Increase your earnings with a higher education
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One caveat of the bachelor’s degree, however, is that it costs more than the average associate’s degree. In the 2006-07 school year, CollegeBoard.com reported the average cost of a four-year degree from a public college or university to be $23,344, and $88,872 from a private college or university (that’s just tuition – room and board and books aren’t included). The $500,000 salary difference, however, covers the expense of college with plenty left over to enjoy.
A bachelor’s degree isn’t for everyone, though. Registered nurses, HVAC repair techs, auto mechanics, cosmetologists and dozens of other jobs don’t require more than a two-year degree, and many people won’t benefit financially from pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Likewise, many bachelor’s degree holders won’t find a master’s degree to be worth it, unless you’re just looking to expand your knowledge.
An important consideration for anyone doing some lifetime financial planning is to look at the average salaries in their specific career fields and what their particular job requirements are. It wouldn’t be worth it for a welder, for example, to go for a bachelor’s degree when salaries are based on experience and skill, rather than education beyond the associate’s degree level. An engineer, however, might want to go all the way to the master’s level, as MSN Money reports an average of more than $360,000 in lifetime earnings by adding two years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree. Online degrees offer options for getting affordable bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Unless you’ve got a meaty trust fund or NFL scouts knocking on your door, chances are pretty good you’ll need a good education to earn that million bucks in your lifetime. Most students will find a bachelor’s degree offers the most financial rewards, but it’s important to find out what the education requirements are in your chosen field to determine which degree level makes the most sense for you and your financial goals.