The More You Learn, the More You Earn

Having more education lowers your risk of unemployment and leads to a bigger paycheck. What do you think your average salary will be when you achieve your educational goals? Be aware that you may need to use some of that salary to pay back your student loans.

Professional degree

Years of schooling: Varies by program; generally 2-8 years beyond a bachelor's degree

Annual salary: $89,960

Weekly income: $1,730

Total student loan debt: An average of $98,711 (for graduate and undergraduate school combined)

If you drop out before completing your degree, you must still pay back your loan money.

Doctorate degree

Years of schooling: Varies by program; generally 3-5 years beyond a master's degree or about 7 years beyond a bachelor's degree

Annual salary: $84,396

Weekly income: $1,623

Total student loan debt: An average of $58,967 (for graduate and undergraduate school combined)

If you drop out before completing your degree, you must still pay back your loan money.

Master's degree

Years of schooling: Generally 2-3 years beyond a bachelor's degree

Annual salary: $69,732

Weekly income: $1,341

Total student loan debt: An average of $40,208 (for graduate and undergraduate school combined)

If you drop out before completing your degree, you must still pay back your loan money.

Bachelor's degree

Years of schooling: Generally 4 years beyond a high school diploma

Annual salary: $59,124

Weekly income: $1,137

Total student loan debt: An average of $23,118

If you drop out before completing your degree, you must still pay back your loan money.

Associate's degree

Years of schooling: Generally 2-3 years beyond a high school diploma

Annual salary: $41,496

Weekly income: $798

Total student loan debt: An average of $13,289

If you drop out before completing your degree, you must still pay back your loan money.

Some college, no degree

Years of schooling: Any schooling beyond a high school diploma

Annual salary: $38,376

Weekly income: $738

Total student loan debt: An average of $11,302 for a certificate program

If you drop out before completing your certificate, you must still pay back your loan money.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, last modified March 2016. National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, 2007–2008.

Having more education also lowers your risk of unemployment. Visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the details.

Dropping out of school is not the only option!