Graduates in High-Tech Fields Make the most Money Early in Their Careers
Florida Polytechnic University, Florida’s only college dedicated solely to degrees in science, technology, electronics and math (STEM), is graduating students who are entering high-tech careers offering the highest salaries within the first three years after accepting a job.
CBS News paired data provided by Payscale, a company that uses estimated salaries three years into a career path to track the highest-paying college majors yearly, with groups of similar majors to come up with a list of the top 60 highest-paying majors. Payscale adjusted its numbers for inflation, and CBS News used only bachelor’s degrees.
The analysis shows that students who earned degrees in electrical engineering and computer science make the most money early in their careers. The median salary is $119,200 nationally. Computer science is the top major among Florida Poly students, with electrical engineering not far behind, said Lydia Guzmán, the university’s Director of Communications.
Almost all the jobs on the list are technology-driven and engineering positions. The top 10, with their median national salary, are:
- Electrical engineering and computer science, $119,200
- Physician Assistant studies, $104,600
- Petroleum engineering, $99,800
- Operations research and industrial engineering, $93,900
- Nuclear engineering technology, $92,200
- Metallurgical engineering, $89,200
- Computer systems engineering, $87,400
- Mining engineering, $85,700
- Aeronautics and astronautics, $85,600
- Chemical and biomolecular engineering, $84,200
“The unique 100% STEM education, project-based learning, small class sizes, and specialized student support are attracting the brightest minds to our campus,” said Ben Matthew Corpus, vice provost for enrollment management. “The word is out that we are a strong producer of graduates ready to fill the high-wage, low-supply jobs of today and tomorrow.”
Guzmán said the university’s unique academic opportunities attract some of the “brightest minds in the state and the nation as they look to pursue these high-demand degrees. As the only all-STEM university in the state, Florida Poly delivers an excellent education with a project-based curriculum that is responsive to the needs of industry. As a result, our students are securing remarkable career opportunities right after graduation, earning the highest salaries among all public colleges in Florida.”
To continue attracting highly talented students to these fields, she said: “Florida Poly will grow its leading-edge curriculum with more core STEM programs aligned with today’s industry demands. This curriculum will remain nimble and adjust as these needs evolve. There is a great demand for STEM professionals in Florida and beyond, and our university has been successful at creating a pipeline of high-skilled talent prepared to excel in those high-tech, top-paying careers. The great career outcomes our graduates are having speak volumes, and students in Florida and across the country are taking notice.”
Florida Poly High-Tech Degrees
Florida Poly’s computer science degree program allows students to specialize in several other areas of study identified in the CBS analysis, including software engineering, Guzmán said.
Other Florida Poly degree programs on the list include electrical and computer engineering, applied mathematics, mechanical engineering, engineering physics and physics.
Since it opened in 2014, Florida Poly has graduated the following number of students per degree, Guzmán said:
- Computer Science undergraduate degree: 383
- Computer Science master’s degree: 46
- Mechanical Engineering: 290
- Computer Engineering: 182
- Electrical Engineering: 107
More than three-quarters of Florida Poly’s graduates have remained in Florida, Guzmán said. “Recent data shows that Florida Poly has alumni at about 560 companies, including the 83% who have remained in Florida. It’s also interesting to know that 70% of Florida’s 15,000 high-tech companies are located within 60 miles of our campus.”
She also said that in early 2022, “Florida Poly graduates earned the highest salaries one year after graduation among all Florida public colleges with an average salary of $57,900,” according to data provided by MyFloridaFuture, which tracks such information.
“The university is showing great success in meeting its vision of becoming a premier STEM university,” said Randy K. Avent, Florida Poly’s president. “We continue to drive that forward with our commitment to engineering and applied sciences, robust industry partnerships, and a project-based curriculum designed to be nimble and responsive to the needs of industry.”