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Formal Education Pays Off

Want to earn more money? You might need more education than a high school diploma or GED. Many higher-paying jobs require more schooling.

Ex-offenders graduating

As you weigh the pros and cons of going to school, think about how education pays. People with college degrees or formal job training often make more money than those without a degree. They are also more likely to keep their jobs or quickly find a new one.

Education Pays

Unemployment Rate* Education Level Typical Weekly Earnings**
14.6% Didn't Finish High School $454
9.7% GED/High School Graduate $626
8.6% Some College, No Degree $699
6.8% Associate Degree $761
5.2% Bachelor's Degree $1,025
3.9% Master's Degree $1,257

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009 wage data.
*Persons are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work. Persons who were not working and were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been temporarily laid off are also included as unemployed.
** Typical weekly earnings shown are the median wage. The median is the middle wage when listing all of the wages from low to high. The earnings are for year-round, full-time employed workers age 25 and older.

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