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The Orion

Working WildCat: Great places for after graduation

Ariel Hernandez Photo credit: Kasey Judge

Thousands of graduates will walk across the stage come May, but only a handful of jobs are available locally.

Forbes and compared the top 25 markets with the best rental values, unemployment, cost of living and annual mean salaries in 2013 to develop a list of the top 10 places to relocate after college.

Consider these cities as you plan your bon voyage from Chico.


Boston has long attracted recent graduates with its historic charm and economic opportunity in education, tourism and finance. Massachusetts receives the largest amount of venture capital funding per capita in the United States, according to Boston Magazine. The median salary of $57,500 may be a solid reason to lure you to the opportunities Boston offers, but if that’s not enough, it is known for tea parties.

St. Louis

Missouri may not be the first place that pops into your head when you think of a glamorous life after college, but don’t sell the state short. St. Louis is bustling with biotech and business companies. With an average salary of $44,200 and a relatively low cost of living, relocating here will leave you with enough cash to visit all the museums and art shows, and maybe pay a little on those student loans too.


Atlanta offers an annual income of $46,600 and a relatively low cost of living. The city houses large corporation headquarters such as AT&T; Mobility, Delta Air Lines, UPS and Coca-Cola. Blended with a variety of culture, Atlanta offers new graduates that exciting city life for an affordable price.


You might picture cowboy boots, country music and line dancing when you think of Texas, but the Lone Star State has a lot more to offer. Houston is home to several large corporation headquarters and only New York City offers more public companies than Houston. An average salary of $47,500 matched with a low cost of living make Houston an ideal place to move after graduation.

Washington, D.C.

The city offers numerous entry-level positions and an average salary of $62,900 with a variety of jobs in government. If “House of Cards” has persuaded you to go for a job in government, then you might consider hitching a ride to Capitol Hill.


If Houston didn’t sell you, maybe Dallas will. The city has strong industrial and financial sectors, offering recent graduates an opportunities for a variety of jobs. Like Houston, Dallas provides a relatively low cost of living and an average salary of $46,200. Plus, who isn’t a fan of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders?


Raleigh, N.C. is one of the leaders in high-tech and biotech research in the U.S., creating a vast amount of jobs available for the taking. With an average income of $45,200 and an average cost of living, you’ll have enough dough to visit one of the nation’s premier public art collections.


Offering an average annual income of $50,300, Denver has caught the eye of young professionals across the country. Not only does the city offer growing technology and telecommunications industries, but the location has mining and energy companies flocking to the Rocky Mountains. The city is filled with trendy restaurants, bars, clubs and a variety of resources for outdoor activities, making it a good fit for almost any graduate.

Minneapolis-St. Paul

Known as the “Twin Cities,” these adjoining cities in Minnesota are the primary business center between Seattle and Chicago. The mean annual income of $49,800 and a lower-than-average cost of living make this location a set of tempting twins.


Known for its culture, music and coffee, Seattle offers a great atmosphere to start a career. The city houses opportunities for jobs from aerospace to tourism and everything in between. With an average annual income of $54,800, the city is a great place to venture after graduation. Just don’t forget an umbrella!

This list is just a snap shot of the opportunities you have after graduation, and the location you choose will be influenced by a variety of factors. So, after you throw your cap in the air, where will it land?

Ariel Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] and @aj7uriel on Twitter.

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