NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Nearly 90% of Stephen F. Austin State University’s May 2022 graduating class reported positive career outcomes within six months of graduation, according to a class-specific survey conducted by the university’s Center for Career and Professional Development.

The First Destination Survey is used to capture information from SFA’s new graduates within their first six months after graduation. Specifically, it looks at information related to post-graduation next steps, including whether they are working, continuing education, joining the military or another option.

The survey is meant to provide clear, concise and consistent data on the outcomes associated with SFA students as well as the national outcomes associated with a college education, according to an article on the Handshake website, the platform CCPD uses to connect students with industry professionals. For this reason, the questions in the survey are compliant with the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

The FDS is one way SFA tracks the success of students and those who help prepare them for the job market, said CCPD director Brent McLemore, “allowing us to tell their stories more completely, celebrate accordingly, and improve more effectively.”

Between self-reported student data and the CCPD’s post-graduation knowledge rate, overall survey results account for 51% of the May 2022 SFA graduating class. This is just below the previous year’s national overall rate of 55% and higher than the southwest U.S. average of 47%. The southwest region includes Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona. 

From SFA’s results, 60% marked themselves as working, 29% are pursuing some form of continuing education, and less than 1% had joined the military. Of those within the working category, the average annual salary reported by SFA alumni hired within six months of graduation was $56,309. For those hired within the same time span at an hourly rate, the average salary was $44,393.

Final national results for 2022 won’t be released until the coming fall. However, McLemore and other SFA administrators were excited to see that SFA’s reported employment rate within six months of graduation was 5% higher than the 2021 national average and 14% higher than the 2021 southwest U.S. average.

“These trends are reflective of the good work our faculty members put in each day to educate our students,” McLemore said. “Their work results in students who are competitive in the job market, bringing significant value to it as potential employees. Our role at CCPD is to help students understand and communicate their value to potential employers and to facilitate connection for our students and employers in both virtual and physical spaces.”

To learn more about the CCPD, including its career exploration and employer connection services, visit