How Important Is a College Education?

Students who gain a college education often have higher lifetime earnings and a variety of other benefits, including a better quality of life. More and more employers prefer to hire applicants who hold college degrees. Read on to learn why a college education is so beneficial.

Why a College Education is Important

People who lack educational degrees are more likely to be limited to basic jobs in service, manufacturing and construction industries. While employees with a high school education may secure jobs with good benefits, college graduates typically fare better, entering higher-level careers with greater salaries. They are also more likely to receive promotions, earn raises and develop reasoning and communication skills that can be applied to their jobs.

Higher Salaries

A college education may be one of the best investments of time and money for a person's career. A 2011 report produced by the American Community Survey (ACS) that was released by the U.S. Census Bureau stated that those who held a bachelor's degree were expected to earn a 40-year lifetime salary of about $2.4 million on average, while high school graduates only took in a lifetime salary of about $1.4 million ( On average, those who held master's degrees earned $2.8 million. Holders of professional degrees could expect lifetime earnings in excess of $4 million.

Salaries by Major

Starting salaries of college graduates typically exceed those of people who hold only a high school diploma, although the field a student majors in also influences her or his salary potential. According to the 2011 American Community Survey, those with a bachelor's degree in engineering who worked in management could expect a $4.1 million lifetime salary, which was almost $3 million higher than the average for people who majored in education and worked in public services.

Better Life Skills

During their classes, college students often develop the reasoning skills needed to make life decisions, ranging from buying a home to helping their children choose their own college. In fact, college graduates are more likely to have children who also complete a college education. Other advantages of educational degrees may include improved self-discipline, study habits and cooperative behaviors that can be applied to career projects and tasks.

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