2021 Best Colleges in Alabama Badge

2021 Best Colleges in Alabama by Salary Score

By the GradReports team | Updated 3/1/2021

Our list features the best colleges in Alabama, ranked by our Salary Score. To determine this score, we compared alumni earnings in the first year after graduation for each major at one college to alumni earnings for the same major across all schools. The scores from all majors were then combined to create a bachelor's degree Salary Score for the college. A high Salary Score indicates that alumni from that college tend to have higher salaries when compared to alumni with the same majors at other schools. Alumni from Alabama colleges may expect lower salaries because of the state's lower cost of living compared to the U.S. average. Even so, the first two schools on this list scored above the U.S. Salary Score median: Auburn University and the University of Alabama.

To be considered for our state rankings, schools must offer and provide data for at least 8 bachelor's programs. This list includes all eligible schools in Alabama. You can click on a school's name to view individual program scores. Read our methodology to learn more about how schools were ranked.

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Our Salary Score™ is based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Location Annual Tuition Salary Score
#1 #1 Auburn University Auburn Auburn $12,176 61.98
#2 #2 University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa $11,940 54.42
#3 #3 Troy University Troy Troy $9,312 38.17
#4 #4 Athens State University Athens Athens $10,200 37.64
#5 #5 Samford University Birmingham Birmingham $36,725 36.24
#6 #6 Jacksonville State University Jacksonville Jacksonville $11,952 31.70
#7 #7 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham Birmingham $8,832 30.15
#8 #8 University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville Huntsville $11,878 27.49
#9 #9 University of South Alabama Mobile Mobile $9,116 26.17
#10 #10 University of Mobile Mobile Mobile $25,880 25.75
#11 #11 University of Montevallo Montevallo Montevallo $13,710 24.92
#12 #12 University of North Alabama Florence Florence $11,220 23.67
#13 #13 University of West Alabama Livingston Livingston $10,990 22.96
#14 #14 Tuskegee University Tuskegee Tuskegee $22,614 22.84
#15 #15 Alabama A & M University Normal Normal $10,024 16.11
#16 #16 Auburn University at Montgomery Montgomery Montgomery $9,100 15.72
#17 #17 Alabama State University Montgomery Montgomery $11,068 15.17

2021 Best Colleges in Alabama Highlights

Salary Score 61.98
Annual Tuition $12,176
Graduation Rate 81%

The program with the top Salary Score at Auburn University is animal sciences, which scores a 100. The program's median annual salary of $43,960 compares very favorably to salaries earned by animal sciences graduates at other schools. Other high-scoring programs include architectural engineering (91), forestry (94), and music (97). The program with the highest median alumni salary is chemical engineering, at $74,750. Graduates of the architectural engineering program report a median salary of $71,730, while those in the forestry program have a median salary of $49,330.

School Overview

Auburn University is a large public university located in Auburn, Alabama, a small city about an hour northeast of the capital city, Montgomery. The university offers a number of opportunities for undergraduates to take part in research, including through its Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program. Students in the animal sciences program can take advantage of Auburn’s seven different research facilities for agricultural students.

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Salary Score 54.42
Annual Tuition $11,940
Graduation Rate 73%

The University of Alabama's (UA) highest ranking degree program is management information systems, which has a Salary Score of 95. Other top programs include geography and cartography (83), geological and earth sciences (89), and marketing (85). Graduates of the management information systems program also report the highest median salary at $73,250. The program with the second-highest median salary is the electrical, electronics, and communications engineering program, with $69,710.

School Overview

UA is a large public university located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Students who want to engage like-minded individuals can consider the university’s Living-Learning Communities (LLCs). Students can choose between academic LLCs or shared-interest LLCs. Students will live with, learn from, and participate in additional activities and programs with other LLC members. Four programs at UA (aerospace engineering, music, dance, and metallurgical engineering) participate in the Academic Common Market program, meaning that students from certain member states in the South can pay the in-state tuition rate for these programs.

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Salary Score 38.17
Annual Tuition $9,312
Graduation Rate 45%

The program with the highest Salary Score at Troy University is in business, management, and marketing, with a score of 90. Graduates of this program report a median annual salary of $61,520, which is the highest of all the programs. The second-highest median salary is reported by graduates of the registered nursing program, at $54,120.

School Overview

Troy University is a large public university located in Troy, Alabama, a small city less than an hour south of the capital of Montgomery. Troy has more than 150 clubs and organizations that students can join, as well as 22 fraternities and sororities. The university offers a wide variety of scholarships, including first-year student scholarships based on merit, funding for online learners, and opportunities for enrollees studying specific subjects. Students in the biology program have the opportunity to take part in undergraduate research.

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