8 Major Benefits of College | Why Earn Your Degree (2023)

Is earning a college degree worth it? With the major debates in the last 10-15 years over the return on investment of a college degree, we would be surprised if you hadn’t wondered about the benefits of a college degree. Because we value facts over opinion (and know you probably do too), here is a data-driven list of the Benefits of College and the 8 reasons why a college degree is worth the time, effort, and the cost it requires.

Benefits of College

1. Greater Earning Potential

One of the most important and obvious benefits of college and reasons to earn a college degree or an advanced degree (Master’s, PhD) is to increase your earning potential. The data below was gathered by the United States Census Bureau and suggests a strong positive correlation between degree level earned and salary potential.

  • PhD, Doctoral: $84,496
  • Professional Degree: $89,960
  • Master’s: $69,732
  • Bachelor’s: $59,124
  • Associates: $41,496
  • Some College, No Degree: $38,376
  • High School Diploma: $35,256
  • Less Than High School Diploma: $25,636

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Need more convincing of the monetary benefits of a college degree? Check this out. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that individuals who only finish high school could look forward to earning about $1.3 million over their lifetime, some college increases that lifetime earning potential to about $1.6 million.

Moving forward in education attainment, an associate degree holder may earn around $1.7 million and a bachelor’s degree holder, about $2.3 million. Those with advanced degrees, including master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees may earn $2.7 million, $3.3 million and $3.6 million, respectively. So, is four years of college education (at a cost of about $50,000) worth earning an extra $1 million dollars over the course of a lifetime? We think so.

While this data is accurate, there is a caveat and that is that there are variances in salary as determined by an individual’s chosen career field. For example, a bachelor’s degree holder that works in management or engineering can sometimes earn more than someone with a master’s degree who works in education or social work. Work experience also can impact annual salary and lifetime earnings.

(Video) Top 10 Benefits of a College Degree

2. More Job Opportunities

In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that approximately 37% of the jobs and occupations listed in their occupation handbook require a college degree. Bachelor’s degrees are the most often required, being necessary for about 21.3% of all jobs in the handbook.

The percentage of currently required postsecondary education for 2016, according to the BLS, is as follows:

  • Some college, no college: 2.6%
  • Postsecondary nondegree award: 6.0%
  • Associate degree: 2.4%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 21.3%
  • Master’s degree: 1.7%
  • Doctoral or professional degree: 2.5%

A projection by the BLS for the years of 2014-2024 suggest that jobs that require a postsecondary nondegree award will grow by 11.5%, bachelor’s degree by 8.2%, master’s degrees by 13.8%, and doctoral or professional degrees by 12.2%.

So why do employers place such an emphasis on you earning your degree? Does earning a college degree mean that you’re smarter? Well, that all depends on you – but in most cases, the answer is yes. Even if you don’t remember everything you were taught in college, most students come away with: 1) a greater ability to think analytically and theoretically, 2) a stronger ability to work in teams and groups, 3) the ability to solve a task or problem and the discipline to see it through from beginning to end, 4) a measured ability to understand aspects of certain subject matter – four very attractive qualities in a potential employee. For these reasons and many others, employers seek after college graduates when looking to fill job positions. Earning a college degree will greatly enhance your marketability as a professional.

Not only does a college degree make you more marketable, it makes you more marketable to a much greater range of career options. While high school graduates can look forward to entry-level positions in non-skilled positions, graduates with a 4-year bachelor’s degree and even those with a 2-year associate degree, will qualify for a much greater range of higher paying entry- and upper-level career positions. Earn a master’s degree or PhD and your career advancement opportunities are limitless.

Earning a college degree – at any level – will open doors for you that would otherwise but shut. In addition to the skills and knowledge acquired by earning a degree, attending college provides professional networking opportunities inaccessible to those who don’t go to college. And the career networking opportunities typically increase with every level of education attained (e.g. associates, bachelor, master, and doctoral).

(Video) Top 8 GREAT Alternatives To A College Degree!

3. Better Employment Benefits

Studies have shown that college graduates are more likely to receive greater employer-provided benefits than employees without a college degree. This is especially true when it comes to healthcare coverage. A 2008 report produced by College Board showed that roughly 70 percent of individuals with a four-year college degree received health insurance from their employer, while less than 50 percent of employees with only a high school diploma received the same benefit.

Across the board, college graduates are able to find jobs with better benefits. In addition to health care insurance, college graduates can look forward to better retirement matching, health savings accounts, tuition reimbursement, free childcare and reimbursement for travel and commuting costs. In some instances, a benefits package can be worth almost as much as an employee’s take-home pay.

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4. Higher Job Satisfaction

Not surprisingly, college graduates are typically more satisfied with their careers than individuals with a high school diploma – and since we spend almost our entire lives working, job satisfaction can be a large factor in our overall satisfaction with life and sense of well-being. Studies have also shown that as the level of education increase, so does job satisfaction.

College graduates are typically more satisfied with their careers for a number of reasons. They’re able to find higher paying careers. They’re able to get into positions with job advancement opportunities. They’re able to get hired by employers that provide generous benefits. And most importantly, they’re able to work in fields and industries that interest them.

According to 2007 survey from the University of Chicago, some of the most satisfying occupations include that of a physical therapist, firefighter, teacher, clergy, psychologist, education administrator, operating engineer, and office supervisor.

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5. Stronger Job Stability

A college degree also leads to stronger job stability. During an economic downturn, it’s not uncommon for employers to cut jobs. What positions do you think are first to get cut? That’s right. Typically those at the bottom of the totem pole – positions requiring unskilled labor. During a recession, the unemployment rate among college graduates is substantially lower than the unemployment rate among employees with only a high school diploma.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, having an associate degree suggests that you will be 30% less likely to be unemployed. By earning a bachelor’s or master’s, this same data suggests that you will be 48-56% less likely to be unemployed.

Certain jobs, however, inherently have a lower unemployment rate than others. According to U.S. News & World Report, some of the jobs with the best job security during a recession include registered nursing, public school teacher, college professor, accountant, federal judge, doctor and air traffic controller. Not surprisingly, most of these jobs also require a college degree.

6. Increased Benefits to Your Children

8 Major Benefits of College | Why Earn Your Degree (1)

When considering the benefits of college, most people only consider the direct impact of a college degree on their own lives – but one of the more hidden benefits of college and earning a college degree is the positive impact it can have on the well-being of their families as well, especially their children. Not only are children of parents with a college education better off socially and economically, but studies have shown that children in households where one or both parents have a college degree are themselves more likely to earn a college degree. Earning a college degree can have a ripple effect that will influence the well-being of generations to come.

There is also an interesting correlation between a woman’s education and the health of her children. A study produced by Lancet, a reputable medical journal, showed that between 1970 and 2009 there was a significant decrease in infant mortality rates for women as they attained higher levels of education.

(Video) Why You Need A College Degree To Be Happy

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7. Heightened Ability to Make Good Choices

Earning a college degree enables people to make better choices the rest of their lives. Not only does a college education provide an individual with new knowledge and information, it teaches them how to think critically, how to break apart and reconstruct complex issues, and how to solve problems. Earning a college degree helps people make better choices about everything from mortgage rates to investment plans to launching a new business.

8. Improved Ability to Communicate Effectively

A college degree also has a very positive impact on an individual’s written and verbal communication skills. Of all the benefits provided by earning a college degree, this is one of the most valuable. Communication skills will influence just about every aspect of your life. The ability to communicate clearly, concisely, and persuasively with help you land the perfect job, improve your career advancement opportunities and enhance your interpersonal relationships with family members and associates.

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FAQs

Why is it important to earn a degree in college? ›

College is important for many reasons, including increased career stability and satisfaction, and the ability to make an impact on your community. With more and more careers requiring advanced education, a college degree can be critical to your success in today's workforce.

What are 5 benefits of going to college? ›

Benefits of Going to College
  • Discover Your Interests. College tends to be a time full of discovery. ...
  • Increased Job Opportunities. Many jobs require a college degree. ...
  • Higher Potential Earnings. ...
  • Lower Unemployment Rate. ...
  • Job Satisfaction and Security. ...
  • Improved Skills. ...
  • Personal Development. ...
  • Networking.

What are 3 benefits of a college degree? ›

5 benefits of a college degree.
  • You will be more marketable. ...
  • Access to more job opportunities. ...
  • Higher earning potential. ...
  • Opportunity to change industries. ...
  • Greater job stability.
6 May 2020

How does college benefit you in the future? ›

It prepares you, both intellectually and socially, for your career and your adult life. The benefits of a college education include career opportunities like better paying and higher skilled jobs, but studies have shown that it also leads to overall happiness and stability.

What is the importance of degree? ›

A degree can help you score better job opportunities, which will not only improve your life, but will also financially affect the people around you. Whether you want to start in marketing, web design, or any high-paying job for that matter, a degree can improve your earning and employment potential.

How will a college degree impact your life? ›

A college degree opens up more opportunities, even in fields that aren't in your major. Improve Discipline and Develop Strong Character. Obtaining a degree takes discipline and a will to succeed. By getting your degree, you overcome procrastination and learn to do what it takes to reach your goal.

What are the benefits of studying? ›

Increased employment and career opportunities – more than you will have considered! Development of good habits, self-understanding, and perseverance. A sense of accomplishment from the achievement of your study goals and earning qualifications! Increased self-confidence in your abilities.

Is degree important for success? ›

Even if a degree is not needed in the beginning, it may be required in order for you to move higher up within your company or field. That being said, you can certainly be successful without a college degree — your skills and talents can get you hired.

Why college life is the best? ›

College life are the best part in every person's life. College life is a time full of experiences and learning many new things . It becomes a place where a person has many things that define a person, there is no doubt that the time spent in our college becomes the best time for our lives.

What is a social benefit of earning a college degree? ›

Unemployment for 25- to 34-year-olds with at least a bachelor's degree was 2.2%, compared to 5.7% among high school graduates. Other Economic Benefits. Relative to those with less than a college degree, individuals who had earned a B.A. or higher were: More likely to receive employer-provided retirement plans.

How does college prepare you for the real world? ›

Job Experience – One of the biggest benefits of working through college is the valuable on-the-job experience you will have. Not only will you have your education and training, you will have actual experience that you can put on your resume. This is something that potential employers like to see.

How important is a college degree in 2022? ›

According to NCES, the higher the educational attainment, the higher the median earnings. It goes without saying that going to college in 2022 can help prime you for a high-paying job in the future. The median annual earnings of bachelor's degree holders aged 25 to 34 amount to $55,700.

What is one benefit for US workers who have a college degree rather than a high school diploma? ›

What is one benefit for US workers who have a college degree rather than a high school diploma? Those with a college degree earn nearly twice as much as those without college.

Why is a degree more important than experience? ›

Earning a degree allows you to gain specialized knowledge about a specific career or industry. This may help you develop skills you need to begin your first job with little to no on-the-job training or advance your career. A degree may also help ensure you are up-to-date with the latest trends.

Does a college degree matter? ›

It is economic, civic, societal, and in a word, real. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, someone with a college degree will earn $524 more per week, $27,000 more per year, and $1 million more over a lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma or less.

How do you think graduate degree can help you achieve your career goals? ›

4 Ways a Master's Degree Helps to Advance Your Career
  • A master's degree helps lead to an increase in salary. ...
  • Possibility for promotion is greater with a graduate degree. ...
  • Continuing your education helps strengthen desirable professional skills. ...
  • A graduate degree will grow your professional and social network.
14 Feb 2022

Does a college degree make you happier? ›

A college education is vital to a healthier and happier lifestyle for individuals, families, and communities. Men and women who earn postsecondary degrees (the higher degree the better) are more likely to live longer and more satisfying lives.

Does a college education lead to success in life? ›

A report by the Lumina Foundation found that, in addition to higher incomes, good health and longer lifespans, college graduates are more likely to have healthcare and retirement benefits, safe jobs, occupational prestige and even greater happiness.

How can education improve your life? ›

Education can also lead to more accurate health beliefs and knowledge, and thus to better lifestyle choices, but also to better skills and greater self-advocacy. Education improves skills such as literacy, develops effective habits, and may improve cognitive ability.

What is the benefits of studying hard? ›

Your reading skills, social skills, mental development, etc. improve as a result of the hard work you put into your studies. you easily succeed in the field you work hard to be and achieve what matters to you. What you tend to be passionate about is discovered through your hard work put in strides.

Why is education important 5 sentences? ›

5 Lines on Education

2) Education helps us to develop skills. 3) An educated person is respected everywhere. 4) Education helps to attain success in life. 5) Education is the right of every citizen.

Why education is Important Top 13 Reasons? ›

To gain respect from society, one should be educated. To lead a happy and prosperous life, one needs to study and obtain a great job to be successful in life. It helps in earning money and fulfilling the basic needs of life. Also, education will help to gain a reputation by being in a great position.

What are the five main reasons why education is important? ›

Top 10 Reasons: Why Is Education Important?
  • Provides Stability. Education provides stability in life, and it's something that no one can ever take away from you. ...
  • Provides Financial Security. ...
  • Needed For Equality. ...
  • Allows For Self-Dependency. ...
  • Make Your Dreams Come True. ...
  • A Safer World. ...
  • Confidence. ...
  • A Part Of Society.

What are the pros and cons of college? ›

Pros and cons of going to college
  • Gain a better education: College is a tool for you to use to further your education. ...
  • More job opportunities. ...
  • New experiences. ...
  • Get outside of your comfort zone/boundaries. ...
  • Debt/Student loans. ...
  • Stress. ...
  • Jobs don't require college education. ...
  • Famous/rich people without college education.
10 Jan 2018

What are the advantages of college life? ›

College life comes with a lot of attractions. One amongst them is the association you develop with students of different backgrounds, cultures and languages. You as a college student will be spending a lot of time with peers and the ones who appeal to you will become your friends for life.

How will a college degree impact your life? ›

A college degree opens up more opportunities, even in fields that aren't in your major. Improve Discipline and Develop Strong Character. Obtaining a degree takes discipline and a will to succeed. By getting your degree, you overcome procrastination and learn to do what it takes to reach your goal.

What is one benefit for US workers who have a college degree rather than a high school diploma? ›

College-educated workers enjoy a substantial earnings premium. On an annual basis, median earnings for bachelor's degree holders are $36,000 or 84 percent higher than those whose highest degree is a high school diploma. The earnings gap between college graduates and those with less education continues to widen.

Do you need college to be successful? ›

If your ideal career can be started, sustained, and grown without a college degree, then you can probably be successful without college. However, if higher education is absolutely required for your chosen profession, there might not be any other way around the need to get a college degree to include on your resumé.

Is college education useful and essential? ›

It is very important to attain education from college because college studies open wide horizons of knowledge in the life of students.

How is college better than high school? ›

In college, your schedule is more flexible and spread out. You will have much fewer classes than you did in high school. And with fewer classes, there are fewer assignments. That means more free time.

Why college is the best experience? ›

College is one of the most exciting and transformative times of your life. You'll make lifelong friends, discover what your passion in life is, and have an opportunity to experience a culture that exists only on a college campus. Dive in, talk to people, get involved, and make the most of those four years that you can.

How does college prepare you for the real world? ›

Job Experience – One of the biggest benefits of working through college is the valuable on-the-job experience you will have. Not only will you have your education and training, you will have actual experience that you can put on your resume. This is something that potential employers like to see.

How do you think graduate degree can help you achieve your career goals? ›

4 Ways a Master's Degree Helps to Advance Your Career
  • A master's degree helps lead to an increase in salary. ...
  • Possibility for promotion is greater with a graduate degree. ...
  • Continuing your education helps strengthen desirable professional skills. ...
  • A graduate degree will grow your professional and social network.
14 Feb 2022

Does a college degree make you happier? ›

A college education is vital to a healthier and happier lifestyle for individuals, families, and communities. Men and women who earn postsecondary degrees (the higher degree the better) are more likely to live longer and more satisfying lives.

Does a college education lead to success in life? ›

A report by the Lumina Foundation found that, in addition to higher incomes, good health and longer lifespans, college graduates are more likely to have healthcare and retirement benefits, safe jobs, occupational prestige and even greater happiness.

What is the importance of a college education essay? ›

College education essentially is the key to success in the future. It opens many doors of opportunity and allows us to explore every option available. College education can provide a student with new exciting opportunities that they would never had if they drop out of at high school.

Does a college degree matter? ›

It is economic, civic, societal, and in a word, real. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, someone with a college degree will earn $524 more per week, $27,000 more per year, and $1 million more over a lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma or less.

Which of the following is a personal benefit of earning a college degree? ›

It prepares you, both intellectually and socially, for your career and your adult life. The benefits of a college education include career opportunities like better paying and higher-skilled jobs, but studies have shown that it also leads to overall happiness and stability.

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