2021 Best Colleges in West Virginia by Salary Score™
We ranked colleges in West Virginia based on our Salary Score at the bachelor's level. A higher Salary Score indicates that alumni from a college tend to have higher salaries when compared to alumni with the same major at other schools. These scores were calculated by comparing median alumni earnings in the first year after graduation in each major at a college to data for graduates with that same major across all colleges. We then combined major-specific scores to provide an overall score. It's helpful to keep in mind that the cost of living differs in each state, so salaries might vary to reflect this. For example, West Virginia is ranked 15th for U.S. states with the lowest cost of living, so alumni in-state may have lower salaries in line with lower living expenses.
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 West Virginia. 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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2021 Best Colleges in West Virginia Highlights
West Virginia University’s (WVU) top-ranking bachelor’s program is chemistry, with a Salary Score of 95, followed by marketing with a score of 78. WVU’s engineering degree programs are among its highest earning tracks; graduates of petroleum engineering report a median annual salary of $70,300, while the median salary for electrical, electronics, and communications engineering, computer engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, and mining and mineral engineering range from $65,960 to $69,340.
West Virginia University is a large, public institution with approximately 20,500 undergraduate students. The three campuses are located in the small city of Morgantown, West Virginia. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in math or science can take advantage of the WVUteach program, which allows them to simultaneously complete the requirements for secondary teaching certification while earning their degrees. The Aspire office at WVU offers support services specifically to students applying for competitive grants and scholarships. They can also assist with grad school applications, including personal statement reviews, entrance exam preparation, and practice interviews.
With a Salary Score of 88, Shepherd University’s undergraduate sociology program is the highest ranking field of study, followed by teacher education and professional development (78) and social work (77). The program with the highest median salary is registered nursing, nursing administration, nursing research and clinical nursing. Shepherd University nursing majors have a median annual salary of $61,790.
Shepherd University’s campus is located in Shepherdstown, WV, about 90 minutes away from Baltimore and Washington, D.C. It is a public, liberal arts school with more than 100 degree offerings. The Shepherd Success Academy is designed for undergraduate students who want the support of a success coach throughout their program. Through weekly meetings, students receive personalized advice and mentorship. As part of the Washington Gateway program, Shepherd provides free bus tickets to students between Shepherdstown and D.C. on Saturdays. The program also offers students curated cultural and academic experiences that take place in D.C.
Fairmont State University’s quality control and safety technologies/technicians program has the highest Salary Score of 96. With a median salary of $73,950, it is also the highest earning field at Fairmont. The second highest earning program is nursing, which includes registered nursing, nursing administration, nursing research, and clinical nursing. Graduates of Fairmont State University’s nursing programs earn a median salary of $61,780.
Fairmont State University is a medium-sized, public institution located in the small city of Fairmont, West Virginia. A number of unique programs are offered to undergraduate students, including the Wilderness Explorer Freshman Seminar, in which students can earn three credits through a 15-week course and six-day outdoor excursion. Students interested in pursuing undergraduate research can apply for the Undergraduate Researcher Grant program and the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Fellows program, which provide funding and mentorship to support their endeavors. The Office of Student Success hosts special programs and initiatives designed to meet student's academic and personal needs.