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Don’t Expect A Large Salary Increase If You Didn’t Go To College

As per US Census data, following chart illustrates that if you have less than "college degree" then the jumps in your salary is very less as you progress in your age

Small increase in salary for less than college degree

Notice the big jump in median salary with better than college degrees.

This is a perfect example of how a single visualization can tell so many interesting facts.

  1. If you have anything less than a Bachelors Degree then the median salary does not cross above 50K
  2. The salary increments are very small compared to when you have above Bachelors Degree
  3. All the salary increments seem to plateau off at the age of 45 and 49
  4. Professional degrees have highest median salary increments.

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Tags: census, college, dashboards, degree, infocaptor, salary, us

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Comment by Rebecca Barber, PhD on November 22, 2014 at 6:56pm

It's still going to be a while.  A college degree is more than a certificate that you know certain things. It attests to your ability to commit to and follow through on something, show up on time consistently, complete tasks given to you (whether they are something you love or not), and rounds out the student's knowledge so that they know more than just a limited set of skills. Employers still use that degree as a proxy for a whole raft of other skills and abilities, and despite the cost (blame that on declining government support), it remains the best way for a young person to get their foot in the door.

At least in the US universities are under immense pressures.  The existence of student loans have made it possible for the government (at the state level) to remove most of it's investment in higher education and push that cost onto the students.  From the outside it looks like universities keep jacking up their prices, but in fact that mirrors the loss of funding from the state.  Universities (at least public ones) are getting the same amount of money per student, adjust for inflation, as they were getting in 1988.  (http://www.sheeo.org/sites/default/files/publications/SHEF_FY13_041... see figure 3)  

Universities are changing, but anyone who thinks that a college education is in any way outdated is unrealistic. There are several generations of people who value it too highly for it to lose it's worth anytime soon, and there are far too many skeptical of what they will get from the alternatives to trust their business to them on any mass scale.   

Comment by Vincent Granville on November 22, 2014 at 10:43am

College education is getting more and more expensive and outdated / out of touch with reality. Alternate solutions (apprenticeships) are now being offered, sponsored by hiring companies. I'd expect this will change the value of a college degree in the future - or college will have to redesign themselves. Most are unable to do so because student loans are paid by the government, so they don't face typical business pressures. When you factor in the increasing burden of student loans, combined with 4 years studying where you make no money, and robots increasingly replacing the college-educated workforce, at some point, college education will become a losing proposition.

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