How Much More Will You Earn with an Online Degree?

Going back to school can be difficult once you already have a job and family. Sources report that graduate students, on average, have over $31,000 in debt when they graduate. As a full time student, you may not be able to work while you go to school, so lost wages are also a huge problem. Earning a degree online means that you can schedule your classes when you have time to take them, which leaves you open to work around a busy schedule.

But is it important for you to go back to school in the first place? Is the high cost of advanced education worth a small bump in salary? According to, you’ll see more than just a “small bump” in your wages if you get an advanced degree.

The Return on Investment of an Online Degree

A 2003 study showed that those with a high school diploma or GED could expect to make around $26,000 per year, while those without a high school diploma or GED could expect to make less, at around $20,000. Clearly, those without education beyond high school usually have a hard time just scraping by. High school dropouts with dependents may have an even more difficulty paying for living expenses. The best way to remedy this situation is to go back to school.

The study also reports that those with some college experience or an associate’s degree make an average of $31,000 to $33,000 per year, which is a huge jump from the money someone with only a high school education can expect. With a bachelor’s degree, that average is higher, at $43,000, and with a masters, there’s the potential to make even more money, with an average of $53,000 being reported.

You can also get your professional degree (such as a law degree) and expect to make around $70,000 per year, or you can pursue a doctorate, which will have you earning about $81,000 per year on average. That’s a far cry from the “scraping by” you’d have to do as just a high school graduate. Even just a certificate in your program of choice can help you earn, on average, $10,000 more per year than those without certificates.

More Resources on Salary Potential for Degree Holders

This one study isn’t the only data supporting the claim that you can make more money with an advanced degree. You can check out all of these resources for more information about salary expectations in any field of study.

At one time, employers weren’t as likely to hire candidates with a degree from an online university, but today this is rarely the case. As long as you get your degree from an accredited university, you can earn just as much money with an online degree as you can with a degree from a traditional campus college. The U.S. Department of Education keeps a running list of all of the accredited universities, so you can ensure that your online degree will help you get a great job in your field.

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