Unexpectedly Intriguing!
27 July 2010

As you might expect, it goes by your level of education:

Estimated Average Lifetime Earnings by Education Level (in current dollars) - Source: Georgetown University

Going by Census data available through 2008, an individual with a bachelor's degree would earn about three times as much money over their life than an individual who dropped out of high school, and a bit under twice what a high school graduate might earn. Meanwhile, an individual with just some college or an associates degree would earn double the lifetime income of a high school dropout.

Interestingly, a master's degree doesn't provide that much of a lifetime earnings premium over a basic bachelor's degree, nor does a PhD deliver much additional income over a master's degree.

But those who earn professional degrees on average tend to do quite well in comparison to individuals with lower levels of education.

Source: Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce. Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018. June 2010.

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