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Education / An exploration of ideas, issues and trends
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Degrees of Success

January 28, 1998

Most educators and business leaders agree that merely graduation from high school today is not enough to ensure economic success. To get a good job, students need at least a two- or four-year college degree. The U.S. Department of Education says that a college education will help students get and keep a better job, especially in an era when even a factory worker may need to be computer-savvy. A college degree also translates into higher earnings. In 1995, a degree boosted the average man's salary 89% and the average woman's 73%. Below is a sampling of the amount of college needed for various occupations.

Two Years (Associate Degree)

Computer technician

Surveyor

Registered nurse

Dental hygienist

Medical lab technician

Commercial artist

Hotel/restaurant manager

Engineering technician

Automotive mechanic

Administrative assistant

Water/waste water treatment plant operator

Heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration technician

*

Four Years (Bachelor's Degree)

Teacher

Accountant

FBI agent

Engineer

Journalist

Insurance agent

Pharmacist

Computer systems analyst

Dietitian

Writer

Investment banker

Graphic designer

Social worker

Public relations specialist

*

More Than Four Years (Graduate Degree)

Lawyer

Doctor

Architect

Scientist

University professor

Economist

Psychologist

Priest or rabbi

Dentist

Veterinarian

Public policy analyst

Geologist

Zoologist

Management consultant

Sources: Planning and Evaluation Service, U.S. Department of Education

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