American universities continue to rank among the most revered academic institutions across the world. The industry-oriented curriculum and sophisticated academic infrastructures in these institutions generate some of the highest-paid graduates. It’s logical to compare the median salary of graduates in the first place before delving into other particulars.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average starting salary of recent college graduates was $55,260. So, it makes sense to settle for something above the national average, right?
International students in the US shell out around $99,417 throughout their degree courses. For American students, this value might be marginally less. Graduating from one of the esteemed institutions in the US brings you the prospect of bagging a lucrative salary package. Naturally, you would wonder which college or university can deliver you the true value for your money.
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Top colleges in the US based on graduates’ salaries
Let’s take a look at some of the leading colleges in the US specializing in different streams. We have shortlisted only those institutions that recorded above-the-average graduate salaries.
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Fresh graduates from MIT have an impressive median salary of around $76,900. This institute specializes in STEM subjects. The QS World University Rankings reveal that MIT continues to be one of the top international institutes offering quality education in Engineering and Technology. Besides, it emerged as the topmost global university as per the QS World University Rankings 2023.
Studying at MIT requires students to shell out a sizable fee, and that’s well-justified by the superior academic infrastructure and salary packages graduates enjoy. The acceptance rate of this institution is just 4%. Well, that tells a lot about the maturity students need to qualify for a berth here.
Besides, MIT regularly hosts events such as the Polymer Day, a European career fair, and an analytics career fair. Students here have an 88% chance of completing their graduation in 4 years. The student-faculty ratio looks very healthy at 3:1. 70% of the classes at MIT have fewer than 20 students.
31% of the students at MIT graduate with Computer Science. The average starting salary of these students is $104,600. 11% and 9% of the students graduate with mechanical engineering and mathematics. Their average starting salaries are $80,400 and $82,900, respectively.
2. Princeton University
The median starting salary at this leading Ivy League University in the US is $66,700. The versatility of its academic infrastructure makes it a top choice for students across all disciplines. As per the QS World University Rankings 2023, Princeton University emerged in the 16th position. Some disciplines that make Princeton University highly sought-after include engineering, social sciences, biology, and computer science.
One of the prime reasons for the popularity of this university is its tactical location. Students from Philadelphia and New York City can seamlessly navigate to the institute.
Princeton University has as many as 37 sports clubs and 300 student organizations. Besides, the students here enjoy a vibrant campus life with 15 chaplaincies. Being one of the leading national universities in the US, Princeton University accepts just 4% of its applicants.
The student-faculty ratio at Princeton University is 5:1. Around 76% of the classrooms have fewer than 20 students. This demonstrates that the aspirants get personalized attention from the faculty.
20% of the graduates from Princeton University specialize in social sciences and enjoy an average starting salary of $70,200. 16% and 13% of students graduate in Engineering and Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services. Their starting salaries are $76,000 and $99,400, respectively.
3. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)
Aspiring to specialize in engineering, business administration, or computer science? Carnegie Mellon University will be a good choice if you are likely to establish a career in any of these streams. With a median annual salary of $69,700, graduates from CMU are flying high in their respective careers.
CMU ranks first for their Undergraduate Computer Science and Graduate Information Systems courses as per the US News and World Report. Overall, it is ranked fourth among engineering colleges in the US in 2021.
The Oakland campus of CMU grants its students excellent exposure to small business entrepreneurs, tech companies, and startups.
In terms of acceptance, CMU is a bit more generous compared to the other colleges we listed in this article. The average acceptance rate of this institute is 14%. The student-faculty ratio of 6:1 looks pretty good.
13% of CMU students graduate with Computer Science and enjoy an average annual salary of $102,500. Another 9% study Electrical and Electronics Engineering, while 10% go for Business Administration and Management. These two groups of students bag salary packages of $78,100 and $68,500 on average. Those majoring in Systems Science and Theory get even more, around $103,700 a year.
4. Thomas Jefferson University (TJU)
Graduates passing out from Thomas Jefferson University bag impressive salary packages, with the median close to $66,300 a year. The inter-professional approach to education is what this institute is known for. Students majoring in exercise science, nursing, health, midwifery, and physical therapy usually go for this esteemed institution.
The university specializes in designing masters and certificate programs in emerging healthcare fields. Some of the comparatively newer courses offered by TJU include cardiovascular perfusion, integrative health, telehealth, and connected care.
Thomas Jefferson University is generous with its acceptance rate, accepting 78% of its applicants. The student-faculty ratio stands at 13:1. Also, 60% of the classes at this institute have less than 20 students. Therefore, the aspirants can expect the much-needed individual care necessary to specialize in healthcare fields.
5. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
With a median starting salary of $66,000 and tuition fees around $58,526, studying at this polytechnic college seems to be a good bargain.
Located in New York, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is known for its industry-oriented programs in engineering technology, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and business and management. This college offers research opportunities in experimental media, performing arts, and biochemical solar energy.
Among the national universities, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ranks 51st. However, graduates from this college have consistently bagged impressive salary packages at reputed organizations. What’s good to know about this institute is that it accepts around 53% of its applicants.
55% of the classes at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have less than 20 students. The average student-faculty ratio at this institution is 13:1. The 4-year graduation rate stands at 70%.
51% of the students studying at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute choose the engineering field. The starting salary of the alumni is $72,300 annually. Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services is another popular domain, attracting 19% of the students. Graduates in this field earn even higher, around $84,800 a year.
6. Stevens Institute of Technology
When you consider anything above the average annual salary as impressive, Stevens Institute of Technology makes its way into our list. This college, located in New Jersey, boasts an impressive median annual salary of $67,000.
New Jersey, as you know, is the hub of technology. The strategic location of the college gives its students direct exposure to the industry. Whether you want to specialize in welding and laser cutting or 3D printing, the industry-oriented curriculum of Stevens Institute of Technology makes it happen.
Apart from mechanical engineering, students attend computer engineering, computer science, business administration, and chemical engineering courses at the Stevens Institute of Technology.
The college has a decent ranking, and its acceptance rate looks great, at 53%. Around 39% of the classes have fewer than 20 students. At Stevens Institute of Technology, the student-faculty ratio is 12:1.
Among the graduates, 16% come from the mechanical Engineering Stream, while 14% come from the Computer Science domain. Their annual starting salary stands at $70,000 and $ 77,400, respectively. 12% of the graduates specializing in Business Administration and Management enjoy annual salaries of around $71,800. Besides, Computer Engineering and Chemical Engineering account for 8% of the graduates each. The annual salary of these graduates also lies in a similar range.
7. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a popular college for engineering students, given that the average graduate earns $67,300 as the starting salary. This Institute won’t disappoint you if you are keen to specialize in engineering domains such as mechatronics, electrical, biomedical, and mechanical engineering.
Apart from the modern infrastructure, this polytechnic college is known for its career outlook information and career fairs. Besides, students also specialize in other fields, such as physics, civil engineering, professional writing, and psychology at this institute.
The acceptance rate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute is 60%. This implies that getting an admission at this revered polytechnic college wouldn’t be too challenging. The college boasts a healthy 4-year graduation rate of 81%. Besides, 67% of its classes have fewer than 20 students. The student-faculty ratio at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is 14:1.
Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science are two of the most sought courses in this college. While 19% go for Mechanical Engineering, 16% go for Computer Science, bagging an average annual salary of $72,500 and $83,900, respectively. Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering graduates make around $69,900 annually, while Electrical and Electronics Engineering graduates earn $78,400. Students graduating in fields like Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering earn well above $71,000 a year.
8. Colorado School of Mines
Colorado School of Mines has a decent annual ranking in the US. With a median annual salary of around $68,000, this is yet another reputed college to enroll in. Every February and March, students can attend career fairs hosted by the institute. This exposes them to hundreds of government agencies and companies. Engineering fields such as petroleum, mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering are the most popular streams in this college.
At Colorado School of Mines, the acceptance rate is around 57%. So, you stand a fair chance to get yourself through. Around 28% of its classes have fewer than 60 students. The student-faculty ratio is 16:1, while the 4-year graduation rate of this educational institute is 67%.
Mechanical Engineering is the most-sought course at Colorado School of Mines, with 28% of its students enrolling in this course. The average starting annual salary of its alumni is $68,900. Computer Science and Chemical Engineering are two of the other popular programs at the Colorado School of Mines, accounting for 14% of the student population each.
Graduates in these streams earn around $73,200 and $76,900 annually. Even Electrical and Electronics Engineering graduates make $ 76,500 a year, while Civil Engineering graduates earn an annual salary of $67,700.
We have recommended some of the topmost institutes in the US based on the average annual salaries of their alumni for your convenience. As you note, all these graduates make much more than the national average. Moreover, we have included colleges and polytechnic institutions in our list to cover different fields of expertise. So, whether you wish to venture into business administration, engineering, or healthcare, you can choose the best institution.
Are US colleges good for engineering courses?
Yes, the US has some of the best global colleges specializing in engineering courses. The world-class infrastructure, practical modes of training students, and industry exposure make these programs ideal for aspirants.
How to choose the best college in the US?
Depending on your field of interest, you need to choose the best college in the US. You can use parameters like cost-effectiveness and infrastructure while selecting the best college in the US. A university with a decent acceptance rate and a median salary above the national average is a good choice in any scenario.
Do I get placement from US colleges?
Yes, most colleges in the US offer placement facilities to deserving students. These institutions have partnership programs and tie-ups with reputed companies in their respective fields. This opens up lucrative job opportunities for their students.
How difficult is it to get into top US colleges?
The admission criteria largely vary among the top colleges in the US. The field of your interest and the corresponding demand for the program also determines the acceptance rate. In general, reputed US colleges have an acceptance rate of more than 50%. However, some institutes, like Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton University, have an acceptance rate below 5%.
Why are US colleges so expensive?
Most of the reputed US colleges are expensive as students can enjoy quality education. Right from the campus to the academic infrastructure, the facilities look outstanding. Besides, graduates enjoy lucrative salary packages in their respective industries. These perks justify the high fees at US colleges.
Here’s the No. 1 College for Average Americans That Has the Highest Starting Salary Among Graduates - Due? ›
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Fresh graduates from MIT have an impressive median salary of around $76,900.What college graduate has the highest average salary? ›
|Major||Average Salary for Employee with Zero to Five Years of Experience|
|Nuclear Engineering Technology||$83,500|
|Computer Science & Business||$81,100|
|Electronic Systems Technology||$81,000|
|S.No||Highest paying majors in the US||Average yearly salary|
|1||Health and Medical Preparatory||$165,000|
Income by education level.
|Education Level||Average Income|
|Some college, no degree||$48,555|
|Bachelor's degree or more||$91,892|
Average Annual Total Compensation is $177k
Employees who graduate from Harvard University earn an average of $177k, mostly ranging from $142k to $350k based on 452 profiles.
Harvard also ranks first in the number of ultra-high net worth alumni with assets greater than $30 million. Harvard's total number of ultra-high net worth alumni is more than twice that of the next highest ranking institution, Stanford. These figures have not been adjusted for the relative size of these institutions.Which college major has the highest median annual starting salary? ›
- Engineering. Average Salary: $64,292. ...
- Computer and Information Sciences. Average Salary: $58,789. ...
- Engineering Technologies. ...
- Health Professions. ...
- Transportation. ...
- Mathematics and Statistics. ...
- Architecture. ...
- Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Services.
Harvard University, with a $50.9 billion endowment as of 2022, is the wealthiest university in the world.What is America's highest paying job? ›
|OCCUPATION||2021 MEDIAN PAY|
|Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers||$202,180 per year|
|Anesthesiologists||Equal to or greater than $208,000 per year|
|Cardiologists||Equal to or greater than $208,000 per year|
|Dermatologists||Equal to or greater than $208,000 per year|
According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average annual wage of the top 1% was $823,763 as of 2020.1 A more recent study by SmartAsset points out that the national average of the top 1% earners is $597,815.2 Have in mind that the figures vary greatly from state to state.
Overall, Americans need an average post-tax income of $68,499 to live comfortably in the U.S., according to recent data from SmartAsset. SmartAsset's study analyzed the after-tax income needed to live in the nation's 25 largest metro areas comfortably.What is the lowest paying major? ›
The lowest-paying college majors are in such areas as early childhood education, elementary education, theology and religion, general education and social services, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.How much does the average 23 year old make? ›
MIT and Harvard are equally prestigious universities based in Cambridge, a nearby city of Boston. While MIT focuses primarily on science, math, and technology, Harvard offers a broader variety of liberal arts and sciences programs.How much does a Harvard professor get paid? ›
The middle 57% of Harvard Professors makes between $122,252 and $303,816, with the top 86% making $668,858.How much do PhD students get paid at Harvard? ›
All incoming students, regardless of need and background, are awarded a fellowship which includes tuition, single-person health fees, and a living stipend ($47,586 for 2023-2024). In addition, a suite of Scholar Support fellowships are available to increase accessibility for scholars from all backgrounds.Who is the richest person without college degree? ›
- Bill Gates. Richest man in the world, Bill Gates, dropped out of Harvard to focus on Microsoft full-time. ...
- Mark Zuckerberg. ...
- Lady GAGA. ...
- Steve Jobs. ...
- Ellen De Generes. ...
- Oprah. ...
- Steven Spielberg.
As one of the most prestigious universities in the world, it comes as no surprise that Harvard has a student body that is among the wealthiest in the country. Many of the students at Harvard come from families with significant wealth and influence, and many go on to become leaders in their fields.
In total, one out of every 20 Harvard freshmen attended one of the seven high schools most represented in the class of 2017—Boston Latin, Phillips Academy in Andover, Stuyvesant High School, Noble and Greenough School, Phillips Exeter Academy, Trinity School in New York City, and Lexington High School.Do doctors get paid more than engineers? ›
On average, a physician makes $246,142 per year . Specializations, like cardiologists, make $284,694 per year on average. Salaries can depend on factors like location and experience. An engineer makes a national average salary of $68,746 per year .
- Data Scientist. Average Salary: $93,167 per year.
- Software Engineer. Average Salary: $76,882 per year.
- Product Manager. Average Salary: $62,354 per year.
- Business Analyst. Average Salary: $55,793 per year.
- Financial Analyst. ...
- UX Designer. ...
- Marketing Associate. ...
- Investment Banking Analyst.
- Patent attorney. ...
- Certified nurse anesthetist. ...
- Physician. ...
- Dentist. ...
- Psychiatrist. National average salary: $220,525 per year. ...
- Surgeon. National average salary: $229,948 per year. ...
- Orthodontist. National average salary: $240,599 per year. ...
- Anesthesiologist. National average salary: $353,162 per year.
This Ivy League school is the oldest higher education institution in the country and has the largest endowment of any school in the world. Harvard University is a private institution in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston.
- Pharmacist. ...
- Software engineer. ...
- Certified registered nurse anesthetist. ...
- Dentist. ...
- Surgeon. ...
- Physician. National average salary: $195,395 per year. ...
- Psychiatrist. National average salary: $234,573 per year. ...
- Orthodontist. National average salary: $285,721 per year.
|Rank||Occupation||2021 Median Wages|
|Employment column one Hourly|
The worldwide highest income is earned in Monaco. The smallest budget per capita exists in Afghanistan. In our comparison over 69 countries, the USA comes 7th with an average income of 70,930 USD. The average income is calculated by gross national income and population.What city jobs pay the most? ›
- City Treasurer. ...
- City Clerk. ...
- City Dispatcher. ...
- Town Clerk. ...
- Deputy Clerk. Salary range: $28,500-$39,500 per year. ...
- County Program Technician. Salary range: $32,500-$39,500 per year. ...
- Deputy Treasurer. Salary range: $30,500-$37,000 per year. ...
- Program Technician. Salary range: $29,500-$35,000 per year.
- Ushers, lobby attendants, and ticket takers: $26,390.
- Cashiers: $26,770.
- Lifeguards, ski patrol, and other recreational protective service workers: $27,320.
- Dishwashers: $27,350.
- Childcare workers: $27,860.
Even under the best circumstances, $1,000 per month is not a huge amount of money. Try to live on $12,000 a year and your quality of life will be less than stellar in the best-case scenario.How much money do you need to live a luxurious life in USA? ›
An annual income of $1 million or more was the most popular answer, with 22% of respondents saying they need to rake in seven figures to feel rich.What is considered rich? ›
Based on that figure, an annual income of $500,000 or more would make you rich. The Economic Policy Institute uses a different baseline to determine who constitutes the top 1% and the top 5%. For 2021, you're in the top 1% if you earn $819,324 or more each year. The top 5% of income earners make $335,891 per year.What is the most regretted major? ›
Regret is heavily influenced by salary.
The top three regretted majors, according to ZipRecruiter, are journalism (87%), sociology (72%), and liberal arts and general studies (72%). The top three regret-free majors, all above 70%, are computer and information sciences, criminology, and engineering.
Least-regretted college majors.
|Computer + information sciences||72% 72% 72%|
|Engineering||71% 71% 71%|
|Nursing||69% 69% 69%|
|Health||67% 67% 67%|
The lowest-paying college majors are in areas such as theology, social services, the performing arts, education, and leisure and hospitality, the data shows.What income is upper middle class? ›
Many have graduate degrees with educational attainment serving as the main distinguishing feature of this class. Household incomes commonly exceed $100,000, with some smaller one-income earners household having incomes in the high 5-figure range.What is the middle class for a single person? ›
"Middle class" is defined by the PRC as those earning between two-thirds and twice the median American household income, which in 2021 was $70,784, according to the United States Census Bureau. That means American households earning between $47,189 to $141,568 are in the "middle class" as defined by the PRC.What is considered middle class? ›
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median income in 2021 was $70,784. So American families earning between $47,189 and $141,568 are technically in the middle class, according to the Pew Research Center's definition. However, other factors must be considered.What is the hardest school to get into in the world? ›
Topping the list of the hardest school to get into in the world is Stanford. It has been featured top of this list for several years and no other university anywhere in the world has managed to replace it yet.
Harvard, Stanford and Princeton, unsurprisingly, are America's toughest colleges to get into in 2023, according to Niche's most recent rankings.Is MIT above Ivy League? ›
MIT and Stanford are not Ivy League, but rank better than Harvard. Of the American universities in the QS World University Rankings, for example, the highest placed Ivy League university, Harvard, is third, beaten by non-Ivy universities, MIT and Stanford.How much do Harvard janitors make? ›
The average Janitor II salary in Harvard, MA is $41,274 as of March 28, 2023, but the range typically falls between $36,549 and $47,364. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.Which university pays their professors the most? ›
|1. Columbia University||$268,400|
|2. Stanford University||$261,900|
|3. Princeton University||$255,000|
|4. Harvard University||$253,900|
|5. University of Chicago||$246,100|
Average salary for full-time instructional staff at Ivy League schools 2020-21. In the academic year of 2020-2021, full-time instructional staff at Harvard University had an average salary of 181,180 U.S. dollars. Princeton University offered the highest average salary in that year, at 187,511 U.S. dollars.What is the average GPA of Harvard PhD? ›
Graduate Admissions Data (Fall 2022)
For enrolled students across all PhD and masters programs, the average undergraduate GPA was ~3.8 (on a 4.0 scale).
It is no surprise that Harvard and Stanford University are under 5% acceptance. These are institutions with an incredible reputation and history. If you are thinking about applying to these institutions you must have a GPA of 4.0 to be considered by the selection committee.What is a fully paid for PhD program? ›
In a fully funded PhD program, the student typically receives full tuition reimbursement and a stipend to help cover the cost of living while pursuing the degree. Programs have varying funding requirements. In some cases, students may receive a “no-strings-attached” fellowship.What major has the highest average salary? ›
Engineering majors also earn the highest median wages mid-career. Chemical engineering graduates ages 35 to 45 make a median wage of $111,000. However, other STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors, like pharmacy and computer science, also see six-figure or higher median wages mid-career.What does the average 24 year old make? ›
Average Salary for Ages 65 and Older.
|Average Salary by Age (3rd Quarter of 2022)|
|Age Group||Average Salary|
The jobs with the highest average pay in the United States are all in medicine. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobs that receive wages equal to or greater than $208,000 per year on average in alphabetical order.What major has the lowest salary? ›
- Design and applied arts. ...
- Visual and performing arts. ...
- Social work. ...
- Elementary education. ...
- Health and physical education. ...
- Psychology. ...
- Sociology. Average salary: $83,420 per year (with advanced degree) ...
- Healthcare administration. Average salary: $100,980 per year (with advanced degree)
Applied Economics and Management
An economics degree ranks as one of the highest-paying bachelor's degrees. During an economics program, undergraduates study microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. In applied economics courses, participants learn how to analyze financial information and create projections.
1. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) This post comes with a lucrative salary and high authority, with an overall employment rate supposed to show an average rise of 8% between 2020 and 2030.What is considered upper middle class? ›
Many have graduate degrees with educational attainment serving as the main distinguishing feature of this class. Household incomes commonly exceed $100,000, with some smaller one-income earners household having incomes in the high 5-figure range.What percentage of men make 6 figures? ›
And because of racial and gender wage gaps, women are less likely to reach the six-figure threshold compared with men. Just 11% of women make $100,000 or more on a national level, whereas 21% of men do.What is a good salary in the US? ›
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage across all occupations in 2021 was $58,260 . For a person living in Phoenix, Arizona, where the median wage is $56,610, earning above the national average may be considered very good.Where should I be financially at 35? ›
Fidelity says that by age 30, you should aim to have the equivalent of your annual salary in a retirement plan. By age 40, you should have three times your salary. So by age 35, your goal should be to have 1.5 times your salary socked away.What should my net worth be at 40? ›
By the time you reach age 40, prevailing wisdom says you should have a net worth equal to about twice your annual salary. Hopefully, you climbed the salary ladder a bit in your 30s, too. If you're making $80,000 annually, for example, your goal should be to have a net worth of $160,000 at age 40.What should my net worth be at 30? ›
One popular rule is the 70% rule. Another rule is the 50/30/20 rule. This rule breaks down your income as follows: Your net worth should be 1.5x your annual income at age 30.
|OCCUPATION||2021 MEDIAN PAY|
|Physicians, all other||Equal to or greater than $208,000 per year|
|Physicians, pathologists||Equal to or greater than $208,000 per year|
|Psychiatrists||Equal to or greater than $208,000 per year|
|Radiologists||Equal to or greater than $208,000 per year|
Jobs with the highest salaries in India are medical professionals, data scientists, machine learning experts, blockchain developers, full-stack software developers, investment bankers and product managers.