When you look up “reasons to go to college,” among the those given by colleges and universities themselves and other sites is “better jobs.” They are not wrong, as college graduates are more likely to find employment and have higher wages compared to those who did not undergo or complete tertiary education.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that those who attained a bachelor’s degree or higher had median weekly earnings of $1,367 in 2019. Meanwhile, those who attained only some college or associate’s degree had a median weekly take-home pay of $856.
So, it is understandable that one of the primary reasons people choose to attend a certain institution is because of a high placement rate or the possibility of an attractive starting salary. Below, we take a look at the colleges with the best job placement rates.
To ease your search for the best colleges that can help you land jobs after graduation, we prepared a list of ten institutions with the highest placement rates.
Job Placement Rate: 96.1%
Location: Hamden, Connecticut
With 58 undergraduate majors, students have plenty of choices about what to study at Quinnipiac University. The institution places huge importance on career development, which has partly led to it being number one on the list.
Job Placement Rate: 96.05%
Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
This private Lutheran university has a selection of more than 100 majors and minors. On top of that, they have pre-professional specializations. The tertiary institution provides extensive opportunities for internships, as well.
Job Placement Rate: 95.86%
Location: Ada, Ohio
Another private university, but this one is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It has been around since 1871 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Students can choose from more than 60 programs spread across five colleges.
Job Placement Rate: 95.83%
Location: Easton, Massachusetts
This private Catholic institution was built on an estate with Georgian-style architecture. Its motto is Lux et Spes, which translates to Light and Hope. Students can indeed get those two from this college because of its high job placement rate.
Job Placement Rate: 95.63%
Location: Easton, Massachusetts
Lebanon Valley College is one of the four remaining institutions founded by the United Brethren in Christ Church. It offers appointments and sets up networking events, job fairs, workshops, and presentations for its students.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020
Job Placement Rate: 95.56%
Location: Springfield, Massachusetts
The university’s academic programs are spread across five colleges. This gives students a wealth of choices and freedom to pursue the educational path they want to take.
Job Placement Rate: 95.55%
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The private Catholic, Jesuit university has a wide range of majors offered in 11 colleges and schools. Each one is recognized nationally and internationally, preparing students for whatever path they may want to take.
Job Placement Rate: 95.45%
Location: Bloomington, Illinois
There are more than 80 majors, minors, and areas of study students can choose from at Illinois Wesleyan University. You can also go on any 700 study-abroad programs on offer and experience an internship outside of the U.S. to broaden your employment prospects.
How come none of the Ivy League institutions are included in the list? That is because many of their graduates go on to attend graduate school or professional school. For example, Harvard University’s Office of Career Services stated that among Harvard undergraduate students, 83% choose to enroll in post-tertiary institutions. But when it comes to average early career salary, Ivy League attendees have something to look forward to. In fact, Princeton University graduates have an average early career salary of $81,800 per year.
Source: PayScale, 2021
But that does not mean it has the best starting and mid-career salary among U.S. colleges, though. PayScale’s (2021) College Salary Report 2021 notes that the institution whose graduates have the highest starting and mid-career salary is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The starting career salary for MIT graduates is an average of $93,700 per year and the mid-career salary is $167,200 annually.
Which major’s graduates can have the most success after college? The statistics below show that those who take up elementary education have a high chance of landing a job immediately after graduating. Apparently, the major is in demand as there is only a 1.2% unemployment rate (New York Fed, 2021). You can also check a more extensive list of the best college majors for more options.
1. Elementary Education
Educators at the elementary level can look forward to quickly finding a job after graduation. Those who take up this major are in demand in the United States, currently enjoying a 1.2% unemployment rate.
2. Medical Technicians
Teachers are followed by medical technicians, who may be clinical laboratory technologists and technicians or emergency medical technicians. The former occupation has a job outlook of 11% according to BLS (2021), which is faster than average. That coincides with the low unemployment rate of 1.3%.
3. Miscellaneous Education
Those who are education majors are in great demand lately. Students who graduate with a miscellaneous education major only have a 1.5% unemployment rate.
4. Construction Services
The construction industry in the U.S. had been growing from 2014 to 2019. The industry continues to be strong, considering that those who take up construction services only have a 1.5% unemployment rate, the same as those who took up miscellaneous education.
5. Secondary Education
Yet another education major, but this one focuses on teaching secondary students. College graduates who decided to take this up would only face a 1.7% unemployment rate.
Biochemistry is a relatively small field, but it is one of the most in-demand today. The Oak Ridge Institute lists being a biochemist as among the fastest growing and most promising STEM careers in the United States. According to recent data, it has a 1.7% unemployment rate.
With regards to STEM careers, they are an important factor in wages and salaries. Statista (2021), in its note for the infographic “The U.S. Universities With The Best Pay for New Graduates” pointed out that “there is a noticeable difference in early career pay between schools with institutions focusing on STEM tending to come out ahead.” For instance, Samuel Merritt University is reported to have the highest salary for bachelor’s degree graduates in the early part of their careers: $93,900. The tertiary school is a STEM-focused one and is well-known for its health sciences majors.
Another major in the healthcare field that is most likely to find a job after graduation is nursing. The major only has a 1.7% unemployment rate. This could be partly due to the lack of nurses these days or because of the need for more healthcare workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
8. General Education
Teachers are indeed in high demand, as graduates of general education have a high chance of finding employment immediately after acquiring their diplomas. Those who took up this major are looking at a 1.7% unemployment rate.
9. Industrial Engineering
The United States seems to be in high need of industrial engineers. Students who finished a degree in industrial engineering can find employers easily—the major has only a 1.7% unemployment rate.
10. Special Education
Schools and specialized institutions serving children with special needs are looking for more teachers. College graduates who finished special education are either quickly headhunted or hired when they apply. The major has a 1.9% unemployment rate.
On the other hand, these are the least employable majors.
1. General Social Sciences
Not a lot of employers seem to find general social sciences attractive, as the major has the highest unemployment rate: 8.5%.
Despite being a grand field that has people working for organizations like CERN, there does not seem to be a great demand for physics majors. The field has an 8% unemployment rate.
3. Public Policy and Law
This major is not exactly the best calling card unless a graduate is aiming to be in politics or a government official. It has an unemployment rate of 6.3%.
4. Mass Media
There are now plenty of media to go around. However, graduates of mass media are not the most in-demand. The major is one of the least employable with a 6.2% unemployment rate.
5. Political Sciences
There are not a lot of organizations looking for experts in political science. Those who take up this major will have to contend with an unemployment rate of 6.1%.
6. Family and Consumer Sciences
There is not much need for graduates who are knowledgeable or skilled in helping people make informed decisions regarding their well-being, resources, and relationships. That is why this major has an unemployment rate of 5.8%.
7. Fine Arts
Perhaps only a few workplaces require the skills of a fine arts graduate. Though one of the most expensive majors, it is one of the least employable with a 5.5% unemployment.
Recent college graduates of history may have difficulties landing a job. Employers do not seem to require the services of a history expert so much, which gave this major the unemployment rate of 5.5%.
9. Computer Science
Despite there being plenty of tech companies, computer science graduates seem to be having the challenge to get employed—graduates of this major have an unemployment rate of 5.5%.
10. Information Systems & Management
Graduates of this major have it better compared to those who took up computer science. Recent graduates have an unemployment rate of only 5.4%.
Source: New York Fed, 2021
If you are aiming to get into a business school for your undergraduate degree, these are tertiary schools with the highest job placement rates.
1. Clarkson University David D. Reh School of Business
Graduates of this business school are successful in securing full-time jobs upon graduation. They have an overall placement rate of 95%.
2. The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
In general, 95% of students who graduated at the Urbana Champaign campus are employed two years after graduation. That is against the national average of 83%.
3. University of Michigan Ross School of Business
BBA grads have a reported 94% employability. That is out of 603 students from the class of 2020. These graduates have been hired by over 180 companies in a wide array of industries.
4. University of Pennsylvania Wharton
Of the 904 students who graduated in 2020, 93.5% reported receiving job offers. Of those, 91.6% reported accepting job offers. And every year, 360 employers recruit directly at both Wharton and Penn.
5. Boston University Questrom School of Business
The Questrom School of Business boasts a three-year average employment rate of 93%. Graduates from the school have a $68,281 total first-year compensation for those employed in the U.S.
If you are considering attending a graduate business school, these are the ones with the most sought-after graduates.
1. University of Pennsylvania Wharton
The full-time MBA class of 2021 of Wharton reported that 99% of employment-seeking students received job offers. Over 780 unique employers tried to recruit future employees and interns at Wharton. The median annual base salary of these workers is $155,000.
2. Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business
Of the graduating class of 2021, 98% received job offers within three months after graduation. However, 1% decided to forego the offers they received for other opportunities.
3. Duke University Fuqua School of Business
Among the Daytime MBA graduates, 90% had received job offers by graduation and 87% immediately accepted. And three months post-graduation, 98% had job offers and 96% accepted.
4. Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management
Of the 541 students of the graduating class of 2021 seeking employment, 83.5% received a job offer. On the other hand, 77.6% of students accepted an employment offer. And three months after graduation, 93.9% had received a job offer and 91.9% accepted a job.
5. University of Chicago Booth School of Business
The school’s employment report shows that 92.8% of full-time MBA graduates accepted full-time employment offers three months after graduation.
Source: Wharton, 2021; Tuck School of Business, 2021; Fuqua School of Business, 2021; Kellogg School of Management, 2021; Booth School of Business, 2021
College education used to be something that many students aspired to. But now, the American public has shifted its opinion. In a survey, it was revealed that 60% of U.S. respondents believe that a college degree is not worthwhile—not of the time, and not of the money, either (Whitford, 2021).
This may differ across income levels, political leanings, and ages, but the overall consensus is that college is no longer worth it.
This turnaround serves up a lot to think about when it comes to going to college and choosing which institution to attend. And if they do, finding a job after graduating would be at the top of their priorities. With the tertiary institutions listed above, they would have high chances of landing a job immediately after graduation.
And if their situations allow it, students can also enjoy free college in select European countries.