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Degrees that are worth your time – and money


As time progresses, it would seem that higher education runs the risk of converting back to its days of being a luxury that middle-class families can no longer afford. Education is expensive—and is only getting more so with the start of each traditional calendar year. While studies predict steady increases, students have the chance to carefully select a degree that will maximize their earning potential in order to ensure the effectiveness of their investment.

On average—according to College Board research data—a four-year degree at a public university runs $37,343 and counting, while an education at a private school may see students dishing out approximately $121,930. This spotlights quite a large gap when the average annual earnings of college graduates are taken into consideration.


"According to the Pew Research Center, college graduates from the ages of 25 to 32 who are working full time earn about $17,500 more annually than their peers who have only a high school diploma."

According to the Pew Research Center, college graduates from the ages of 25 to 32 who are working full time earn about $17,500 more annually than their peers who have only a high school diploma. Of course, it must also be noted that not all degrees are equally useful, causing many students to end up worse off, financially, than if they had started working after high school.

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Students and parents not need to be discouraged, however, as there are opportunities to come out good after obtaining a degree. Of course, the probability of success varies depending upon the selected field.

The Economist reported that an engineering graduate from the University of California, Berkeley can expect to be nearly $1.1 million better off after 20 years than someone who never went to college. The least lucrative courses in the same field still generated a 20-year return of almost $500,000. For instance, a civil degree with a bachelor’s degree can earn $79,340, with that position expected to see roughly 120 job openings by 2020.

In terms of higher potential openings, immediate access to jobs in virtually all industries makes degrees in business administration a safe bet to place—particularly for a student graduating with a bachelor of science (BS) in business. The business industry is expected to see a growth of 2,351.5 by 2020.


"The biggest advantage of a degree in business administration is that it gives the student access to jobs in virtually all industries, since almost every company needs management personnel…"

"The biggest advantage of a degree in business administration is that it gives the student access to jobs in virtually all industries, since almost every company needs management personnel," says David Bakke, editor at Money Crashers—a financial guidance website that often features stories on education.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (a leading source of information on the employment of the college educated) confirms such, reporting in their "Job Outlook 2013" survey that a business administration degree is one of the top five bachelor's degrees most valued by employers.

Registered nurses follow closely with an anticipated 1,224 openings—the odds of security higher in those who proceed to achieve a BS in nursing. Furthermore, earning capabilities of a B.S. in criminal justice graduate has the capability to start off with a yearly salary of almost $70,000, while BS health information management majors can expect to be trained to handle a vast variety of job opportunities in the healthcare field.

These degrees could be worth your attention— provided that you are willing to make the necessary time and financial committment needed to make it a success.