Obtaining a university degree is usually paid, but it is not a guarantee.
Although more educated workers generally earn more, a good number of those without a college degree earn more than college graduates.
About 16% of high school graduates earn more than half of workers with bachelor’s degrees, according to a new report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Likewise, 28% of workers with an associate’s degree earn more than half of workers with a bachelor’s degree and 36% of workers with a bachelor’s degree earn more than half of workers with a master’s degree.
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“More education doesn’t always make you more money,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of the center and lead author of the report.
“You can get less education and earn more, that’s right,” he said. “You can get more education and earn less; it all depends on your field of study.”
Computer and math jobs, health practice and engineering are the highest-paying occupations at all levels of education, according to the report. However, wage gaps persist at all levels.
Either way, men earn more than women – in general, women need an extra degree to earn the same amount as their male counterparts, according to the report – and Asian and white workers earn more than all. other groups.
Still, “your educational background pretty much determines your economic outlook,” Carnevale said.
Leaving high school allows workers to earn an average of $ 1.6 million over their lifetime, compared to $ 1.2 million if they had not graduated.
Those with college earn $ 1.9 million over the course of their careers, and those with an associate’s degree earn an average of $ 2 million over their lifetimes.
A bachelor’s degree holder earns an average of $ 2.8 million, which is 75% more than if he had only a high school diploma, although, disaggregated by sex, women with a bachelor’s degrees have median lifetime earnings of $ 2.4 million, compared to $ 3.3 million for men.
Masters with a master’s degree earn an average of $ 3.2 million over their lifetime, while those with a doctorate earn $ 4 million and those with a professional degree earn $ 4.7 million.
“The safest strategy is to keep going to school,” Carnevale said.
At the same time, Covid and high college costs are pushing more students away from a four-year degree.
Interest in alternative programs sharp during the coronavirus crisis, just as large employers, including Apple, Bank of America, Google and IBM, stopped demanding college degrees.
A recent survey of high school students found that the odds of attending a four-year-old school fell by almost 20% in less than a year – to 53%, from 71%, according to ECMC Group, a non-profit organization aimed at helping student borrowers.
Almost a third of high school students said the financial impact of the pandemic made it less likely that they would attend four-year college, according to the report. Students said they put more emphasis on vocational training and post-graduate employment.
More than half said they can be successful professionally with three years or less of college education, and only a quarter believe that a four-year degree is the only route to a good job. The ECMC group surveyed over 1,000 high school students three times in the past year.