What Is a Bachelor’s Degree?

Going Back for the Bachelor's? Yes You Can! - AARC

A bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate degree in which students study a subject of their choice at an academic institution and is commonly known as a college degree. Earning a bachelor’s degree can provide access to jobs, expose you to new ideas, and increase your earning potential.

Here are some important things to know about bachelor’s degrees in the U.S., including how much they cost, what is required in an application, and whether an online or in-person experience is better for you.

Here are the basics:

  • Bachelor’s degrees typically take about four years to complete, or roughly 120 credits.
  • Topics of study may include psychology, computer science, business, nursing, or English, but vary widely and can be selected by the student based on their interests.
  • Traditionally obtained in-person on a college campus, bachelor’s degrees have become easier to obtain online as well.
  • Although many students pursue a bachelor’s degree immediately after high school, it is not uncommon to seek one later in life.

Is a bachelor’s degree worth it?

There are several benefits to earning a bachelor’s degree. These include higher potential income, better job prospects, and new and enriching life experiences. If you have been working for a while, a bachelor’s degree can also help you start a new career or advance in your current one. Earning a bachelor’s can be the first step toward getting a higher academic degree, such as a master’s or a doctorate.

The financial benefit of a bachelor’s degree.

A bachelor’s degree can be kinder to your wallet in the long run. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2021, a college graduate working full-time earned a median of $1,416 per week, while high school graduates with no college experience earned a median of $789 per week. That gap becomes a significant difference over a year – a 2019 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that a college graduate earns an average of $33,000 more than a high school graduate in a single year

Jobs you can get with a bachelor’s degree
Many jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree, so a four-year degree can make you competitive for more positions. Here are some jobs that require a bachelor’s degree and are expected to grow rapidly over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics :

  • Software Developers
  • Registered nurses
  • Financial managers
  • Substance abuse, behavioral health and mental health counselors
  • Project management specialists
  • Market research analysts and marketing specialists
  • Medical and health service managers
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