This website displays earnings of students who have received certificates or degrees from public colleges, universities, and apprenticeship programs in Washington, and were subsequently employed in Washington.
Knowing about typical earnings of graduates of programs may assist in decision-making, but personal interest and skills are the most important factors in education and career planning.
Earnings information is provided only for completers matched with Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage records collected by the Washington State Employment Security Department. This analysis does NOT include self-employed individuals, federal employees, and those employed exclusively outside Washington. Data are not displayed for groups of fewer than 30 individuals.
Many students continue their education after completion of a program and do not reach their full earning power until completing their education.
Wage rates vary widely across the state and the mix of programs offered by a college often reflects the regional economy. Earnings variations across colleges are expected.
Many factors in addition to earnings are required to measure the true value of a degree.
Awards are degrees, certificates, and apprenticeship completions. Colleges (including community and technical colleges) and universities award degrees. Community and technical colleges also award certificates. The Department of Labor & Industries oversees apprenticeship programs. Awards from academic years 2007-08 to 2019-20 are included in this report.
Completer and Graduate are used interchangeably to refer to those who earn awards.
The following elements are used to describe awards:
Field of study: The colleges and universities provided U.S. Department of Education Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) codes for all completers. Apprenticeship data contained Standard Occupation Code (SOC) for the occupation associated with the apprenticeship. We used a SOC-to-CIP crosswalk to associate the apprenticeship programs with a CIP code, although these are not always a perfect match.
This website provide earnings data for groups of individuals who received an award between 2007-08 and 2019-20. All cohorts are defined by the field of study, type of award, and number of years after graduation. These cohorts may be further subdivided by institution OR industry of employment (but not both).
Example: Engineering, Bachelor’s Degree, 1 year after graduation. This cohort contains graduates who earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering between 2007-08 and 2020-21 and 2009 earnings for the 2007-08 graduates, 2010 earnings for the 2008-2009 graduates, and so on.
Example: Business, Associate’s Degree, 3 years after graduation. This cohort contains graduates who earned an Associate’s degree in Business between 2007-08 and 2017-18 and 2011 earnings for the 2007-08 graduates, 2012 earnings for the 2008-09 graduates, and so on. Individuals who graduated in 2018-19 or later are not included in this cohort because they do not have earnings data for the third year (2022) after graduation.
For a matrix that fully describes the relationship between Graduation Year, Earnings Year, and Years after Graduation, please see the “Years after Graduation” Section.
The Washington State Employment Security Department provided Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage records for individuals employed in Washington.
We display earnings measures for all cohort members who are employed in Washington and who meet the minimum wage thresholds described below.
Earnings are displayed for full calendar years after program completion, up to and including 10 years after graduation.
Earnings data is available through 2021. For example, 2007-08 graduates have earnings data for thirteen subsequent calendar years (2009-2021). However, only the first ten years after graduation are included in this report.
We have adjusted earnings data for inflation.
Earnings are adjusted to 2021 dollars using CPI-W for Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue WA (Source: BLS)
We display earnings data for individuals who meet certain criteria:
$14,000 per year roughly corresponds to employment of 75 percent of full-time hours at Washington’s minimum wage.
Earnings are displayed as percentile values.
The median – or 50th percentile value – is the value that divides the earners into two groups – half earning more than the median and half earning less. In some cases, the 75th percentile (75% of earners make less) and 25th percentile (25% of earners make less) are shown.
There are minimum cell sizes required for display.
We display the median earnings of all cohorts that contain at least 30 individuals. If there are at least 90 individuals in a cohort, the 25th and 75th percentile earnings are also shown.
The colleges and universities provided U.S. Department of Education Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) codes for all completers. Apprenticeship data contained Standard Occupation Code (SOC) for the occupation associated with the apprenticeship. We used a SOC-to-CIP crosswalk to associate the apprenticeship programs with a CIP code. Fields of study with a small number of graduates each year may not be listed because the cohort does not have at least 30 individuals employed in Washington.
You are able to view earnings data grouped by Award Level, Major Field of Study, and Industry of Employment. When viewing industry-level earnings, you are not able to further disaggregate by Institution. Each earning record contains a code (the North American Industry Classification System, “NAICS”) that we use to determine the employer’s industry sector (e.g. Construction, Manufacturing, etc). More information about the NAICS system can be found here. Keep in mind that industry of employment does not always correlate to occupation. For example, an IT professional working at an aerospace company will be assigned to the “Manufacturing” sector and not the “Information” sector. The Washington State Legislature passed a law requiring employers to report SOC codes in their quarterly reports to the Employment Security Department, which will allow us to match Major Fields of Study with Occupations, This data was required to be collected starting in Q4 2022, so it will not be available for a few years.
Instead of reporting earnings by calendar year, we report earnings by years after graduation. This is done primarily to maximize the number of fields of study, award levels, and institutions that we can display: “1 year after graduation” contains thirteen years of inflation-adjusted earnings data (2009-2021). The matrix below shows the graduation year across the columns, the earnings years along the rows, and the “Year(s) after Graduation” in the cells.
|Years after graduation||Graduation Year|
* Beyond 10 years after graduation not included in this report.
Institution is the general term referring to a college (including community and technical colleges) or university that awards degrees and/or certificates. Apprenticeships are offered by a variety of organizations: unions, trade associations, individual companies/municipalities, etc. In this report, Institution refers to the Apprenticeship Program Name.
Table 1 lists all colleges and universities included in this analysis. Table 2 lists all apprenticeship programs included in this analysis. If a cohort does not have at least 30 graduates employed in Washington, it will not be displayed. However, the students in cohorts of less than 30 graduates are included in the statewide calculation.
Multiple Awards – Same Year
If the individual received more than one type of award in a year, we use the record corresponding to the highest level award.
Example: Mark is awarded a certificate and an associate’s degree in 2007-08. His earnings data will be associated with the associate’s degree cohort, but not with the certificate recipient cohort.
If an individual received multiple awards of the same pedigree in the same year (e.g. double major), they are represented in each field of study associated with the awards.
Example: Luis receives a bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics and a bachelor’s degree in Statistics in 2009‑10. Since both degrees are in the same field of study group (Mathematics and Statistics), his earnings data is counted only once in the calculation for that field of study.
Example: Sarah receives a bachelor’s degree in Meteorology (Physical Sciences) and a bachelor’s degree in TV Broadcasting (Communication) in 2010-11. Her earnings data is included in both the Physical Sciences and Communications field of study groups.
Multiple Awards – Different Years
If an individual received multiple awards between 2008-2020, their earnings are associated with the highest level award received. In the event that the award is of the same pedigree, the earnings are associated with the most recent award.
Example: Jennifer receives a bachelor’s degree in 2007-08 and a master’s degree in 2011‑12. Her earnings in 2009, 2010, and 2011, and 2012 are associated with the bachelor’s degree cohort for years 1, 2, 3 and 4 after graduation. Her earnings in 2013, 2014, 2015, etc... are associated with the master’s degree cohort for years 1, 2, 3, etc... after graduation.
Example: Hideki receives an associate’s degree in 2010-11 and a certificate in 2013-14. His earnings in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and beyond are associated with the associate’s degree cohort for years 1, 2, 3, 4... after graduation. His earnings in 2015 and beyond are not associated with the certificate cohort.
Example: Kayla receives a bachelor’s degree in 2007-08 and another bachelor’s degree in 2010-11. Her earnings in 2009, 2010, and 2011 are associated with the bachelor’s degree cohort for years 1, 2, and 3 after graduation. Her earnings in 2012, 2013, 2014, etc... are associated with the bachelor’s degree cohort for years 1, 2, 3, etc... after graduation.
Cert = Certificate; Assoc = Associate’s Degree; Bach = Bachelor’s Degree; Mast = Master’s Degree; Doct = Doctor’s Degree
Bachelor’s Degree column shows first year Applied Bachelor’s degrees were awarded in community and technical colleges (for institutions awarding these degrees by 2014-15)
|Institution Name||Location||Awards Offered|
|University of Washington||Multiple||X||X||X|
|Washington State University||Multiple||X||X||X|
|Central Washington University||Ellensburg||X||X|
|Eastern Washington University||Cheney||X||X||X|
|Western Washington University||Bellingham||X||X|
|The Evergreen State College||Olympia||X||X|
|Bates Technical College||Tacoma||X||X|
|Bellingham Technical College||Bellingham||X||X||2017-18|
|Big Bend Community College||Moses Lake||X||X|
|Clover Park Technical College||Lakewood||X||X||2015-16|
|Columbia Basin College||Pasco||X||X||2010-11|
|Edmonds Community College||Lynnwood||X||X|
|Everett Community College||Everett||X||X|
|Grays Harbor College||Aberdeen||X||X||2017-18|
|Green River Community College||Auburn||X||X||2014-15|
|Highline College||Des Moines||X||X||2015-16|
|Lake Washington Institute of Technology||Kirkland||X||X||2010-11|
|Lower Columbia College||Longview||X||X|
|North Seattle College||Seattle||X||X||2014-15|
|Peninsula College||Port Angeles||X||X||2008-09|
|Pierce College-Fort Steilacoom||Lakewood||X||X||2016-17|
|Renton Technical College||Renton||X||X||2016-17|
|Seattle Central College||Seattle||X||X||2010-11|
|Seattle Vocational Institute||Seattle||X||X|
|Shoreline Community College||Seattle||X||X|
|Skagit Valley College||Mount Vernon||X||X||2015-16|
|South Puget Sound Community College||Olympia||X||X|
|South Seattle College||Seattle||X||X||2008-2009|
|Spokane Community College||Spokane||X||X|
|Spokane Falls Community College||Spokane||X||X||2016-17|
|Tacoma Community College||Tacoma||X||X||2017-18|
|Walla Walla Community College||Walla Walla||X||X|
|Wenatchee Valley College||Wenatchee||X||X||2018-19|
|Whatcom Community College||Bellingham||X||X|
|Yakima Valley Community College||Yakima||X||X||2015-16|
For a complete list of apprenticeship programs represented in this data, please visit data.wa.gov
The 2014 Legislature, via a budget proviso, requested that ERDC “create a report of employment and earnings outcomes for degrees, apprenticeships and certificates earned at institutions of higher education” (ESSB 6002, Sec 129). In addition, institutions have relied on graduate surveys to get important feedback information for accreditation and program improvement purposes. While wage outcomes are not the only way to evaluate a program, linking completion and employment data and providing this to institutions can assist them in decision-making.
This website displays earnings of students who have received (completed) certificates or degrees (awards) from public colleges (includes community and technical colleges) and universities and for those who have completed apprenticeship programs in Washington and are employed in Washington.
Does not include individuals:
This report does not represent employment rates or earnings for completers who are self-employed individuals, federal employees, and those employed exclusively outside Washington. It also does not include total numbers of certificates or degrees awarded by an institution or organization.
Washington participated in a pilot project led by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) and shared education and employment data with Oregon, Idaho, and Hawaii. However, that data is not included in this report. Reports from the pilot project are available here.
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We adhere to the student and employment privacy laws that dictate how data should be publicly displayed. In addition, conclusions based on less than 30 people are less reliable.
We are happy to share de-identified data in the form of aggregated data tables or data sets. Please visit ERDC’s data request page for more information.
I am a high school junior and I know what institution I want to attend but would like to look at the earnings for different fields of study.
Step 1: Select the Browse by Institution navigation tab.
Step 2: Choose an institution (WA public college or university / apprenticeship)
Step 3: In the Find a Field of Study search box, begin typing the field of study you are interested in. The fields of study are at the highest level of aggregation, so specific majors are not available. For instance, “Aerospace Engineering” is not contained in this report – the appropriate selection would be “Engineering”.
Step 4: The earnings data for this field of study will be displayed for all Award Levels the institution you have selected offers.
I am a freshman at a community college and I want to earn a bachelor’s degree in history and I want to look at the earnings by different schools.
Step 1: Select the Browse by Major navigation tab.
Step 2: Select History from “Select a Field of Study.”
Step 3: In the top pane, you can view statewide median earnings for History majors for all award levels.
Step 4: In the bottom pane, Select “Bachelor’s” for the Award Level menu and select the different schools you are considering from the “Select Institutions to Display…” menu.
I am in middle school and I want to be an electrician. Does this website only show information for people who go to a university?
In addition to those who graduate from a college/university, this report contains data for individuals that have completed Apprenticeships that are overseen by the state Department of Labor and Industries.
Step 1: Select the Browse by Major navigation tab.
Step 2: Select Construction Trades from “Select a Field of Study.” The fields of study are at the highest level of aggregation, so specific trades may not be available. For instance, “Electrician” is in the Construction Trades category, along with Plumbers, Masons, Roofers, Carpenters, etc.
Step 3: In the top pane, you can view statewide median earnings for individuals with awards in the Construction trades for all award levels.
Step 4: In the bottom pane, select “Apprenticeship” for the Award Level menu to see the programs that are offered. You may be able to drill down to electrician programs based on the name of the Apprenticeship Program (eg “Puget Sound Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee”).
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