Best Liberal Arts Colleges by Salary Potential

Dream of attending a liberal arts college, but afraid you won’t find a job after? Check out these liberal arts schools with highest-paid graduates.

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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
51Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$52,600$108,90052%26%

51Smith College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,600
Mid-Career Pay$108,900
% High Meaning52%
% STEM Degrees26%
52Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$56,600$108,60053%18%

52Bryn Mawr College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$56,600
Mid-Career Pay$108,600
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees18%
53Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$54,100$108,50042%40%

53Ursinus College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$54,100
Mid-Career Pay$108,500
% High Meaning42%
% STEM Degrees40%
54Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$60,300$108,30047%24%

54Colby College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$60,300
Mid-Career Pay$108,300
% High Meaning47%
% STEM Degrees24%
55Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$58,300$108,10057%34%

55Wellesley College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$58,300
Mid-Career Pay$108,100
% High Meaning57%
% STEM Degrees34%
56Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$55,500$107,40046%18%

56Stonehill College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$55,500
Mid-Career Pay$107,400
% High Meaning46%
% STEM Degrees18%
57Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$52,200$107,20054%14%

57Willamette University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,200
Mid-Career Pay$107,200
% High Meaning54%
% STEM Degrees14%
58Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$54,700$107,10048%21%

58University of Puget Sound
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$54,700
Mid-Career Pay$107,100
% High Meaning48%
% STEM Degrees21%
59Liberal Arts School, Private School, Religious, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$52,900$107,00046%18%

59Siena College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,900
Mid-Career Pay$107,000
% High Meaning46%
% STEM Degrees18%
60Liberal Arts School, Private School, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$52,000$106,90053%16%

60Furman
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,000
Mid-Career Pay$106,900
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees16%
61Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$53,300$106,80043%20%

61Muhlenberg College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,300
Mid-Career Pay$106,800
% High Meaning43%
% STEM Degrees20%
62Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$56,000$106,70048%22%

62Dickinson College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$56,000
Mid-Career Pay$106,700
% High Meaning48%
% STEM Degrees22%
63Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$53,300$106,60054%21%

63Oberlin College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,300
Mid-Career Pay$106,600
% High Meaning54%
% STEM Degrees21%
64Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$49,800$106,20050%21%

64Ohio Wesleyan University
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$49,800
Mid-Career Pay$106,200
% High Meaning50%
% STEM Degrees21%
65Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$52,300$106,10042%18%

65Saint Michael's College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,300
Mid-Career Pay$106,100
% High Meaning42%
% STEM Degrees18%
66Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$53,700$106,00053%30%

66St Olaf College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,700
Mid-Career Pay$106,000
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees30%
67Liberal Arts School, Private School, Religious, Sober SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$52,900$105,60063%12%

67Wheaton College (Illinois)
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,900
Mid-Career Pay$105,600
% High Meaning63%
% STEM Degrees12%
68Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$62,100$105,40053%25%

68Hamilton College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$62,100
Mid-Career Pay$105,400
% High Meaning53%
% STEM Degrees25%
69Liberal Arts School, Private School, Religious, For Sports FansBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$50,700$105,00051%28%

69Wofford College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$50,700
Mid-Career Pay$105,000
% High Meaning51%
% STEM Degrees28%
70Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$52,200$104,60056%31%

70Kalamazoo College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$52,200
Mid-Career Pay$104,600
% High Meaning56%
% STEM Degrees31%
71Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$53,000$104,00049%28%

71Wheaton College (Massachusetts)
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,000
Mid-Career Pay$104,000
% High Meaning49%
% STEM Degrees28%
72Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$53,500$103,70041%22%

72Skidmore College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,500
Mid-Career Pay$103,700
% High Meaning41%
% STEM Degrees22%
73Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$53,100$103,60055%31%

73Macalester College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,100
Mid-Career Pay$103,600
% High Meaning55%
% STEM Degrees31%
74Liberal Arts School, Private School, ReligiousBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$56,600$103,50059%10%

74Saint Anselm College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$56,600
Mid-Career Pay$103,500
% High Meaning59%
% STEM Degrees10%
74Liberal Arts School, Private SchoolBachelorsAndHigherPrivate not-for-profit$53,800$103,50050%41%

74Grinnell College
Degree TypeBachelorsAndHigher
School SectorPrivate not-for-profit
Early Career Pay$53,800
Mid-Career Pay$103,500
% High Meaning50%
% STEM Degrees41%
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Liberal arts schools are schools that graduate fewer STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and pre-professional majors, focusing instead on humanities, arts, sciences and communication programs. These schools are usually private institutions, but some public schools do fall into this category. Liberal arts colleges usually have smaller enrollments and students get to work more closely with professors. The schools on this list generally have much smaller student-to-faculty ratios than many other types of schools. The College Salary Report is an excellent resource for anybody who is considering applying to or attending a liberal arts college or university, but wants to find out how much their alumni earn.

Liberal arts schools sometimes get criticized because their graduates don’t make as much money as alumni from schools that graduate many STEM majors, especially in the first few years out of college. However, the critical thinking skills associated with the liberal arts are valuable to employers, and many liberal arts graduates go on to earn very respectable salaries later in their career.

Harvey Mudd College, which is regularly at or near the top PayScale’s College Salary Report and College ROI Report, falls into the liberal arts category even though most of its graduates (more than 80 percent) graduate with degrees in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics. Despite the heavy focus on STEM subjects, Harvey Mudd requires all of their students to take enough liberal arts classes to qualify for this classification. (Most liberal arts schools award less than 20 percent of their total degrees in STEM subjects.)

You might also be surprised that the United States’ top military schools, including the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Military Academy at West Point and Air Force Academy, also qualify as Liberal Arts colleges because of their well-rounded curriculum.

Many of the most famous private liberal arts schools in the country also produce alumni with some of the highest salaries in the country. Colgate University, Swarthmore College, Williams College, Occidental College, Carleton College and Pomona College are excellent examples of liberal arts colleges that don’t just have amazing academic opportunities, but prepare students well for successful careers.


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