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The Importance of a College Education

Higher Education Articles January 18, 2013

A college education can result in higher lifetime earnings and various other benefits for an individual who pursues it, such as an enhanced quality of life. Increasingly, employers are showing preference for employees who have completed a college degree programs.

Students Earn Higher Salaries with a College Education

There are probably few better investments of time and money than a college education. In 2008, employees who had an undergraduate degree earned average annual salary of $57,181; high school graduates, by comparison, only took home $31,286 (source: U.S. Census Bureau, ( Master degree holders earn thrice as much on average than individuals who hold a high school diploma. Doctoral degree holders earn four times as much over a lifetime as they otherwise would.

Starting salaries of college graduates usually surpass those individuals who hold only a high school diploma. ranks aerospace engineering — with average starting wages of $59,600 — at the top of its list of sixty undergraduate degrees that attract the best salaries. The lowest starting salaries among graduate majors are social work, which attracts an average annual salary of $33,400. It is still higher than the average annual salary earned by high school diploma holders (source:

Individuals who have not completed degree programs will probably have to settle for basic jobs in construction, manufacturing and service industries. Employees who have completed high school diploma may get better jobs with accruing benefits while college graduates still do better; they are also likely to land jobs with good prospects of pay hikes and promotions.

Other Advantages of a College Education

During the course of a college education, students get the opportunity to develop networking contacts that could positively influence their future careers such as instructors and peers. Students hone their reasoning skills while in college, skills that would help them make life decisions such as assisting their children with the selection of a school, or buying a home. Children whose parents are college graduates are more likely to pursue a college education themselves.

Other benefits that could accrue from an educational degree are enhanced self-discipline and improved study habits that would help those individuals later in life as applicable to their careers and continuing education during their lives. A greater disposable income that will enable them to pay for activities they enjoy is another noticeable benefit of a college degree.

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