The field of training can sometimes have as dramatic an effect on earnings as the level of education, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Workers who held vocational certificates in engineering averaged about $3,880 a month in earnings, which is nearly the same as those with bachelor's degrees in natural science. Likewise, those with associate's degrees in computers averaged about $3,760 a month in earnings, which is close to those with bachelor's degrees in education or social science.
Business was a popular field of training in 2004, as 8.6 million people held bachelor's degrees, 3.9 million earned associate's degrees, and 2.7 million received advanced degrees in this field. Those with bachelor's degrees in engineering earned an average of $5,992 a month.
Women earned less than men at every degree level. The female-to-male average monthly earnings ratio for full-time workers 18 and older in 2004 was 0.71 for women who held bachelor's degrees and 0.67 for women with master's, doctorate, or professional degrees.