7 Benefits Of Earning A College Degree

Benefits of Higher Education

Check out these interesting benefits linked to higher education.

By Marcelina Hardy   

Are you thinking of pursuing a college degree, but unsure if it's right for you?

To help, we've compiled some research about seven benefits associated with higher education.

While these findings may not dictate every college graduate's future, it does reveal some interesting rewards associated with higher education.

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Benefit #1: Higher Earning Potential

Having a college degree is linked to higher pay, according to a 2010 Educations Pays report from the College Board.

"The median earnings of bachelor's degree recipients working full-time year-round in 2008 were $55,700," reads the report. That's $21,900 more than what individuals with only a high school diploma earned.

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Benefit #2: Lower Blood Pressure and Stress

Don't want to be stressed? Having a higher education could help.

A high level of education has been linked to lower blood pressure, according to a 30-year longitudinal study published by BMC Health. Similarly, a 2006 study published by the Carnegie Mellon University Psychology department found that college degree holders have lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, compared to people with less education.

Males and females who earned a college degree are also at a lower risk of developing colorectal, prostate, lung and breast cancer, according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Benefit #3: Healthier Lifestyle Choices

The health benefits don't stop at lower blood pressure and stress.

College grads are also less likely to smoke and more likely to exercise compared to high school grads, according to the College Board report, Education Pays 2010.

Benefit #4: Employer-Provided Health Care Coverage

Perhaps not-so-surprisingly, college graduates have been shown - in one study at least - to be more likely to have employer-provided health care coverage.

Nearly 70 percent of college graduates had employer-provided health insurance, while only 50 percent of high school graduates had that benefit, according to a 2008 report by the College Board.

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Benefit #5: Job Satisfaction

Since we spend most of our lives working, it makes sense that how we feel about our work can greatly affect us.

People with a higher level of education are more satisfied in their jobs than people who only have a high school diploma, according to the College Board's 2010 Education Pays report.

According to one 2007 survey, the top three satisfying occupations are clergy, firefighters and physical therapists. The University of Chicago survey, which asked college graduates how they felt about their occupation, also noted the satisfying nature of these jobs: teachers, psychologists, operating engineers, office supervisors, and education administrators.

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Benefit #6: Job Stability

Looking for a career that won't have you packing soon after you've been hired?

Consider a career as a registered nurse, air traffic controller, lobbyist, public school teacher, accountant, college professor, or federal judge. These careers were considered to have the best job security during the recession, according to a "U.S. News" 2007 article, "7 Jobs for Job Security in a Recession".

Additionally, unemployment among college graduates during the recession was consistently lower than the unemployment rates of non-degree holders, according to the College Board.

Benefit #7: Future Children Benefits

Studies have also found that there is a correlation between a woman's education and the health of her children.

According to the medical journal, Lancet, child mortality rates decreased significantly from 1970 to 2009 as the rate of women's educational attainment levels increased.

Parents who had a higher education held higher expectations for their children to earn a degree, according to a Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey part of the 2007 National Household Education Surveys Program. These parents were also more likely to pay for their children's education.

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