the more you learn the more you earn

The More You Learn The More You Earn

by Tim on February 28, 2012

A mentor of mine would always tell me “the more you learn, the more you earn.”  While I never really doubted his advice all that much, this proverb of his always made me wonder if it was true or not.  Most of us would agree that a college degree or professional degree will equip you for a better job and higher income, so the saying seemed like it was true, but I always like to have data to back things up.

Wouldn’t you know the U.S. Census Bureau just released a study that proves this saying to be true!  The two parts of the study that I found most interesting showed the increase in the number of people who attained degrees as well as the average earnings from each degree level.

The data, which was tracked since 1984, shows vocational certificates as having the highest surge in attainment with Associate’s degrees close by.  The number of people who have attained doctorate degrees nearly tripled since 1984.

Another positive point about this chart is that the percentage of people with less than a high school level of education dropped by half.

american degree by percentage

Earnings By Degree Level

Now for the meat and potatoes: how much does each degree earn on average?


The monthly wages for individuals who receive a bachelor’s degree is nearly 30% higher than people who don’t pursue further education past high school.

For those who obtain a master’s degree like an MBA, the average increase in pay compared to someone with just a bachelor’s degree is nearly 24% more!

income earned by degree

 Is the Master’s the new Bachelor’s?

Over 30% of the population over age 25 has at least a bachelor’s degree according to the Census report that considers the 2011 data.  It’s incredible how fast this figure is growing (it was less than 25% in 1998), but it raises a question we should be asking: Will the master’s degree be the new bachelor’s?  In other words, will a bachelor’s degree become so common that you’ll need a masters to set yourself apart?

Do you think that more people entering the workforce with a bachelor’s degree will force the competition to get a master’s or professional degree? What are your thought?

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