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What is the ROI of your college degree?

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Undergraduate tuition, possible graduate degrees, and room and board all add up -- especially for students taking out loans. But which degree and which jobs really pay off? See how long it would take students to pay off their student loans if they chose careers based on their degrees.

What is the return on investment of your college degree?

OccupationMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programsCost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board)After-tax pay (2014) Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans)Years needed to repay education investment1
Occupation: Advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations specialistMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 4Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $52,596After-tax pay (2014): $74,935Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $937Years needed to repay education investment1: 5.3
Occupation: EconomistMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 4Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $52,596After-tax pay (2014): $62,786Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $785Years needed to repay education investment1: 6.5
Occupation: Civil engineerMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 4Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $52,596After-tax pay (2014): $56,286Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $704Years needed to repay education investment1: 7.4
Occupation: Political scientistMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 6Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $68,010After-tax pay (2014): $68,828Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $860Years needed to repay education investment1: 7.9
Occupation: MicrobiologistMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 4Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $52,596After-tax pay (2014): $46,504Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $581Years needed to repay education investment1: 9.3
Occupation: AccountantMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 4Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $52,596After-tax pay (2014): $45,235Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $565Years needed to repay education investment1: 9.7
Occupation: PharmacistMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 7Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $92,421After-tax pay (2014): $79,343Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $992Years needed to repay education investment1: 9.7
Occupation: Physician -- family/general practicionerMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 8Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $136,861After-tax pay (2014): $113,443Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $1,418Years needed to repay education investment1: 10.2
Occupation: Market research analystMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 4Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $52,596After-tax pay (2014): $42,045Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $526Years needed to repay education investment1: 10.6
Occupation: Political science teacher, post-secondaryMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 6Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $68,010After-tax pay (2014): $50,620Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $633Years needed to repay education investment1: 11.7
Occupation: DentistMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 8Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $139,298After-tax pay (2014): $101,444Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $1,268Years needed to repay education investment1: 12
Occupation: LawyerMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 7Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $103,677After-tax pay (2014): $75,420Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $943Years needed to repay education investment1: 12
Occupation: Public relations specialistMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 4Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $52,596After-tax pay (2014): $38,196Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $477Years needed to repay education investment1: 12.1
Occupation: English language/literature teacher, post-secondaryMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 6Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $68,010After-tax pay (2014): $41,270Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $516Years needed to repay education investment1: 15.5
Occupation: Zoologist, wildlife biologistMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 6Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $68,010After-tax pay (2014): $39,973Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $50016.3
Occupation: LibrarianMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 6Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $68,010After-tax pay (2014): $38,533Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $48217.2
Occupation: Teacher (full time)Minimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 4Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $52,596After-tax pay (2014): $28,394Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $35518.5
Occupation: VeterinarianMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 8Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $114,268After-tax pay (2014): $60,087Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $75119.3
Occupation: News analyst, reporter, correspondentMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 4Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $52,596After-tax pay (2014): $25,519Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $31922
Occupation: Marriage and family therapistMinimum required years in college, graduate school and professional programs: 6Cost of degree (tuition, fees, room, board): $68,010After-tax pay (2014): $32,955Monthly repayment (if 15% of pay goes to school loans): $41222.1

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics, Tax Foundation

1Assuming 4.66 percent student loan interest, which matches the direct, unsubsidized federal loan from 2014.

We used the most recent education cost data from the National Center for Education Statistics and occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Costs for undergraduate degrees are based on the tuition, fees, and room and board of a four-year, in-state, public school with no scholarships. Graduate degree costs are based on NCES data regarding tuition and fees for the specific area of study. Calculations were figured using an average loan interest payment of 6 percent. These numbers will vary based on the individual and are to be used solely as an informational tool.

If you would like more on how long it will take to pay off your student loan based on your salary, check out Bankrate’s student loan calculators.

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