What Is the Value of Education in the U.S.?
The value of education can mean different things. To some people, value may mean how much they can earn. Others may see the value of education as the amount of job opportunities they will have after graduation. For you, value could mean something different, such as the social benefits you may get from having an education. Read on to explore some perspectives on education's value.
The Monetary Value of Education in the U.S.
According to the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 2016, the trend from 2000-2016 was higher median earnings for those who had completed higher education than for those with less education (www.nces.ed.gov). The NCES reported a median salary of almost $50,000 for those with a bachelor's degree and an approximately $25,400 median salary for those without a high school diploma or equivalent. Bachelor's degree holders earned 57% more than those with a high school diploma. With a master's degree, earnings rose to about $64,100.
Important Facts about the Value of Education
In the table below are samples of some of the most in demand majors by degree. Earning a degree in one of these fields can be valuable.
|Most employable bachelor's degree||Finance, accounting, computer science, mechanical engineering, business administration|
|Most employable master's degree||Finance, computer science, accounting, MBA, mechanical engineering|
|Most employable doctoral degree||Chemical engineering, electrical engineering, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, physics|
Job Opportunities in Relation to Education
Education may also affect the job opportunities open to you, since some jobs may have specific education requirements imposed by regulations or common industry practice. To earn licensure in a particular field, you may have to meet other requirements as mandated by law.
In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the total number of job openings available in the U.S. based upon the amount of education required as of 2016 (www.bls.gov). More than 37.2 million jobs were available for those with less than a high school education with a median salary of $24,430. Approximately 61.5 million jobs required at least a high school diploma or equivalent and they earned a median salary of $37,010. About 3.6 million jobs were available requiring associate's degrees earning a median of $53,700. Bachelor's degrees were required for about 33.4 million jobs and they earned a median salary of $74,290. Around 2.7 million jobs typically call for master's degree, and jobs requiring a doctoral or professional degree numbered a little over 4.2 million jobs. They earn median salaries of $69,450 and $105,700 respectively.
Other Benefits of Education
Education doesn't just provide you with the chance to earn a higher salary or find a job more easily. It can also provide social benefits. According to The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), higher education correlates with lower crime rates, higher voter participation and an increase in volunteer work (www.ihep.org). The IHEP also stated that having a higher education could increase life expectancy, lead to better health and increase your overall quality of life.