The cost of a few more years of tuition might seem too steep for a new college graduate, but overall, research suggests a graduate degree pays off.
The average hourly wage of a worker in 2015 with a graduate degree earned $8.55 more an hour than a worker with only an undergraduate degree, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The wage premium of higher education has been flattening, Robert Valletta said in his paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, although an analysis done by the U.S. Federal Reserve in 2012 showed that seemingly all growth in the wage premium in the past 15 years is due to graduate degrees.
“Since the year 2000, the wage premium associated with a four-year college degree has changed little,” Valletta said in the paper. “By contrast, from 2000-2010, the wage premium for holders of graduate degrees relative to those with four-year college degrees continued to grow at its previous pace.”
The “previous pace” has led to graduate-degree recipients earning, on average, 30 percent more than those with only a bachelor’s-degree.
Wage premiums are not the only reason to pursue a graduate degree.
The median unemployment rate was 4.6 percent in 2016. For comparison, the unemployment rate for individuals 25 years of age or older with a graduate degree was less than half that at 2.2 percent, according to the U.S Department of Labor.
In addition to a low unemployment rate, around 20 percent of open positions in the U.S. job market prefer or require graduate-level education, according Burning Glass Technologies, a data analytics firm.
But don’t let those number scare you. As an Ohio State student, you are in luck. According to U.S. News and World Report’s list of 2018’s best graduate schools, Ohio State has 11 graduate programs ranked in the top 10 and one ranked first nationally.
Ohio State offers a total of 128 different graduate programs, several of which rank best in Ohio.