With the rising costs of education, many college students today must work while attending college. Both full and part-time college students may be required to fund the costs of tuition and living expenses with jobs. This struggle is equally true for traditional, college-age students and older adults returning to school.
Some colleges and universities are more suitable for the working student than others are.
What makes a college or university a good fit for working students?
Colleges with relatively reasonable tuition and that offer students maximum flexibility are the most appropriate for working students. Distance learning in the form of online classes is also highly convenient for students who work full time. Universities with strong career services and job placement statistics are also beneficial to the working student.
If working to support yourself through school is your situation, you’re not alone. Thankfully, many college students are in the same boat and colleges and universities understand this, which is why some are more geared toward the working student than others are.
Let’s look at the 25 best colleges for jobs.
25. Hunter College
Hunter College is a branch of the City University of New York (CUNY). This college has more than 20,000 students and offers both undergraduate and graduate programs that span over 170 fields of study.
Hunter is one of the best colleges for jobs because of its reasonable tuition and convenient location. Residents of New York state pay just over $7,000 per year in tuition, while out-of-state residents pay around $15,000 per year.
Hunter College is located centrally in Manhattan, which provides ample full time job opportunities. For students who want to live and work in one of the world’s great cities, Hunter College provides excellent value. For more information about Hunter College’s career services, including the job placement rate, check out this link.
24. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
For working students who wish to attend college in the Southeast, UNC Chapel Hill is one of the best choices. UNC is one of the original public Ivy League schools, meaning that it provides the quality of an Ivy League education at an affordable price.
Founded in 1795, the university houses fourteen colleges and the College of Arts and Sciences. UNC Chapel Hill offers more than 70 courses of study for undergraduates and over 100 masters and doctoral programs.
UNC Chapel Hill is located in the culturally rich university town of Chapel Hill. This is a popular vacation area, which provides many job opportunities for students. For students who are looking for quality online classes, UNC-Chapel Hill provides many options. In addition to taking regular courses online, there are courses that enable students to complete the work at their own pace. The career services webpage details high job placement rates through UNC Chapel Hill’s academic programs.
23. The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa in Iowa City is a highly-ranked public university composed of eleven colleges. UI is considered a Public Ivy and offers more than 100 areas of study. The university is especially renowned for its writing programs and is the home of the world-famous Iowa Writer’s Workshop.
UI also offers programs in business management, law, music, dentistry, nursing, and many other fields. One of the reasons why UI is one of the best colleges for jobs is because of its location. Iowa City has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the U.S. Based on 2022 data, the city has an unemployment rate of 2.4%, about half the national average.
The University of Iowa also offers many of its academic programs online. There are both instructor-paced and self-paced courses for students whose careers make it difficult to attend classes in person.
The majority of Iowa graduates find jobs or are accepted to graduate school within six months of graduation. Check out the job placement rate for Iowa graduates here.
22. The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
Founded in 1817, the University of Michigan is the oldest university in the state. U-M is a highly regarded public research university that offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs in fields including:
- social work
The university itself provides quite a few work college programs for students.
The Ann Arbor metropolitan area, with a population of over 350,000, also has a variety of industries, such as health care, and bio-science as well as a busy downtown district that employs many workers. The University of Michigan also offers many distance learning programs. U-M’s University Career Center offers:
- resume help
- job placement opportunities
- networking resources
21. Amherst College
Amherst College, a private school in Amherst, Massachusetts, is consistently ranked as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the U.S. Founded in 1821, Amherst College is known for its small class sizes and emphasis on providing students with individual attention. It is also renowned for its flexible academic programs. The open curriculum does not require students to fulfill any distribution requirements, allowing students the freedom to design their own curricula and majors.
Such flexibility is ideal for working students who are under pressure to synchronize their academic and work schedules. Amherst College has jobs on campus for work-study students, and its website also lists off-campus jobs. Data from Amherst College’s Career Exploration and Planning Center reports that 95% of 2019 graduates were employed or furthering their education within six months of graduating.
20. Goddard College
Goddard College is a private college with two campuses: one in Plainfield, Vermont, and the other in Port Townsend, Washington. Goddard College offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in fields such as education, psychology, creative writing, and sustainability.
Its graduate programs include:
- Master of Arts in education
- MA in creative writing
- MA in health arts and sciences
Goddard is a low-residency college that attracts many non-traditional and returning students.
Goddard students attend eight-day residencies on campus and then pursue sixteen weeks of independent study while staying in touch with faculty advisers. This model of education is convenient for those with busy lives and careers who don’t have time to attend college full time. Working students are given a great deal of freedom to design their own curriculum, so this college is best suited for those who are self-motivated and clear about their goals.
19. NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study
NYU is one of the nation’s most prestigious universities, located in downtown New York City. An experimental part of New York University, Gallatin provides students with the freedom to design their own curriculum.
Students with existing careers or who need to obtain jobs to fund their education can find the flexibility they need at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Both undergraduate and graduate students work closely with academic advisers to design a course of study that meets their needs and goals.
Offerings include a Writing Program, Arts Program, Interdisciplinary Seminars, and Global Study. Since Gallatin is affiliated with New York University, students can choose a wide variety of NYU courses to complete their degrees, including many courses that are offered online.
NYU Gallatin also boasts one of the best job placement rates. In fact, a survey through the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development found this data from recent college graduates:
- 97% of Gallatin graduates were working or in graduate school within six months of graduation
- 36% of Gallatin students secured employment before graduation
- 46% of Gallatin graduates were employed within three months of graduation
18. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a public university that is the oldest and largest in the state. Nebraska offers undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as a law school. Some of its offerings include:
- Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources
- Business Administration
Lincoln, Nebraska is one of the U.S. cities with the lowest unemployment rates, making it a best university for working adults. Nebraska, being a selective public university, is also less costly than attending a private college.
The University of Nebraska has an Online and Distance Education program that offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees. There are both online-only options and blended programs. Through Nebraska’s Career Services webpage, you will find information on:
- job fairs
- career services
- job placement rate
17. Antioch College
This private school in Yellow Springs, Ohio, is known for preparing students for jobs related to their course of study. Antioch offers programs of study in fields such as:
- Media Arts
- Biomedical Science
- Environmental Science
Antioch also allows students to design their own majors based on their academic interests and career goals.
Antioch also has an innovative Co-op Program that arranges paid positions for students with local, national, or international employers. This opportunity allows students to earn money while studying and also helps prepare them for a career in their chosen field.
Antioch also offers a strong distance learning platform. It has several BA programs that can be completed entirely online, as well as blended programs that combine distance and face-to-face learning.
16. Brown University
A private research university in Providence, Rhode Island, Brown is the most flexible and non-traditional of the Ivy League schools. Housing a medical school, the School of Engineering, and a Graduate School, Brown encourages students to pursue courses across disciplines.
Brown requires no distribution requirements, making the college convenient for working students who must plan classes around jobs or business responsibilities. While Brown has a rigorous and demanding curriculum, it is also designed to meet the needs of working students.
Located in Providence, the capital of Rhode Island and New England’s third-largest city, Brown students have many opportunities for finding full time jobs in the area. Check out this link for an overview of Brown graduates post-graduation data, including job placement rate.
15. Thomas Edison State College
Thomas Edison State College is a college designed specifically for working adults. Its curriculum is therefore well suited for people with jobs and careers. TESU students include:
- military veterans
- mid-career professionals
- other non-traditional students
The college offers a variety of bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as many opportunities for online study. TESU also specializes in providing academic credit for life experiences, whether from jobs, military, volunteer work, or through exams. This generous transfer credit makes it easier to earn a degree without having to take courses in areas where you are already knowledgeable.
TESU’s Office of Career Development offers job fairs, career services, internship opportunities, and job placement rate statistics.
14. Eckerd College
Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Eckerd College is a private college that specializes in programs of study involving nature and the environment. Its campus is on 188 acres of waterfront, giving students plenty of opportunity for recreation along with academic studies. Its programs include:
- Environmental Studies
- International Business
- Marine Science
Eckerd College also has many study abroad opportunities, and students have traveled all over the world to pursue academic work. Eckerd’s Program For Experienced Learners is specially made for adult learners with other responsibilities.
Eckerd College’s Career Services team assists students in career development. Career counselors provide personalized support including networking and employment opportunities. If you are interested in pursuing an environmental career, Eckerd is one of the best schools for working adults.
13. Bennington College
Bennington College is a private college in Bennington, Vermont. It’s especially renowned for its Master of Fine Arts writing program, which is a low residency program ideal for working adults.
Along with many other areas of study, Bennington offers a pre-medical program, an MFA in Performing Arts, and an MA in Teaching a Second Language. Bennington is one of the few colleges in the country that actually requires its students to spend at least one term working off-campus. While this can take the form of internships, it can also be a paying job.
Bennington’s career services department assists students in everything from writing a resume to landing a job after graduation. Bennington College is an expert in working with students to achieve their career goals.
12. The College of Wooster
This private school in Wooster, Ohio is ranked by U.S News and World Report as one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges.
The College of Wooster features an Independent Study Program that is flexible for students who are working their way through college. This program requires that students work closely with a faculty adviser on a thesis that prepares them for a personalized academic goal. Although the program is rigorous and requires students to do plenty of original research, it’s also flexible enough so that busy, non-traditional students can balance classes with work.
The College of Wooster also provides ample opportunities for internships as well as study abroad programs. Ninety-six percent of Wooster’s recent college graduates are either employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation.
11. The College of the Ozarks
The College of the Ozarks is a small, fully-accredited private Christian college in Point Lookout, Missouri.
What makes this institution unusual is that it charges no tuition at all. Students fund their education entirely through work-study jobs on or off campus, making Ozarks one of the best work colleges in the U.S. This makes it an appealing choice for anyone on a tight budget who is willing to work on campus. In fact, the official nickname of the college is Hard Work U. The College of the Ozarks not only makes education affordable, it allows students to graduate without any debt.
College of the Ozarks, however, is a religious institution, so it will only be of interest to students who are seeking an explicitly Christian education.
10. Wesleyan University
Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts college located in Middletown, Connecticut. It has 40 undergraduate academic departments and eleven graduate departments in a variety of disciplines. There is a College of Social Studies, College of the Environment, College of Business, and many more. There are also eleven graduate departments.
Wesleyan is a university that offers students a great deal of flexibility, as there are no required classes. Students are, however, encouraged to take courses in a well-rounded variety of disciplines. The curriculum is well suited to independent-minded, non-traditional, and working students.
Sixty-eight percent of Wesleyan’s recent college graduates are employed, while 19% are continuing education. Check out Wesleyan’s job placement rate by industry here.
9. The New School
The New School is an innovative private college in downtown New York City. It includes several different schools, including:
- The New School for Social Research
- Parsons The New School for Design
- The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music
The New School offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and also many opportunities for online learning, as well as many non-credit courses.
Because The New School practices what it calls a student-directed curriculum, students have the freedom to choose courses across disciplines. The New School has more than 200 innovative online learning opportunities as well. These classes are asynchronous, meaning students don’t have to log in at a specific time.
Since its founding, more than 45 New School alumni have made Forbes “30 Under 30” list. Check out more successes, as well as the New School’s high job placement rate, here.
8. The University of California, Santa Cruz
The California state university system has long been highly regarded as making an impact on the world. UC Santa Cruz boasts a long history of being a non-traditional college where students could mostly choose their courses and, in the past, not even worry about grades.
Today, while grades are given, there is still more of an emphasis on narrative evaluations. Many students are drawn to the Santa Cruz campus for its natural beauty, located in the vicinity of the Pacific Ocean as well as near the scenic Santa Cruz Mountains.
The city is a popular tourist spot, and students have ample opportunities to find employment on or off-campus. Students can also access the online classes offered by the University of California. This is a cross-campus system, meaning that students enrolled at any UC branch can access these online courses.
UC Santa Cruz’s Career Success Center is notable for preparing students for job placement and career development opportunities.
7. Agnes Scott College
Agnes Scott, a private college in Decatur Georgia is ranked #1 Most Innovative School in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Agnes Scott offers undergraduate programs in nursing, computer science, international relations, and more. Its graduate programs include a pre-medical program and a Master of Arts in teaching. Agnes Scott has cooperative programs with other colleges, as well as a program specifically tailored to non-traditional and returning students.
Agnes Scott College defines a non-traditional student as someone who works full time, has dependents, or who does not have a high school diploma. This makes Agnes Scott a good choice for working students who are seeking a college that understands their needs. The college offers summer school classes online, allowing students to access the material from wherever they may be.
You will find help with the job search process, college job placement statistics, and career development opportunities through the college’s Office of Internship and Career Development.
6. Charter Oak State College
Charter Oak State College is a public online college in New Britain, Connecticut that offers students many flexible ways to earn credits. Charter Oak awards credits based on examinations, military training and prior learning experiences. The college also emphasizes career-focused online learning so that students may take classes at their convenience.
Charter Oak attracts many students who have taken college courses previously but have not completed their degree. It offers a flexible learning environment in which students with many responsibilities can earn their college degree. Charter Oak offers master’s, bachelor’s and associate degree programs entirely online. Some of the more high-demand programs include:
- Health care
- Public safety
- Cyber security
- Early childhood education
5. Beloit College
A small private college in Beloit, Wisconsin, Beloit College is one of the Midwest’s oldest learning institutions and one of the best colleges for jobs. Beloit College emphasizes practical learning over purely theoretical learning. Accordingly, it encourages students to gain hands-on experience in the subjects they are studying.
Beloit College offers academic programs in a variety of liberal arts disciplines such as:
- Art History
- Modern Language
- Literatures and Classics
Beloit College also offers majors in biochemistry, biology, chemistry and environmental science. Beloit is a good choice for students who want to start working in their chosen profession while still studying. Additionally, Beloit College assists students in applying for jobs and gaining full time employment.
4. Excelsior College
Excelsior College is a private college based in Albany, New York that offers online degrees. This fully accredited college is affiliated with the University of the State of New York and is one of the nation’s most highly regarded online universities.
Although the college actively invites older and non-traditional students to apply, it has students of all ages and from all backgrounds. Excelsior College offers over 35 programs in:
- public service
- health sciences
In addition to the convenience and flexibility of online learning, Excelsior College is quite reasonably priced compared to not only traditional colleges but also other online colleges.
3. Smith College
Smith College is a private liberal arts college for women located in Northampton, Massachusetts. It’s part of the Five Colleges consortium that includes:
- Amherst College
- Mount Holyoke College
- Hampshire College
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
It’s the only women’s college in the U.S. to offer an undergraduate degree in engineering.
Smith College also offers a wide range of majors in liberal arts, humanities, and sciences. The Ada Comstock Scholars program is designed to help non-traditional students fit college into their busy lifestyles. Students who are part of this program may take courses at any of the other four colleges in the Five Colleges consortium.
Smith offers online courses as part of their continuing education program. Online courses are either in audio or video format. Smith College’s Lazarus Career Center offers resources to help students make use of its professional network and find jobs after graduation.
2. Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University is a public university located in Huntsville, Texas. Although it’s one of the state’s oldest colleges, it has recently established itself as one of the leading online universities, earning it the title as one of the best universities for working adults. Students can take many classes and degree programs either in person or online, providing a great deal of flexibility for students who work full time.
Sam Houston State University boasts a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. Its bachelor’s degrees include:
- Political Science
- Computer Science
Almost all classes can be taken online, and the college offers very reasonable tuition for virtual learning and face-to-face learning. Check out Sam Houston State University’s Career Success Center for data on recent college graduates including job placement rates.
1. Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University is a public university located in Hays, Kansas. This university is one of the most up to date in terms of offering students high quality online as well as in-person classes.
Fort Hays places a strong emphasis on business and pre-professional programs, such as:
- Health and Human Performance
- Leadership Studies
The university offers over 200 online degrees that are especially geared towards adult learners. Online credits for bachelor’s programs are only $226 per credit, making this a very good value for students seeking a high quality and flexible education. Fort Hays State also features on-campus recruitment for job opportunities, job fairs, and help with the job search process.
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