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The Average Salary by Education Level 2019-2020

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We have all experienced the challenges of trying to earn enough to meet financial goals and save for retirement. In this article we will dive into the average salary by education level to see the return on investment (ROI) of an education. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 88% of Americans had at least a high school diploma or GED in 2015. Thirty-three percent had a bachelor’s or more, and 12% had an advanced degree such as a master’s or professional degree, or a doctorate. To see what a difference education makes, check out the average salary by education level. 

Average Salary for Those Who Have Less Than High School Diploma

Studies show workers who have less than a high school diploma are the lowest paid workers. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly earnings for those with less than a high school diploma is around $520. This equates to an annual income of $27,040 not including withholdings. The unemployment rate for these same individuals is 6.5%, which is the highest unemployment rate for any educational category.

The Average Salary for Those Who have a High School Diploma

Those with a high school diploma have a higher earning potential. The average weekly earnings for these with a high school diploma is around $712. This is an annual income of $37,024. The unemployment rate for these individuals is 4.6%

The Average Salary for Those Who Have Some College but No Degree

Even having some college will increase your earning potential compared to just a high school diploma. The average weekly earnings for these individuals with some college but no degree is $774. This is an annual income of $40,248. The unemployment rate for these individuals is 4%. However, there is a major caveat. The majority of these individual who have some college but no degree has student loan debt that must be paid back. This is an additional expense that will offset much of their increase in earnings. 

The Average Salary for Those Who Have an Undergraduate Degree

We will break this education level into two parts; an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree. 

Earning your associate’s degree provides you with an advantage over those without a degree but not as much as earning a bachelor’s degree. The average weekly earnings for individuals with and associate’s degree is $836. This is an annual income of $43,472. The unemployment rate for these individuals is 3.4%.

Individuals who have earned a bachelors degree will be awarded an average weekly earnings of $1,173. This is an annual income of $60,996. The unemployment rate for these individuals is 2.5%

The Average Salary for Those Who Have a Master’s Degree

The average weekly earnings for those who have a master’s degree is $1,401. This is an annual income of $72,852. The unemployment rate for these individuals is 2.2%.

The Average Salary for Those Who Have a Doctorate or Professional Degree

Most people believe those with a doctorate would earn more than any other education group. This isn’t always the case. The average weekly salary for those who have a doctorate is $1,743. This is an annual income of $90,636. The unemployment rate for these individuals is 1.5%

However, for those who have earned a professional degree (professions such as a Juris Doctor (JD), Doctor of Education (EdD), Doctor of Medicine, and others) earn an average of $1,836 per week. This is an annual income of $95,472. The unemployment rate for these individuals is 1.5%

Data was pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)