Associates Degree Holder Average Salary
It only takes about two years to earn an associate’s degree, which means you can get started working in your field fairly quickly. Some people, however, worry that having this degree won’t translate to a good salary. Is there really that much of a difference between having an associate’s degree and simply having a high school diploma or GED? If you’re going to go through the trouble of getting a degree, shouldn’t you just stay in school to get a bachelor’s degree?
First, getting an associate’s degree definitely makes sense when you compare the salary you can expect with this education versus the salary you can expect without going through a higher education program. With a GED or your diploma from high school, you can expect to make around $652 weekly. Get your associate’s degree, and that weekly pay jumps to $785, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Yes, you can make more money by getting a higher-level degree. On average, bachelor’s degree holders earn about $53,000 per year, while those with master’s degrees earn even more. However, this isn’t necessarily accurate in every field. In many fields, the gap between salaries is much smaller, so it actually makes more financial sense to get your associate’s degree. What degree field interests you? If your desired major is readily available for associate’s degree students, getting a bachelor’s degree may not make sense. In fact, in some fields, bachelor’s degrees are not even available at most schools.
Keep in mind that you can always go back to school to get your bachelor’s degree, so it may make the most financial sense to start with an associate’s degree. While you’re earning your $39,000 per year (or whatever the average is in your field), you can go back to school on a part-time basis, which allows you to earn an advanced degree while also working in your field. Sometimes, your employer will even offer tuition reimbursement funds to help cover the costs of school. Tuition reimbursement programs are increasingly common because employers want quality employees who seek to grow with the company. Providing tuition reimbursement is a way to “make an investment” on the employees and show a level of commitment to building a better team from the inside out. Many employers prefer to higher internally when new positions open, so tuition reimbursement is designed to be an incentive to strengthen the employees already on hand.
The average salary rates for associate’s degree holders varies great across not only industries, but also locations. In some areas of the United States you can earn much more than in others. Remember, many times this may be linked to your field of study. Where is demand highest for your specific industry? A higher demand for workers in your area means that you’ll be able to command a higher salary. Do some research before studying in any field to ensure that you’re comfortable with salary potential where you live or to ensure that you’re willing to move to an area where demand is higher. The area you currently reside in may have limited availability in your job field, and as a result lower paying positions, simply moving to an area with more of an industry for your job will yield not only more available jobs, but also a higher starting pay.
The world we live in today sees continuously rising costs and smaller returns on investments. Achieving an associates degree while working can allow for an immediate promotion. Additionally, with an associates degree on hand, better pay and the incentive for tuition reimbursement will lessen the burden while working towards a bachelors degree, if that’s the path you’re headed down. No matter what field interests you, getting an associate’s degree is the quickest way to start qualifying for better jobs, higher salaries, and promotions. The cost of your education may seem high at first, but over the course of just a few years, you’ll make back that money, since you’ll be offered a higher salary. In the end, many college students working towards a bachelors do not work in their field until they graduate. Attaining an associates and working in your field while getting your bachelors is one of the most effective ways to differentiate yourself from the rest of the crowd.