Thursday, October 31, 2013

A College Degree - Worth the Investment?

Have you considered earning a college degree? Did you take a look at the costs of tuition and need to go sit down for a while afterward? You are not alone. As college tuitions go higher and higher, many folks thinking about a degree have needed a time out to ponder how on earth they are going to pay for it.Perhaps we can try to stop thinking of college as school and instead think of it as a business investment. The first thing you should do when considering a business investment is make sure that you will earn a decent return on that investment--meaning that you will get back more than you put in.Considering a college degree from that perspective requires some research. So let's first take a look at the degrees currently available and the current employment market and try to make some basic observations (and perhaps an assumption or two) about those degree.o Associate's Degree. This short-term degrees are usually earned at either a vocational and technical college, a career college, or a community college--so they are the cheapest college degree available. Because so many two-year degrees are in specialized areas, the payback is immediate and obvious, making the associate's degree well worth the money.o Bachelor's Degree. This four-year degree has a lot more variables than an Associate's Degree. First off, your best bet by far is a public university, particularly if you are interested in studying education or social work. Private universities can be nearly four times that of public! Also, sticking with a college in your home state can change the cost of tuition as well. All in all, though, a Bachelor's Degree shows a great investment return over the course of a career.o Master's Degree. Ah, here now it gets a bit tricky. Some master's programs--such as the highly valued Master's of Business Administration--pay back in spades. But many other degrees, especially in the liberal arts, simply are not worth the moula. Step carefully when considering a graduate degree.o Professional Degrees. The money pot! Becoming a doctor or a lawyer is worth every penny you have to borrow to get through it. The most obvious return on investment for a college degree, is shows up right in your very first paycheck.Show Me The MoneySo, now you know that many college degrees are worth the price of admission (so to speak). But how does that translate to your paycheck?Well, according to the US Census Bureau of Labor Statistics, it pays off like this:Real Weekly Earnings of full-time wage and salary workersHigh School Diploma (or equivalent) $280 - $966Bachelor's Degree $423 - $1,720Master's Degree $520 - $1,893Professional Degree $552 - $2,881Doctoral Degree $635 -$2,313As you can see, it clearly pays to have a college degree. So, after your "time out," don't give up hope! With careful planning and research, you can see the realization of your college dreams in the place it matters the most: your paycheck!