Top (and bottom) colleges in the United States by post-graduation earnings

The following charts illustrate the best and worst colleges in terms of income, using college scorecard data generously collected by the United States government. All colleges below are ranked by median household income 10 years after graduation.

Top colleges (hint, doctors make good money)

The following chart shows the 20 in the United States with the highest median income 10 years after graduation. You may notice that the majority are medical schools of some kind (shocker), and have been colored blue.

Top 20 by household income (grouped)

Curious to see what non-medical schools offer the big $$, I broke out a list excluding them, and this is what I found:

Top 20 by household income (exluding medical schools) (1)

Bottom colleges

Next, I looked for the bottom 20 colleges by 10-year median household income, and once again found a pattern. The majority of the list were beauty/cosmetology schools (highlighted blue). Bottom 20 by household income (grouped)

Again, curious to see what non-beauty schools one should avoid to improve chance of earning the big $$, I broke out a list excluding this set:

Bottom 20 by household income (excluding beauty-hair schools) (2)

Exploring for-profit schools

Next, I was curious about some of the (in)famous ‘for-profit‘ schools that seem to spend more on television advertising than teachers. So, I cross-referenced my set with a list of all for-profit colleges in the United States, found here. Next, I had to remove those that had ‘suppressed’ data from the government set, and was left with this list. You’ll notice a few of the big names our missing due to the suppression of the data, but this still generates a nice list/idea of the (lack of) return of most of these college types.


Household income by 'for profit' college

Surprisingly, the average for the above list was about $35,000, which is actually higher than the set average (~$33,000), but I’ll speculate that’s due to some of the outliers hanging at the bottom of the set, particularly the cosmetology schools.

Find your school

Want to do some digging of your own? Click here to explore the schools yourself on my Tableau profile with a quick tool I created. If the value is 0 or missing, then that school has suppressed the data from this study.