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Fall 2002 Vol. 46, Number 3

College at work: Outlook and earnings for college graduates, 2000-10

College appeals to more people than ever before. What awaits these graduates? Will the workplace pay?


When it comes to work, having a college degree is one of the best ways to gain and maintain a competitive edge. On average, college graduates enjoy advantages—ranging from more job opportunities to better salaries—over their non-college-educated counterparts. 

A college degree does not guarantee that workers will find their dream job, but it does help prepare them for career pursuits. And the goal of career preparation is at least part of the reason that more than 1 million students earned their bachelor’s degrees in 2000. 

For purposes of this article, the term “college degree” refers to any bachelor’s or higher degree: master’s, including master of business administration; professional, such as law; and doctor of philosophy, or Ph.D. Data are examined by workers’ highest levels of educational attainment—from high school diploma to Ph.D.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: March 04, 2003