A college education doesn't guarantee any type of job, unless you have made prior arrangements with an employer who is paying your tuition. It does give you a much better chance to get a higher paying and more desirable job, though, according to data on pay and employment.

Pay by the Numbers

Typically, better quality jobs have a strong correlation with higher pay. In fact, when people use the term "better job," they often mean one that offers more pay. Given this reality, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provided strong evidence that college grads can get better work and more pay in its 2012 look at weekly income comparison. Associate degree holders earned $785 per week, and bachelor's degree holders earned $1,066. Both are considerably higher than someone with just a high school diploma, who earned a median income of $652.

Unemployment Rates

The bureau data also note that not only can a college degree offer the potential for a better job, but it can often make the difference in having a job, period. The unemployment rate in 2012 for people with only a high school diploma was 8.3 percent. The rate fell to 6.2 percent with an associate degree and 4.5 percent with a bachelor's degree. A college degree provides deeper and broader knowledge and skills often sought by employers and necessary for employment consideration.

Marketing Yourself

While earning a college degree is rarely a hindrance, it doesn't seal the deal on a job. Your ability to market yourself as the best candidate for an employer and position, education included, is what counts. Your work experiences, life experiences, personal qualities and likability all affect your value to a company. Additionally, you often have to convey your value in a cover letter, and then in an interview if you get one. The most qualified or most educated candidate usually gets an interview, but he doesn't always present himself well enough to get the job.


An alternative perspective on job guarantees with a degree relates to the opportunity for self-employment. If you recognize the value of the knowledge and experience you gain earning a degree, and the credibility it offers you, entrepreneurship may be your course of action. Small business owners, for instance, often take the marketing, finance and management skills gained earning a degree and apply them in launching their own business.