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Education and Earnings

Everyone says you have to have to get your diploma to get a job, and you need a college degree if you want to make any money, but are these old sayings really true?  Yes, according to statistics.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes figures every year comparing unemployment rates and earnings for different levels of education.  In 2018, someone 25 years or older without a high school diploma had a 5.6% chance of being unemployed and, if he or she had a job, earned an average of $553 per week.  Someone with a high school diploma had a 4.1% chance of unemployment, and made $177 more a week.  Add in a 2-year associate's degree, and unemployment drops to 2.8%, while wages climb to $309 more a week than with no high school diploma.  Finally, with a 4-year bachelor's degree, unemployment is only 2.2%, and wages are $1,198 per week, $645 more than without a high school diploma.
Educational Level
Wages per Week
Wages per Year
No High School Diploma
High School Diploma
Associate’s Degree
Bachelor’s Degree
(Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics - Unemployment Rates and Earnings by Educational Attainment -
Georgetown University published a large study in 2010, predicting workforce trends for the next 8 years.  Some of the main ideas are that education after high school gives access to a wide range of jobs, while workers with a high school diploma or less are limited to a smaller variety of lower-paying jobs.  Estimated lifetime earnings show a startling difference based on education.  A high school dropout will earn about $1,198,447 over 40 years of working.  Someone with a bachelor's degree is estimated to earn $3,380,060 over the same 40 years, and someone with a professional degree will earn $4,650,588 in his or her working life.
Educational Level
Lifetime Earnings
 (over 40 year working life)
No High School Diploma
High School Diploma
Bachelor’s Degree
Professional Degree
(Source:  Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce - Help Wanted:  Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018 -
What does this all mean? It pays to stay in school!  The time and effort required to get a high school diploma will pay off in greater chances of getting a higher-paying job, and the cost of a college education will be more than repaid over the course of a lifetime.  
At McClellan High School, we are committed to helping every student earn a diploma.  While we understand that college may not be the next step for all students, we help all interested students enroll in college and apply for financial aid.  Our mission is to help prepare students for success in a variety of post-graduation options.
Please share this information with others, and please call us with any questions.