Best Colleges in Tennessee by Salary Potential

You want your bachelor’s degree to pay off with a decent improvement in your earning potential. Peruse Tennessee’s top universities by graduate salary.

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RankSchool NameSchool TypeEarly Career Pay
Mid-Career Pay
% High Meaning
% STEM Degrees
Rank:1School Name:Vanderbilt UniversitySchool Type:Private School, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$65,400Mid-Career Pay:$119,100% High Meaning:48%% STEM Degrees:23%
Rank:2School Name:Sewanee-The University of the SouthSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$53,700Mid-Career Pay:$97,800% High Meaning:57%% STEM Degrees:17%
Rank:2School Name:Rhodes CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$51,900Mid-Career Pay:$97,800% High Meaning:46%% STEM Degrees:25%
Rank:4School Name:Christian Brothers UniversitySchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$51,500Mid-Career Pay:$96,500% High Meaning:60%% STEM Degrees:14%
Rank:5School Name:Baptist Memorial College of Health SciencesSchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$55,700Mid-Career Pay:$95,700% High Meaning:90%% STEM Degrees:4%
Rank:6School Name:Tennessee Technological UniversitySchool Type:Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$53,100Mid-Career Pay:$95,100% High Meaning:48%% STEM Degrees:28%
Rank:6School Name:The University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleSchool Type:Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$51,200Mid-Career Pay:$95,100% High Meaning:52%% STEM Degrees:21%
Rank:8School Name:University of MemphisSchool Type:Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$47,200Mid-Career Pay:$85,800% High Meaning:55%% STEM Degrees:12%
Rank:9School Name:Lipscomb UniversitySchool Type:Private School, Religious, Research University, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$49,000Mid-Career Pay:$84,800% High Meaning:59%% STEM Degrees:12%
Rank:10School Name:Southern Adventist UniversitySchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$47,500Mid-Career Pay:$84,000% High Meaning:67%% STEM Degrees:9%
Rank:11School Name:Fisk UniversitySchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$45,300Mid-Career Pay:$83,600% High Meaning:53%% STEM Degrees:39%
Rank:12School Name:Union UniversitySchool Type:Private School, Religious, Research UniversityEarly Career Pay:$46,400Mid-Career Pay:$83,000% High Meaning:59%% STEM Degrees:6%
Rank:13School Name:The University of Tennessee-ChattanoogaSchool Type:For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$46,000Mid-Career Pay:$82,300% High Meaning:56%% STEM Degrees:17%
Rank:14School Name:Trevecca Nazarene UniversitySchool Type:Private School, Religious, Research UniversityEarly Career Pay:$45,300Mid-Career Pay:$81,700% High Meaning:65%% STEM Degrees:5%
Rank:15School Name:Middle Tennessee State UniversitySchool Type:Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$46,500Mid-Career Pay:$81,100% High Meaning:52%% STEM Degrees:9%
Rank:16School Name:Cumberland UniversitySchool Type:Private SchoolEarly Career Pay:$45,500Mid-Career Pay:$81,000% High Meaning:61%% STEM Degrees:3%
Rank:17School Name:Belmont UniversitySchool Type:Private School, Religious, For Sports FansEarly Career Pay:$47,300Mid-Career Pay:$80,900% High Meaning:47%% STEM Degrees:3%
Rank:18School Name:The University of Tennessee-MartinSchool Type:For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$44,400Mid-Career Pay:$78,600% High Meaning:58%% STEM Degrees:10%
Rank:19School Name:Tennessee State UniversitySchool Type:Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$47,200Mid-Career Pay:$78,400% High Meaning:68%% STEM Degrees:14%
Rank:20School Name:Freed-Hardeman UniversitySchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$43,700Mid-Career Pay:$78,200% High Meaning:54%% STEM Degrees:9%
Rank:20School Name:Austin Peay State UniversitySchool Type:For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$44,200Mid-Career Pay:$78,200% High Meaning:63%% STEM Degrees:10%
Rank:22School Name:East Tennessee State UniversitySchool Type:Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolEarly Career Pay:$43,700Mid-Career Pay:$77,300% High Meaning:57%% STEM Degrees:8%
Rank:23School Name:Carson-Newman UniversitySchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$42,700Mid-Career Pay:$76,500% High Meaning:61%% STEM Degrees:5%
Rank:24School Name:Maryville CollegeSchool Type:Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$42,800Mid-Career Pay:$75,300% High Meaning:68%% STEM Degrees:16%
Rank:25School Name:Milligan CollegeSchool Type:Private School, ReligiousEarly Career Pay:$41,200Mid-Career Pay:$74,900% High Meaning:63%% STEM Degrees:5%

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College Student

There are more than a dozen colleges and universities in Tennessee included in PayScale’s College Salary Report. Among them are such schools as Belmont, University of Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt University is among the top colleges in Tennessee for median salary potential, as graduates from here earn a high early career median salary and mid-career median.

Graduates from Union University in Jackson, Tenn. report the highest job meaning after graduation with three quarters saying their work makes the world a better place.

Many graduates from Tennessee’s colleges go on to work in careers in the Automotive Manufacturing; Energy; Film Production; Health Care; Manufacturing; Plastics and Chemicals; and Transportation and Logistics industries.