Best Colleges in Kentucky by Salary Potential

Advance your career by earning your bachelor’s degree. Before enrolling, read about Kentucky colleges with the highest-paid graduates.

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RankSchool NameSchool TypeEarly Career Pay
Mid-Career Pay
% High Meaning
% STEM Degrees
Rank:1School Name:University of KentuckySchool Type:Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$51,700Mid-Career Pay:$96,400% High Meaning:48%% STEM Degrees:19%
Rank:2School Name:Thomas More CollegeSchool Type:Business, Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$50,000Mid-Career Pay:$90,900% High Meaning:56%% STEM Degrees:8%
Rank:3School Name:Bellarmine UniversitySchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$49,000Mid-Career Pay:$90,700% High Meaning:54%% STEM Degrees:11%
Rank:4School Name:Centre CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$49,500Mid-Career Pay:$88,500% High Meaning:52%% STEM Degrees:22%
Rank:5School Name:University of LouisvilleSchool Type:Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$49,500Mid-Career Pay:$87,600% High Meaning:50%% STEM Degrees:18%
Rank:6School Name:Northern Kentucky UniversitySchool Type:For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$49,000Mid-Career Pay:$87,400% High Meaning:46%% STEM Degrees:12%
Rank:7School Name:Transylvania UniversitySchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$47,900Mid-Career Pay:$85,600% High Meaning:51%% STEM Degrees:25%
Rank:8School Name:Western Kentucky UniversitySchool Type:For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$45,500Mid-Career Pay:$83,100% High Meaning:49%% STEM Degrees:10%
Rank:9School Name:Georgetown CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$45,000Mid-Career Pay:$81,900% High Meaning:54%% STEM Degrees:10%
Rank:10School Name:Brescia UniversitySchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$44,300Mid-Career Pay:$81,200% High Meaning:53%% STEM Degrees:7%
Rank:11School Name:Eastern Kentucky UniversitySchool Type:For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$45,600Mid-Career Pay:$80,700% High Meaning:56%% STEM Degrees:5%
Rank:12School Name:Murray State UniversitySchool Type:For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$44,800Mid-Career Pay:$79,900% High Meaning:56%% STEM Degrees:9%
Rank:13School Name:Spalding UniversitySchool Type:Private School, Religious, Research UniversityEarly Career Pay:$44,800Mid-Career Pay:$79,200% High Meaning:71%% STEM Degrees:0%
Rank:14School Name:Kentucky Wesleyan CollegeSchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$42,100Mid-Career Pay:$76,800% High Meaning:65%% STEM Degrees:14%
Rank:15School Name:Union College (Kentucky)School Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$40,400Mid-Career Pay:$76,000% High Meaning:37%% STEM Degrees:4%
Rank:16School Name:Morehead State UniversitySchool Type:For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$41,300Mid-Career Pay:$74,900% High Meaning:56%% STEM Degrees:9%
Rank:17School Name:University of the CumberlandsSchool Type:Private School, Religious, Research UniversityEarly Career Pay:$39,800Mid-Career Pay:$73,800% High Meaning:63%% STEM Degrees:8%
Rank:18School Name:Kentucky State UniversitySchool Type:State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$40,700Mid-Career Pay:$73,100% High Meaning:57%% STEM Degrees:13%
Rank:19School Name:Berea CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$39,500Mid-Career Pay:$71,600% High Meaning:53%% STEM Degrees:27%
Rank:20School Name:Asbury UniversitySchool Type:Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$39,400Mid-Career Pay:$70,800% High Meaning:59%% STEM Degrees:4%
Rank:21School Name:University of PikevilleSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$39,000Mid-Career Pay:$70,700% High Meaning:74%% STEM Degrees:11%
Rank:22School Name:Kentucky Christian UniversitySchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$39,600Mid-Career Pay:$70,300% High Meaning:68%% STEM Degrees:3%
Rank:22School Name:Midway UniversitySchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$39,200Mid-Career Pay:$70,300% High Meaning:53%% STEM Degrees:3%
Rank:24School Name:Campbellsville UniversitySchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$37,600Mid-Career Pay:$66,800% High Meaning:50%% STEM Degrees:7%
Rank:25School Name:Lindsey Wilson CollegeSchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$35,300Mid-Career Pay:$64,100% High Meaning:52%% STEM Degrees:2%

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College Student

There are 40 four-year colleges to choose from in the Bluegrass State, and if we rank colleges by earning potential, the public University of Kentucky has a solid early career graduate salary. Graduates with more experience who make the highest median salaries often come from private Kentucky colleges: Centre College of Kentucky, Bellarmine University, and Thomas More College.

For students considering financial aid to attend college, Sullivan University, a business school, has the highest percentage of low-income students who qualify for Pell grants. For individualized attention, Transylvania University can brag about one of the lowest faculty to student ratios and smallest size, along with Bellarmine University. Western Kentucky University, home of the Hilltoppers, has a relatively high faculty to student ratio, which make sense given it’s also one of the largest colleges. Its size is second only to the University of Kentucky, with over 20,000 undergraduates.

The University of Kentucky and University of Louisville have been basketball and football rivals for decades, but only PayScale can report on whether Cardinals or Wildcats earn more.

Kentucky’s top employment industries include car manufacturing, biotechnology, sports and recreation and transportation/logistics.