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Friday, September 18, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

College Degrees Offer Real Value Despite Diminished Demand, Graduates Still Earn More

The next time someone tries to tell you a college degree has lost its value, don’t believe them.

Study after study shows that the better the education, the better the income.

And though not every college grad winds up working in the profession for which they studied, grads tend to thrive in the workplace at the expense of their less-educated counterparts.

That assertion is born out by numbers provided by Career Opportunity News. It found that, over the long haul, education pays. Not all workers will conform to these findings, but there is a clear relationship between education and earnings:

Workers who fail to graduate from high school will earn an average of $608,000 during their lifetimes.

Workers who graduate from high school will earn an average of $802,000.

Those who have some college experience will earn $922,890.

Workers with an Associate (two-year) degree will earn $1,062,130.

Those with Bachelor’s degrees earn an average of $1,420,850.

Those who have earned a master’s degree will average $2,142,440.

Those with professional degrees (law, medicine, etc) will make and average of $3,012,350.

Those numbers tend to offset the reality that in the past few years the job market has not been able to absorb all graduates at a level commensurate with their educations.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted recently that nearly 18 million college students would join the labor force between 1992 and 2005.

During the same period, the agency anticipated the creation of just 14 million new jobs requiring college experience.

The math says almost one-fourth of all college graduates entering the labor force during those years will work at jobs for which they are overqualified.

The downsizing of the American corporation plays a big role. The big companies that once recruited aggressively each year at college campuses have dramatically reduced their recruiting efforts because there are fewer jobs to fill.

And as older victims of downsizing re-enter the work force with reduced expectations, the playing field becomes more crowded, exacerbating the plight of the college grad.

Combine that with data that shows that in ‘92, approximately 20 percent of all college graduates earned less than the median salary earned by high school grads - $21,241 - and that now there are student debts to pay, and it’s not hard to see why so many recent grads are struggling.

One solution, say the experts, is to obtain career-related experience while in school. Employers value new hires who can step right into a job and take the reins.

Graduates must also be realistic. Most will not leave school for a job that pays $35,000. Instead, they will start at or near the entry level and will be expected to work harder, longer and smarter in order to work their way up.

What do employers want to see in their new hires aside from ambition? They want people with good public speaking, writing and reasoning skills. Interpersonal skills and social graces are considered strong pluses, as well.

Computer proficiencies, teamwork skills and customer relations abilities are highly valued. Employers want well-rounded employees, as well: A strong liberal arts education is favored with overlays of technical training and a focuses specialization.

But more than anything, today’s employers want new hires to have a variety of skills and the desire to keep learning. Immense changes are expected over the next decade and only those who have prepared themselves for change will flourish.

There are no easy answers when it comes to the college question, but there is powerful evidence that a college degree is still worth more than the paper it is printed on.

For starters, studies consistently show that people with higher levels of education are more likely to find job satisfaction.

And, over the long haul, it appears certain that they will earn more, too. On average, college graduates earn more than those with only a high school education. And so do those with technical training.

According to the latest available information, based on the 1992 Census, men with bachelor degrees made nearly twice as much in a year ($40,039) as male high school graduates ($22,978).

Women college ($23,991) more than doubled their high school graduate counterparts ($9,311).

And if you really want to make the money, consider an advanced degree ($58,324 men/ $33,814 women).

It’s more important than ever for young people to know themselves and their real desires. By itself, a college degree is no longer a ticket to security. Graduates who are committed to themselves, their field and to a lifetime of change will succeed, no matter what the odds.

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