Median Personal Income by Level of Education, 2017

A postsecondary degree has long been a pathway to a stable earning capacity for graduates. Data from the US Census Bureau shows that, indeed, higher levels produce higher incomes for participants.

As illustrated below, the average median personal income was $35,589 in 2017. People who earned a bachelor’s degree or higher earned above the average, and those who earned an associate’s degree or lower earned less. In fact, a BA ($47,003) earned 32 percent higher than the average, a master’s ($64,657) 82 percent higher, a professional degree ($85,000) 139 percent higher, and a doctorate (88,500) 149 percent higher. A high school graduate earned $22,001 and an associate’s recipient $32,400.