Auburn programs boast high employment rates after graduation

Published: May 26, 2016
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For the more than 3,700 spring graduates of Auburn University, employment is the next step. Those who won't go on to pursue another degree likely spent most of the spring semester fine-tuning their résumés, sending out applications and heading to interviews.

But many of the graduates who walked across the stage and received their degrees did so knowing they already have a job in place. That's because numerous Auburn programs boast high job placement rates at graduation, some as high as 100 percent.

Students in the McWhorter School of Building Science in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction have had a 100 percent employment rate for the past two semesters, with rates nearing 100 percent in the semesters prior.

"I would attribute the high placement rate of our graduates to three programmatic R's – Rigor, Relevance and Reputation," said Vini Nathan, dean and McWhorter Chair of the College of Architecture, Design and Construction. "Our faculty educate our students to compete knowledgeably and confidently, both nationally and internationally; to benefit from the strong and wide network of our alumni and industry partners; to leverage the career and placement services that we provide; to embrace lifelong learning and curiosity; and to represent the best of the McWhorter School, the CADC and Auburn University through their work…hard work."

Those factors lead to a positive job market for upcoming graduates, who often have multiple offers to choose from before the semester ends.

The benefit isn't just for the students, though. The employers know they are getting quality students from Auburn. Professors use feedback from employers and students to see what changes can be made to the curriculum.

"To have that relationship between the industry and our faculty is remarkable and extremely effective" said Cassandra Calloway, career services specialist for the McWhorter School. "We constantly encourage our students to explore placement options through internships, co-ops and design-build opportunities locally, regionally, nationally and internationally."

Industry preparation is the goal for all programs at Auburn, which is why many others also report high employment rates for new graduates.

Undergraduate forestry majors in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences have experienced a 100 percent job placement rate for the past four semesters.

"The reason for this higher-than-average placement rates is that many industry foresters are retiring," explained Jodie Kenney, director of student services. "Consequently, this opens up a number of excellent entry-level forestry job opportunities, not only in Alabama, but also in the southern part of the U.S. and many regions across the country."

Kenney said she expects to see the employment trend continue.

"Currently, at a minimum, six to seven forestry employers come to the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences every fall and interview our students their senior year," she said. "Notably, these students have positions either before or by spring graduation."

Securing a job prior to graduation isn't uncommon for students in horticulture, either. Within the three options of the horticulture program – landscape, nursery and greenhouse production – students who choose landscape compete in a strong job market.

"The job market in landscape is unbelievable, with more companies wanting to hire our graduates than we have graduates," said Harry Ponder, professor of horticulture. "This semester, many more companies were here interviewing our students than we had students to graduate. We had to stop companies from coming in about halfway through the semester because all the students had taken jobs. Some of these students had 10 or more job offers."

The relationship between employers and Auburn is the key to employment for many students.

With 116 students earning their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree this year from the College of Veterinary Medicine, employers were quick to turn to Auburn to recruit.

"A vast majority of those students have already signed a contract for employment," said Dan Givens, associate dean of academic affairs for the College. "Last year, 88 percent of graduates had a job two weeks prior to graduation."

Between mid-March and mid-April, 58 veterinary practices contacted the Office of Academic Affairs at the College of Veterinary Medicine with job offers for students.

The Harrison School of Pharmacy set a record in 2016 for the number of students accepted to residencies. In total, 34 members of the Class of 2016 were accepted to first-year residency programs while another was selected for a fellowship. Additionally, two members of the Class of 2015 were selected for first-year programs while eight were matched with second-year programs.

Students in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering often secure employment before graduation, sometimes months before completing their degrees.

"The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering continues to experience a strong hiring market among employers," said Jim Killian, director of communications and marketing for the college. "Many of our graduates, particularly those who have been involved in co-op assignments and internships, are offered jobs prior to graduation. The increasingly technical nature of our culture promises to keep job offers strong into the future."

Three programs in the College of Human Sciences report high employment numbers.

Students studying interior design in the Department of Consumer and Design Sciences have a history of exceptional job placement rates after graduation. For 15 years, students in the major have achieved a 100 percent job placement rate within three months of graduation. The success students have in finding jobs could be attributed to the program's 15-year, 100-percent placement rate for internships.

In the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, 55 of 103 alumni from the Class of 2013 who responded to a survey six to 10 months after graduation had an 84 percent employment rate, and 87 percent reported working in a Human Development and Family Studies-related field. In 2014, seniors were surveyed after completing their required internship. Of the 87 surveyed, all responded and 23 percent were hired by their internship site.

Also in the College of Human Sciences, the Hotel and Restaurant Management program has reported high numbers. For the Class of 2014, which was surveyed in September following May graduation, 91.3 percent of graduates were employed. One of the two respondents who were not employed was attending graduate school. For the Class of 2015, 100 percent of graduates were employed.

Auburn's School of Nursing data for the Class of 2015 indicates a 97.9 percent job placement rate, and 34.8 percent of those had a job by graduation. Every graduate with a job is working in a hospital.

The Health Services Administration program in the College of Liberal Arts reports a 97 percent employment rate after graduation.

Auburn's College of Agriculture reports about a 90 percent job placement rate for poultry science and for agriculture business and economics undergraduates.

Nancy Bernard, director of the Auburn University Career Center, is familiar with seeing high employment rates for Auburn graduates.

"Auburn graduates have a reputation for being exceptional employees, which is why employers actively visit campus to recruit students before graduation," she said. "Over 20 career fairs were held during the fall and spring semesters giving Auburn students the opportunity to network with representatives from hundreds of employers and organizations. Company representatives also conducted employment interviews on campus throughout the year, as well as other events to reach out to students to connect them with job opportunities. We consistently hear from employers that they seek to hire Auburn graduates because of their proven success within their organizations."