It’s not unusual for professional women to put their career on hold to focus on motherhood. It’s also common for moms to resume their pursuit of professional goals when the time is right. This return to the workforce can also correspond with continuing their educational goals. Those that do may place themselves in a position where greater job opportunities and bigger financial awards may be available.
Education and Yearly Earnings
The combination of education level and age range typically impact how much a mom can make in the workforce. For instance, women with a high school diploma make an average of $28,553 between 25-29. This increases to an average of $31,807 between 30-34, $35,340 between 35-39, $36,732 between 40-44, $38,553 between 45-49, and $39,499 between 50-54.
Women that earn a bachelor’s degree see a dramatic average wage increase over their career. Those ages 25-29 average $44,124 a year. This increases to an average of $53,346 between 30-34, $63,308 between 35-39, $68,417 between 40-44, and $71,772 between 45-49 before slightly dipping to $71,756 between 50-54.
Women successfully completing a master’s degree tend to reap even more financial benefits. Those with this degree earn an average of $50,600 between 25-29, $60,000 between 30-34, $76,000 between 35-39, $80,500 between 40-44, $82,000 between 45-49, and $83,500 between 50-54.
The correlation between education and earnings can be demonstrated by solely focusing on educational level regardless of the woman’s age once she passes 25. Those with just a high school diploma earn a median salary of $31,200. Women with some college experience without a degree earn a median salary of $36,100. If they earn an associate’s degree, this number jumps to $40,200. A bachelor’s degree pushes this number further upward to $51,700. Women earning a master’s degree can earn a median salary of $62,400. Finally, women earning a doctoral degree earn a median salary of $82,300.
Setting the age range to women workers ages to 35 to 44 also highlights the link between education and salary. Studies indicate just 5% of women in this age bracket earn an annual salary of $100,000. This number increases to 7% for women with some college but no degree, and 8% for associate degree holders. The percentage dramatically jumps to 25% for women holding a bachelor’s degree, and 38% for women with a master’s doctoral, or professional degrees.
Promising Industries for College Graduates Based on Projected Job Growth
Earning a degree can allow moms to pursue professions within several industries poised for higher than average job growth between 2016 and 2026. The need for registered nurses corresponds to some 438,100 new jobs by 2026, which translates to a 14.8% growth rate. Software developers and applications is poised to see the addition of about 255,400 jobs, an increase that’s represented by a 30.7% growth rate.
The need for market research analysts and marketing specialists is expected to grow by 23.2% between 2016 and 2026. The financial manager field is predicted to grow by 18.7%, management analysts by 14.3%, accountants and auditors by 10.0%, and general and operations managers by 9.1%.
These professions just don’t offer a rapidly growing job market – they also offer potentially great financial opportunities. For example, the 2016 median wage for financial managers was $121,750. Software developers and general/operations managers both made a 2016 median annual wage of $100,080. Management analysts pulled in an average of $81,330 in 2016, followed by registered nurses ($68,450), accountants and auditors ($68,150), and market research analysts ($62,560).
Success Stories: Three Women who Went Back to School and Succeeded
The actress and philanthropist started her charity, The Eva Longoria Foundation, in 2012 to support Latinas to succeed through education and entrepreneurship. In 2013, she earned a master’s in Chicano studies from Cal State University Northridge (CSUN). In pursuit of the degree, she wrote an influential thesis called “Success STEMS from Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers.”
After starring in the TV show “Blossom,” the actress returned to school to earn a degree in neuroscience, with minors in Hebrew and Jewish studies. She took a break from her studies in 2005 after having her first child and going back to acting. She returned to school in 2007 to earn her PhD in neuroscience from UCLA before once again returning to a successful career in television.
In 1993, Rowling was a divorced single mother working as a teacher. In 1996, she completed a postgraduate certificate in secondary education at the Moray House School of Education. She became a top-selling author that same year, and earned an Order of British Empire in 2000 for her services to children’s literature.
To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Maryville University.