clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Was that college degree worth it? New online tool helps Colorado students find out

Let’s say you’re a college student who loves little kids. You might be wondering how much you’ll make as a first-year preschool teacher.

The answer is not much—just $20,500 on average, according to a new online tool that helps Colorado students gauge earning potential and job availability in scores of different fields.

The plus side of that reality check is that there are lots of other possibilities to explore on the “Launch My Career” website unveiled last week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the nonprofit corporation USA Funds.

Chamber Foundation leaders say the tool is the first in the nation to allow students to compare the return on investment for different career paths. It comes amid a national push for more high school graduates to attend college—a particularly pricey proposition when students enter unprepared for the work or uninformed about their job prospects.

The site, which launched first in Colorado and later this summer will launch in Tennessee, also provides a “break-even” calculator that tells users how many years after completing a degree it will take for their earnings to cover the cost of the degree. The site also offers information on which college majors and degree programs match with various jobs.

For example, that kid-loving college student may be happy to learn that a degree in early childhood education doesn’t limit her to working in a preschool. It could also land her a job as a kindergarten teacher, where starting salaries average $35,000 a year.

The site also features “hot jobs” like nurse or accountant, both of which have starting salaries over $50,000 and are expected to grow significantly over the next six years in Colorado.

Along with earning potential and job growth, Launch My Career allows users to find out how much salary variation there is in different parts of the state. For example, aspiring attorneys will start at about $55,000 in Pueblo, $68,000 in Fort Collins and $65,000 in the Denver/Aurora area.

The COVID-19 outbreak is changing our daily reality

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing the information families and educators need, but this kind of work isn't possible without your help.