- We kept 80% of them in South Dakota, at least for the first year. Not a bad return on investment.
- Average entry salary for all 2008 grads: $33,189. Not bad: by my calculations from state wage data, that puts these fresh faces just above the 25th percentile for South Dakota wages, not to mention making a bigger first-year paycheck than I've ever received from a single South Dakota job. (50th percentile is $38,406—keep working up the ladder, kids!)
- The 125 four-year degree holders who chose not to become teachers averaged $35,205 for their first annual salary.
- The 40 noble souls who did become teachers averaged $31,642. Three-quarters stayed in state (thank you!) and averaged $24,874. One quarter jumped the border and averaged $31,642.
- The 37 who took the associates degree route (respiratory care, health IT, network admin programs) all stayed in state (thank you!) and averaged $30,532.
Or look at it this way: suppose you and a friend just started at DSU this year. You both are taking student loans of $4000 a year. You take the associates route, finish in 2011 with $8000 in student debt, go straight to work. Your friend takes the bachelor of education route, finishes in 2013 with $16,000 in student debt, goes straight to work. Ignore possible raises, inflation, side jobs, layoffs, etc. All things being equal, by summer 2014, you will have earned $91,596. Your teacher friend will have earned $24,874. Subtract your student debts, and you are $83,596 to the good. Your friend is $8,874 to the good. Assume a really frugal $10,000 a year in living expenses: you're ready to walk into the bank and drop a 20% down payment on a nice house. Your friend has bupkis.
But don't worry, aspiring educators: you can still marry rich.
Math Update 17:40 CDT: If you tinker the state's wage figures, you may come up with different averages and percentile breaks for the statewide workforce. I took straight averages of the given percentile figures; I did not weight my averages based on the number of workers in each occupation. Thus, my percentile figures are skewed high by the handfuls of really high-paying jobs, like doctors, psychiatrists, and advertising managers. Feel free to recalculate your own numbers (spreadsheets are such fun!)