Education is merely a path to the place you want to be in your life. What is your vision for your life, for your family? We all have an idea in our heads of what our ideal lifestyle would be. And more often than not, that idea has to do with rising above the daily grind and finding a satisfying profession that gives you a better living. These dreams of achievement and financial independence are a driving force to why many people seek an education, and even why they return for additional online college courses and training later in their careers. And it pays off.
Higher Education and Earning Power
There are plenty of stories and examples of people who made it big without any secondary education to speak of. But the truth is that those people are a statistical anomaly when you look at the population as a whole. Your level of educational attainment is the single largest predictor of what you will earn in your lifetime. The more education you have, the more you earn, though there are significant differences depending on what type of degree you earn, your professional experience and where you live.
You earn more working in professions that require a degree, and you lose less income to unemployment because those people who do have a degree are much less likely to experience unemployment and get rehired faster when they do. Think about it; many people during this recession have been unemployed for over 100 weeks. If you’re earning $50,000 (the approximate median income in the US) or so, and living on a fraction of that provide by unemployment, you’re potentially loosing tens of thousands of dollars by being unemployed.
That can affect your ability to keep making your house payments, save for retirement or even just pay for day-to-day things. If you can avoid or minimize those types of losses by being more fully employed, even during tough times, you’re in a much better position to provide for your family. That’s the type of security that can come from professional development and higher education.
How Much More Do You Earn with a Degree?
This graph on higher education and earnings really does say it all. Just on a weekly-earnings basis, the difference between those with a degree and those without is huge. Just the difference in average weekly earnings between an associates and a bachelor’s degree is $283. Over the course of your career (40 years or so) with different levels of education, your earning power over time is even more apparent:
- High school graduate..................$1,099,000
- Some college.............................$1,371,000
- Associate’s degree.....................$1,632,000
- Bachelor’s degree.......................$2,422,000
- Master’s degree..........................$2,834,000
Your yearly salary sees a big jump between a bachelor’s and a master’s degree on average. But in some industries the difference between these degree levels is even larger. For instance, the average salary for a Master’s in Management is $83,201 or so, depending on your actual job. Compared to a Bachelor’s in Management, which has a mean salary of $39,130, you’re looking at earning potential that’s more than double when you consider a bachelor’s degree. Though, again, the difference between professions can be large, as well.
Getting the Best Salary for Your Degree
To get the best possible salary, you have to do your research beforehand. What are the possible career paths that people in your chosen degree program take? There can often be a huge salary gap between different positions that hold the same degree. Likewise, if you already have experience in the field, you’re very likely to experience more growth than if you’re starting out green. You might even want to consider regional differences in salary, and in the cost of living, to decide whether moving your family could be a good career move.
With a good educational plan, and a healthy dose of hard work, you can be on your path to providing a better lifestyle for your family, and a secure financial situation for years to come.
Author bio: Jennifer Cook writes on student life, going back to school and online learning technology for Strayer.edu. When she isn't writing, you can track her down in the library, trying to check out more books than her card allows.