Two Pasadena Colleges Among Top-Ranked in California for Graduates Earning Best Starting Salaries

Published : Tuesday, September 18, 2018 | 5:20 AM

Two colleges in Pasadena are among the top schools in California where students could expect to get the best starting salaries when they graduate and find a job.

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and ArtCenter College of Design are listed among the top 10 Best Value Colleges in the state which SmartAsset, a financial technology company that provides personal finance advice online, said could guarantee the highest starting salaries for their graduates.

SmartAsset actually looked at five factors in determining the Best Value colleges and universities – tuition fees, student living costs, scholarship and grant offerings, retention rate and starting salary – to provide guidance for students when they choose which college would make a difference as the costs of getting a college education continue to rise.

It listed the average starting salary as one of the factors that would encourage students to enroll in a particular school.

The list showed Caltech graduates could expect to get an average annual starting salary of $78,800 when they get a job. Graduates from the ArtCenter College of Design, on the other hand, could get about $59,200 per year, SmartAsset said.

California’s average starting annual salary is listed at $53,291.

Caltech is second in the top 10, with Harvey Mudd College at Claremont at No. 1. ArtCenter was listed as No. 9.

SmartAsset said the average annual growth rate for the cost of attending a four-year university between 1989 and 2016 was 2.6 percent per year. In comparison, the annual growth in salaries was only 0.3 percent. The cost to attend a university increased nearly eight times faster than wages did, the company said.

Other colleges in the top 10 as far as starting salaries are concerned include Stanford University ($73,300 starting salary), Loma Linda University ($66,400), University of California-Berkeley (65,400), Santa Clara University ($63,800), California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo ($61,100), USC Los Angeles, ($59,400), and University of California-San Diego ($58,600).

For more information about SmartAsset’s methodology, visit

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