dcsimg
You are here:

Getting Your Money's Worth: 6 Degrees with High ROIs

Education is often referred to as an investment, but as with stocks and bonds, some investments pay off better than others. So, as you contemplate investing in the next stage of your education, how can you be confident of getting your money's worth? To put it differently, what is the best degree to make money with over the course of your career?

Court report

One way to look at this question is to borrow a concept from the finanical world known as Return on Investment (ROI). In basic terms, ROI is the proceeds of a given investment measured as a percentage of the cost of that investment. So, if you invested $100 and earned a $150 profit as a result, you'd have a 150 percent return on investment.

So how do you measure the ROI of higher education? One way is to look at the typical wage levels for a profession, project those out over a 40-year career to come up with an estimate of lifetime earnings, and then divide that by an estimate of the cost of the education necessary to qualify for that profession.

As you might expect, this analysis shows that some educational programs pay off much better than others do. Listed below are some examples of vocational certificates, associates degrees, and bachelor degrees with especially high ROIs.

ROI of higher education: Vocational certificates

Vocational certificates can typically be completed in a year or less, at an estimated cost of $5,200. In return, they can really boost your earning power in some cases. The following are two examples:

  • Electrical and electronics repair. This is generally a high-paying occupation, and at the top of the profession are electrical repair specialists who work in power-generating and other electrical utility plants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from May, 2009, electrical and electronics installers and repairers who work at powerstation, substation, and relay facilities earn an average of $61,700 per year. Multiply that by a 40-year career, and it would yield a return on your educational investment of an incredible 47,461 percent.

  • Court reporting. Court reporting is a specialized skill, and the pay scale typically reflects that fact. According to the BLS, court reporters in the United States earn an average of $52,460 per year. Projected over a 40-year career, that rate of income yields an education return on investment of 40,353 percent.

ROI of higher education: Associate's degrees

Associate's degrees are typically two-year programs with an estimated total cost of $10,400. They can be used as a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree, or to qualify for some highly worthwhile professions on their own. Here are two examples:

  • Radiation therapy. Radiation therapists administer treatments to cancer patients. As the Baby Boom Generation ages, this is expected to be a fast-growing profession, and it is also one that pays well. According to the BLS, radiation therapists earn an average of $77,340 per year, which would yield a 29,745 percent education return on investment over the course of a 40-year career.

  • Fashion design. Fashion design can be a very competitive field, but for those who succeed, it can be highly lucrative. According to the BLS, fashion designers earn an average of $74,410 per year. Over a 40-year career, this would result in a 28,618 percent education return on investment.

ROI of higher education: Bachelor's degrees

Bachelor's degrees are typically four-year programs with an estimated total cost of $37,672. They can lead to a variety of high-paying occupations, including the following:

  • Software engineers. Computer-related professions generally pay well, and according to the BLS, the job market for software engineers is expected to see extraordinary growth in the years ahead. The average salary for this position is $96,620, which would give you an education return on investment of 10,258 percent over the course of a 40-year career.

  • Electronics engineers. There are several branches of engineering, all of which tend to pay well. According to the BLS, electronics engineers earn an average of $91,540 per year. Over the course of a forty-year career, that would yield an education return on investment of 9,719 percent.

The above analysis used a fairly simple measure of ROI, sufficient for comparison among different degrees and professions. The actual ROI you get depends on the school you choose, how much financial aid you get, how many years it takes you to get through school, and how successful you are upon graduation. As a rule though, if you choose a career like the ones highlighted above, you are increasing your chances of getting a favorable ROI.

 

 

Search Schools

      
Matching School Ads
  • Simmons College Master of Public Health

    Simmons’ online Master of Public Health program, MPH@Simmons, is designed to give you the real-world skills you need to address health inequity on a local, national, and global scale. The MPH@Simmons program explores the core areas of public health: epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy and health services, environmental health, and social/behavioral health. Additionally, the practice-based curriculum incorporates courses specifically designed to help you develop leadership and advocacy skills.

    Programs

    • Master of Public Health
    Location:
    Boston: 300 The Fenway, Boston MA 02115
    Simmons College Master of Public Health Request Info »
  • Stratford Career Institute

    Earn Your Diploma from Home!

    Programs

    • Drug & Alcohol Treatment Specialist
    • Funeral Service Education
    • French as a Second Language
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Stratford Career Institute Request Info »
  • Simmons College School of Communication

    Communications@Simmons prepares students to become leaders who achieve their organizational, professional, and personal goals through a strategic integration of communications theory and practice.

    ·

    Programs

    • MS in Communication
    Location:
    Boston: , Boston MA 02115
    Simmons College School of Communication Request Info »
  • Baker College Online

    Baker College is proud to be the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. With one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country, our mission is to help our students find meaningful employment.

    Programs

    • Elementary Mathematics - Additional Endorsement - Certificate
    • Business Intelligence - MBA (Master's)
    • Information Technology and Security - Bachelor
    • More...
    Location:
    Willis: 4500 Enterprise Dr. Allen Park,, Willis MI 48191
    Baker College Online Request Info »
  • Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences

    Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

    You need to have a Bachelor’s degree and RN license to be qualified for this school.

    Programs

    • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
    • RN to MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
    Location:
    Boston: 300 The Fenway,, Boston MA 02115
    Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences Request Info »
  • Syracuse Communications

    Communications@Syracuse is an online Master of Science in Communications from the world-renowned S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
     

    Programs

    • Master of Science in Communications

    Location: Online

    Syracuse Communications Request Info »
  • Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University

    Located in the heart of Washington, D.C. the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University is dedicated to advancing the health of local, national and global communities.

    You need to have a Bachelor’s degree to be qualified for this school.

    Programs

    • Executive Master of Health Administration
    • Master of Public Health
    Location:
    Washington: 2121 I St NW,, Washington DC 20052
    Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University Request Info »
  • Purdue University

    Purdue University offers a strong foundation of tradition and history.

    Programs

    • Master of Science in Communication
    • Master of Science in Education in Special Education
    • Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Purdue University Request Info »
  • Animal Behavior College

    Interested in a career as a professional dog trainer? Animal Behavior College is the place to start.

    Programs

    • Veterinary Assistant
    • Certified Dog Trainer Instructor Course
    • Grooming Instruction

    Location: Online

    Animal Behavior College Request Info »
  • National American University - Roueche Graduate Center

    The goal of earning a master’s degree should be defined by you, not by your circumstances. No matter which path you’ve chosen, a graduate degree can help you advance with your current organization, explore opportunities with a new company, or even start fresh in a new industry. When you earn your master's degree, you’re opening new opportunities for career development that can make a difference for you and your family. Through flexible class scheduling, dedicated career advisors and quality programs, NAU strives to provide a caring and supportive learning environment to ensure your success as a student.

    Programs

    • Master of Business Administration, Aviation Management
    • Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Education
    • Master of Science in Nursing - Care Coordination
    • More...

    Location: Online

    National American University - Roueche Graduate Center Request Info »
  • Matching School Ads

    Quick School Search

    College & Career Search Tools

    • Careers: Unsure about your career path? Study profiles of hundreds of professions.

    • Interviews: Professors and deans sit down with our team to give you unique insights on college life.

    • Military Education: Find only Military friendly online schools and campuses.

    • Student Reviews: Know before you go. Read student reviews on over 2000 accredited colleges. Write your own experience.