Only nonprofit or public schools for which PayScale had a statistically significant sample were considered for this study. Exclusion from the study is not a reflection on the quality of the institution, but simply indicates that we did not have enough verified data from the school to publish a salary ranking for it. We acquire our data from individuals filling out the PayScale Salary Survey
PayScale's public-facing Research Center only samples a portion of our overall database and does not fully represent the sample utilized for calculating the earnings figures in the PayScale College Salary Report. The size of a school's sample is strongly correlated with the size of the school. Therefore, our samples are larger for larger schools. The median sample size for the included schools is 489 profiles.
PayScale's core business is building software that utilizes our data and compensation algorithm. Our public Research Center is only meant to give a glimpse of our full data set.
The data used in PayScale's College Salary Report is collected through our ongoing, online compensation survey. People complete the PayScale survey to understand their price in the labor market. Users provide data about their jobs, compensation, employer, demographics and educational background. In return, PayScale provides them with a detailed compensation report that compares their compensation to others like them.
This data is rigorously tested and verified before it is considered for reporting. Please see the PayScale methodology for more details.
The sample considered for the 2017 - 2018 College Salary report was 2.3 million college graduates. The sample size for each school included ranges from 30 profiles to over 20,000, depending largely upon the size of the school.
All data used to produce PayScale's College Salary Report were collected from employees who successfully completed PayScale's employee survey.
Sample Size: The sample size of degree holding, full-time, civilian employees working in the U.S. is 2.3 million. The sample size for each school included ranges from 30 profiles to over 20,000, depending largely upon the size of the school.
This year, the report includes three types of degree holders:
U.S. Only: All reports are for graduates of schools from the United States who work in the United States. This sample does not include U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico or Guam.
Full-Time, Civilian Employees Only: Only graduates who are employed full-time, not on active military duty and paid with either an hourly wage or an annual salary are included.
Inclusion Criteria for Schools: The primary criteria for inclusion in this report are that a school offers associate and/or bachelor's degrees, is located within the 50 United States, and has a substantial number of graduates who work for civilian employers in the U.S. To be considered for inclusion, we required (a) at least 30 respondents from each school and (b) at least five respondents from multiple experience cohorts: 0-5 years, 10-20, and over 20.
Schools with few graduates for a degree level and schools that have recently begun offering a given degree level may not be included due to insufficient data.
Additionally, for the bachelor's only and associate data sets, schools with a large percentage of graduates earning advanced degrees may not be included due to insufficient data. Associate degree holders who further their education with bachelor’s or other advanced degrees are not included in the associate degree sample.
The PayScale College Salary Report 2017-18 includes 1,532 of the 2,147 eligible bachelor's degree granting schools in the U.S, and 1,186 of the 2,092 eligible associate degree granting schools. This list…
A school's inclusion in or exclusion from the PayScale College Salary Report 2017-18 is not based on school quality, typical graduate earnings, selectivity, or location within the U.S. PayScale greatly expanded the number of schools included in this year’s report, and plans to expand the number of schools for future versions of this report as data becomes available.
Salary: Combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime, and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable.
Salary does not include equity (stock) compensation, which can be a significant portion of pay for some executive and high-tech jobs. In addition, salary does not include cash value of retirement benefits, or value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare). Salaries were inflation-adjusted to June 2017 dollars to ensure apples-to-apples comparison over the data collection period.
Fitted Pay: Using all available salary data for a school, this is a maturity curve that maps a unique relationship between years’ experience and salary for each school and school-degree combination.
Early Career Median Salary: Fitted pay for an employee midway through the first five years of their career.
Mid-Career Median Salary: Fitted pay for an employee midway through their career.
Confidence Intervals: The average 95% confidence interval for small schools is 5.7% for early career and 8.7% for mid-career. For large schools, the average confidence interval falls to 2.5% for early career and 4.2% for mid-career, reflecting the larger sample sizes for these schools.
% High Job Meaning: This is the percentage of people who answer "Very much so" and "Yes" to the question "Does your work make the world a better place?"
School Sector: This is the "Sector of institution" from IPEDS: Public, Private Not-for-Profit or Private For-Profit
Division 1 Football Classifications: Current classifications were determined from http://espn.go.com/college-football/standings.
Division 1 Basketball Classifications: Current classifications were determined from http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/standings.
Gender Breakdown: This is the gender breakdown of undergraduates from IPEDS.
Undergraduate Enrollment: This is the undergraduate fall enrollment from IPEDS. An undergraduate is defined by IPEDS as "A student enrolled in a 4- or 5-year bachelor's degree program, an Associate degree program, or a vocational or technical program below the baccalaureate."
% STEM: For Bachelor's or Associate programs this is the percentage of Bachelor's or Associate degrees that are awarded in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics from IPEDS. For Master's or PhD programs it is the percentage of respective Master's or PhDs awarded in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics from IPEDS.
Since major choice plays an instrumental role in your potential salary, we rank schools based on the earnings of graduates within a major group for Bachelor's only graduates. Inclusion in this list required that a school-major combination met the same inclusion criteria described above. For this reason, the schools included for each major are a subset of the bachelor’s degree lists.
Additionally, similarly to the overall school rankings, these schools are ranked based on the median mid-career earnings of graduates within a major group. The pay values do not control for job choice, only major and school selection. This is important to keep in mind as graduates for one school may select very different jobs than graduates from another school, even if they share the same major.
We provide the median starting and median mid-career salary and percentage with meaningful work for:
Note: Only employees who possess the specified major at the specified degree level and did not go on to get an advanced degree are included.
Due to the great diversity of jobs, even for the most popular jobs it is not uncommon for the job to represent less than one percent of the total respondents for a major. Some jobs are less likely to be represented on our lists due to a greater amount of specialization in the field. The inverse is also true. For example, software engineers who work in a wide range of settings and whose responsibilities can vary dramatically all identify with the same job title, and hence are more likely to appear on the list.
Employees with all years of experience are included, provided they work in the United States as a full-time, civilian employee, hold a bachelor's degree and no higher degree, and graduated with the given major. As a result, each list contains not only jobs held by experienced practitioners in the field, but also by those who have recently graduated.
Jobs which require advanced degrees, such as doctors and lawyers, are not present. However, those which generally are held by workers with advanced degrees will sometimes appear. For example, an MBA is not required to become a chief financial officer, but it is commonly held by workers in this position. Additionally, despite the fact that many scientific research positions require a PhD, there is bachelor's-level research done in corporate, government, and industrial settings.
Relative Commonness: This is the relative commonness for the job within the given bachelor major compared to all workers who hold a bachelor's degree in the U.S. For example, the relative percentage for the job "Industrial Designer" for art majors (bachelor's only) is 1654 percent, therefore, it is about 16.5 times more likely an art major will hold the job title "Industrial Designer" than the average worker with a bachelor's degree in the U.S.
Copyright PayScale, Inc., 2017