The key word here is “can”. Education certainly “can” increase your earning potential. It depends on the job or career you wish to pursue. It also depends on your own willingness and dedication in pursuing those avenues that allow you to exploit your education. In many occupations, having a Master’s Degree ensures a higher salary than if you simply hold a Bachelor’s Degree. Many employers won’t even consider you without a certain degree of higher education. The important thing, therefore, is to decide what it is exactly that you wish to do.
Once you’ve figured out what you want to be when you grow up (which is probably the most difficult decision – and one that may change throughout your life), it’s a good idea to contact people within that profession to find out what education is required, preferred, etc. The Internet is an excellent resource when it comes to investigating career pathways, but don’t underestimate the value of real people within that profession. By contacting individuals in that profession, not only will you receive guidance in terms of the type of education you should pursue, but you may also benefit simply by this process of networking. Your earning potential “can” and will grow not only through certain educational achievements, but also through the people that you know.
Your potential earning power is not guaranteed simply by having “an” education. We can obviously find individuals with higher degrees who are working in lower-wage positions, but this does not mean that education “cannot” increase your potential. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of degrees one can pursue, and each degree fits a certain type of career. Obviously, having a B.A. in English is less helpful than one in Economics for someone seeking a position as a financial commentator on the news – even if proper grammatical skills would benefit that individual.
Of course, some will say that you can become rich without an education, which is sometimes true. Indeed, an athlete in the NBA can probably increase his earning potential by practicing basketball more so than studying books. Of course, having played in the NCAA while in college (in the process of getting an education) increases the possibility of an individual becoming a member of the NBA. It is important, however, to return to the concept of whether education “can” increase your earning potential.
The wealthiest people in the world earn money by making their money work for them. That means investments, portfolios, budgeting, planning, etc. So given all that one “can” do to increase their earning potential with the money they already have, isn’t it necessary for a person to become educated in those particular options? Even a Hollywood movie star or NFL football player can increase their own earning potential with a certain type of education – again, Economics might increase this potential higher than an English degree. The important thing is to figure out what type of education or learning is best for you.