Join us as we delve into the true value of a bachelor's degree - and what it could be worth in terms of potential salary, employment opportunities, and more...
Think a bachelor's degree isn't worth it? You might want to think again.
A bachelor's degree could be worth quite a bit when you add it all up - especially in an uncertain economy...
- Higher Lifetime Earning Potential. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that workers with a bachelor's degree average $2.1 million in lifetime earnings. People with just a high school diploma average much less - $1.2 million.
- Lower Risk of Unemployment. Data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that the unemployment rate among bachelor's degree holders (4.4 percent in June 2010) is lower than that of the general population (9.5 percent).
- Competitiveness. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of bachelor's degrees awarded was up more than 30 percent between 1998 and 2008.
- More Career Options. The bachelor's degree is one of the most flexible degrees and often a requirement for many entry-level and advanced positions. Want to pursue teaching or accounting? You'll need a bachelor's degree as well as any relevant certifications.
If you're ready to pursue your bachelor's degree, here are some careers to think about - and how a bachelor's degree can help.
Career #1 - Accountant
Accountants analyze finances, prepare taxes, and manage money. Accountants could work for a variety of organizations, including sports teams, nonprofits, and even the accounting firm that tallies the votes for the Academy Awards.
Average Salary: The median salary for accountants is $59,430 per year. Those who work in tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services average at $61,480.*
Bonus: Accounting is a top growth field - the U.S. Department of Labor reports that employment is expected to grow 22 percent between 2008 and 2018.
Career #2 - Graphic Designer
Graphic designers create the look of everything you see around you. Newspapers, magazines, web sites - the visuals are all laid out by a graphic designer.
Relevant Bachelor's Degree: A bachelor's degree in graphic design, often required for this position, could put you in the lead in a competitive industry, especially if you degree includes classes in web design!
Average Salary: $42,400 is the average salary, although for those working in computer-related graphic design, it's even higher.*
Bonus: Many graphic designers have a background in art, so if you've got the artistic ability and the drive, this could be a great way for you to channel your talent.
Career #3 - Public Relations Specialist
Presenting a positive image to the public and the media is important in the modern world. PR specialists often work with top business executives, politicians, and celebrities to help craft their public image and advise them before speeches and interviews.
Relevant Bachelor's Degree: A bachelor's degree in business, marketing, public relations, or communications is the typical entry-level requirement for this field. Competition for entry-level careers is expected to be strong, so earning a bachelor's degree could help you stand out from the crowd.
Average Salary: Public relations specialists have an average annual salary of $51,280.*
Bonus: Demand for PR specialists should grow much faster than average - 24 percent from 2008-2018.*
Career #4 - Teacher
Almost everyone should recall their most influential teacher. As a teacher, you could make a big difference in many lives.
Relevant Bachelor's Degree: Teachers must have a bachelor's degree. To teach in public schools, you also need a license from your state.
Average Salary: The median annual salaries of teachers in elementary through high school range from $47,100 to $51,180.*
Bonus: In addition to the impact you could have on your students' lives... you could also enjoy good career prospects depending on where and what you teach.
Career #5 - Computer Software Engineer
With the presence of computers everywhere, creating programs to run on those computers is a highly-skilled (and highly in-demand) career.
Average Salary: Computer application software engineers have an average salary of $85,430, while computer systems software engineers average at $92,430.*
Bonus: This is a fast-growing career. The Department of Labor projects a 21 percent growth in demand between 2008-2018.
Career #6 - Market and Survey Researcher
Learning about public opinion is an exciting way to help businesses reach their customers. Market and survey researchers must have some background in science and statistics, but should also know a little something about psychology. A bit of creativity doesn't hurt, either.
Average Salary: The average salary for this career is $61,070, and those who work in areas like computer systems design average at even more - $77,170.*
All salary data and job projections are from the U.S. Department of Labor.