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
  • The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division

    Helping creative minds bring their ideas to life.

    Programs

    • Digital Photography (BS)
    • Game Art & Design (BS)
    • Graphic Design (BS)
    • More...
    Location:
    Pittsburgh: 420 Boulevard of the Allies, Pittsburgh PA 15219
    The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division Request Info »
  • University of the Virgin Islands

    HISTORICALLY AMERICAN. UNIQUELY CARIBBEAN. GLOBALLY INTERACTIVE.

     

    Programs

    • Bachelor of Arts - Accounting
    • Bachelor of Science - Electronics Engineering Technology
    • Associate of Science - Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology
    • More...

    Location: Online

    University of the Virgin Islands Request Info »
  • University of Nevada - Reno

    At the University of Nevada, Reno, we teach public health practitioners how to look beyond physical conditions and consider environmental, economic and sociological factors that impact individual and community health, happiness and well-being.

    The online Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice is designed to prepare you for employment in nearly any area of the public health field.

    Programs

    • Online Master of Public Health (MPH)

    Location: Online

    University of Nevada - Reno Request Info »
  • South University, Online Programs

    As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

    Programs

    • Nurse Educator (PGC)
    • Nursing (RN to BSN)
    • Specialization in Nursing Informatics (RN to MSN)
    • More...
    Location:
    Savannah: 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah GA 31406
    South University, Online Programs Request Info »
  • Full Sail University - Online

    Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy.

    Programs

    • Cloud Technologies Bachelors - Online
    • Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
    • Entertainment Business, Master of Science (Online)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Full Sail University - Online Request Info »
  • Ashford University

    Technology changes everything®

    You’ve found Ashford University, where school comes to you

    Programs

    • Associate of Arts - Early Childhood.
    • BA/Early Childhood Education Administration
    • BA/Education Studies
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Ashford University Request Info »
  • New England College

    Discover the Difference a Community of Support Makes in Your Educational Journey.From Application to Graduation, the Guidance You Need to Achieve Your Goals. 100% Online.

    Programs

    • BA in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security and Emergency Management
    • BA in Business Administration Accounting
    • AA in Psychology
    • More...
    Location:
    Henniker: 98 Bridge St,, Henniker NH 03242
    New England College Request Info »
  • Georgetown University

    About Georgetown University
    Georgetown University is a private, not-for-profit, accredited university located in Washington, DC. Founded in 1789 by John Carroll, Georgetown is America's oldest Catholic and Jesuit University. Today, Georgetown is a major international research university. It has nine schools, an affiliated hospital and many highly-ranked graduate programs.Georgetown University Online

    Programs

    • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
    • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
    • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Georgetown University Request Info »
  • California Intercontinental University

    Advance your career with an online degree from California InterContinental University.

    Programs

    • Bachelor of Engineering Information Technology Emphasis in Network and Systems Security (BEITNSS)
    • Bachelor of Engineering Information Technology in Project Management (BEITPM)
    • Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management and Leadership (MBAHCML)
    • More...
    Location:
    Irvine: 17310 Red Hill Avenue, Suite 200, Irvine CA 92614
    California Intercontinental University Request Info »
  • Northcentral University

    • Northcentral University was founded in 1996 to provide working professionals around the world with unprecedented access to richly engaging, professionally relevant, and academically-rigorous education from a U.S. university.

    Programs

    • International Business - D.B.A.
    • Leadership in Higher Education - EdS
    • MS Organizational Leadership - Nonprofit Management
    • More...
    Location:
    San Diego: 2488 Historic Decatur Rd., San Diego CA 92106
    Northcentral University 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.

    ×
    We have made updates to our Privacy PolicyPrivacy Policy to reflect the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation.