The Best College for your Craft

Helpful Professor

students taking a selfie in london

Have you ever dreamed of becoming something ever since you were a little kid?

As children, we all had ambitions for what we wanted to grow up to be and our parents would tell us the same thing: “study hard and you’ll get there.”

As true as this statement is, where we’re educated can play a massive role in helping us achieve our career ambitions. Not only the quality of education you receive there, but also the connections you can make along the way will propel you forward to your dream job.

At Helpful Professor, we wanted to lift the lid on the best US colleges to study at to secure a role in some of the top dream jobs. We’ve identified the most sought-after careers in the US, spanning across the business, tech, and healthcare sectors. 

We also did a little digging on where you’d have to go to achieve your real dream job. You know, the one you actually said you wanted to be when you were a kid. 

What are the most in-demand jobs in the US?

Everyone’s dream job is different and many people don’t end up going into the careers they imagined for themselves as children. That’s not as bleak as it sounds, though, as plenty of people go on to live rich-fulfilling lives in careers that they never imagined for themselves. 

What constitutes a rich, fulfilling life, though? Nobody wants to be stuck in a dead-end job with zero opportunities for growth and a constant feeling of stress. 

Thankfully, the team at U.S. News & World Report has put together a jobs report to dictate the 100 best jobs in the United States of America. They have come to these conclusions by weighing up important factors like median salary, unemployment rates, potential growth, stress level, and work/life balance to give a fair and balanced account of the best jobs to consider moving in to across multiple sectors. 

Using this report, we took a look at 5 of the top occupations in the USA: Software Developer, Nurse Practitioner, Medical & Health Services Manager, Physician Assist, and Information Security Analyst. 

We then picked 5 jobs of our own based on various factors. We wanted to represent the business sector, so we decided to look at CEOs and Founders, which are some of the most well-paid jobs in the US. 

We wanted some representation from the artificial intelligence sector, after all, the ‘robots are going to take all of our jobs’ so we better find out a little more about the people designing them – which led us to AI engineers. 

Last but not least, we decided to look at the 2 real dream jobs in the US. According to a study by Remitly, searches for “how to be a pilot” are the highest of any job in the US – and over 900,000 people worldwide search for information on that per year – so Pilot has to be included. Last but not least, we picked Astronaut as our final job, because let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to go to space?

Where to study to land your dream job?

Now we had our list of the ten most in-demand jobs in the US, we set about trying to find out which colleges have a track record of producing them. 

As with any professional endevour, LinkedIn was the place to go to start it all off. Thankfully, they have a useful feature where not only can you see how many people on the platform attended a certain college, but you can also see how many of them work in a certain profession. 

Using this data, we took 200 of the top attended colleges in the US and compared total alumni to our ten most desired jobs to dictate which college you should aim to go to for each profession. We created a top 10 colleges for each profession, to hopefully give you a wealth of options if you can’t go to your first-choice.

The best colleges for your chosen profession

Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) come out on top here, featuring in five of the top 10 lists. With 57 colleges out of a possible 200 each ranking in the top 10 for various professions, it just goes to show you that each college has their own speciality. 

If you’re interested in how each college ranked for each profession specifically, we’ve outlined them below.

Business Sector

If you’ve ever dreamed of being on the cover of Forbes magazine, then this is the section for you. Both the title of CEO and Founder are highly respected, and well as highly paid, professions. 

This usually means such titles are reserved for the cream of the crop, meaning the best and most prestigious universities in the US stand you in good stead here. 


The CEO position is a dream job for many due to the power, influence, and freedom that comes with the role. You are solely responsible for a company’s direction and get the opportunity to lead people, make a lasting impact, and leave a (hopefully positive) legacy. 

Financial rewards, recognition, and the challenge for personal growth also make it appealing. However, it comes with immense responsibilities and demands dedication and hard work - which means a rigorous education will stand you in good stead.

The best colleges to become a CEO

RankUniversityStateAlumniNumber of CEOsCEO %In every 10,000
1Stanford UniversityCalifornia292,48127,0339.24%924
2Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMassachusetts270,63922,6168.36%836
3Georgetown UniversityDistrict of Columbia147,0009,7536.63%663
4Harvard UniversityMassachusetts516,70932,3856.27%627
5Yale UniversityConnecticut146,8189,0746.18%618
6Cornell UniversityNew York296,62218,2686.16%616
7University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvania197,88311,3935.76%576
8Webster UniversityMissouri111,0656,3315.70%570
9Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew York281,32115,9735.68%568
10Duke UniversityNorth Carolina137,2067,6705.59%559

If we’d have asked you to guess what US college produces the most CEOs, you’d have probably guessed either Stanford, Harvard, or Yale. No surprises here then, when all three rank in the top 10 for producing CEOs.

Stanford comes out on top, having created 27 thousand CEOs with an amazing rate of almost 1 in 10 students who attend there going on to become one. 


Somewhat similar to the title of CEO, for all the hard work you’ll be doing. The difference here though, is that you created the business you’re working night and day to realise.

Being a founder is tough. For many, it’s a constant learning process that involves many a rocky terrain, but the rewards for your hard work and endevour can definitely be worth the price of entry. 

The best colleges to become a Founder

RankUniversityStateAlumniNumber of FoundersFounder %In every 10,000
1Stanford UniversityCalifornia292,48138,40313.13%1,313
2Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMassachusetts270,63928,71410.61%1,061
3Yale UniversityConnecticut146,81812,8968.78%878
4University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvania197,88317,1098.65%865
5Carnegie Mellon UniversityPennsylvania114,4809,4348.24%824
6Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew York281,32122,9108.14%814
7Cornell UniversityNew York296,62223,9568.08%808
8Georgetown UniversityDistrict of Columbia147,00011,4507.79%779
9Duke UniversityNorth Carolina137,20610,5557.69%769
10Northwestern UniversityIllinois189,35513,7117.24%724

Stanford once again tops the rankings here, with an astounding 13% of all alumni going on to create companies. MIT also puts up some really impressive numbers, with 1 in 10 of all their alumni founding companies too.

Aeronautical Sector

Now we’re talking - how to get into the world of air and space travel.

One of the most thrilling sectors you can go into, pursing this career path allows you to pursue a fascination with flight, explore new technologies, and potentially even contribute to the advancement of aerospace engineering. 

Additionally, the sector offers diverse career opportunities across disciplines such as aircraft design, manufacturing, maintenance, research, and… dare I say it: space exploration. 


The most sought-after job in the US, the allure of flying and the sense of adventure captivates many a person’s imagination. 

Piloting offers a unique and exhilarating experience, allowing you to soar through the skies, navigate different environments, and witness breathtaking views from the cockpit. If you’ve got a lust for exploration and freedom, this may well be the career for you.

The best colleges to become a Pilot

RankUniversityStateAlumniNumber of PilotsPilot %In every 10,000
1Embry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityFlorida135,35819,93614.73%1,473
2Utah Valley UniversityUtah101,8671,5791.55%155
3Liberty UniversityVirginia215,90921130.98%98
4Southern Illinois University CarbondaleIllinois154,3681,3560.88%88
5Webster UniversityMissouri111,0659670.87%87
6Middle Tennessee State UniversityTennessee117,3959410.80%80
7Western Michigan UniversityMichigan148,1401,0960.74%74
8University of South AlabamaAlabama201,58713940.69%69
9Purdue UniversityIndiana314,95521650.69%69
10Auburn UniversityAlabama181,16211920.66%66

A very niche profession, aspiring pilot’s need only remember one college’s name if they’re serious about making it and that is Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. 

The university's comprehensive curriculum provides students with a strong foundation in aviation theory, flight training, as well as hands-on experience. This rigorous and industry-relevant training equips graduates with the necessary knowledge and skills to soar in the field of aviation.


If pilot’s dream of adventure, then astronaut’s want adventure on steroids… or asteroids. 

A desire to contribute to humanity's understanding of the cosmos, conduct experiments in microgravity, and push the boundaries of human achievement, the life of an astronaut is one of constant discovery. In a field that the human race have likely barely even scratched the surface of, you potentially can make a discovery that brings humanity a step closer to interstellar travel. Who wouldn’t want that?

The best colleges to become an Astronaut 

RankUniversityStateAlumniNumber of AstronautsAstronaut %In every 10,000
1Embry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityFlorida135,3581240.09%9
2Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMassachusetts270,6391790.07%7
3Stanford UniversityCalifornia292,4811000.03%3
4Georgia Institute of TechnologyGeorgia215,123650.03%3
5University of Central FloridaFlorida273,459790.03%3
6University of HoustonTexas247,018700.03%3
7Harvard UniversityMassachusetts516,7091250.02%2
8University of Colorado BoulderColorado229,175480.02%2
9Texas A&M UniversityTexas452,301930.02%2
10Yale UniversityConnecticut146,818280.02%2

NASA currently has 39 ‘active’ astronauts, so as you can probably imagine, this is a difficult field to get into. 

Much like piloting though, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the best place to go, producing the highest percentage of astronauts per alumni. MIT, however, has produced the most in 179 - just with a lesser percentage of alumni.

Technology Sector

If you haven’t already noticed, tech has taken over the world.

Those with a passion for innovation and cutting-edge technologies are drawn to this industry. If you are someone who is driven by the opportunity to be at the forefront of advancements, develop groundbreaking solutions, and shape the future through technology then this is the sector to be in.

AI Engineer 

For many, artificial intelligence is the next digital frontier to conquer. 

Becoming an AI engineer is appealing due to the transformative potential of artificial intelligence. If you are led by the excitement of developing cutting-edge technology that can automate tasks, make predictions, and enable innovative solutions to problems then this is the career path for you. Ultimately, you will have a significant impact on how AI shapes our world.

The best colleges to become an AI Engineer

RankUniversityStateAlumniNumber of AI EngineersAI Engineer %In every 10,000
1Carnegie Mellon UniversityPennsylvania114,4801,5531.36%136
2Stanford UniversityCalifornia292,4812,5460.87%87
3Georgia Institute of TechnologyGeorgia215,1231,8490.86%86
4Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMassachusetts270,6391,9080.70%70
5Johns Hopkins UniversityMaryland142,3525370.38%38
6University of California, San DiegoCalifornia218,0857940.36%36
7The University of Texas at DallasTexas137,8804630.34%34
8Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew York281,3218520.30%30
9University of Southern CaliforniaCalifornia353,7991,0440.30%30
10University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignIllinois356,4501,0400.29%29

With it’s robust reputation in AI - it literally claims to be the place AI was invented - it’s little surprise that Carnegie Mellon University produces the highest percentage of AI engineers across US colleges.

Stanford, the Georgia Institute of Technology and MIT also featured highly within this list, all creating roundabout 2,000 AI engineers each. We suspect those numbers will steadily grow now AI has found intself in the mainstream of late.

Software Developer

With our ever-increasing reliance on technology, software developers are in high demand across many industries in the US. In fact, this is shown through the 370,600 projected jobs according to the U.S. News Jobs Report, as well as a median salary of $120,730.

Software developers have the power to bring ideas to life through code, creating innovative solutions and applications that have a tangible impact on people's lives. So whether you’re a problem solver, or you just love databases, this is the #1 job to be in.

The best colleges to become a Software Developer

RankUniversityStateAlumniNumber of Software DevelopersSoftware Developer %In every 10,000
1Carnegie Mellon UniversityPennsylvania114,48022,54419.69%1,969
2Georgia Institute of TechnologyGeorgia215,12333,29515.48%1,548
3The University of Texas at DallasTexas137,88014,95310.84%1,084
4Rochester Institute of TechnologyNew York138,74714,12610.18%1,018
5University of California, San DiegoCalifornia218,08518,5878.52%852
6Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMassachusetts270,63921,3797.90%790
7Stanford UniversityCalifornia292,48122,7377.77%777
8University of California, IrvineCalifornia195,42414,3617.35%735
9Northeastern UniversityMassachusetts282,16120,4477.25%725
10University of WashingtonWashington357,72723,6696.62%662

Just like AI, Carnegie Mellon University’s influence in the software sector is unmatched. Almost one in five people who study there go on to become software developers.

Georgia Institute of Technology, The University of Texas at Dallas, and Rochester Institute of Technology are also honourable mentions here. Each one has at least one in ten alumni go onto work in software development.

Information Security Analyst

Like the idea of yourself as a detective of the digital world? This is the role for you.

Protecting valuable data and ensuring the security of digital systems is the aim of the game here. You get the opportunity to defend against cyber threats, mitigate risks, and safeguard sensitive information. Information security analysts will enjoy the intellectual challenge of identifying vulnerabilities, developing robust security measures, and staying one step ahead of hackers and malicious actors.

The best colleges to become an Information Security Analyst

RankUniversityStateAlumniNumber of Information Security AnalystsInformation Security Analyst %In every 10,000
1Strayer UniversityDistrict of Columbia147,1541,1200.76%76
2George Mason UniversityVirginia180,1091,1840.66%66
3Colorado Technical UniversityColorado118,2347620.64%64
4DeVry UniversityIllinois227,2411,4440.64%64
5Webster UniversityMissouri111,0655440.49%49
6Carnegie Mellon UniversityPennsylvania114,4804520.39%39
7Kennesaw State UniversityGeorgia122,0294290.35%35
8Rochester Institute of TechnologyNew York138,7474850.35%35
9George Washington UniversityDistrict of Columbia201,1986960.35%35
10The University of Texas at San AntonioTexas144,5715000.35%35

Strayer University comes out on top in this field, as they foster a practical and industry-relevant approach to education. 

The university's faculty contains experienced professionals with real-world expertise in information security. Students benefit from their insights and practical knowledge, gaining valuable hands-on experience through simulated scenarios and case studies. 

Healthcare Sector

Do you like the sound of hearing yourself say “tell me where it hurts?” Then you’d probably be best suited to working in health.

Careers in healthcare are appealing to people who have a passion for making a positive impact on people's lives. It provides the opportunity to contribute to the well-being and care of others, promoting health and improving quality of life. Healthcare professionals are driven by a sense of purpose and the gratification that comes from helping patients, providing comfort, and saving lives. 

The job security and salaries are nothing to sniff at, either.

Nurse Practitioner

Becoming a nurse practitioner is a rewarding career choice that appeals to people driven by a passion for healthcare and a desire to provide comprehensive patient care. 

You will enjoy building strong relationships with patients, advocating for their well-being, and being at the forefront of primary healthcare. Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system and you could be a part of that.

The best colleges to become a Nurse Practitioner

RankUniversityStateAlumniNumber of Nurse PractitionersNurse Practitioner %In every 10,000
1University of Alabama at BirminghamAlabama112,2393,0992.76%276
2The University of Texas at ArlingtonTexas197,3203,8601.96%196
3University of South AlabamaAlabama201,5873,4791.73%173
4University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvania197,8833,2891.66%166
5University of CincinnatiOhio216,6683,2651.51%151
6Grand Canyon UniversityArizona189,4132,8491.50%150
7Georgetown UniversityDistrict of Columbia147,0002,2041.50%150
8Boston CollegeMassachusetts159,4621,8941.19%119
9Stony Brook UniversityNew York155,4381,7821.15%115
10Marquette UniversityWisconsin101,3379830.97%97

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is an excellent choice for studying to become a nurse and it’s no surprise that they top the charts here. UAB boasts a renowned School of Nursing with a strong reputation for excellence in nursing education and research. 

The program offers comprehensive and specialized curriculum, clinical experiences, and cutting-edge resources that prepare students to become highly skilled and compassionate Nurse Practitioners.

Medical & Health Services Manager

Becoming a medical & health services manager is attractive to people who are passionate about healthcare and possess strong organizational and leadership skills. 

These professionals play a vital role in the efficient and effective operation of healthcare facilities. They have the opportunity to make a positive impact on patient care by overseeing and optimizing healthcare delivery systems, managing budgets, and ensuring regulatory compliance. While that might not sound especially thrilling, the job is incredibly rewarding both financially and for the difference you can make.

The best colleges to become a Medical & Health Services Manager

RankUniversityStateAlumniNumber of Medical & Health Services ManagersMedical & Health Services Manager %In every 10,000
1Grand Canyon UniversityArizona189,4137800.41%41
2The University of Texas at ArlingtonTexas197,3205560.28%28
3Johns Hopkins UniversityMaryland142,3523330.23%23
4University of WashingtonWashington357,7278310.23%23
5University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesMinnesota322,9267500.23%23
6University of Alabama at BirminghamAlabama112,2392600.23%23
7Villanova UniversityPennsylvania137,7793160.23%23
8Webster UniversityMissouri111,0652540.23%23
9Loyola University ChicagoIllinois116,2932370.20%20
10University of North Carolina at Chapel HillNorth Carolina212,2004260.20%20

Grand Canyon University ranks as number 1 for studying to become a medical & health services manager. The university offers a comprehensive curriculum that combines business and healthcare principles, providing students with a well-rounded education that is tailored to the specific demands of managing healthcare organizations. 

Students gain a deep understanding of healthcare administration, finance, strategic planning, and leadership. Thus preparing them for the complexities of managing healthcare services.

Physician Assistant

While not quite as glamorous as magician’s assistants, the career of physician assistant is a compelling choice for those passionate about healthcare, patients, and medical collaboration. 

Physician assistants have the opportunity to diagnose illnesses, develop treatment plans, and provide compassionate care to patients. They are driven by the desire to make a positive impact on people's lives, improve health outcomes, and contribute to the healthcare team.

The best colleges to become an Physician Assistant

RankUniversityStateAlumniNumber of Physician AssistantsPhysician Assistant %In every 10,000
1Nova Southeastern UniversityFlorida124,1283,3642.71%271
2University of Alabama at BirminghamAlabama112,2391,3301.18%118
3Stony Brook UniversityNew York155,4381,7671.14%114
4Duke UniversityNorth Carolina137,2061,5551.13%113
5Johns Hopkins UniversityMaryland142,3521,3310.94%94
6Drexel UniversityPennsylvania131,5641,1660.89%89
7Marquette UniversityWisconsin101,3378710.86%86
8University of North Carolina at Chapel HillNorth Carolina212,2001,7740.84%84
9University of FloridaFlorida349,4802,9170.83%83
10Washington University in St. LouisMissouri108,3258420.78%78

Nova Southeastern University stands out as an excellent institution for studying to become a physician assistant. Firstly, the university offers a comprehensive and accredited program that provides a solid foundation in medical knowledge and clinical skills. 

Students at Nova Southeastern University benefit from a rigorous curriculum, state-of-the-art facilities, and experienced faculty who are dedicated to mentoring and guiding aspiring Physician Assistants.


Data was collected from the following sources: