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More Education Pays Off, As Do Certain Fields of Training

     The field of training can sometimes have as dramatic an effect on earnings as the level of education, according to a series of data tables the U.S. Census Bureau released today.

     Workers who held vocational certificates in engineering averaged about $3,880 a month, which is nearly the same as those with bachelor's degrees in natural science. Likewise, those with associate's degrees in computers averaged about $3,760 a month, which is close to those with bachelor's degrees in education or social science.

     The tables, What It's Worth: Field of Training and Economic Status in 2004, examine the relationship between field of training for post-secondary degree holders and monthly earnings. They also present data on the average years taken to start and complete various degrees and on occupation of workers by educational attainment and field of degree.

     Other highlights:

  • Business was a popular field of training in 2004, as 8.6 million people held bachelor's degrees, 3.9 million earned associate's degrees and 2.7 million received advanced degrees in this field. Those with bachelor's degrees in engineering earned an average of $5,992 a month.
  • People who pursued higher degrees often spent more than the minimum number of years to complete the degree or certificate. On average, students took more than a year to complete vocational programs, more than four years to complete associate's degrees and more than five years to complete bachelor's degrees.
  • Women earned less than men at every degree level. The female-to-male average monthly earnings ratio for full-time workers 18 and older in 2004 was 0.71 for women who held bachelor's degrees and 0.67 for women with master's, doctorate or professional degrees. The ratios were not statistically different from one another at these levels of education.
These data were collected from June 2004 through September 2004 in the Survey of Income and Program Participation. As in all surveys, these data are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. For further information on the source of the data and accuracy of the estimates, including standard errors and confidence intervals, go to <http://www.census.gov/sipp/source.html>.
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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: February 10, 2014