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Articles / Applying to College / Best Colleges for Jobs And Earnings

Best Colleges for Jobs And Earnings

Dave Berry
Written by Dave Berry | July 9, 2019
Best Colleges for Jobs And Earnings

Choosing the right college can be a matter of percentages. In other words, instead of basing your decision about which colleges to consider according to such criteria as prestige, weather, sports reputation, size, etc., you could approach your selection task based on simple statistics -- like jobs or earnings.

While this may seem a bit cold-bloodedly objective, the numbers many times reveal what might give us the best chance to get what we want. When it comes to a college education, many, if not most collegians, are looking for their best path to rewarding employment. We want to go to college so that we can find a good job that will set us on the road to happiness and success in life. Right?

I've used the findings of Zippia.com in the past here. Today, I want to give you a double dose of Zippia that may help you in deciding which colleges might help you make your application choices as you seek your best chances for a great job. The first data I'll review comes from Chris Kolmar's The Best College in Each State for Getting A Job in 2019. The second, complementary, article is The Colleges with The Highest Earning Graduates in Each State for 2019.

These two summaries can provide you with a number of advantages. If you're looking for your best chance, statistically speaking, for finding a job that pays better than average after graduation, combining the information from these two listings may enable you to zero in on which colleges could give you an edge in the job market. Keep in mind, however, that these data are not a guarantee of anything. Also, you can certainly be just as, if not more, successful at colleges that aren't on these lists. Regardless, why not at least review the lists to see if anything clicks for you during your search?

First, let's take a look at the best colleges for employment by state. I'm always curious as to how these summaries are generated. For the listing of best colleges for getting a job, Zippia notes:

As always, our data comes from the College Scorecardwho just updated their dataset for this yearUsing the Department of Education College Scorecard data, we searched for the college in each state with the highest listed job placement numbers, looking specifically at employment levels at year 10 after students enrolled.

Then, we sorted every college in the country from highest employment levels to lowest that had data on employment counts ten years after graduating.

Finally, we selected the college with the highest rate of employment in each state. For the purposes of readability, the top schools' ratings were then rounded to two decimal places.

That seems reasonably scientific. So, let's take a look at the Top 10. They're probably not the schools you would have guessed.

1. Connecticut – Quinnipiac University

2. South Dakota – Augustana University

3. Ohio – Ohio Northern University

4. Pennsylvania – Lebanon Valley College

5. Massachusetts – Western New England University

6. Wisconsin – Marquette University

7. Rhode Island – Providence College

8. Minnesota – Saint John's University

9. New York – Siena College

10. Nebraska – University of Nebraska Medical Center

A surprising list for many of us. Now, here are the top 50. Have you been considering any of these?

Next, let's take a quick look at colleges with the highest paid graduates. Zippia's methodology is similar to that of the best-employment list:

Using the Department of Education College Scorecard data, we searched for the college in each state with the highest average earnings for students ten years post enrollment. We limited the dataset to accredited, not-for-profit intuitions that are predominantly undergraduate.

Then, we sorted every college in the country from highest average salary to the lowest that had data available for both data points.

Finally, we selected the college with the highest earning graduates in each state. We display the average earnings along with each college below.

With that in mind, here are those Top 10:

1. New York – SUNY Downstate Medical Center

2. Massachusetts – Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3. California – Stanford University

4. Texas – The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

5. Pennsylvania – University of Pennsylvania

6. Illinois – Rush University

7. Connecticut – Yale University

8. Louisiana – Louisiana State Univ. Health Sciences Center-Shreveport

9. New Jersey – Princeton University

10. Oregon – Oregon Health & Science University

We see more familiar names, including several from the Ivy League, plus MIT and Stanford. Health sciences has a strong representation, which reflects the burgeoning needs in medical-related fields. Click here to see all top 50.

I haven't taken the time to do this, but you may want to take a stab at answering this question: Is there a cross-connection between any of the schools on these lists? In other words, are there any schools that are considered to be both the best for employment and with the highest-earning graduates? If there are any like that, you may want to give them some serious consideration, assuming, of course, that they also meet your other critical criteria. You may also want to dig deeper into College Scorecard Data.

To enhance your college search, I encourage you to review as many resources as possible, such as those above, which provide an objective, data-driven look at hiring and earning potential. Too many college-bound high school students make choices based on sometimes faulty emotional preferences rather than realistic considerations. Sources such as Zippia do the heavy lifting in creating these summaries. Take advantage of their findings.

Written by

Dave Berry

Dave Berry

Dave is co-founder of College Confidential and College Karma Consulting, co-author of America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Buyer's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools, and has over 30 years of experience helping high schoolers gain admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective schools. He is an expert in the areas application strategies, stats evaluation, college matching, student profile marketing, essays, personality and temperament assessments and web-based admissions counseling. Dave is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has won national awards for his writing on higher education issues, marketing campaigns and communications programs. He brings this expertise to the discipline of college admissions and his role as a student advocate. His College Quest newspaper page won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association Newspapers in Education Award, the Thomson Newspapers President's Award for Marketing Excellence and the Inland Press Association-University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Mass Communications Inland Innovation Award for the Best New Page. His pioneering journalism program for teenagers, PRO-TEENS, also received national media attention. In addition, Dave won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award for Celebrate Diversity!, a program teaching junior high school students about issues of tolerance. His College Knowledge question-and-answer columns have been published in newspapers throughout the United States. Dave loves Corvettes, classical music, computers, and miniature dachshunds. He and his wife Sharon have a daughter, son and four grandchildren.

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