Skip to main content

Main Area


Community colleges whose graduates earn the most money

  • Community colleges whose graduates earn the most money

    Career landscapes and industry needs are constantly evolving, and so are the ways Americans seek the skills needed to pursue their chosen professions. With combined student loan debt reaching a staggering $1.68 trillion in 2020, many individuals looking to advance their education and career are seeking alternatives to traditional four-year universities.

    Currently, 15 states cover college costs for students who meet certain income levels, community service fulfilments, and grade requirements. As of 2019, legislators in 23 states had proposed similar programs. While the program requirements, and financial allotments, are different from state to state, there is a growing movement across party lines to create alternative avenues for workforce training.

    States also use various—and at times complex—grant and reimbursement models to fund these education programs. And while students might find that amounts provided offset the majority of their educational costs (including tuition), but not all. Course fees, transportation, and book costs are often not covered by the state. Some states require recipients of aid from these programs to remain in-state for a certain amount of time after graduation, or only offer funding towards skills that benefit certain local industries.

    Even in states without free or discounted education programs, community colleges cost a small fraction of what a prospective student could end up spending on a four-year degree, making them the most viable financial option for many. Stacker compiled a list of the community colleges whose graduates earn the most money, using 2020 data from Payscale. Colleges are ranked by mid-career pay, with ties broken by early career pay. Colleges that primarily issue bachelor’s degrees were not considered.

    As the country’s demand for skilled workers expands past the output of graduates from four-year colleges, encouraging individuals to pursue two-year degree programs and professional training programs is a feasible solution when trying to meet the needs of growing industries. Considering time spent, financial cost, and earring potential, community colleges often provide programs that are on the forefront of career development.

    You may also like: 100 Lowest-Paying Jobs in America

  • #50. St. Peter's Hospital College of Nursing

    - Mid-career pay: $71,000
    - Early career pay: $51,700

    Located in Albany, New York, St. Peter's Hospital College of Nursing offers a two-year associate of science degree, which can be pursued either part-time or full-time, depending on what prerequisites are completed by entering students. After completion of the program, graduates can pursue licensure as a registered nurse, or continue on towards completion of a four-year degree at a number of nearby colleges.

  • #49. William Rainey Harper College

    - Mid-career pay: $71,100
    - Early career pay: $45,300

    Offering a wide variety of associate degree programs, William Rainey Harper College students can pursue subjects like performing arts, construction, engineering, or social sciences, among many others. The school also offers numerous opportunities for social engagement, and currently offers grants of up to $4,000 for individuals affected by COVID-19 interested in studying subjects that range from cybersecurity to medical cannabis.

  • #48. Skyline College

    - Mid-career pay: $71,100
    - Early career pay: $47,500

    Skyline College has a wide range of professional training and education programs. Students can earn an associate degree, bachelor's degree, or a professional certificate. Those who don’t want to spend four years at school can complete a solar energy technician program in 17 weeks.

  • #47. Shoreline Community College

    - Mid-career pay: $71,200
    - Early career pay: $49,000

    Offering options for student housing and more than 100 different programs, Shoreline Community College provides students in the Seattle area a full education at a reasonable cost. Support programs at the college help connect students with careers after graduation, including helping with resume-building and bringing potential employers on campus to meet the students. The college offers advancement for individuals of varying skill sets through its Community Employment Program, which helps those with disabilities benefit from having job coaching and career support.

  • #46. New York Institute of Technology

    - Mid-career pay: $71,200
    - Early career pay: $49,400

    Representing all 50 states and more than 100 countries, the 9,000-person student body of the non-profit New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) promotes advancement along multiple avenues in technology, medicine, and digital arts. NYIT's innovation labs program provides students the ability to use 3D printers as well as tools to help with computer programming or design of complex circuitry. The school also allow students to sign out devices ranging from laptops and iPads to virtual reality equipment.

    You may also like: Fastest Growing Occupations That Earn Over $75,000 Per Year

  • #45. Sacramento City College

    - Mid-career pay: $71,300
    - Early career pay: $47,100

    Within the many offerings at Sacramento City College is the option to pursue an education resulting in a certification or an associate’s degree. With available grants and access to local Promise programs, the college provides residents with access to affordable education. Finding work after completing a program is made easier with career services and access to alumni through the Handshake app.

  • #44. County College of Morris

    - Mid-career pay: $71,500
    - Early career pay: $46,700

    With a complete campus experience, including athletic teams and fitness facilities, New Jersey’s County College of Morris provides a wide range of opportunities for both student life and education. The school's new Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Center provides students with the opportunity to study robotics and can be used by employers seeking to advance their employees' education. Even local high school students studying vocational careers will have use of the newly designed facility.

  • #43. Ranken Technical College

    - Mid-career pay: $71,600
    - Early career pay: $48,700

    Ranken Technical College (RTC) allows students to get immediate hands-on experience before charging into careers in the manufacturing, refrigeration, gas, and electrical fields, among others. The school partners with companies so graduates have a direct line into the workforce. Offering certifications as well as associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, RTC provides young learners and those looking to further skills, or learn something new, a variety of options in numerous well-paid and consistently-hiring fields.

  • #42. Chabot College

    - Mid-career pay: $71,700
    - Early career pay: $47,100

    Offering a free first year to first-time learners, Chabot College in Hayward, California, gives prospective students many reasons to apply. Students can earn professional certifications and associate’s degrees, as well as numerous two-year transfer programs for those looking to pursue a bachelor's degree or more.

  • #41. Ohlone College

    - Mid-career pay: $71,800
    - Early career pay: $48,400

    Ohlone College gets its name from a local tribe, known to the Miwuk as Ohlones, which translates to “people of the West.” This ode to the heritage of the area’s native people comes through in the school’s commitment to diversity. With multiple campus locations and enriching online program, the curriculum can be accessed by a large population through various methods.

    You may also like: Jobs Projected to Shrink the Most in the Next Decade