There are good reasons why a bachelor’s degree is more important than ever. It’s because it has more of an impact on a person’s career today than ever before. An increasing number of the top jobs – those with the best salaries and the best long-term prospects – require earning a bachelor’s degree.
That’s why more people than ever are entering online and traditional college degree programs. Online courses provide flexibility for adult learners who may have to maintain a job while they earn their degree. Online courses allow students to schedule schoolwork around their busy schedules.
The Chicago Tribune recently pointed out the reasons why this is so important. The newspaper called a college education “more important now than ever before, for both tangible and intangible reasons.” They wrote that a degree still is the “surest way to increase wage potential,” but also the best way to “prepare for an uncertain future” in which the rise of artificial intelligence and the need for multi-talented and critical thinkers is high.
What The Data Says
The first place anyone should look for a fact-based statistical look at the impact of a bachelor’s degree is provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The numbers show how a college degree makes a difference in your earning potential over the course of your life.
They quantify the differences in salaries for those with a bachelor’s degree vs. those with an associate’s degree and those with no college degree at all.
The difference is significant. Keep in mind these numbers are across all occupations in the nation. The average weekly salary based on educational attainment in 2018 was:
- High school diploma – $730
- Associate’s degree – $862
- Bachelor’s degree – $1,198
Extrapolated over a year, that means someone with a high school diploma would make $37,960. Those with an associate’s degree would make $44,824. Those with a bachelor’s degree would make $62,296.
That gap has grown over the past decade. Earning a college degree automatically places you in the company of those who have a better chance of earning a strong salary.
Part of a Career Plan
Earning a college degree in a specific field prepares you to enter that field armed with the knowledge and skills you need for success. Many career fields require you to have a bachelor’s degree. This includes most jobs in business administration or management, marketing, communications, teaching and human development.
Widen Your Horizons
Learning is good just for the sake of learning. This has never been truer than in the era of “fake news” accusations and known attempts by people online to spread disinformation. Learning from experts in areas such as history, the liberal arts, science, math and technology gives you a wider view of the world and one based on a foundation of facts. This better equips you for success in your career.
In some cases, people work at one job in one city. If that employer should shut down, they are then out of a job. However, those who learn skills in a college degree program can transfer what they have learned to a new employer. In some cases, such as business and technology, the skills can be transferred into entirely new industries.
When you enter a bachelor’s degree program, whether traditional or online, you meet people with shared goals and aspirations for their life. These often becomes friends and professional connections that last you for a lifetime. That’s an important asset to have as you move through life, both personally and professionally.
These are ways that earning a bachelor’s degree can change your life. Making the commitment to doing so is up to you. Online degree programs make it more convenient than ever before.