How Important Is a Bachelor Degree?

Holding a bachelor's degree can often lead to more job options and higher earning potential, among other benefits. Read on to find out why a bachelor's degree could be important for you.

Career Options with a Bachelor's Degree

While you might find work in a trade like construction, auto mechanics or cosmetology without a bachelor's degree, many professions require a minimum of a 4-year education. Thus, earning a bachelor's degree can greatly broaden your career options, preparing you for jobs ranging from animator to zoologist.

There are hundreds of jobs, including accountant, biomedical engineer, forensic science technician and kindergarten teacher, that you can enter straight into with a bachelor's degree, or it can serve as the starting point on your path to a career that requires no more education but extensive experience, such as financial manager, IT manager or even CEO. A bachelor's degree also can prepare you for graduate study if your desired career requires it; for example, prospective physicians and surgeons must complete a bachelor's program before applying to medical school.

Important Facts About Bachelor's Degrees

Prerequisites High school education or GED equivalent; some programs may require prerequisite courses
Online Availability Yes
Degree Fields Open availability in every field; including but not limited to: English, biology, computer information systems
Common Courses English composition, mathematics, foreign languages

Unemployment and Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

In addition to increasing your career options, holding a bachelor's degree can boost your potential earnings and lower your chance of unemployment. Based on 2014 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers with a bachelor's degree had a lower-than-average unemployment rate (3.5% compared to a 5% national average) and higher-than-average median weekly earnings ($1,066 compared to an $815 national average). See the chart below for additional comparisons.

Education LevelUnemployment Rate (2014)Median Weekly Earnings (2014)
Less than a high school diploma9%*$488*
High school diploma6%*$668*
Some college, but no degree6%*$741*
Associate's degree4.5%*$792*
Bachelor's degree3.5%*$1,101*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Even in careers that don't require a bachelor's degree at entry level, earning one could lead to increased responsibility and/or earnings. For example, you can enter the veterinary technology field as a technician with an associate's degree, but holding a bachelor's degree can earn you the title of technologist and the ability to complete more advanced work, like preparing tissue samples for examination by a veterinarian.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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