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|
|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 2018 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers with a bachelor's degree had a lower-than-average unemployment rate (2.2% compared to a 3.2% national average) and higher-than-average median weekly earnings ($1,198 compared to a $932 national average). See the chart below for additional comparisons.
|Education Level||Unemployment Rate (2018)||Median Weekly Earnings (2018)|
|Less than a high school diploma||5.6%*||$553*|
|High school diploma||4.1%*||$730*|
|Some college, but no degree||3.7%*||$802*|
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.