Many working people in California have earned an associate’s degree or have some college credits but are trying to decide if completing a four-year degree is worth it. While the reasons to earn a Bachelor’s degree are numerous, five of the most practical are better pay, job security, networking opportunities, expanding knowledge and weathering tough times.


Entering an online Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science program in your chosen field will put you among the 21% of California’s population with a bachelor’s degree.


While the reasons to earn a bachelor’s degree are true everywhere, it’s especially the case for California community college students. The state is home to 39.5 million people, about 12% of the entire U.S. population. That means more jobs for those with a bachelor’s degree and more opportunities for advancement.


With that in mind, these are some reasons for a California community college student to consider earning a bachelor’s degree.


Better Pay


Money is the most practical of all reasons why people decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Employers tend to offer higher salaries, and more chances for promotion, to those who have earned their college degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), those with a bachelor’s degree earn $1,173 a week, higher than the $836 a week earned by those with an associate degree.


Job Security


Because those with college degrees often get higher positions in an organization with more responsibility, they are often among the last to lose a job even during tough times. The BLS numbers show this as well. In May 2018, the agency reported that the unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree was 2.1%. For those with some college or an associate degree, the rate was 3.5%. Keep in mind that whenever you hear the numbers for unemployment, that includes all workers. Those with a college degree have lower unemployment rates.


Networking Opportunities


This one is harder to quantify, but it’s just as important. Right now, you don’t know what people you could be meeting if you’re around fellow students who have the same goals as you. To paraphrase a popular saying, “You don’t know who you don’t know!” Most people establish professional and personal relationships with fellow college students that can last a lifetime.


Expanding Knowledge


College students pick up skills in critical thinking and decision-making, two areas that don’t appear on your list of classes but are skills that employers highly value. Also, in addition to all the skills you pick up in your major, you also learn about other areas of interest beyond your chosen career field. That helps you become a well-rounded, attractive job candidate.


Weathering Tough Times


At some point in their careers, all professionals go through a tough time. In many cases, it’s because of economic events they have no control over, such as a recession, market downturn or contraction in a specific industry. If the worse happens and you lose a job, a college education offers transferable skills that can help you quickly move into another profession.


Going back to college to complete a bachelor’s degree is a tough decision. Keep these practical issues in mind. It can help you determine if entering a bachelor’s degree program is the right move for you.