Impact Of An Average Salary By The Education Level

salary by the education level

Written by Pareeshti Rao

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June 21, 2021

You have the luxury to start working and earning even before or right after your high school diploma. But your education level surely affects your earnings. So a higher education implies you have the upper hand. Again, this doesn’t mean you can start earning only upon completion of your degree. There are different jobs to apply for students at different education levels known as salary by education level. In this article, you will get to take a closer look at the average salary by education level to see what dividends education pays. 

In order to get an idea about the education and earnings as per the educational qualifications, you can take the help of this infographic.


Source: US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS)

Salary Before Your High School Diploma


Workers with less than a high school diploma are the lowest earners on average when you examine the average salary by the education level. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), median weekly earnings for those with less than a high school degree are $493. That works out to $25,636 per year, assuming a year of constant earning. Jobs that do not specify qualifications or do not require the knowledge of technicalities are usually offered to students without a high school diploma.

Salary With A High School Diploma


Earnings are higher for those with a high school diploma in comparison. Median weekly earnings for workers with a high school diploma equal $678. That works out to an average high school graduate salary after your diploma at $35,256 per year. The unemployment rate for those with a high school diploma is 5.4%.+. So if you’re not in a position to continue your higher studies after high school for whatever the reason may be, you still have options of working and earning a decent amount. 

Salary With Some College, But No Degree


Having some college credits but no degree still improves your earnings over having just a high school diploma. The average salary by the education level of someone with some college and no degree would be $738 per week, which is $38,376 per year. The unemployment rate for people in this category is 5%. The problem for many people in this category is that they have student debt from their college days but lack the degree that would bump them into a higher earning category that could help them get out of debt. However, you have the pay as you earn repayment options for your student debts. And, luckily for you, since you have completed some college courses, you’re at an upper advantage of earning a slightly higher salary.

Average Salary With An Associate’s Degree


Having an associate’s degree gives you an edge over someone with no degree, but lower average earnings than someone with a bachelor’s degree. Moreover, applying for apprenticeships is always an option for students. Median weekly earnings for workers with an associate’s degree are $798, for an annualized salary of $41,496. The unemployment rate in this category is 3.8%, which is lower than the average across all educational attainment levels (4.3%). So your level of education to salary does matter if you’re looking at bigger numbers.

Salary With A Bachelor’s Degree


Approximately, students with a bachelor’s degree earn a weekly average of $1,137. When you’re comparing the salary by the education level of a student with an associate degree at $860. Average earnings for workers with bachelor’s degrees work out to $59,124 per year. The unemployment rate for students with a bachelor’s degree is 2.8%.

Average Salary With A Master’s Degree


Median earnings for holders of master’s degrees are $1,341 per week, $69,732 per year. The unemployment rate for workers with master’s degrees is 2.4%. The number of students with a master’s degree has been steadily rising. In part, that’s because of the “wage premium” that comes with a master’s degree. That wage premium is the extra money that those with a master’s degree have relative to those who only have a bachelor’s degree.

Average Salary With A Professional Degree

Workers with a professional degree earn a median weekly salary of $1,730, the highest weekly earnings of any of the educational categories. That works out to $89,960 per year. The unemployment rate for holders of professional degrees is the lowest on our list, at 1.5%. So, if you’re looking at the salary by the education level for someone with a professional degree, you can earn an average salary by degree level, enough to pay off your debts within a decent time frame. Here’s a list of professional degrees that you can do:

  • Medicine
  • Engineering
  • Law
  • Pharmacy
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Architecture
  • Psychology
  • Education

Average Salary With A Doctorate


You might think that students with a doctorate would earn more than those with a professional degree, but in fact, they earn less. Median weekly earnings for workers with doctorates are $1,623. Annually that’s $84,396. The unemployment rate for students with doctorates is 1.7%.

On a concluding note, while earning a college degree leads to earning a higher salary; you need not necessarily have to complete your college if you wish to start earning. You can always take a break from your studies, work for a few years, and save up enough to apply to colleges and even scholarships for easy funding.

Thank you for reading this blog on the Average Salary By The Education Level. If you wish to read more, here are some blogs that might be of interest to you:

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