Although the costs of higher education continue to increase, college graduates enjoy lower unemployment rates and higher earnings. The following chart shows median monthly earnings for U.S. workers in 2015 based on their educational attainment (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
The first bar, $860, includes all workers. People with a bachelor’s degree earned a median of $1,137 per week or about $59,000 per year, significantly more than those with less education. Individuals with advanced degrees tend to earn even more. Of course, each bar in the graph combines a wide variety of career paths, and individual outcomes depend on a variety of factors.
Is Education Beyond High School Worth the Investment?
In the following video, John Poole of the University of Wisconsin-Richland discusses investing in a college education.
Where to Find Information on Specific Careers
For many people, decisions over whether to go to college, where to go, which subject to major in, and which field to go into involve a variety of considerations, not just expected earnings. Nonetheless, in thinking about going to college, it can be important to consider career options. Many resources are available to help children start thinking about potential careers. These resources include:
- Wisconsin students in grades 6-12 have an Academic & Career Planning (ACP) e-portfolio account through their school district. For more information, visit the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction ACP website.
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook provides detailed information about the responsibilities, training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of careers. The BLS has also developed a website for K-12 students interested in exploring careers. The website includes career guides, videos, and a variety of other resources designed for students.
- The Kids.gov Jobs & Careers website features videos and other resources designed for children that provide information about different career paths.
- Junior Achievement’s Build Your Future app allows users to assess the return on investment of different school and career paths.