How to choose the best education level with the best return on investment? Which degrees can bring you the most opportunities?
Benjamin Franklin – the Founding Father of the United States – once said: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Indeed, a beneficial education requires good planning and excellent implementation. If you wonder how to choose the best education level with the best return on investment, read these research and questions to find your own answer.
What To Know About Education As An Investment?
It might seem strange to discuss return-on-investment (ROI) in education. Many of us may only care about ROI in business, mostly used to evaluate how efficient or profitable your investment is. And in that way, ROI has little to nothing related to education. That is until we see education from a different perspective as an investment. Exactly, education is an essential investment in everyone’s life.
How Much Would It Cost You For Higher Education?
In the United States, where everyone has freedom of choice, young adults don’t need to take up higher education. Unlike the Asian communities where getting a degree is almost a must for anyone, people in the United States may pursue higher education if they find it necessary. However, there are multiple factors to consider about higher education, especially when speaking of it as an investment.
First and foremost, we all pay close attention to the tuition fees. Depending on where you are in the US, your tuition and living costs would vary.
According to College Tuition Compare, students in Vermont would pay the highest tuition and fees. Meanwhile, students enjoying higher education in Alaska would only need to pay $12,958 for tuition and fees for the same academic year. That is a huge difference, which would affect the total cost of your education investment dramatically.
On average, public higher education costs you around $6,085 if you study in your state. For those coming from another state, the expenses can be up to $13,098 for the same academic year. But if you can afford the average tuition of $25,136, you don’t have to worry about choosing an affordable state. Once you have decided to take up higher education, you should consider which education level would fit you best.
Figure out which education level fits your needs and budget. Source: oureverydayharvest
Knowing The Different Education Levels
When you consider higher education in the US, you can select the field you want to grow professionally. It can be vocational, business, engineering, or something more technical. Hence, the different choices of college give you a variety of pathways.
You would need to decide whether to take a “two-year college” or a “four-year” college program. The four-year program would award you a bachelor’s degree in your specialization. On the other hand, a two-year college program is more commonly known as the “community college” option. It usually offers open admissions and lower fees than other options.
High school graduation is the start of a new journey. Source: Pexels
Moreover, you should know that each state of the United States supports at least one state university. Hence, public universities usually have a larger student community, while private ones are sometimes secular or related to religious education. You can consider plenty of Masters’ programs at those universities. These programs help enhance your expertise in a particular field or equip you with the required management skills for promotion.
Which Education Level Has The Highest Return On Investment (Roi)?
How Does Education Level Impact Your Earning?
To know which education level has the highest return on investment, you would need to see the big picture: how your education affects your life-long career in terms of expertise, income, and career security.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in January 2021, there were roughly 111 million full-time workers. The median weekly earnings are $984. However, the median weekly pay for people in management and professional positions is much higher – at $1,572 for men and $1,168 for women. On the contrary, people working in the service sector are least paid, at only $715 per week for men and $581 for women. Hence, you need to opt for the field of expertise to pursue.
The Bureau’s same report showed that the average salary for employees with higher qualification levels is entirely different. People without a high school diploma earn approximately $608 per week. Meanwhile, their peers with a bachelor’s degree receive a 57% higher salary, at a whopping $1,421. How much would that mean for a year of service or 30 years in your career?
Estimated lifetime earnings based on education levels ( mil dollars). Source: The Social Security Administration (2019)
You should think carefully about your potential career path to devise a good education plan. Then, you will kick off working on the requirements to become a skilled worker in that field by obtaining high education levels. Among the different career choices, the Bureau of Labor Statistics clearly shows that management positions, construction and maintenance jobs, sales, and related occupations are, on average, high-paying.
How To Outline A Sound Education Plan?
The Social Security Administration researched how your education level affects your lifetime learning. According to their report, men with a bachelor’s degree could earn $900,000 more throughout their lifetime career than those with only high school diplomas. In the same case, women with a bachelor’s degree would get paid $630,000 more in their lifelong earnings.
What about a graduate degree? The research states that men can make $1.5 million more in median lifetime earnings if they had a graduate degree and $1.1 million for women. You should take these numbers into consideration when choosing your educational level.
People with less than a high school diploma suffered the highest unemployment rate. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019)
Therefore, it makes good sense to start with a two-year college program to set a foundation for your career. After that, you can work full-time and accumulate experience by learning the job’s ins and outs. If you want to invest more in your future career, you can move on to getting a bachelor’s degree.
Which Education Level Has The Highest Roi?
Which education level has the highest ROI for you? It depends on different factors, but you can consider your career choice, the education level you need to become a professional in that occupation, and your financial resource for your career investment.
Many people are enthusiastic about taking up an advanced college degree. However, the opportunity cost of earning an advanced college degree is that you have to pay the tuition fee and may miss other opportunities. Because you will have to study full-time for up to four years, you can’t accept a full-time job. You can just choose part-time jobs to help you with tuition fees and living costs. Therefore, you need more determination, strong will, and good time management if you decide to pursue an advanced college education.
How High Up Can You Study In A College?
After high school, you can choose which education level to progress. If you wonder what is the highest education level while in college, you can relate to the following options.
You can get a General Equivalency Diploma, which many also choose over a high school diploma. Once you have decided to take a college program, you can opt for an occupational, technical, or vocational program. These programs all help you gain an associate’s degree and start your career immediately.
Taking a bachelor’s degree can take you 4 to 5 years of full-time college-level work. Then, you can pursue a Master’s degree of at least one year to sharpen your research skills and increase your value in the market. In college, the highest education level you can take is up to a doctoral degree – the highest award any graduate can earn.
However, you need to figure out the career you want to pursue to make a sound investment. You can consider lifetime earnings and what you’re passionate about the most. Your career starts right after your college life, but it won’t end until the day you retire. Therefore, your decision today can bring you joy or misery with your future job.
Education Is An Investment, Not A Bet
As of February 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the national unemployment rate of the United States is 6.2%. It is much better than 14.7% back in April 2020 due to the drastic economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the unemployment rate of February 2021 is nothing close to what has been pre-pandemic.
Unemployment Rate. Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (March 8, 2021)
Tough times demand vigorous actions. If you are thinking of obtaining an advanced college degree with the promise of a brighter career, make sure to plan meticulously. You not only have to afford all the tuition and fees, but you must plan each step to benefit from your investment in education.
As Elizabeth Warren – a senior United States senator from Massachusetts, said, “A good education is a foundation for a better future,” and we can all agree with that. Hence, think carefully about which education level has the highest return on investment for you, and try to invest in it. This investment could be the most important one of your life.