniversityEarly Career Pay:$51,400Mid-Career Pay:$96,500% High Meaning:59%% STEM Degrees:7%
Rank:61School Name:San Francisco Art InstituteSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$54,600Mid-Career Pay:$95,500% High Meaning:37%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:62School Name:California State University-Los AngelesSchool Type:State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$50,800Mid-Career Pay:$95,100% High Meaning:53%% STEM Degrees:19%
Rank:63School Name:Point Loma Nazarene UniversitySchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$53,500Mid-Career Pay:$94,700% High Meaning:62%% STEM Degrees:9%
Rank:64School Name:John F. Kennedy UniversitySchool Type:Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$53,100Mid-Career Pay:$93,800% High Meaning:-% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:65School Name:Woodbury UniversitySchool Type:Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$51,100Mid-Career Pay:$93,300% High Meaning:45%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:66School Name:California State University-BakersfieldSchool Type:For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$50,000Mid-Career Pay:$91,900% High Meaning:54%% STEM Degrees:13%
Rank:67School Name:Laguna College of Art and DesignSchool Type:Art, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$54,600Mid-Career Pay:$91,500% High Meaning:49%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:68School Name:Mills CollegeSchool Type:Private School, Sober SchoolEarly Career Pay:$53,800Mid-Career Pay:$91,000% High Meaning:57%% STEM Degrees:9%
Rank:69School Name:Concordia University-IrvineSchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$52,000Mid-Career Pay:$90,800% High Meaning:52%% STEM Degrees:2%
Rank:70School Name:California State University-Channel IslandsSchool Type:State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$51,800Mid-Career Pay:$90,600% High Meaning:50%% STEM Degrees:14%
Rank:71School Name:National UniversitySchool Type:Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$55,400Mid-Career Pay:$90,500% High Meaning:55%% STEM Degrees:6%
Rank:72School Name:Dominican University of CaliforniaSchool Type:Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$58,200Mid-Career Pay:$90,300% High Meaning:62%% STEM Degrees:9%
Rank:73School Name:Humboldt State UniversitySchool Type:State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$47,300Mid-Career Pay:$90,000% High Meaning:55%% STEM Degrees:18%
Rank:74School Name:University of La VerneSchool Type:Private School, Research UniversityEarly Career Pay:$50,300Mid-Career Pay:$89,500% High Meaning:55%% STEM Degrees:4%
Rank:75School Name:California State University-San BernardinoSchool Type:State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$49,300Mid-Career Pay:$89,400% High Meaning:55%% STEM Degrees:9%

What are you worth?

Take our free salary survey to find out

Get your free report
College Student

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.