College Degrees Pay Off in the Long Run for Arizona Workers, Study finds


For those wondering if getting college degrees really pay off in time with higher salary brackets, a new study conducted in Arizona has found that the higher the degree a person has, the higher the salary he or she receives.

The study, conducted among three universities governed by the Board of Regents, looked into the pay records of students who graduated from the Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University, and found that those who achieved degrees earned higher than other Arizonan workers with only a high school diploma, The Arizona Republic reported.

"At a point in time when so many are questioning the value of college degrees, this study shows the value not just to students but to the state," Eileen Klein, president of the Board of Regents, told the paper. "A college degree beats no degree."

The study looked into the pay records of 271,000 people who graduated from those schools between the school years 1989-1990 and 2014-2015 and have never left the state. Self-employed individuals as well as federal employees were exempted.

The results showed the obvious difference in salaries corresponding to degrees. High school graduates earned a median average of $27,947 a year. Those who had undergraduate degrees earned more than $10,000 higher than that, with exact ranges varying depending on the major.

Those who had the most lucrative degrees earned higher. Engineering majors had a median wage of $86,443, followed by computer/information sciences ($83,227), engineering technologies ($77,204), business/marketing/management ($66,438) and health professions ($61,112).

Other less lucrative degrees still brought in more income to its holders: English language/literature ($42,834), communications technologies ($41,730), family/consumer services ($41,119), visual/performing arts ($40,474), and area/ethnic/cultural/gender studies ($40,281).

Graduate degree-holders even earned substantially higher incomes. The researchers found that over the 25-year period, more than 74,000 graduate degree holders earned a median average of $70,357. Details about the degrees and corresponding degrees are not stated.

This new report supports data released by Achieve60AZ, a community-based coalition, Arizona Education News reported in September. The data presented indicates that those with a High School diploma alone earned an average weekly salary of $651 (about $33,852 a year minus days/weeks without work), those with a bachelor's degree earned an average of $1,108 weekly (about $57,616 a year minus days/weeks without work), and master's degree holders earn an average of $1,329 a week ($69,108 a year minus days/weeks without work)

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