The More You Learn, the More You Earn

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The More You Learn, the More You Earn

More education leads to a bigger paycheck. What do you think your average salary will be when you achieve your educational goals?

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Professional degree

Annual salary: $85,228

Hourly rate: $40.98

Years of schooling: Varies by program; generally 2–8 years beyond a bachelor's degree

Possible careers:

  • Attorney
  • Chemical engineer
  • Dentist
  • Medical doctor
  • Orchestra conductor
  • Physical therapist
  • Veterinarian

Doctorate degree

Annual salary: $82,732

Hourly rate: $39.78

Years of schooling: Varies by program; generally 3–5 years beyond a master's degree or about 7 years beyond a bachelor's degree

Possible careers:

  • Anthropologist
  • Art historian
  • Biochemist
  • Clinical neuropsychologist
  • Licensed psychologist
  • Medical scientist
  • Researcher
  • University professor

Master's degree

Annual salary: $68,952

Hourly rate: $33.15

Years of schooling: Generally 2–3 years beyond a bachelor's degree

Possible careers:

  • Computer software engineer
  • Financial analyst
  • Geographer
  • Physician assistant
  • Psychologist
  • Research analyst
  • School counselor

Bachelor's degree

Annual salary: $57,252

Hourly rate: $27.53

Years of schooling: Generally 4 years beyond a high school diploma

Possible careers:

  • Computer systems analyst
  • Detective
  • Editor
  • Journalist
  • Parole officer
  • Public policy advocate
  • Registered nurse
  • Sales manager

Associate's degree

Annual salary: $41,184

Hourly rate: $19.80

Years of schooling: Generally 2–3 years beyond a high school diploma

Possible careers:

  • Court reporter
  • Dental hygienist
  • Electrician
  • Funeral director
  • Police officer
  • Radiation therapist
  • Science technician

Some college, no degree

Annual salary: $38,532

Hourly rate: $18.53

Years of schooling: Any schooling beyond a high school diploma

Possible careers:

  • Chef
  • Food service manager
  • Locksmith
  • Real estate broker
  • Sales representative
  • Teacher's aide
  • Transportation manager

High school diploma

Annual salary: $34,736

Hourly rate: $16.70

Years of schooling: Generally 4 years

Possible careers:

  • Cook
  • Cosmetologist*
  • Entrepreneur
  • Fitness trainer*
  • Home care aide
  • Medical secretary
  • Nursing aide*
  • Retail salesperson
  • Truck driver*
  • Writer/novelist

*May require additional certification

Less than high school diploma

Annual salary: $25,376

Hourly rate: $12.20

Years of schooling: Less than 4 years

Possible careers:

  • Cashier
  • Child care worker
  • Construction worker
  • Fast food worker
  • Lawn service provider
  • General laborer
  • Singer
  • Waiter/waitress
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey.
Last Modified Date: April 2, 2015.

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