Lifetime earnings figures for post-secondary graduates in British Columbia confirm that it is one of the best investments available.
“British Columbians with an undergraduate post-secondary degree can expect to earn an additional $827,000 over the course of their working life,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “A post-secondary education is one of the smartest investments you can make whether it is a diploma, trade or degree.”
An analysis in 2014 by BC Stats shows that graduates of post-secondary programs earn a higher income over a working lifetime than they would make with a high-school diploma.
BC Stats findings of additional lifetime earnings:
- Registered apprenticeship certificate - $524,000.
- Undergraduate degree (all, excluding medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine) - $827,000.
- Undergraduate degree in arts or science - $577,000.
- Undergraduate degree in engineering, business or health - more than $1 million.
- Trade certificate or diploma (e.g., foundation program) - $266,000.
- Certificate or diploma - ranges between $178,000 and $370,000 for a certificate or diploma below a bachelor degree.
- Master’s degree - more than $1 million.
- Medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine - more than $2 million.
“There are one million job openings anticipated in the province by 2022, two-thirds of them driven by retirements and many of them are in-demand careers in the skilled trades and technical occupations,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. “When you look at the higher lifetime earnings that come with these careers in our diverse, strong and growing economy, it’s clear that these careers that can support families and build communities.”
The methodology looked at the level and type of education of people between 19 and 64 years of age and considered the timing of their education. A similar study in 2006 looked at a variety of university programs that produced the single number of $650,000 in additional lifetime earnings. The updated numbers show median earnings to account for extreme high and low results.
British Columbia has maintained the fourth-lowest average undergraduate annual tuition fees in Canada at $5,118. This is the ninth straight year that the tuition increase has remained below the national average increase. The average college-program base tuition in the province is $3,000 a year. Increases in tuition fees are capped at 2% annually in B.C.
Stacey McGaghey Jones
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Advanced Education