Almost two-thirds (65%) of graduates from South Carolina colleges and universities are employed in the state within one year of graduation and half are employed within five years.

The data is from a study by the State Workforce Development Board, the SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) and the SC Commission on Higher Education. The study also examined graduates’ annual median earnings and industry of employment during that same period.

DEW officials said the rising cost of postsecondary education and increasing student debt generated an interest in information on recent graduates’ employment outcomes.

The report shows that the median annual earnings tend to increase (6.3% per year) for graduates between their first and fifth year post-graduation across all degree levels.

Additional findings:

  • Graduates in STEM fields had the fastest median annual wage growth (9.6%) one to five years post-graduation, followed by trades (8.2%) and business and communication (8.1%).
  • Education majors were most likely to be found in the SC wage records five years post-graduation, but they experienced the lowest level of wage growth at 2.6% per year.

The report showed that although more advanced degrees are typically associated with higher median earnings, individuals completing an associate degree or less have opportunities to earn family-sustaining wages in high-demand fields such as truck and bus driving, machine tool technology and industrial electronics technology.

Graduates of South Carolina’s colleges and universities in fiscal year 2009-2010 were found to be employed in every industrial sector in the state. There was a high number of graduates in jobs such as health care and social assistance (27.5%), education (17.7%) and professional, scientific and technical services (7.5%) one year post-graduation.

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