There are a ton of financial stresses looming in our daily life – mortgages, credit cards, student loans, car payments, insurance premiums, rising costs of gas just to get to work in the first place. Ask your average American and they are very concerned with taking measured to alleviate undue financial burdens. Higher education has been praised as the ticket to achieving the American Dream, but exactly how much financial freedom do college degrees buy?
Earning Potential Based on Education
What does taking your education to the next level mean to you in terms of securing financial freedom? According to the United States Department of Labor Statistics, higher education pays off in higher weekly earnings and lower rates of unemployment. As of 2010, the national average of weekly earnings is at $782. College graduates with bachelors degrees earn above the national average at $1,038 per week, a figure that is nearly $300 more than high school diploma recipients. Graduate degree recipients rank even higher as far as weekly earning potential – with doctorate degrees and professional degrees, such as MBAs, JDs, and MDs pulling in over twice the national average.
Stats for Young Professionals
Even coming straight out of college, young professionals between the ages of 25-34 stand to earn an exponential amount more in earnings due to their education. According the figures collected by the United States Census Buerau, the average young professional with a masters degree can expect to earn an average of $55,000, professional degree holders earn an average of $79,000, and doctoral degree graduates earn the most – with an average of $83,000 per year.
Lifetime Earning Potential
Lifetime earning potential tells an even more drastic story on how life changing a graduate education can be. Figures quoted in the U.S. Census’s report on The Big Payoff: Educational Attainment and Synthetic Estimates of Work-Life Earnings are a bit dated (2002) but take a look at these apples:
High school graduates = $1.2 million earned over a lifetime
Bachelors degree = $2.1 million earned over a lifetime
Masters degree = $2.5 million earned over a lifetime
Doctorate degrees = $3.4 million earned over a lifetime
Professional degrees = $4.4 million earned over a lifetime
Over a lifetime, professional degree holders earn nearly four times as much as the average high school graduate. For bachelor’s degree holders, even going back to receive a graduate degree can dramatically increase your lifetime earnings. Compared to bachelors degree recipients, professional degree holders earn about twice as much across their careers.