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Online Classes | Graduate

Comparing Pay: How a Graduate Degree Adds to Your Future Salary

When you put in the extra time on your education, it can truly pay off in the long run (and in the near-term). Earning a graduate degree, whether in-person or online, can have a great effect on your income and the longevity of your career.

Here are just a few of the ways in which a higher degree, such as a master's, positively benefits your future career and salary.

Average Pay

What you earn, on average, in your career is enough to merit a graduate degree alone. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the average graduate degree-holder earns $18,000 more per year than a bachelor's degree-holder. An upfront investment in a higher degree can pay off in dividends for years to come.


Program Strength

A graduate degree equips you with advanced knowledge in your field that will strengthen your job prospects post-graduation. A strong program can significantly improve your odds. SDSU's graduate programs, such as its master's in nursing program, rank among the Top 100 in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Career Choice

Certain career options boost your future salary potential. Also according to U.S News & World Report, graduate programs and subsequent degrees that can earn students $100,000-plus salaries include the family financial planning and nursing online graduate programs that SDSU offers.

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Employment Rate

More than just the amount on your paycheck is affected by your status as a graduate degree-holder. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that graduate degrees can boost your chances of being employed when compared to individuals holding bachelor's degrees. Those with higher degrees are 15-40 percent less likely to be unemployed than those holding undergraduate degrees.

Starting Salary

Your graduate degree can be a boon to your starting salary, as well. Your near-term earnings can be especially affected in SDSU-offered fields such as healthcare (avg. starting salary: $58,500), social sciences (avg. starting salary: $54,816) and agriculture and natural resources (avg. starting salary: $51,417), according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. 

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