Many Americans have used higher education as a path to provide for themselves and their families, but some university degrees give you more earning power than others.
Stacker.com has produced a recent report on the colleges whose grads go on to earn the most. The publication used earnings information from salary data site PayScale.com to compile what graduates make at the respective colleges and universities.
In the list, you’ll see two figures: mid-career pay and early career pay.
- Mid-career pay refers to the median salaries for alumni with 10+ years of experience.
- Early career earnings refer to what alumni with zero to five years of experience make.
Which Colleges’ Degrees Earn You the Most Money?
|Rank/School||Mid-Career Pay||Early Career Pay|
|10. California Institute of Technology||$153,100||$93,100|
|9. U.S. Military Academy||$154,300||$84,200|
|8. Santa Clara University||$154,700||$75,800|
|7. Babson College||$155,400||$77,800|
|6. Harvard University||$156,200||$80,900|
|5. Stanford University||$156,500||$87,100|
|4. U.S. Naval Academy||$160,100||$83,700|
|3. Princeton University||$161,500||$81,800|
|2. Harvey Mudd College||$166,600||$97,700|
|1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology||$167,200||$93,700|
When you think about people who earn the big bucks, you may envision them coming from an Ivy League school or having earned several degrees, but money expert Clark Howard says that’s not the case these days.
Do You Really Need a Degree To Earn Good Pay?
Today’s job market is such that there are many jobs that pay well even without requiring a degree.
Clark says that an electrician apprentice can make $80,000 a year. “And it’s not just electricians,” he adds. “Think of any service work kind of job for business or home: heating and air conditioning contractors, plumbers, fields that require specific training and education and on-the-job experience.”
According to Payscale, here is the average annual compensation for some of the top skilled trades in the Atlanta, Georgia area:
- Construction Contractor — $92,000
- Painter — $50,030
- Plumber — $80,000
- Carpenter — $47,846
“So, for the people that are coming up in high school, in their late teens or 20s, these are all examples of fields that are non-college and have wonderful earning opportunities,” Clark says.
It’s good to know what your earning potential is if you are going to invest in higher education, but sometimes it pays to think outside of the box.
Want to see more job options? Read our in-depth guide on high-paying jobs that don’t require a degree.