To be Educated, or not to be Educated, that is the Question: A Look at Education and Salary Statistics

by Victoria Rodriguez Baziuk

Going back to school can be a challenge in itself, especially once a person has settled nicely into a long-term career, and has established tenor with the company in which they are working. But what is the low down on education and salary?

And does having a higher educational degree make that much of a difference in pay over the career span of an individual? When people decide to go back to school, especially after being out of school for an extended period of time, many questions may arise.

In today’s tough economy, it seems like a very wise choice to invest in school, especially when looking at the correlation between higher education and salary.

Education and Salary: High School Diploma Salary vs. Associates Degree Salary

There has been a rise in people pursuing higher education over the past 15 years. With this being said, how much more money are people with higher educational degrees making in comparison to people with only a high school diploma? Let’s look at the jump in salary for someone who has a high school diploma versus someone who has an Associate’s degree.

According to Laura Morsch in her article, “10 Best Paying Jobs for Associate Degrees, “While high school graduates with no college education collect an average weekly salary of $583, according to Current Population Survey data, that figure jumps nearly 15 percent to $670 for associate degree holders.”

This salary analysis shows that there is a significant difference in pay not only in regards to weekly salary, but also when you look at the long-term benefits. The person with an Associate’s degree will make $4,176 more a year then the person without a college education.

Education and Salary: Associates Degree vs. Bachelor’s Degree

Once people obtain their Associate’s degrees, many of them continue to pursue their Bachelor’s degrees. Although they may do it for the same reasons stated previously, there is quite a jump in monetary compensation as well.

According to Amelia Gray, in her article “Salary Watch: What’s Your Next Degree Worth?” she states that over a period of a year, “Bachelor’s degree holders earn $15,400 more than associate’s degree holders.”

With so much more money to be made, it raises the question, “Why don’t more people return to school and obtain a degree?”

Education and salary go hand in hand with each other. These benefits will last a lifetime and will prove to be a wise investment throughout a person’s career, educational endeavors and quality of life.



FinAid website, Loan Calculator, Accessed December 8, 2009.

Gray, Amelia. “Salary Watch: What’s Your Next Degree Worth?” Accessed December 8, 2009.

Morsch, Laura. “10 Best Paying Jobs or Associate Degrees.” Published May 5, 2006. Accessed December 4, 2009.

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