The Top 10 Best Colleges for Jobs in North Carolina

Ryan Morris
by Ryan Morris
Best Places For Jobs, Rankings - 2 years ago

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One of the biggest things that incoming college freshmen consider when they’re thinking about what school to attend is the likelihood that a school will improve their job prospects.

Jobs are hard to come by nowadays, after all, and the everyday expenses of living in a country like America aren’t cheap.

Compared to a lot of other states, North Carolina has some unique advantages as far as attending college here goes. A low cost of living combined with impressive research universities, as well as the recent influx of tech companies thanks to the Research Triangle, provides NC schools with a lot of resources while keeping the schools affordable.

All that made us curious — with so many good colleges to attend in NC, which ones, in particular, were most likely to help their graduates land a job? Using data from IPEDS as well as College Scorecard as a baseline, we created our own list of some of the best companies to work for that were based within a 30-mile commute of Portland, OR.

The full list can be found further down, but first, here’s a quick top ten.

  1. Wake Forest University
  2. Elon University
  3. Duke University
  4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  5. East Carolina University
  6. Wingate University
  7. North Carolina A&T State University
  8. North Carolina State University at Raleigh
  9. Winston-Salem State University
  10. University of North Carolina Wilmington

How did we figure this out?

Using IPEDS, we searched for the college in each state with the highest listed job placement ratings, looking specifically at employment levels at year 10 after students have graduated.

Then, we looked at the ratings themselves and ranked each state’s top school according to their rating. For the purposes of readability, each school’s rating was then rounded down to the last three decimal places, and we included the city each state’s top college was located in.

That’s it! Now, onto the list.

Does your college make the top ten? Read on to the full list to find out.

1. Wake Forest University

Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Percentage of Working Alumni, 10 Years Out: 93.78%
College Description: Founded in 1833, Wake Forest is a private university in Winston-Salem known for its history of volunteerism — when it first opened, all students had to work on the university farm, and even now over 50% of undergraduates do volunteer work. Maybe all this volunteerism makes for good resume cache, as Wake Forest takes the top spot on our list.

2. Elon University

Location: Elon, NC
Percentage of Working Alumni, 10 Years Out: 93.58%
College Description: Elon University is the 3rd largest private university in NC — with 54 majors on offer and over 300 full time faculty employed, Elon has an excellent academic pedigree for making its students into great workers and future employees.

3. Duke University

Location: Durham, NC
Percentage of Working Alumni, 10 Years Out: 91.70%
College Description: Well-known for its iconic chapel and for being one of the best schools in the nation for doctors and lawyers alike, it should come as little surprise that Duke graduates have an easy time getting jobs.

4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Percentage of Working Alumni, 10 Years Out: 91.60%
College Description: UNC Chapel Hill, home of the Tarheels and deathtrap brick sidewalks, just so happens to also be one of the top towns on our list for finding jobs. A public university, Chapel Hill prides itself on its excellent campus and strong faculty, both of which have contributed to the school consistently ranking as one of the top public universities in the US.

5. East Carolina University


Location: Greenville, NC
Percentage of Working Alumni, 10 Years Out: 91.56%
College Description: The third-largest public university in NC, ECU’s smart professors, and dedicated student body has led to ECU being named one of the best universities in America, such as by Forbes in its Best College Buys ranking. ECU’s business school, in particular, has received praise, being named by the Princeton Review as one of the best business schools in America.

6. Wingate University

Location: Wingate, NC
Percentage of Working Alumni, 10 Years Out: 91.55%
College Description: With over 3000 students spread across three campuses, Wingate has been recognized for its academics by several ranking organizations, including consistent appearances on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best College in the South” top ten list. This focus on academic excellence is part of why Wingate takes the 6th spot on our list.

7. North Carolina A&T State University

Location: Greensboro, NC
Percentage of Working Alumni, 10 Years Out: 91.09%
College Description: NC A&T is an agricultural and technical school with a focus on creating a strong learning environment and fostering an academic community. Originally founded in 1891, the school has a history of excellence in a number of fields (including journalism and entrepreneurship, among others) as well as an important place in the history of the Civil Rights movement.

8. North Carolina State University at Raleigh


Location: Raleigh, NC
Percentage of Working Alumni, 10 Years Out: 91.04%
College Description: Located in the state capital of Raleigh, NC State is one of the most popular public universities in NC. Originally founded in 1887, the school is best-known today for its engineering, agriculture, and design schools (among others), all of which have contributed to helping NC State’s alumni find jobs after graduation.

9. Winston-Salem State University


Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Percentage of Working Alumni, 10 Years Out: 90.72%
College Description: Founded in 1892, Winston-Salem State University is a historically black university that was the first black institution in the US to grant degrees for elementary school teachers. Since then, it has grown from a class size of 25 students to well over 6000 but has remained dedicated to serving its diverse and growing student body.

10. University of North Carolina Wilmington


Location: Wilmington, NC
Percentage of Working Alumni, 10 Years Out: 90.32%
College Description: Located in scenic Wilmington, NC, UNC-W is the only coastal university that is a part of the UNC system. With its commitment to diversity and community engagement, UNC-W does an excellent job attracting high-quality faculty and students, which helps it maintain its high job placement rate.

Wrapping Up

That’s all for this one, but there’s more to see here at Zippia.

Are you a recent college graduate on the hunt for jobs? Find out how to close your cover letter in a way that shows you mean business..

Or are you looking for more articles like this one? Check out which state in America are the happiest.

Rank Institute Name City Working 10 Years Percent
1 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC 93.78%
2 Elon University Elon, NC 93.58%
3 Duke University Durham, NC 91.70%
4 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 91.60%
5 East Carolina University Greenville, NC 91.56%
6 Wingate University Wingate, NC 91.55%
7 North Carolina A & T State University Greensboro, NC 91.09%
8 North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, NC 91.04%
9 Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem, NC 90.72%
10 University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington, NC 90.32%
11 University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, NC 90.17%
12 Davidson College Davidson, NC 90.10%
13 Appalachian State University Boone, NC 89.91%
14 Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs, NC 89.82%
15 Queens University of Charlotte Charlotte, NC 89.80%
16 University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC 89.79%
17 High Point University High Point, NC 89.76%
18 Mount Olive College Mount Olive, NC 89.74%
19 Catawba College Salisbury, NC 89.67%
20 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC 89.64%
21 Montreat College Montreat, NC 89.59%
22 Guilford College Greensboro, NC 89.55%
23 Lenoir-Rhyne University Hickory, NC 89.52%
24 Barton College Wilson, NC 89.45%
25 Mars Hill University Mars Hill, NC 89.17%
26 Campbell University Buies Creek, NC 89.08%
27 Methodist University Fayetteville, NC 89.05%
28 Johnson C Smith University Charlotte, NC 88.99%
29 North Carolina Wesleyan College Rocky Mount, NC 88.82%
30 North Carolina Central University Durham, NC 88.28%
31 Elizabeth City State University Elizabeth City, NC 88.21%
32 Fayetteville State University Fayetteville, NC 86.62%
33 Saint Augustine’s University Raleigh, NC 86.33%
34 University of North Carolina at Pembroke Pembroke, NC 86.17%
35 University of North Carolina at Asheville Asheville, NC 85.86%
36 Meredith College Raleigh, NC 85.50%
37 Shaw University Raleigh, NC 82.04%
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