Selecting the right college after high school is one of the most pivotal decisions that students will make, both for their academic careers and their occupational careers. Because there are so many important facets of a school, a lot of students forget one key factor: the job placement rate.
A job placement rate reflects the number of graduates who become employed in the careers they were trained in, specifically what they learned in their degree. Getting a degree or some type of formal education greatly improves your ability to get a job with a competitive salary—according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with graduate degrees have the lowest unemployment rates and highest earnings compared to others with less education. However, not all schools offer the same competitive job placement.
Students worry a lot about their immediate needs when picking a school; how they will pay for their education, finding the right living situation and transportation, or going to a school with a competitive program for their field of study. Most do consider the kind of job their degree will provide, but beyond that, it’s fairly typical for students to be more concerned with getting the degree itself.
The reality is, the school you choose will impact how easily you can compete in your field for jobs or other programs you want to qualify yourself for. First, students must narrow their search down using non-negotiables like affordability, in-state versus out-of-state tuition, majors available, etc. Then, from that list, the school’s job placement rate should be a high-priority factor in determining where you will attend.
Analyzing and comparing schools that offer the best job placement rates and opportunities can help students make the final decision about where they should go, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 schools for job placement in the U.S. These colleges prepare their students for the workplace and produce top candidates who are high-performers in their field.
Overall Colleges with the Best Job Placement Rates
Using information compiled from the US Department of Education College Scorecard Data, this list shows the best colleges based on the placement rate and other factors that help students find future careers.
1. Quinnipiac University — Hamden, Connecticut
One of the best colleges with a top placement rate is Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. A private non-profit school located in Suburban Hamden, this college is best known for its law, medicine, business, health sciences, communications, and nursing programs.
- Median earnings: $55,500
- Placement rate: 96.10%
- Acceptance rate: 88%
2. Augustana University — Sioux Falls, South Dakota
If you want a smaller, more intimate college experience, this private Lutheran University is located on a picturesque wooded campus. It is known for its nursing, biology, business administration, elementary education, and psychology programs.
- Median earnings: $45,900
- Placement rate: 96.05%
- Acceptance rate: 69%
3. Ohio Northern University – Ada, Ohio
This private university, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, offers over 60 programs to choose from, which is quite impressive for a smaller school, and so is its 71k post-graduation median salary.
- Median earnings: $71,200
- Placement rate: 95.86%
- Acceptance rate: 69%
4. Stonehill College — Easton, Massachusetts
Check out Stonehill College for a great job placement rate. This Roman Catholic Institution with Georgian-style architecture is popular due to its record in connecting students to internships and career opportunities. Networking like this is especially important when it comes to finding a job after you graduate.
- Median earnings: $71,200
- Placement rate: 95.83%
- Acceptance rate: 72%
5. Lebanon Valley College — Annville, Pennsylvania
If you want to go into some kind of science-related degree, Lebanon Valley College is a great option. This private United Methodist Institution is best known for its science department, small inclusive class sizes, and, according to Washington Monthly, its 2021 “best bang for your buck top Masters Universities” attribute.
- Median earnings: $53,600
- Placement rate: 95.63%
- Acceptance rate: 77.8%
6. Marquette University — Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Private Jesuit Research University in Milwaukee has a large range of degrees for both undergraduate and graduate programs. It is best known for its nursing, liberal arts, communications, education, health science, law, and engineering programs.
- Median earnings: $62,600
- Placement rate: 95.55%
- Acceptance rate: 86%
7. Illinois Wesleyan University — Bloomington, Illinois
Especially known for its liberal arts, this private liberal college of arts has more than 80 majors, minors, and areas of study to choose from. It also offers 700 study-abroad programs and offers internships outside of the U.S. to broaden employment prospects and experiences.
- Median earnings: $60,500
- Placement rate: 95.45%
- Acceptance rate: 45%
8. Providence College — Providence, Rhode Island
As a small private Catholic College with a fairly competitive acceptance rate of 47%, this college is well known for its Business and Development of Western Civilization program, as well as its lively and inviting campus life. If that doesn’t convince you, Providence College was ranked #1 in the 2022-2023 edition of Best Colleges is Regional Universities North.
- Median earnings: $64,100
- Placement rate: 95.28%
- Acceptance rate: 58%
9. Saint Anselm College — Manchester, New Hampshire
As a private Benedictine liberal arts college, this school is known for being the home to national presidential debates and passionate professors. It also ranks #16 in the Princeton Review for best homemade college food — which can be an extra comfort when you live away from home.
- Median earnings: $54,600
- Placement rate: 95.21%
- Acceptance rate: 78%
10. Saint John’s University — Queens, New York
This private Catholic University, with the goal to serve the growing immigrant population, is known for offering more than 100 programs to choose from and being a top New York law school for a bar exam success rate of 88% in 2018. This speaks volumes about its job placement and networking opportunities students will be exposed to.
- Median earnings: $48,000
- Placement rate: 95.16%
- Acceptance rate: 85%
Top Business Schools with the Best Job Placement Rates
If you don’t have a specific direction in mind for your area of study, looking into a business degree is a practical place to start. Business programs offer a lot of range and adaptability for students, and that adaptability will stay with you for your entire career. Some of the main benefits of attending a business school include:
- More opportunity for specialization. You can get a relatively broad business degree or find a niche to specialize in.
- Flexibility. Because business is a part of every job to some extent, a business degree allows you to switch jobs mid-career and try new things if you want, and all of your experience follows you wherever you go.
- More opportunities for advancement. Most people with a business degree have more opportunities to advance in their careers and at different companies, which offer salary increases, professional respect, and an opportunity to challenge themselves.
Top 5 Undergraduate Business Schools for Job Placement
For undergrad programs, check out these 5 business schools.
1. Clarkson University David D. Reh School of Business
Location: Potsdam, New York
Median salary: $79,401
2. The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Location: Champaign County, Illinois
Median salary: $69,000
3. University of Michigan Ross School of Business
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Median salary: $85,000
4. University of Pennsylvania Wharton
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Median salary: $85,345
5. Boston University Questrom School of Business
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Median salary: $110,000
Top 5 Grad Business Schools for Job Placement
For post-graduate degrees, the best business schools include the following.
1. University of Pennsylvania Wharton
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Median salary: $130,000
2. Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business
Location: Hanover, New Hampshire
Median salary: $150,000
3. Duke University Fuqua School of Business
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Median salary: $141,000
4. Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management
Location: Evanston, Illinois
Median salary: $145,000
5. University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Median salary: $155,000
Top 10 Majors with the Highest Placement Rate
The school you attend isn’t the only element that affects the job placement rate for after school—what you study will also make an impact. Here are the top 10 majors with the lowest unemployment rate and other success indicators.
1. Elementary Education
Elementary education is in high demand and there are a lot of job opportunities, especially with more online teaching positions being created.
2. Medical Technicians:
Another field that is ripe with opportunities is the medical technician area, which includes lab and clinical technicians.
3. Miscellaneous Education
Similar to elementary education, most specialized positions in education are in high demand, so anyone with a degree in education is usually not going to struggle to find a job.
4. Construction services
A field that will always be needed is construction, and especially as technology advances and buildings are formed with high-end tools, degrees in construction will be more useful than ever.
5. Secondary education
Another education field that offers a lot of job security is secondary education. Though it’s a bit higher, secondary education is similarly rated to elementary, and there are plenty of people who prefer secondary education that would have no employment issues.
Though this is a somewhat small field, biochemistry majors are becoming more and more needed, making this one of the fastest-growing STEM fields.
Especially with the surge of health concerns that arose in 2020, nurses continue to be both needed and employable around the U.S.
8. General Education
This is likely no surprise, but general education also made its way into the top fields of study that have one of the lowest unemployment rates.
9. Industrial Engineering
Industrial engineering is another degree that will always have some use, which speaks to its low employment rate of 1.7%.
10. Special Education
Any type of special needs training is going to make you more competitive and hirable, so a low unemployment rate is also going to apply to special education, too.
Other Considerations when Choosing a College or University
- Location: The area you move to is going to affect certain costs of living expenses. Students also have to account for the weather, the availability of specific amenities that are important to the college students, and the college’s proximity to home.
- Housing options/availability: Weigh the pros and cons of living at home versus on campus — being closer to campus can make work and collaborating with others easier, but living at home can save money.
- Majors: College students should consider choosing a college that is well-known in the field that they’re interested in pursuing to give them a competitive edge in employment post-graduation.
- Size and community: College students should also consider what size of a college they prefer, whether it be:
- a small closer community that focuses more on small, attentive classes, or
- A large school that offers a variety of majors, well-funded sports programs, and large class sizes
- Financial: Finally, there is the financial aspect, so looking into colleges that offer the highest amount of scholarship dollars, financial aid, and overall affordability.
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With the many options and factors to consider for choosing a college, it’s undeniable that college is an expensive investment no matter where you end up. Once you’ve chosen the school that fits your goals, let us make the financing easy so you can focus on your future. Apply for a student loan with College Ave today!