It's difficult to place a specific value on a college education. There are so many factors to consider, from what path your career takes after you earn a degree, to the manner in which you pay for your education.
If we look at the overall picture of percentages, however, an overriding theme becomes crystal clear: Pursuing a college education is a good start to securing a long and financially-prosperous career.
In an age of heated competition among job seekers - the national unemployment rate currently sits at 7.9% - having a degree is akin to having a personal door opener. With some jobs, the harsh reality follows this line of reasoning: No degree, no open door to the interview room.
Earlier this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released a report that further corroborated the importance of earning a college education.
Here are five revealing statistics from the report, entitled "Education Pays" (although the report was released in 2012, the statistics represent an average from 2011):
1. Job security: Earning a degree puts you in a better position to land a job in this competitive economy. The national unemployment rate for those with a bachelor's degree or higher drops to 4.9%, per the report. That's quite a bit better than the 7.9% national unemployment rate.
2. What about a master's degree? We discussed the benefits of a master's degree on the GU blog earlier this year: greater earning potential and career advancement, to name two obvious ones. Remember that 4.9% unemployment figure for those with a bachelor's degree? That unemployment figure drops even further to 3.6% with a master's degree.
3. Salary: The numbers from the report suggest that professionals with college degrees are more financially secure. The average median weekly income (the wage at which half of the country's workers earned more than that amount, and half earned less) was $797 last year. With a bachelor's degree, that figure jumps to $1,053. The weekly median salary figure climbs to $1,263 for those with a master's level of education.
4. Thinking about passing on an education? Those without a college education are at a greater risk of unemployment (9.4%, compared to the 7.6% national average for all of 2011). Don't put yourself in this category. It’s possible to pursue an education, even if you have a full-time job, a military commitment or if you care for your family. Learn more about the benefits of taking classes online here.
5. Financial limitations: Those without a college education averaged a weekly median salary of $638 in 2011. That was $159 less per week than the national average.
When it comes to job security and a financially stable future, pursuing a college education is well worth the investment.
What do you think about the statistics? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Would you like to learn more about what a college education can do for you and your career? Think about the flexibility and portability of pursuing a degree online. For the ins and outs of distance learning, download our complimentary eBook by clicking the image below:
About the author: Eric Sorrentino joined Grantham University as Social Media Manager in October 2011. Prior to that, he blogged about Big 12 Conference athletics for KUsports.com and was a sports copy editor for the Lawrence Journal-World. Eric received his bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas.