Our new infographic tells the old truth that education pays. The average hourly earnings of workers without a high school diploma is $12.20 per hour, a little more than $25,000 per year working full time. Compare that with the $19.80 hourly average for those who have earned a two-year college degree, which is about $41,000 per year working full time. These are the average wages, so of course some people will earn more and some people will earn less.
Not only are they likely to earn more, but those with a degree are less likely to be unemployed than someone who doesn't have a high school diploma. The unemployment rate among those with a two-year college degree is 4.5 percent, but it’s 9.0 percent for those without a high school diploma.
Wages and employment opportunities vary widely depending on the field of study. It’s important for students to look at the occupational and wage information related to their degree and understand how potential future earnings compare with the cost of their education and student debt.