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How earning a degree impacts career earnings and value

A bar chart showing the financial benefits of a college degree, based on January 2024 median yearly full-time earnings and educational attainment according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The figures are $47,684 for high school diploma with no college; $55,016 for associate's degree or some college; $78,468 for bachelor's degree; and $94,432 for master's degree and higher.

By Tyler Hansen

Editor’s note: This article was most recently updated on Jan. 26, 2024.

There is immense personal value in earning a bachelor’s degree. It’s a badge of honor you carry with you for life.

And it’s a game-changer in the job market.

Albert Diaz, Oregon State University Ecampus computer science graduate, lifting his son in the air.Play

To boost his career, Albert Diaz enrolled online with OSU Ecampus to pursue his postbaccalaureate degree in computer science. His plan paid off.

By earning your bachelor’s degree, you could earn as much as $1 million more than someone with a high school diploma over the course of a career, according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

BLS findings also show that graduating with a four-year degree increases your chances of finding employment. On the other hand, those with some college experience but no degree have an unemployment rate higher than the national average.

Many students who have earned their degrees online with Oregon State University Ecampus can attest to the direct impact their academic success had on their careers. Among them is Maria Carpenter, whose bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences immediately led to a role as a rangeland management specialist with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Oregon State Ecampus delivers more than 100 degrees, certificate and microcredentials online and at a distance. Explore our offerings today and find the program that best matches your interests and career aspirations.


Discover more about the Oregon State Ecampus online learning experience and the programs and courses we deliver online.

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