California Polytechnic State University is a university based in San Luis Obispo, Calif. that is home to around 21,000 undergraduates. The data for this synopsis comes from former Cal Poly students who took the PayScale salary survey.

College ROI Report


20 Year Net ROI 


Annual ROI 

10.9 %

Total 4 Year Cost 


Compare to Other Schools

College Salary Report


Early Career Salary 


Mid-Career Salary 


% High Meaning 

51 %

Compare to Other 4-Year Schools

California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) - San Luis Obispo Median Salary by Job



Project Engineer
138 profiles

Software Engineer
129 profiles

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Civil Engineer
72 profiles


See all degrees for California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) - San Luis Obispo »
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 11 May 2019
  • Individuals Reporting: 4,666
  • View Table

About This School

1 Grand Ave.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (CalPoly)


State School, For Sports Fans

76 %

42 %

84 %

13 %


Cal Poly alumni find work in an assortment of industries including the architectural services industry, software as a service (SAAS) development, and the engineering services industry. The most popular professional field seems to be the aerospace and defense industry. Those with a degree from Cal Poly make an average of $73K.


It's worth noting that female graduates earn a median salary of approximately $65K whereas the men's median is about $80K.


Senior Mechanical Engineers win the contest for best-paid Cal Poly alumni, making $98K on average every year, though Software Engineers ($85K), and Electrical Engineers ($81K) are not far behind. Collecting the smallest paychecks are Civil Engineers — they bring in around $70K.


Home to a large number of Cal Poly alums, San Francisco, Calif. is by far the most attractive city for these former students. It is also not uncommon to find former Cal Poly students living and working in San Jose, Calif. — this top-paying city is a popular destination with a median salary of $82K. Though median pay is subpar (about $67K) relative to popular cities, choosing to stay in San Luis Obispo after graduation is a common decision made by many alumni who have developed a love for the area. Other common destinations for Cal Poly grads include close-by San Diego, Calif. and Los Angeles, Calif.

Degree Major

With a median annual earnings of $108K per year, California Polytechnic State University grads who have a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Finance are the best paid among the alumni population. Average annual salaries for those with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) are the lowest of the pack, earning $54K.


California Polytechnic State University grads with People Management experience garner salaries that are 43 percent more than other grads' salaries. Cal Poly grads are usually competent in Project Management, and one-fifth of alumni continue practicing this skill in their career. Experience with Microsoft Excel, Engineering Design, and Microsoft Office is highly valued as well.

Benefits and Perks

When it comes to benefits, there is room for improvement — only one in three grads are paid for vacation and just one in five survey participants for sick time. For this school, a large number of alumni are the recipients of health benefits, and a fair number of graduates pick up dental plans, too. A large number of former students opt for a 401(k) to save for retirement. California Polytechnic State University alumni are rewarded with additional benefits, such as a casual working environment, a company-subsidized cell phone, life insurance, and flexible hours.

Related Schools

California State Polytechnic University grads bring in salaries of around approximately $65K, making them the most similar to Cal Poly alumni in terms of earnings. California State University-Bakersfield, California State University-Northridge, and California State University-Fresno are also similar to Cal Poly.

California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) - San Luis Obispo Job Listings

Test Scores

Academics 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Scores*
* SAT writing score is not included.
1130 1340
ACT Scores 26 31

Key Stats for California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) - San Luis Obispo


40 %
60 %
$44,408 - $85,883
$54,386 - $108,971

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 1618 votes.
Less than 1 year
1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more
$68,414 - $117,895
$59,308 - $114,986
$67,407 - $106,125
$46,787 - $83,294
$57,888 - $102,856
$53,043 - $112,040
$48,616 - $101,170
$48,327 - $101,511
$61,246 - $112,581
$43,726 - $83,007

More Charts for California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) - San Luis Obispo

Most Popular Job for California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) - San Luis Obispo Alumni

Most Popular Employer Name for California Polytechnic State University (CalPoly) - San Luis Obispo Alumni

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