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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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
1Private School, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$63,800$118,40049%23%

1Vanderbilt University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$63,800
Mid-Career Pay$118,400
% High Meaning49%
% STEM Degrees23%
2Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$49,400$107,40047%25%

2Rhodes College
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$49,400
Mid-Career Pay$107,400
% High Meaning47%
% STEM Degrees25%
3Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$51,100$102,50059%17%

3Sewanee-The University of the South
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$51,100
Mid-Career Pay$102,500
% High Meaning59%
% STEM Degrees17%
4Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$50,000$95,90060%14%

4Christian Brothers University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$50,000
Mid-Career Pay$95,900
% High Meaning60%
% STEM Degrees14%
5Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$50,200$92,70052%21%

5The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$50,200
Mid-Career Pay$92,700
% High Meaning52%
% STEM Degrees21%
6Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$52,600$90,80048%28%

6Tennessee Technological University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$52,600
Mid-Career Pay$90,800
% High Meaning48%
% STEM Degrees28%
7Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$43,600$82,60052%37%

7Fisk University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$43,600
Mid-Career Pay$82,600
% High Meaning52%
% STEM Degrees37%
8Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$46,500$82,20066%9%

8Southern Adventist University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$46,500
Mid-Career Pay$82,200
% High Meaning66%
% STEM Degrees9%
9Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$47,000$81,60054%12%

9University of Memphis
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$47,000
Mid-Career Pay$81,600
% High Meaning54%
% STEM Degrees12%
10Private School, Religious, Research University, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$48,100$81,10058%12%

10Lipscomb University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$48,100
Mid-Career Pay$81,100
% High Meaning58%
% STEM Degrees12%
11Art, Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$39,800$80,80050%0%

11Memphis College of Art
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$39,800
Mid-Career Pay$80,800
% High Meaning50%
% STEM Degrees0%
12For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$45,100$79,90055%17%

12The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$45,100
Mid-Career Pay$79,900
% High Meaning55%
% STEM Degrees17%
13Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$56,400$79,60091%4%

13Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$56,400
Mid-Career Pay$79,600
% High Meaning91%
% STEM Degrees4%
14Private School, Religious, Research UniversityBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$46,200$78,80060%6%

14Union University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$46,200
Mid-Career Pay$78,800
% High Meaning60%
% STEM Degrees6%
15Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$45,600$78,50052%9%

15Middle Tennessee State University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$45,600
Mid-Career Pay$78,500
% High Meaning52%
% STEM Degrees9%
16Private School, Religious, For Sports FansBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$46,000$78,00049%3%

16Belmont University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$46,000
Mid-Career Pay$78,000
% High Meaning49%
% STEM Degrees3%
17Private School, Religious, Research UniversityBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$43,800$77,70063%5%

17Trevecca Nazarene University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$43,800
Mid-Career Pay$77,700
% High Meaning63%
% STEM Degrees5%
18Private SchoolBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$44,400$77,20065%3%

18Cumberland University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$44,400
Mid-Career Pay$77,200
% High Meaning65%
% STEM Degrees3%
19Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$42,700$75,80053%9%

19Freed-Hardeman University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$42,700
Mid-Career Pay$75,800
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees9%
20For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$44,100$74,80055%10%

20The University of Tennessee-Martin
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$44,100
Mid-Career Pay$74,800
% High Meaning55%
% STEM Degrees10%
21Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$40,500$74,30058%3%

21Lee University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$40,500
Mid-Career Pay$74,300
% High Meaning58%
% STEM Degrees3%
22For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$43,500$74,20064%10%

22Austin Peay State University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$43,500
Mid-Career Pay$74,200
% High Meaning64%
% STEM Degrees10%
23Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$43,400$73,80058%8%

23East Tennessee State University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$43,400
Mid-Career Pay$73,800
% High Meaning58%
% STEM Degrees8%
23Private School, ReligiousBachelorsPrivate not-for-profit$40,200$73,80066%5%

23Milligan College
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$40,200
Mid-Career Pay$73,800
% High Meaning66%
% STEM Degrees5%
25Research University, For Sports Fans, State SchoolBachelorsPublic$47,600$73,30068%14%

25Tennessee State University
Degree TypeBachelors
School SectorPublic
Early Career Pay$47,600
Mid-Career Pay$73,300
% High Meaning68%
% STEM Degrees14%
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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.


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