College: Still the Best Investment You Can Make

In fact, it’s one of the best investments you can make. 

A recent Brookings Institution study found that a typical investment in a bachelor’s degree earned a 15.2 percent rate of return—more than double the average return of the stock market for the last 60 years combined, and more than five times the return of other investments like bonds, gold, or housing.

Interestingly, from a pure return on investment standpoint, the associate degree is clearly your best bet.

All Degrees are Not Created Equal

So is an associate degree the answer for you?

It depends.

Studies show that lifetime earnings are higher overall for bachelor’s degree grads. But on the individual level, the story gets more complicated.

Let’s consider a few real world examples. In PTC’s most recent graduate survey, the top earning alum reported a salary of $67,000 within six months of earning an associate degree in Mechatronics Technology. For that particular degree, earnings at that level are not uncommon.

A typical English major with a bachelor’s degree, on the other hand, will likely earn only a fraction of that in an entry-level job.

Depending on career choices (and luck), earnings will likely increase over time for liberal arts majors, and some may make more than our example Mechatronics grad. But many may not ever make that much.

A recent college graduate with a major in Engineering, though, will likely earn as much as our Mechatronics student right out of school, and earnings can increase a great deal down the road.

So What Should I Do?

Knowing which route is right for you is a big decision.

But the evidence is clear that a college education pays off. In fact, any education you invest in after high school is going to help. You can even start enjoying the economic benefits of increased education with a just a short term certificate or a diploma.

The question you should be asking yourself is, “what do I want to do for a living, and what kind of education do I need to get there.”

At the end of the day, it’s really all about your career. The question you should be asking yourself is, “what do I want to do for a living, and what kind of education do I need to get there.”

You’re going to spend big chunk of your life at work, so you should choose something you’re going to enjoy—something you have a talent for. And although we all know that doctors and lawyers do pretty well in the earnings department, those careers are definitely not for everyone.

Wherever you’re headed, getting your start at PTC is a good move. Our tuition and financial aid options make attendance affordable for people on even the tightest budgets, and we have a whole list of courses that transfer if you’re headed toward a career that requires a bachelor’s degree or more.

Get Help with Career Planning

If you’re not sure what career is the best fit for you, you’re not alone. The good news is that Piedmont Technical College has a whole department dedicated to helping you figure it out.

PTC offers free career planning services to current students, and to anyone interested in talking about how education can help their career. Our counselors have a whole toolbox full of assessments that will help you figure out what you’re best at, and they’ll help you match those talents with a career path that you’ll love.

Contact us for your free Career Planning Consultation today.



*Chart from The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution