Education means income: The value of earning a college degree

Everyone knows that education directly influences earning potential. Put simply, the higher your degree, the more money you’re likely to make.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicated that while male and female high school graduates took home mean earnings of approximately $50,000 and $36,000 in 2015, respectively, men and women with associate degrees earned a mean of approximately $61,000 and $47,000. Those who earned bachelor’s degrees saw mean earnings of approximately $103,000 and $71,000.

This is in keeping with data from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, which previously reported that individuals who have earned bachelor’s degrees earn 31 percent more than those with associate degrees, and 84 percent more than those who only have a high school diploma.

In short, researchers stated a bachelor’s degree is worth an average of $2.8 million over a person’s lifetime. Still, only 33 percent of adults held a bachelor’s degree or higher as of 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

If you wish to maximize your earning potential, it’s clear a college degree is a must.

college degrees high salaries

College degrees translate to higher salaries.

Degrees associated with the highest salaries
When deciding the type of degree to pursue, there are many factors to take into account, including aptitude and personal interests. However, it pays to consider the best college degrees for earning potential.

According to the 2016 – 2017 PayScale College Salary Report, engineering is the major with the most robust prospective salaries. Eleven of the top 15 majors were associated with engineering, and petroleum engineering took the top spot with an early career salary of $96,700. That applies to bachelor’s degree-holders who have worked in the industry for zero to five years.

Other majors linked to high salaries included:

  • Actuarial science.
  • Computer science & mathematics.
  • Physics & mathematics.
  • Applied mathematics.

However, this does not mean you must earn a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics to bring home a high salary.

A report from Georgetown University titled “The Economic Value of College Majors” discovered health and business are also among the highest-earning disciplines.

The majors with the lowest-median earnings included:

  • Family and community service ($45,000).
  • Drama and theater arts ($45,000).
  • Elementary education ($43,000).
  • Theology and religious vocations ($43,000).
  • Visual and performing arts ($42,000).
  • Teacher education ($42,000).
  • Social work ($42,000).
  • Studio arts ($42,000).
  • Human services and community organization ($41,000).
  • Early childhood education ($39,000).

Still, the numbers illustrate securing high-paying jobs without a college degree is difficult. Additionally, depending on the industry in which you wish to work, a degree may be required.

Whether you wish to earn a lot of money or simply want to pursue your passion, earning a degree is the first step.

Search campuses and online universities at to explore your educational options.

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