Students enjoy a range of job opportunities after graduation
When graduates from K-State at Salina hit the pavement for a job, they can rest assured more than 90 percent of their predecessors have found employment post-graduation and it's not unusual for a single student to be offered two to five jobs.
By Michelle Hall
And don't think that's because the businesses who recruit them are only small companies. Students from K-State at Salina have found jobs and internships at Exxon-Mobil, Microsoft, Excel Corporation (a subsidiary of Cargill Inc.), Southwest, Cessna, Boeing, American Airlines, Midwest Air Express, Chicago Express and Sandia National Labs. For students who want to stay close to home, many graduates also receive jobs in Salina or in towns and cities across the state, including employment at KASA Industrial Controls, Philips Lighting, Garmin International and Black and Veatch.
"Many of our students like to stay within the geographical area," said Lucy Crowell, coordinator of career services at K-State at Salina.
When those in the pilot program graduate, they typically start off as flight instructors or fly cargo planes, then move to working as pilots at a commuter or regional airline, Crowell said. Then, as they build up their flight hours and certifications they can move on to a major airline.
"We have graduates at Southwest, for example, but not right after graduation," Crowell said. "They have to progress through levels, earning ratings, certifications and hours." Graduates with a pilot's license might opt to continue their aviation career in airport management, she said. Those who graduate in aviation mechanics typically work in the aviation industry as airframe and power plant mechanics, but also have the skills necessary to work in industrial maintenance for manufacturing companies.
Those in the computer science technology program typically work in database management, programming or as local area network managers, Crowell said.
Mechanical engineering technology majors find jobs in predictive maintenance, as technicians or technical trainers, as manufacturing technicians working to enhance products' performance or quality, as plant engineers improving or maintaining factories and as technical salespersons selling these products.
"They are a good match with the sales industry," Crowell said. "They can speak the lingo to the general public."
Electronic and computer engineering graduate opportunities include industrial automation and product design, as well as electronic system installation and maintenance. Those majoring in civil and construction engineering technology find jobs as field engineers, estimators, schedulers and construction supervisors, Crowell said.
Job placement rates at Salina have been at 92 percent for the past few years, Crowell said the national average is estimated anywhere from only 40 to 75 percent. Pilots typically make $12,000 to $15,000 per year as flight instructors, or about $17,000 working at small or regional airlines. Graduates in all other majors have a big range in pay, from $22,000 to $47,000, depending on their field and where the job is located geographically.
However, many of the industries K-State at Salina students support are cyclical, Crowell said. For example, the construction industry is booming right now, while the manufacturing and aviation industries are in slumps. Crowell said the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, hit at a time when the aviation job cycle was at its low point in the cycle anyway.
Crowell said the majority of K-State at Salina students have some sort of work experience in their field each summer, at an internship or otherwise.
Crowell's office offers many student career services, including resume and cover letter help; workshops featuring dining etiquette, interviewing skills and budgeting techniques; career counseling; employer contacts; a career day averaging 25 employers specific to the majors they offer; and a part-time career fair. Visit the K-State at Salina career services Web site for more information, or call 785-826-2608.