Do you prefer to study or do an apprenticeship? A question that many young adults ask themselves after leaving school. Many choose the former – often because of the salary. Because the higher an educational qualification, the more generous the pay is usually. At least that is the general perception. But is studying really always financially worthwhile?
It’s not as certain as some believe. An analysis by the Tübingen Institute for Applied Economic Research (IAW) on behalf of the Baden-Württemberg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWIHK) shows that on average, academics up to the age of 60 even earn less than a technician or a master craftsman.
In order to emphasize the value of vocational training once again, a master craftsman, business administrator or technician has even been on the same level as a bachelor’s degree since 2014, according to the German qualifications framework. Since the beginning of last year, master craftsmen have also been able to adorn themselves with the title of “Bachelor Professional”.
But be careful: this does not mean that the two degrees are of the same type. A classic bachelor’s degree is only available to those who have completed an academic education, while a master’s degree can only be achieved through a corresponding apprenticeship with a master’s degree.
There are good salaries in the financial sector
In many professional fields, however, a lucrative salary can be earned even with a simple professional training – for example in the areas of finance, insurance and banking. According to the salary report of the Stepstone job platform, which, like NewsABC.net, belongs to Axel-Springer, employees earn an average of 50,200 euros after completing the relevant training. If you add a master craftsman in one of the three areas mentioned, you get an average of 60,000 euros – and thus 800 euros per year more than with a bachelor’s degree.
Non-academics can also expect good pay in IT: Employees with vocational training earn around 49,400 euros, while further training to become a technician, master craftsman or specialist is another plus of around 11,300 euros a year. A bachelor’s degree brings a little less and the master a little more than the master, namely just under 56,000 euros and around 61,800 euros.
PR / Marketing: Masters are even more valuable than Masters
In the fields of marketing and PR, a master craftsman or business administrator is even more worthwhile than a master’s degree, at least financially: With the corresponding further training, you can earn an average of 60,100 euros here. There is almost 10,000 euros less per year for a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree graduates earn around 57,000 euros – around 3,100 less than with a master’s degree.
The master craftsman or specialist also brings a clear plus for employees in the purchasing / logistics area. While you can expect an average of 40,600 euros after training in this occupational field, there are around 52,300 euros per year for employees who have completed further training. However, a bachelor’s degree brings more financially in both professional fields – namely 55,400 euros. It is exactly the other way around in sales: for the master there is an average of 60,000 euros, for the bachelor only around 56,500 euros.
And even in care, which is actually considered to be underpaid, you can earn comparatively well – by training to become a highly specialized specialist. Intensive care nurses in hospitals, for example, come to around 54,300 euros, according to the Federal Statistical Office.
In the craft sector, academics are clearly ahead
Especially in the handicrafts or when practicing a technical profession, it is actually more beneficial, at least in terms of salary, to graduate from a university instead of a master craftsman, technician or specialist.
The average salary of academics here is around 74,200 euros, while a master’s degree costs 48,400 euros and a completed apprenticeship is 39,800 euros.
The salary data shows: Apart from the somewhat surprising situation in the skilled trades, a job-based training with corresponding further training to become a master craftsman, technician or specialist is often even more lucrative than an academic training – at least than the bachelor’s degree.