Getting a degree is no small undertaking. It’s understandable that many people end up putting college on hold to take care of family, job, or health issues. However, a bachelor’s degree still provides certain advantages as you progress in your career and look for new opportunities. Read on for things to keep in mind when considering going back to school to finish your degree.
The economic advantage of a bachelor’s degree
For many people, deciding to finish college and get a bachelor’s degree comes down to earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, even when the economy is thriving, workers who have higher levels of education typically earn more money and have lower rates of unemployment compared with workers who have less education. In 2020 the median weekly earnings for someone with some college and no degree was $877, while a bachelor’s degree holder earned $1,305.1
ZipRecruiter estimates that the national average for someone with an associate’s degree is about $46,000 while workers with a bachelor’s degree earned $14,000 more a year, coming in at an average of $60,000. In some regions, due to the local job market, the gap is even more stark. For example in Milwaukee, a bachelor’s degree could earn you on average $21,000 more than a job that only requires an associate degree.2,3
Invisible benefits of a bachelor’s degree
Jobs that require an undergraduate education often bring more advantages beyond salary like access to better health and life insurance, provide you with paid time off for when you’re sick or on vacation and even include more opportunities to further your training and education to continue to grow your career.
These additional benefits might not provide hard evidence in numbers the way a salary comparison can, but are super important when considering how you could improve your quality of life with a bachelor’s degree. Especially when you consider the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many people working at a bachelor’s degree level career or higher were able to transition to working from home full- or part-time.
Hone in on what matters most
People who return to college when they’re older sometimes find that they’re glad they waited to finish their degree once they gained maturity and the ability to see the true value in the curriculum. If you pursue a bachelor’s in business administration, for example, you might find that what you learn in class is immediately relevant to your current job in business - no matter what the field. Courses in areas like finance, communication and leadership can all present meaningful lessons to apply to everyday life.
Additionally, relationship building and networking can get easier as you get older when you have more life experience and a better focus on what kind of career you want. By returning to a revered institution with an alumni network, you can take advantage of career fairs, networking workshops and other opportunities offered by a career center.
The new look of college: online, on your time
Time and money are often the most common reasons people leave school and similarly are the biggest barriers preventing them from going back. However, today, going back to college doesn’t have to mean quitting your job or navigating a new campus. There are many options for finishing your bachelor’s degree online without sacrificing the comprehensive curriculum and opportunity to engage with faculty and peers that you would get from an on-campus program.
- Retrieved on August 17, 2021 from www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2021/data-on-display/education-pays.htm
- Retrieved on August 17, 2021 from ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Associate-Degree-Salary
- Retrieved on August 17, 2021 from.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Bachelor-Degree-Salary