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Bachelor's Degrees: What Are They Good For?

by Joe Aguilar
What is a Bachelor
According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), full-time professionals with bachelor's degrees or higher earned a median weekly salary of $1,108 during the first quarter of 2008. On the other hand, workers who only held high-school diplomas brought in a median weekly paycheck of just $615. Clearly, a bachelor's degree can boost your income, but what else can it offer? Let's examine the ins and outs of earning your degree, whether a traditional baccalaureate degree or an online bachelor degree.

Is Your Bachelor's Degree Worth the Cost?

Four-year college degrees might seem expensive. However, the long-term benefits of earning a bachelor's degree generally outweigh any temporary financial setbacks. In addition to a higher income, bachelor's degrees may offer you lots of other perks, such as:

  • Exposure to other cultures: by meeting international students, signing up for overseas programs, and reading books from across the globe, students may broaden their appreciation for today's multicultural society
  • Better physical health: according to the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), research proves a strong link between higher education and greater personal health
  • Job mobility: with advanced levels of knowledge, the prestige of a college degree, and relevant internship experience, a college graduate usually may have more career options than an employee who does not have a college degree

If you worry about paying for your degree, don't forget that colleges and universities may offer dozens of ways to slash college costs, from student loans to scholarships to work-study programs.

Types of DegreesTypes of Degrees

Hot Jobs for People with Bachelor's Degrees

Bachelor's degree programs may prepare you for today's hottest careers. For example, a bachelor's degree in IT may prepare you to be a network systems administrator, a job projected to have a 53.4% growth rate through 2016. Other professionals who usually have bachelor's degrees include personal financial advisors, forensic science technicians, and computer systems analysts.
Remember, your college may also be a valuable resource for job information. If you can't decide on a career path or you simply want to find an internship, you may always talk to your school's career counselor.

Sources:
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "The Thirty Fastest Growing Occupations Covered in the 2008-2009 Occupational Outlook Handbook"
"The Value of a College Degree," ERIC Digest
"Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers News Release," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

About the Author

Joe Aguilar is a freelance writer in Boulder, Colorado. He has an MFA in creative writing from Oregon State University.

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