Georgetown university just published a report on lifetime earnings of people by degree level e.g. some highschool, highschool, BA, MA, PhD, and professional degrees. You can see the summary and full report here: http://cew.georgetown.edu/collegepayoff/
They have a even shorter summary of 4 rules:
Degree Level Matters.
Occupational choice can trump degree level.
People with less education in high-paying
occupations can out-earn people with more
education in less remunerative occupations.
While occupation can sometimes trump
education, degree level still matters most
within individual occupations.
Race/ethnicity and gender are wild cards
that matter more than education or occupation
in determining earnings.
How does archaeology stack up in these rules.1: yes and no, pretty much high school, BA, associates degrees receive about the same results in archaeology. 2: Archaeology is the rule on this. 3: back to 1 high school, BA, associates degrees get about the same results but you need a MA to move up in pay and a PhD to be an academic so yes this rule holds in archaeology. 4: there is not enough recent data to confirm this, though about 15yrs ago women did make less than men in archaeology but who knows if that is still true.
I’ll comment more on the findings of this report and how it relates to archaeology over the next couple of days.