The business definition of earning potential, according to bnet.com, is the amount of money an individual will be able to earn in his professional capacity.
One of the biggest expectations that everyone has always had from education is to increase earning potential. However, this has taken a whole new meaning post recession. It won't be an exaggeration to say that for many, the only reason to invest time and money on college education is to increase their capacity to earn.
What lends credibility to the phrase "the more you learn, the more you earn" is the data for median annual earnings by educational attainment released by the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the bureau, the annual income of high school graduates or equivalent is $27,448. The earnings start rising as the level of education increases, with those who have some college or an Associate's degree making $33,838 per year and those with a Bachelor's degree earning $47,853. The income of graduate or Master's degree holders is the highest at $63,174.* If there was ever a doubt in your mind about the significance of college education in increasing your earning potential, then surely these numbers should clear it.
Yes, college is probably going to eat up a considerable chunk of your parents' savings or you might have to fund it by taking a student loan, but it's an investment that is likely to bear rich dividends through your life. And there are several options available to suit everyone's goals.
If academics are not your forte, it doesn't mean you have to rule out college altogether. You can still increase your earning potential by pursuing a two-year Associate's degree in fields like healthcare or computers where there is a huge demand for trained workers. For example, an Associate's degree in respiratory therapy will qualify you for entry-level positions as a respiratory therapist, whose average annual income is $52,200.** Now that's a fair deal in return for two years of education, wouldn't you say?
A Bachelor's degree can boost these earnings further, especially if you are smart about the major you pick.
There are some rewarding careers like accounting, computer science, and healthcare administration for which a Bachelor's degree is the minimum qualification. A Bachelor's degree will not just increase your earning potential, but also provide you a wider base of quality jobs from which to choose.
Needless to say, with professional and graduate degree programs like MBA, law, or medicine, the sky is the limit as far as earning potential is concerned. However, you should go down that road only if you have the inclination and the resources for extensive schooling that these professions require.
Taking a cue from students who are in a rush to join the workforce, many universities and colleges have also introduced accelerated degree programs that allow students to complete their post-secondary education in a shorter span of time than that afforded through traditional colleges and universities. Such degrees are a brilliant idea because the sooner you finish school, the sooner you can start making a living.
Whichever field you choose to enter, college degree programs can help you reach the next level not just in terms of a paycheck, but also the quality of your life!