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5 Facts that Show How Education Leads to Better Pay

By: American Heritage08.08.19
Young nurse interviewing for a hospital job

We all want to live comfortably and build a secure financial future. Whether you’re supporting yourself or a big family, you deserve this financial freedom. Unfortunately, earning a good salary can be a challenge for many Americans.

In today’s competitive job market, being a skilled and valuable employee is the best way to ensure a great paycheck. And this usually depends on a great education.



There’s a clear connection between Americans’ education and professional training and the amount that they earn. The five facts below show why earning a degree or learning a trade can be one of the most valuable investments you’ll ever make.


1. More Education Leads to More Earnings

Just look at the median pay for American workers by education level (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics). Keep in mind that pay also varies by location and industry.

  • Professional degree: $1,730 per week
  • Master’s degree: $1,341 per week
  • Bachelor’s degree: $1,137 per week
  • Associate degree: $798 per week
  • High school diploma: $738 per week
  • Less than a high school diploma: $493 per week


2. Professional Degrees Can Earn You 4x More

That’s compared to those with a high school diploma only, according to data on average incomes by education level (Source: U.S. Census Bureau – PDF). People with professional degrees include doctors, nurses, lawyers, and others whose job requires specific education.

Of course, advanced degrees require more years in school, and may result in more student debt, but higher salaries often make this choice worth the investment.


3. Healthcare Jobs Are the Big Winners

When the job is in demand, and few people are qualified to do it, employers will pay a pretty penny to attract the professionals they need. This is especially true in healthcare, which accounts for most of America’s highest-paying careers. Other high-demand jobs? Airline pilot, computer/IT professional, and petroleum engineer.


4. Trade School Can Also Lead to Great Pay

A four-year degree is by no means the only way to a financially rewarding job. Many people have built fulfilling careers by learning a trade. If it fits your goals and interests, a trade school provides some key advantages:

  • With less time in school, you’ll pay far less in tuition (and have less student debt) than you would with a four-year degree, which can cost well over $100,000 (Source: National Center for Education Statistics).
  • You enter the workforce sooner, giving you more time to start saving toward retirement, your first home, and other financial goals.
  • Learning a trade through a certificate program and/or apprenticeship is a great opportunity to excel professionally even if academics aren’t your strong suit.
  • While trades offer a narrower career track than most college degrees, they also offer stability. Many of these jobs (like those in construction or auto repair) can’t be shipped overseas.


5. Skilled & Specialized Workers Have More Job Security

When it comes to choosing your career path, the size of your paycheck is only one factor. Another is job security. If you’re planning your career, or considering a career change, you’ll want to research jobs you’re interested in to see their current demand and long-term outlook (you can compare industries here).



Whether you’re making a career change, going back to school, or sending your kid to college, you want education to be as affordable as possible. Starting to save early with a tax-advantaged education savings account is a great way to pay for college or other professional training and reduce your dependence on loans.

And, for tuition and other education expenses not covered by your savings or federal student loans, American Heritage can help you access competitive private student loans to support your education needs today and a great career tomorrow.  



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