Average Salary With Master’s Degree – If you are considering a college degree, you may be thinking about the various debates and costs of getting one.
Many experts cite “the ability to make more money” as a factor in choosing to pursue higher education. But does getting a college degree lead to higher wages? If so, how much more? Is the increase in income finally worth the time, effort and money spent to achieve it?
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The short answer is: Yes! Advancing your education leads to higher annual and lifetime earnings, at all levels of education.
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It is important to understand the relationship between median income and college education. Earnings for college graduates are often higher than those without a degree because of the level of knowledge that comes from higher education. The requirements for specific skills vary depending on the field of study and the industries one may pursue. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to graduate without college, but there are many advantages to getting a degree that you may want to consider before pursuing further education.
Below, we look at average salaries at each level of education so you can better understand your current earnings and make an informed decision about whether a college degree makes sense for you.
There are more factors to consider when deciding to continue your studies. For example, because different employers prefer different qualifications, getting a degree can reduce the risk of being unemployed.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, people without a high school diploma or equivalent (such as a GED) earn the lowest wages compared to all other education levels: $626 per week, or about $32,565 per year. They are at the highest risk of unemployment, with an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent.
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If you haven’t earned a high school diploma, completing your education or getting a GED can have many benefits, including an increase in average annual wages of more than $9,000 and more job security. Additionally, earning a high school diploma will allow you to pursue a bachelor’s degree if you choose, with all the benefits that come with it.
High school graduates earn an average of $809 per week, or $42,081 per year, and lower their unemployment rate to 6.2 percent. Just completing high school can increase your expected salary by over $9,000.
For each level of education a person achieves after high school, this income increases. Earning an associate’s degree has an average salary increase of more than $8,000, and earning a bachelor’s degree has an average increase of more than $27,000.
People who completed some college courses but did not graduate earned an average of $899 per week or $46,755 per year. This group of students has an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent.
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While these people enjoy higher wages and less unemployment compared to those with a high school diploma and no college experience, they may not realize the benefits that come with getting a degree. By going back to school and earning an associate’s degree, these people can expect to earn an average of $3,338 more than their current salary. Completing a bachelor’s degree, however, means increasing their earnings even more, by an average of $22,626.
If you started college but didn’t finish, there are several options that can help you finish your degree. A graduate program, for example, is a college program designed specifically for people who have started and not completed a degree. These programs accept as many pre-earned credits as possible so students can graduate faster than if they had to start full-time. It is possible to receive credit for your previous work experience, which further accelerates your graduation.
Those who complete a high school diploma earn about $963 a week or $50,093 a year, and the risk of unemployment also drops to 4.6 percent.
Associate’s degree holders earn more than $8,000 more per year than their peers who left their education after high school, which translates to more than $320,000 over a 40-year career.
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For this reason, it is not uncommon for a bachelor’s degree holder to go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree and earn the higher salary opportunities that often come with a four-year degree. Furthermore, since many graduate courses require a bachelor’s degree, shareholders who wish to pursue graduate degrees make obtaining a bachelor’s degree the logical next step for them to take.
Bachelor’s degree holders earn an average weekly salary of $1,334, or $69,381 per year. Their unemployment rate is 3.5 percent, which is almost half of the unemployment rate for high school graduates.
While every increase in education leads to some increase in wages, the difference in average wages between associate’s degree holders and bachelor’s degree holders highlights the opportunities that college graduates can take advantage of when they decide to further their education. Bachelor’s degree holders will earn an average of $19,288 more each year than graduates. Over a 40-year career, this equates to more than $770,000 in additional income.
Obviously, getting a bachelor’s degree still makes a lot of financial sense. But according to Anna Hughes, associate director of enrollment services at Northeastern University, the benefits are more than financial.
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“Getting a bachelor’s degree brings a lot of what I call soft skills development,” Hughes said. “I think learning to work together at a high level with your classmates is a great opportunity to build confidence and resilience, which can be hard to find elsewhere.”
In addition, it is almost impossible to get a master’s degree, doctorate, or professional degree without getting a bachelor’s degree. Thus, earning a bachelor’s degree can serve as a gateway to more educational opportunities and the benefits that come with them.
While bachelor’s degrees are often referred to as four-year degrees, an accelerated bachelor’s degree can be completed in as little as 12 to 18 months, allowing students to realize their benefits quickly.
People who continue their education to graduate school and earn a master’s degree earn an average of $1,574 per week or $81,867 per year. Their unemployment rate is 2.6 percent and is slightly lower than individuals with a bachelor’s degree.
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The salary difference between master’s and bachelor’s degree holders is less significant than between an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree. However, master’s degree holders earn nearly $13,000 more per year than those with four-year degrees—a great return for most graduates. And just as earning a bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite to earning a master’s degree, a master’s degree is necessary if your ultimate goal is to earn a doctorate or professional degree.
Doctoral and professional degrees are often referred to as “bachelor’s degrees” because they are often the most a person can take from their education in a particular discipline. In this way, they often agree on wages and employment.
Those with a professional degree earn an average of $1,924 per week, or $100,060 per year, and have a low unemployment rate of 1.8 percent.
PhDs earn an average of $1,909 per week, or $99,290 per year, and enjoy the lowest unemployment rate of 1.5 percent.
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The salary increase from the holder of a master’s degree to a doctorate or professional degree is the same as the difference between an associate professor obtaining a bachelor’s degree. People with doctorates earn more than $17,000 more than those with master’s degrees on average; for people with professional degrees, that number is nearly $18,000. Over a 40-year career, this means that those with professional and medical degrees can earn $680,000 and $720,000 more than those with master’s degrees. , respectively.
The wage and unemployment numbers above show that for many people, getting a bachelor’s degree (or graduate degree) leads to a good return on investment. But according to Hughes, that’s not enough to conclude that getting a college degree is the best option for everyone.
“I don’t think everybody needs a bachelor’s degree,” Hughes said. “For example, most people who go to vocational school probably have the background they need to succeed in their profession. Of course, they may need to go back to school to advance in their careers, but that should be an individual decision.”
That said, if you decide that getting a degree will help you achieve your personal and professional goals, it’s important to find a program that aligns with those goals.
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Hughes specifically recommends that students evaluating potential programs assess the value of the school and the types of courses offered. The program you choose should fit your budget, give you the flexibility and support you need
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