In the U.S., graduates from two of the country's top military academies make the most money right away, but 10 years down the line their counterparts from Harvey Mudd College earn more, according to a survey from online salary information company PayScale.
The survey, which uses data from more than 1.4 million college alumni from 1,000 U.S. colleges, found recent graduates of U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis have the highest salaries, at about $77,100 a year. By mid-career, they lose the top earning spot to Harvey Mudd College graduates, who earn a reported $143,000 a year.
Side note: the data from the military schools represents those in the civilian labor force, not active service members.
A quick glance at the two lists below and you'll notice a theme. Most of the top earners are attending schools that specialize in science, engineering and mathematics. For example, data from Harvey Mudd College, the liberal arts college of science, engineering and math, included salaries from software, electrical, mechanical and aerospace engineers.
Meanwhile, data from the U.S. Naval Academy indicates graduates earning top salaries worked in leadership positions, such as operations managers and business development directors.
Here are the top colleges for starting salary:
- U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis—$77,100
- U.S. Military Academy at West Point—$74,000
- Harvey Mudd College—$73,300
- California Institute of Tech (CalTech)—$68,400
- Colorado School of Mines—$66,700
- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology—$65,100
- U.S. Air Force Academy—$64,900
- Stevens Institute of Technology—$64,900
- Thomas Jefferson University--$64,400
And the top colleges for mid-career salary:
- Harvey Mudd College—$143,000
- U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis—$131,000
- Stevens Institute of Technology—$124,000
- Babson College—$123,000
- Princeton University—$121,000
- U.S. Military Academy at West Point—$120,000
- Brown University—$119,000
- Harvard University—$119,000
- Stanford University—$119,000
Flickr user DVIDSHUB—U.S. Navy