University is no longer the sure-fire route to a high-paying job that it used to be.
To help prospective students make better decisions, our team ran a study to try and discover the fastest and safest route to a good living salary.
Specifically, we looked for bachelor’s degrees from US public universities whose graduates earn an annual salary of at least $100,000 three years after completion and have a 100% employment rate.
Here are some of our key findings:
- The most graduates can earn three years after obtaining a bachelor’s degree from a US public university is $131,592 on average
- Three degrees from California State University offer high prospects of earning over $100k
- Nursing and engineering degrees stand out as the safest bets for relatively quick and high post-graduation salaries
- For every two private university degrees with chances of earning $100k in three years, there is an alternative from a public university
- 69% of private universities with $100k earning prospects do not guarantee a job within two years
We analyzed the latest data from the US Department of Education for 29,620 bachelor’s degrees from all public universities in the country, singling out the most employable degrees where 100% of graduates are in work within two years of completion.
We discovered that there are 11 bachelor’s degrees in the US that offer a high chance of earning a median salary of $100,000 or more three years after successfully graduating.
The bachelor’s degree with the highest earning potential in the US from a public university is in Allied Health Diagnostic, Intervention, and Treatment Professions from the University of Washington’s Seattle Campus.
All graduates have a job within two years of completing their studies and earn a median salary of $131,592 the following year.
Studying Marine Transportation at the Northwestern Michigan College can earn graduates $112,111 three years after getting their bachelor’s degree. In fact, they reach the $100,00 median salary milestone and 100% employment rate a year earlier.
There are three options to earn over $100k three years after graduation from California State University (CSU).
Both the Monterey Bay and the Stanislaus campuses offer a bachelor’s degree in Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing, whose alumni reach a median salary of $110,683 and $104,737 respectively.
CSU’s Maritime Academy offers a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering Related Technologies/Technicians, with graduates earning $102,821 three years after completion. All three currently have a 100% employment rate within two years of graduation.
Early in our research, we analyzed all types of US institutions and discovered that private universities dominate the post-graduate salary rankings.
They often cost at least double the tuition fees of public universities, therefore, we wanted to understand the earning potential that public universities offer.
This data demonstrates that plenty of them can compete with private universities in terms of earning prospects.
To address any worries about actually finding jobs after graduation, we further narrowed our findings to the bachelor’s degrees that, within only two years, reach a 100% employment rate.
This offers valuable insight into attainable goals for ambitious students, regardless of their background.
University of California just missed entering the top 10, with their Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing degree from their Los Angeles campus.
This is the only other bachelor’s degree in the US from a public university that can earn graduates over $100k three years after completion—namely $100,320 on average. Its alumni are employed even earlier than many others, securing a job immediately after graduation.
The study found that, in total, 140 degrees result in graduates earning a median annual salary of $100k within three years of graduation - 93 of which are from private colleges and 47 from public institutions.
Of those 93 degrees from private universities, nearly a third (29) reach a 100% employment rate after two years of completion, compared to just under a quarter (11) of the 47 degrees from public colleges.
Private Earns Most, But Does Not Always Guarantee a Job
As far as national rankings go, regardless of the type of institution, studying Statistics at Harvard University gives graduates the highest possible median earnings three years on - $240,408 to be precise, and a 100% chance of employment.
Computer and Information Sciences, General at the University of Pennsylvania is the second safest and highest paying bachelor’s degree in the US. Three years after completing their studies, these graduates earn a median salary of $197,810.
This is followed by Computer Engineering from Princeton University, whose graduates earn, on average, $181,687 within three years.
Studying Computer and Information Sciences, General at Yale or Mathematics and Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College earns graduates median salaries of $168,803 and $166,134, respectively.
However, not all private universities can guarantee their graduates a job within two years.
Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Brown or Stanford, although they rank in the country’s overall top ten bachelor’s degrees for highest median salaries three years after completion, do not have 100% employment rates.
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