The numbers are in, and they show that individuals who graduate with a college degree have a leg up on the competition when it comes to landing a job. More than 1.8 million students will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2013, and 2.1 million students who graduated high school in 2011 are currently enrolled in college. As these individuals advance their education and enter the workforce, competition for top jobs will increase.

About 51 percent of college graduates currently work full time, compared to only 27 percent of those with only a high school diploma. Numbers are higher when part-time employment is added into the mix, as 86 percent of bachelor’s degree holders and 83 percent of those with an associate’s degree are employed.


There is some discrepancy between types of degrees and majors when it comes to salary, however. Individuals with a master’s degree have the highest average income, bringing in $58,190 annually, on average. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree have the second-highest average salary, at $47,970. The numbers drastically decrease for individuals with an associate’s degree and high school diploma, which have an overall average income of $36,390 and $28,070, respectively.


The most popular degrees earned by students in online and campus-based bachelor’s degree programs also have a wide range of incomes. They range from business, which commands an average annual salary of $52,700, to education, which sits at $35,000. Other popular majors, such as biological sciences, nursing and psychology, have an average income ranging between $36,800 to $41,000.


Students can take a few lessons away from this data, but the main point is that it pays to have a college degree. Not only are individuals with advanced education twice as likely to have full-time employment, but they also have a higher average income.


By Rutger Schauer