The Journal Gazette
Saturday, October 09, 2021 1:00 am

Education's not end-all on earnings

EDITORIAL BOARD | The Journal Gazette

Those with advanced college degrees likely would expect to earn more than people with lower levels of educational attainment.

Not always, say Georgetown University researchers.

A study released Thursday says workers with higher levels of education do tend to earn more over their lifetimes. But that's not always the case, and many other factors – age, field of study, gender, race, ethnicity and location – also play important roles in earnings.

“More education doesn't always get you more money,” lead author and director of Georgetown's Center on Education and the Workforce Anthony Carnevale said in a statement. “There's a lot of variation in earnings related to field of study, occupation and other factors.”

White workers boast the highest median lifetime earnings across all racial and ethnic groups at lower levels of education, according to the report. Asian workers rank highest at the master's degree level.

Black and Latino workers at the bachelor's degree level earn a median of $2.3 million over their lifetimes, compared to $2.9 million for white and Asian workers.

High-paying jobs such as architecture and engineering can bring median earnings of $3.8 million at the bachelor's degree level, surpassing the $3.2 million median for all master's degree holders.

The bottom line, though, is that education correlates to higher earnings overall.

Workers with a high school diploma can expect to pull in lifetime median earnings of $1.6 million. Doctoral degrees push that number to $4 million, researchers found.

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