If high school students or their parents are wondering if there will be jobs available when a student graduates from college, there are jobs for University of Wisconsin-Madison students in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, says John Klatt, CALS assistant dean for student development.
According to a placement survey conducted on CALS students who graduated in May 2013:
*25% of the graduating students had already accepted jobs by graduation
*34% went on to graduate school or a professional school, such as vet school
*11% had signed up for jobs in organizations such as Peace Corps or Teach for America
"What this survey shows is that at the time of graduation, 70% of the CALS graduating class in May 2013 had post-graduate plans," Klatt explains.
A follow up study six months later revealed that two-thirds of the 30% who did not have jobs lined up at graduation had accepted full-time jobs.
"What this means is six months after graduation, 90% of the graduating class from May 2013 was employed, in graduate school or a professional school or was in organizations such as Peace Corps or Teach for America," Klatt explains.
CALS graduates are also receiving strong salaries, Klatt says.
"UW-Madison and 16 other ag schools send salary survey data from recent graduates to Iowa State University. The data from all 17 universities are compiled and show our majors are earning strong salaries, particularly in ag engineering and agronomy."
The regional salary survey shows recent college graduates in engineering are being paid an average salary of $56,930, while agronomists are getting paid $55,455. Those who are working as crop scouts/consultants are getting paid $40,883 on average and agronomy sales representatives are making $48,935.
Those in marketing/public relations are being paid $52,642 per year, while those in ag lending and finance are starting at $43,745 a year. Sales representatives in animal and dairy science can expect to average $46,960.
"Of course these are average starting salaries," Klatt says. "Some graduates will make a little more than that, some will make a little less."
Klatt says while it costs on average $24,466 to attend UW-Madison per year, including tuition, fees, books, food, housing and transportation, there are scholarships, grants and loans available to help students and their families pay some of these expenses.
In 2013, the average college student graduated with $26,000 in student loans.
"Most students pay off their student loans within 10 or 11 years if they have loans," Klatt notes.
In 2013, CALS gave out more than $735,000 in scholarships.
"We have 192 active scholarships. A total of 436 students received a scholarship award," he says. "Other colleges on campus don't offer as much in scholarships or as many scholarships as CALS does. We have a good partnership with donors and industry."
While critics say the cost of a college education isn't worth it, Klatt disagrees.
"The saying 'the only thing more costly than a college education is not getting one' is true," he says. "Over the course of a career, when you compare high school graduates with college graduates, the college graduates earn between $500,000 and $900,000 more than a high school graduate."
Klatt believes the future is bright for CALS students.
"CALS offers 24 different majors. Twenty of those majors are in science, technology, engineering or math, also known as STEM," Klatt says. "There are efforts to attract more students to study and work in STEM fields. Job growth for STEM graduates is projected to increase 11% during the next 10 years, second only to growth in healthcare jobs."
Being at a major research university gives students experiences they would not have at other schools including opportunities to work with faculty members on applied problems, Klatt believes.
"The variety of opportunities CALS offers both for identifying disciplines to study and potential careers are greater here than at other schools," he says.