Why go to college or career school?

Why Go to College Accessible Graphic

Think you could get a good job now? Yes, maybe you could, but a college degree or career school credential will make your chances even better. Check out the average earnings in 2017 for people 25 years of age and older with different levels of education below.

Level of education completed

Average earnings in 2017

Less than a high school diploma


High school graduate, no college


Some college, no degree


Associate degree (occupational program)


Associate degree (academic program)


Bachelor’s degree


Master’s degree


Doctoral degree (e.g., Ph.D.)


Professional degree (e.g., M.D., J.D.)


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey

In addition to higher earnings, unemployment rates tend to be lower as you get more education (i.e., it’s easier to find a job). Explore career options at StudentAid.gov/careersearch.

Federal Student Aid
An office of the U.S. Department of Education
May 2018