6 Benefits Of Earning A College Degree

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Check out these interesting benefits linked to higher education.

By Marcelina Hardy
Last updated on 08/05/2014

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

To help, we've compiled some research about six 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

Those with higher levels of education earn more than those without, according to Education Pays, a 2013 report from the College Board, a non-profit organization connecting students to college success and opportunity.

The report goes on to show that the median earnings of bachelor's degree recipients - between the ages of 25 to 29 and working full-time from 2009 to 2011 - were $43,100, compared to $27,900 for those with only a high school diploma. For college graduates between the ages of 45 to 49 that number increases to $69,100, but only increases to $26,900 for those without a college education.

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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 Education Pays report.

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 75 percent of college graduates had employer-provided health insurance, while only 65 percent of high school graduates had that benefit, according to a the Education Pays report.

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Benefit #5: Job Satisfaction

Since we spend most of our lives working, it makes sense that job satisfaction can greatly affect us.

And education has a "significant and positive effect on job satisfaction," says the Education Pays report.

In fact, according to a 2014 Pew Research report, more than half of employed adults with a college degree and between the ages of 25 and 32, are "very satisfied" with their current job, while only 37 percent of employed adults without a college education felt the same way.

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Benefit #6: Job Stability

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

CNBC.com collected data from the financial information firm Sageworks to identify 10 "recession-proof" industries based on their performance between 2006-2011. These "safer" industries included accounting services, child care, computer systems design and related services, dental care, and nursing care. Many occupations in these fields usually require some form of higher education.

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

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Kate Hornsby also contributed to this article by updating the information on 08/05/2014

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