Invest in Your Education

Over the past few decades, post-secondary education and training has become increasingly expensive. The college inflation rate hovers around 7 percent while the national inflation rate is significantly lower, around 4 percent. This means the cost of going to school DOUBLES about every nine years. Even with a higher price tag, pursuing your education is well worth the time and money you invest. By choosing to pursue your higher education now, you can save over $30,000 versus going back to college five years from now. Finding ways to finance your education can be just as stressful as picking the right school. The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Career Center or SECO is available to assist you in making these tough decisions.

Everyone has their own reasons for continuing their education beyond high school. Some of the more common reasons include:

  • Increased salary and lifetime earnings
  • Upward mobility
  • Desire for lifelong learning
  • The educational experience

Regardless of why you choose to continue your education, the benefits you receive from education are undeniable. The income an individual is expected to receive over their lifetime greatly varies based on their highest level of completed education. In addition, higher levels of education also help to protect against unemployment.

The 2011 U.S. Department of Commerce census noted that 64.1 percent of people who held a bachelor’s degree were employed full-time or at least 35 hours a week for at least 50 weeks out of the year. This number does not include full-time professions, like teachers, who work only 10 months of the year.

On January 28, 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salaried workers for 2012. The information below shows a relationship between the highest degree levels a worker has achieved, their expected lifetime earnings and the unemployment rate that accompanies a particular degree level.

  • Less than a High School Diploma – $1 million lifetime earnings, 12.4 percent unemployment rate
  • High School Diploma – $1.2 million lifetime earnings, 8.3 percent unemployment rate
  • Some College – $1.55 million lifetime earnings, 7.7 percent unemployment rate
  • Associates Degree – $1.6 million lifetime earnings, 6.2 percent unemployment rate
  • Bachelor’s Degree – $2.27 million lifetime earnings, 4.5 percent unemployment rate
  • Master’s Degree –$2.67 million lifetime earnings, 3.5 percent unemployment rate
  • Doctoral Degree - $3.4 million lifetime earnings, 2.1 percent unemployment rate
  • Professional Degree – $4.4 million lifetime earnings, 2.5 percent unemployment rate

Other Impacts of Education

Education may also play an important role in general health and wellbeing. The state of Georgia has researched relationships between degree levels and health and family wellness. It has concluded that families with less education tend to live in poverty.

  • 25 percent of children who live in a household where a parent has not completed high school live in poverty.
  • 21 percent of children who live in a household where a parent has only completed high school live in poverty.
  • 5 percent of children who live a household where a parent has completed a bachelor’s degree live in poverty.

A parent’s highest level of education also has implications on the test scores of students coming out of primary and secondary school. On average, children with a parent who has completed a bachelor’s degree score almost 300 points higher on their Scholastic Aptitude Test.


There are options out there for military spouses to help offset these costs. Utilizing the SECO Career Center, you can find an endless supply of information on a variety of topics geared specifically towards military spouses:

  • Career exploration suited to your interests
  • Colleges, institutions and education funding
  • Workforce preparation tools for building resumes and tips for interviewing
  • Career connections and networking with other military spouses and employers

For military spouses seeking information or personalized assistance with employment or education opportunities, visit the Military OneSource/SECO page or call 800-342-9647 to talk with an education or career counselor.


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