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How Much More High School Graduates Earn Than Non-Graduates in Every State

By: U.S. Career Institute

Is a degree worth it? Is it worth it to go to college? The state of the education system in America has many young people questioning the payoff of a college degree, as well as weighing the pros and cons of a high school diploma vs. no diploma. To help students best determine the right course of action for them, the team at U.S. Career Institute has created a guide exploring the average salary by education level and how much a high school diploma is worth in every state. We aim to provide transparency on college degree earnings vs. no degree to empower readers to make choices that suit their goals and lifestyles. You will also find lifetime earnings by education level in this guide to give you the bigger picture.

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How Much More High School Graduates Earn Than Non-Graduates in Every State - USCareerInstitute.edu - Infographic

What is the average salary by degree level?

The average salary of a high school graduate in the United States is around $42,590 per year, or $20 an hour. One step up, the average college graduate salary with an Associate’s degree is $44,100 for 25-34 year olds. Compare this to the average salary of a Bachelor’s degree which is $59,600. Naturally, the average salary of a Master’s degree is higher at $69,700. What about how much you can make with no degree at all? The average salary with no degree is $29,800. So do people with high school diplomas make more money? Absolutely! However, having a degree is not a necessity to make a living. Do you find yourself wondering, “how can I make good money without a degree?” You have come to the right place! We analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to find 80 jobs that pay over $50,000 without a degree. The beauty of America is that there are countless ways to carve out success beyond the traditional paths.

What is the average salary of high school graduates by state?

Is a high school diploma worth it? When determining the average salary of a diploma, location plays a major role. Here is the average salary of a high school diploma in the top 20 highest paying states:

  1. Massachusetts high school degree salary - $37,929
  2. New Hampshire high school degree salary – $37,919
  3. Connecticut high school degree salary – $37,365
  4. Maryland high school degree salary – $37,045
  5. North Dakota high school degree salary - $30,834
  6. Washington high school degree salary – $36,702
  7. Rhode Island high school degree salary – $36,472
  8. Alaska high school degree salary – $36,386
  9. New Jersey high school degree salary – $35,468
  10. Wyoming high school degree salary - $35,417
  11. Hawaii high school degree salary - $35,311
  12. Colorado high school degree salary - $35,143
  13. Minnesota high school degree salary - $34,586
  14. Vermont high school degree salary - $34,153
  15. Delaware high school degree salary - $34,023
  16. Utah high school degree salary - $33,905
  17. Wisconsin high school degree salary - $33,769
  18. Iowa high school degree salary – $33,483
  19. New York high school degree salary - $33,263
  20. Pennsylvania high school degree salary - $32,856

The Difference in Median Annual Earnings Between High School Graduates* and Non-Graduates

*Includes high school equivalency diplomas

Regardless of your state, on average, those with a high school diploma earn more than those without. It’s never too late to finish high school and get your diploma with U.S. Career Institutes online high school program. Review the income difference between states below to see how your earnings could change!

State

Median salary for non-graduate

Median salary for high school graduate (includes equivalency)

Difference in median salary

Connecticut

$25,926

$37,365

$11,439

Alaska

$26,100

$36,386

$10,286

Massachusetts

$28,479

$37,929

$9,450

New Jersey

$26,118

$35,468

$9,350

West Virginia

$21,681

$30,727

$9,046

Maryland

$28,423

$37,045

$8,622

New York

$24,652

$33,263

$8,611

Wyoming

$27,406

$35,417

$8,011

Louisiana

$23,191

$31,111

$7,920

Kentucky

$23,105

$30,986

$7,881

Ohio

$24,237

$32,046

$7,809

Michigan

$23,129

$30,900

$7,771

Washington

$29,047

$36,702

$7,655

Alabama

$23,001

$30,545

$7,544

South Carolina

$22,277

$29,819

$7,542

Rhode Island

$28,970

$36,472

$7,502

New Hampshire

$30,578

$37,919

$7,341

California

$25,253

$32,560

$7,307

Minnesota

$27,458

$34,586

$7,128

Mississippi

$21,638

$28,512

$6,874

Virginia

$26,070

$32,819

$6,749

Delaware

$27,279

$34,023

$6,744

Tennessee

$23,955

$30,517

$6,562

Pennsylvania

$26,296

$32,856

$6,560

New Mexico

$21,428

$27,893

$6,465

Hawaii

$28,883

$35,311

$6,428

Indiana

$26,230

$32,629

$6,399

Arizona

$24,791

$31,185

$6,394

Texas

$24,886

$31,204

$6,318

Missouri

$25,089

$31,391

$6,302

North Carolina

$23,842

$30,106

$6,264

Illinois

$26,397

$32,612

$6,215

Florida

$22,932

$29,014

$6,082

Georgia

$24,855

$30,927

$6,072

Maine

$25,363

$31,398

$6,035

Oklahoma

$25,084

$31,100

$6,016

North Dakota

$30,834

$36,719

$5,885

Colorado

$29,258

$35,143

$5,885

Montana

$24,029

$29,874

$5,845

Wisconsin

$28,265

$33,769

$5,504

Utah

$28,511

$33,905

$5,394

Oregon

$26,426

$31,685

$5,259

South Dakota

$26,760

$31,896

$5,136

Vermont

$29,020

$34,153

$5,133

Arkansas

$25,068

$30,142

$5,074

District of Columbia

$26,557

$31,504

$4,947

Kansas

$26,813

$31,702

$4,889

Nevada

$28,422

$32,823

$4,401

Idaho

$26,630

$31,007

$4,377

Nebraska

$28,150

$32,260

$4,110

Iowa

$30,147

$33,483

$3,336


Top 10 States Where High School Graduates Earn the Most

  1. Massachusetts - $37,929
  2. New Hampshire - $37,919
  3. Connecticut - $37,365
  4. Maryland - $37,045
  5. North Dakota - $36,719
  6. Washington - $36,702
  7. Rhode Island - $36,472
  8. Alaska - $36,386
  9. New Jersey - $35,468
  10. Wyoming - $35,417

Top 10 States Where High School Graduates Earn the Least

  1. New Mexico - $27,893
  2. Mississippi - $21,638
  3. Florida - $22,932
  4. South Carolina - $22,277
  5. Montana - $24,029
  6. North Carolina - $23,842
  7. Arkansas - $25,068
  8. Tennessee - $23,955
  9. Alabama - $23,001
  10. West Virginia - $21,681

Category

Lifetime earnings range

Median lifetime earnings

25th percentile

75th percentile

Less than high school

$854,901.56

$1,743,615.39

$1,204,724.51

High school diploma/GED

$1,100,424.47

$2,242,775.64

$1,576,058.56

Some college

$1,292,349.71

$2,677,736.98

$1,866,004.66

Associate degree

$1,411,939.25

$2,862,538.11

$2,034,523.35

Bachelor's degree

$1,876,363.62

$4,148,653.62

$2,803,619.62

Master's degree

$2,258,424.60

$4,696,232.70

$3,238,709.25

Doctoral degree

$2,767,174.53

$5,855,610.58

$4,010,280.33

Professional degree

$2,949,674.02

$8,402,633.23

$4,730,621.09


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