Salary by Education Level: What to Expect

One of the most common questions adults returning to higher education have is how a college degree (or advanced degree such as a master’s or higher) will affect earnings potential upon graduation. It’s a very good question but not one that is easily answered. A number of factors will be considered when determining the salary for any career position, and salaries are often commensurate upon other factors in addition to level of education obtained such as experience, previous positions held, previous salaries, and what benefits are attached to the position.

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) through the National Center for Education Statistics, provides annual information regarding the average income for various demographic groups such as young adults, non-traditional graduates, men vs. women, etc. A study focusing on the average income for young adults (ages 25-34) was performed, and here is a synopsis of the results of that particular study.

The median annual income for young adults who worked full time (35 or more hours per week) for a full calendar year (50 weeks or more) was higher with higher educational attainment.  A pattern of higher median earnings corresponding with higher levels of education was consistent for years 1995-2009, according to the IES study. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree consistently had higher median salaries than those with less education.

Furthermore, the study indicated that in 2009, median earnings for young adults with a bachelor’s degree was $45K annually; $21K for those without a high school diploma and $30K with a high school diploma or its equivalent. The median annual earnings for those with an associate’s degree was $36K. Not surprisingly, the median annual earnings for those with a masters degree was $60K.

The study’s findings are clear when it comes to salary by education level: higher educational attainment is consistently associated with higher salaries.

Please contact the Colorado Christian University admissions office to learn about the numerous undergrad and graduate degree programs offered. Also, learn more about salaries and job outlooks by reading these CCU blogs: