Which Education Level Has The Highest Return on Investment?

Education is like any other business given that sometimes you are interested in the returns to be earned after investing in a particular degree or program. There have been lots of arguments amongst people when it comes to the extent to which degrees are valued.

Are you wondering which of the education levels can bring in the highest ROI (return on investment)? There is no need searching any further as you have come to the right place. This post will be analyzing the possible cost of going through college including the expected returns to be gotten as earnings or salaries.

Here is the untold fact

First of all, there is an inverse relationship between education level and unemployment. This means that as your educational level is going upwards, unemployment will be coming downwards. It will continue in such manner until you have attained doctorate level or professional degree. According to the figures/statistics shown by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a very positive and clear correlation between education level or degrees and how much an individual is expected to earn. For instance, the more certificates or degrees an individual acquires, that is how he will likely make more money.

A proof of this is the fact that someone who has a high school diploma can earn $37,960. In the same vein, someone who holds an associate’s degree will earn around $44,824 annually. Also, a bachelor degree holder has an annual income of $62,296 while a master degree holder earns $74,568. The highest of them all are a professional degree and a doctoral degree. These attract annual earnings of around $97,968 and 94,900 respectively. All of these earnings are just an average number, of course they can vary.

Based on this, it is very obvious that as an individual is acquiring more degrees in his lifetime, he will earn more. You will notice that doctoral and the professional degree explained above tend to be different. An example of the latter is a teacher. They tend to earn a little bit less though as compared to those who hold professional degrees like engineers, accountants, and more.

The earnings of medical practitioners 

The cost as well  as time commitment for those in law school, pharmacy school, dental and medical schools seem to be different as compared to other fields. For instance, the average amount earned by doctors in the US per month is around $10,338. There are 5 major medical fields like preventive medicine, pediatrics, pediatric endocrinology, pediatric infectious disease, pediatric hematology and oncology.

Each of these fields has an estimated salary of $231,838, $221,900, $214,911, $191,735 and $208,524 respectively. Based on these analyses, it is obvious that those in the medical field tend to earn much higher as compared to most fields. Could it be due to the financial as well as time commitment they put in during the course of their studies? Find out more below.

Which degree is worth investing in?

There are lots of degrees to invest in. However, each of them tend to vary when it comes to the return on investment (ROI) they will offer in the future. According to the official website of Georgetown University, bachelor’s degrees from private colleges tend to attract higher return on investment as compared to their counterparts from public colleges. According to academic experts, one of the major reasons for such difference in salary structure between the two groups is that private school students are well-equipped. These schools have all the necessary facilities to aid a smooth learning process. 

It is true that private schools are more expensive. However, they are worth investing given their high return on investment in the nearest future. You can search for those with scholarship programs in order to experience the benefits that these schools offer. Some experts claim that employers hold this special sentiment about private college degrees. In other words, they always have this feeling that graduates from such colleges can outperform those who are from public colleges.

Academic discipline is very crucial

Most people are not aware that earnings usually vary according to discipline or majors. For instance, it was discovered that some of the fields which generate the highest ROI are economics, physics, operations & logistics, computer science, and accounting. These have higher earnings as compared to others like home economics, fine arts, family sciences, theology and more. However, as you tend to climb up the ladder, there is always the high probability that you will earn more.

Some degrees and their respective earnings

In this section, some degrees will be looked at in respect to the average amounts they command as annual earnings. These are listed and briefly explained below:

Associates degree

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average earning that holders of this degree can get in a year is about $52,830. This may not be that high considering the fact that there are other degrees which have higher amounts. However, it seems much better as compared to high school education which commands an annual average salary of around $36,000.

There are some potential job opportunities for these degree holders though. For instance, thousands of job posts are always available for those who have an associate’s degree in Computer and Engineering.

Bachelor’s degree

Holders of bachelor’s degree have been discovered to earn an average wage of about $72,830. As explained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are some major areas or fields whereby growth will be anticipated in the nearest future. These are teaching, business, finance, healthcare and science.

In other words, there will be lots of job opportunities requesting for this qualification in future. Business field seems to have the highest number of job opportunities alongside salary. For instance, it has been predicted that by 2026, 77,100 job opportunities will be available for people holding a bachelor’s degree in business.

More information about degrees and their return on investment

When it comes to degrees and their return on investment, there is something which most people are yet to understand. For instance, you need to know that two people can hold the same degree but their earnings may always vary in lots of regards. In such cases, there are factors which come into play most of the time when determining someone’s salary based on his degree or level of education. Some of these will be explained below for much better understanding. 


Acquiring a bachelor’s degree may not be enough to enable you earn as high as possible. In such cases, it is important to upgrade your certificate. Signup for various programs that will confirm you as a professional in this field. For instance, someone who gets a bachelor degree in computer science can learn other programming languages like Python, JAVA, C++ etc.

This can boost your earnings by almost 10%. Another example is a medical doctor who is now certified as a professional coder. It is possible that you know how to code the information of patients. However, acquiring the necessary certification will help to confirm you as a professional. Such can significantly increase your annual earnings.

Personal skills & abilities

This is another key factor that plays a very crucial role in determining whether people with similar degrees will earn the same salary or not. There are individuals who are gifted in their areas of discipline. Such could be due to the training they have gone through before gaining admission into higher institutions. These people are usually paid much higher as compared to those who don’t have special skills or abilities.

There is always an average or default salary that every degree commands. However, there are times when negotiation may be required to increase such earnings in a bid to motivate workers that are gifted.


Location can also determine how much a particular degree will command in the labor market. For instance, the earnings being mentioned above are computations which concern the US labor market. In other words, it only applies to the US as other countries may have their different and respective earnings.

Where you live can determine what you are earning sometimes based on the quality of education you must have received. For instance, someone from a developing country who managed to get a job in the US may not earn as high as a United States citizen. The difference could be the quality of education both have received over the years.

Company financial strength

Companies are different in terms of financial capabilities in lots of regards. For instance, there are companies that have the financial resources to hire the best hands and keep them for long term. On the other hand, there are companies that are not buoyant. They may want to hire experienced personnel but the resources are not available. You can use these companies to build your portfolio until something good comes along. 

Final words

Having seen the above, it is obvious that there are lots of factors or variables which come into play when earnings or return on investment from different education levels are being considered. As an individual, there are various ways you can increase your earnings over the course of time.

If you enjoyed the article, consider sharing it with your friend and check out our other articles about the stock market, entrepreneurship, tech or personal development.

Latest articles

Related articles