Why earn a bachelor’s degree? That’s a question lots of prospective degree-seekers ask themselves. And it’s a good one. But there’s not one simple answer. A college degree pays dividends in all sorts of ways, whether it’s earned at a traditional four-year college or university or an accredited online university.
As an undergraduate, you’ll be exposed to an array of subjects that can stimulate intellectual growth and lead you in directions you never even considered. You’ll become aware of many career options and can pursue coursework and experience that can help you get a job in your field of interest. And the social contacts you make could help you further your professional career.
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While the benefits are many, here are five specific ways a college degree can help your career:
- It can boost your earning power. A bachelor’s degree helps you build a solid foundation for careers that require higher skills and pay more. For example, a person with a bachelor’s degree brings home an average of $1,156 per week. Someone with just a high school degree brings home considerably less: $692.1 That translates into much higher earnings over the course of a career. Lifetime median earnings for a man with a bachelor’s degree will be approximately $900,000 more than for a man with a high school diploma. Women with bachelor’s degrees will earn an estimated $630,000 more.2 These amounts will vary by profession, but the fact remains that your earning potential is higher with a college degree.
- It can provide benefits for you and your family. Benefits are often thought of as health insurance and a 401(k). And those are very important, for they help provide real financial stability. In fact, the value of such benefits could equal your salary. And while you don’t have to earn a degree to secure a job with benefits, earning a degree can position you for a career in which the benefits are greater than those for jobs not requiring a degree. Depending on the position, benefits might also include travel or tuition reimbursement.
- It opens up a wider range of opportunities. You might choose a career in your college major. Or not. It’s not unusual for students to settle on a career that is well outside their major. The important thing is that college will help you obtain analytical, communication, and other skills that are useful in many different professions. And that increases the number of opportunities open to you.
- It provides the potential for greater job security. Someone with a college degree likely has knowledge and skills that are highly valued by employers. This is reflected in unemployment statistics. In 2017, for example, the jobless rate among those with at least a bachelor’s degree stood at 2.5%, while the rate for high school graduates was 5.3%.3 Education is so important to some companies that they will reimburse employees for tuition costs.
- It can help you feel greater job satisfaction. Advancing your education can bring higher pay and various benefits and opportunities for advancement, which can increase your job satisfaction. And even if you are not happy at your job, the problem-solving, analytical, and communication skills you acquired will likely help you find something better suited to your interests.
Online universities are making it possible for more people to earn bachelor’s degrees. Online programs allow students to complete coursework at home, on their own schedule, while they continue to work. The result? A better opportunity to achieve the career you’ve always wanted.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’s degree programs online in Business and Management, Communications and New Media, Criminal Justice and Emergency Management, Education, Information Technology, Nursing, Psychology and Counseling, and Social Work and Human Services. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
1 Source: www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
2 Source: www.ssa.gov/retirementpolicy/research/education-earnings.html
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.