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  • First Destinations for the College Class of 2018

    Download First-Destination Class of 2018 Report

    The report for the college Class of 2018 provides information about where graduates at the undergraduate and graduate levels land within six months of graduation. New graduate outcomes include various types of employment (full or part time, contract, temporary), additional education, entrance into the military or other service, still seeking (not employed, not continuing education), and not seeking. The report also provides starting salary data for those employed full time.

    Overall, 361 schools/career centers reported results for their 2018 graduates: 358 reported data for bachelor’s degree graduates, 176 reported on outcomes for master’s degree graduates, 94 reported data for graduates earning doctorates, and 58 provided data for associate degree graduates.

    In total, the graduating classes of these reporting institutions represent more than 693,000 graduates (approximately 529,000 at the bachelor’s degree level, 131,000 at the master’s level, 20,000 earning a doctoral degree, and 13,000 at the associate level). This translates to results for:

    Download First-Destination Class of 2018 Interactive Dashboard Report
    • 26.7 percent of all bachelor’s degree graduates.
    • 15.8 percent of all master’s degree graduates.
    • 10.8 percent of all doctoral degree graduates.
    • 1.4 percent of all associate degree graduates.

    To our knowledge, this represents the most comprehensive view of graduate outcomes currently available.

    As data are most robust for bachelor’s degree graduates and, to a lesser extent, for master’s degree graduates, outcomes data are also broken down by region, control structure, CIP code, academic discipline, and academic title for these degree levels. Bachelor’s degree data are also broken down by size of school and Carnegie Classification. (See “View Interactive Report” for visualization of these data.)


    Overall, for bachelor’s degree graduates, 2018 was a good year in terms of employment, compensation, and continuing education:

    • The full-time employment rate for bachelor’s degree graduates—58.7 percent—is the highest reported in the five years NACE has conducted the survey.
    • The median salary for these graduates increased by 3 percent (the biggest increase seen since the Class of 2015).
    • In addition, the percentage of bachelor’s degree graduates going on for additional education exceeded 19 percent—another high in the history of the survey.

    Bachelor’s degree graduates at private institutions fared better than their counterparts at public institutions. This has been the case historically, but the gap is shrinking.

    Size of school also had an effect on outcomes for bachelor’s degree graduates: Generally, the smaller the school, the more likely the graduate had a positive outcome. However, in terms of salary, the inverse was true, with the highest average starting salary—$52,451—the recorded among schools with 10,000 to 19,000 undergraduates, the second highest size category.

    Although computer and information sciences bachelor’s degree graduates did very well in terms of both employment and starting salary, there have been year-over-year declines. Class of 2018 graduates in this discipline did not do as well as their 2017 or 2016 counterparts.

    At the master’s degree level, slightly more than 89 percent of graduates had a positive outcome. This is in line with previous years—slightly better than for 2017, but somewhat less than reported for 2015 and 2016.

    The percent of master’s degree graduates employed overall declined from 79.2 percent to 77.4 percent, but the percent employed full-time in the “standard” labor market improved slightly from 68.7 percent in 2017 to 69.5 percent in 2018.

    Overall, master’s degree graduates see a sizable increase in average starting salary over bachelor’s degree graduates, but the differential is shrinking, down to 29.6 percent from approximately 32 percent.

    Outcomes results for bachelor’s and master’s degree graduates are visualized in an interactive dashboard located here.