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The More You Learn, the More You Earn: How a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree Can Help You Earn More

“Stay in School.” You’ve probably heard this phrase a million times growing up. You’ve heard it from parents to teachers, to pretty much every adult you ever came across. But with so many levels of education, how does one decide how long to stay in school? Is a bachelor’s degree really better than a high school diploma? Is it worth it to get your master’s? All these questions, of course, depend on the career you want to pursue. But it also depends on how much money you want to make.

The Numbers

We all know that higher education often leads to higher paying careers. What might surprise you is that the average salary of an employee with some college experience, but no degree, is $3,120 more per year than an employee with only a high school diploma, as sourced by an article by Smartasset™.

The difference in salary greatly increases once one reaches a bachelor’s degree. With a weekly average of $1,137, an employee with a bachelor’s degree will approximately earn $59,124 per year. And for employees that hold a master’s degree, they can expect to bring in $1,341 per week with an average of $69,732 per year. See our infographic to the right, which illustrates income comparisons at each degree level.

The expediential jump of salary from an associate degree to bachelor’s and master’s degree shows a changing need for employees to be more knowledgeable and skilled when entering their respected careers. Employees with bachelor’s and master’s degrees are incredibly lucrative to employers, because these graduates have more training, more skills and more connections; making them a clear choice over potential employees with only an associate degree. And of course, by this logic, a student with a master’s degree would be an even more appealing choice to an employer than one with a bachelor’s degree. Also, a graduate degree can make transitioning to a senior position easier, which in turn, is why master’s graduates tend to make a significantly higher amount of money.

…a graduate degree can make transitioning to a senior position easier, which in turn, is why master’s graduates tend to make a significantly higher amount of money.

As well as receiving a greater salary, if you graduate with a higher degree, chances are you won’t have to worry about finding work. The unemployment rate for Americans with only a high school diploma is 5.4%, while the unemployment rate for Americans with a bachelor’s degree is only 2.8%, and 2.4% for those that have a master’s.

It’s About More than Money

There is more to a bachelor’s and master’s degree than a bigger paycheck. You’ll be gaining an immense amount of knowledge in your desired field of work. This knowledge will not only help you land a career you’ve always wanted, but help you advance in that career. A bachelor’s, and especially a master’s degree, immediately sets you apart from the rest of the workforce when applying for a job. And most times, while one is working their way to a degree, they develop connections that grow their professional network even before starting the application process. No matter what your major, you’ll improve your researching, problem solving, analyzing, writing and a number of other skills that will help you take on the most challenging of projects. By pursuing a higher degree, you’re making yourself a more rounded and experienced person, as well as employee. 

No Excuses

It’s clear that earning a degree pays, but many argue that you have to pay too much for the degree. And for some, the cost of tuition seems impossible to afford. While it is true that many universities and programs cost a small fortune to pay for, there are many other education options that are more than affordable. In addition, there are many resources available to help you with financial aid planning.

Education has also evolved to match the needs of those that want to want to earn their bachelor’s or master’s, but have to juggle other obligations, such as raising a family or working a full-time job. Online classes are a more convenient way to earn your degree on your own time and schedule. In today’s digital age it’s possible for everybody to receive their bachelor’s or master’s degree, no matter their age or income.

To Sum It All Up

Today’s job market is more competitive than ever. Seventy-four percent of employers have raised educational standards over the last years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18% of all jobs will require a master’s degree by 2022. And in certain industries, such as education or healthcare, graduate degrees are often mandatory.

Earning your bachelor’s or master’s is not just about having a successful career and receiving a bigger salary. It’s a chance to grow and expand your intellectual and professional capabilities, as well as to learn and hone skills that you will use for the rest of your professional career. Ultimately, by earning your degree you’ll also become a better version of yourself. And if it just so happens that you end up making a lot of money as a side product, then that’s icing on the proverbial cake.

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