Most students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities are working to earn a bachelor's degree, which typically requires that students complete 120 credit hours, including at least 30 hours in the major field. Employers value those degrees, including online bachelor's degrees, as a measure of what kind of skills graduates will bring to their jobs. Students interested in earning higher-level master's or doctorate degrees usually need to get a bachelor's degree before enrolling in graduate school.
Benefits of a Bachelor's Degree
An online bachelor's degree in almost any field, including business administration, computer science or public administration, sets students up for higher salaries and job security than those entering the workforce with just a high school diploma.
A 2014 Pew Research Center survey found that college graduates, including those who earned an online bachelor's degree, made $17,500 more on average per year than those with only a high school education. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2014 that the unemployment rate for college graduates is about half the 7.5 percent unemployment rate for those with just a high school education.
Even with rising tuition expenses, the benefits of a bachelor's degree, including an online bachelor's degree, offset the cost, the New York Federal Reserve reported in 2014. Investments in college degrees had average returns of around 15 percent between 2004 and 2014, the Federal Reserve study found.
Types of Bachelor's Degrees
- Bachelor of Arts (B.A.): These are typically awarded to students who major in liberal arts, social sciences, or humanities disciplines, including English, psychology, sociology, communications, history and political science
- Bachelor of Science (B.S.): These degrees usually go to students who pursue chemistry, biology, physics, geology, computer science and other scientific and technical disciplines
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.): Students majoring in visual art, performance disciplines or creative writing, with specialties such as art history, music, theater arts, film, dance, poetry photography and animation, often earn a B.F.A.
- Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.): Students who earn a B.B.A. typically learn the foundations of business and management theory, generally majoring in subjects such as project management, accounting, finance, human resource management, marketing and entrepreneurship
- Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.): This degree is for students who want to work under professional architects after graduation or plan to pursue a graduate education in architecture
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): Students looking to advance in their nursing career can pursue this degree, which aims to give them advanced hands-on training and technical knowledge that goes beyond the scope of RN practice
- Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.): This degree is geared towards students who want to pursue a career in engineering electrical engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer engineering
With tuition costs rising as more public colleges and universities see declining contributions from their home states, many potential students have wondered if a college education or an online bachelor's degree is a smart investment. Not only do many students have to borrow money to pay for college, they're also missing out on earnings they would accrue by entering the workforce immediately out of high school.
A number of studies have shown that the financial return of a college degree makes it a worthwhile investment. Over the course of their lifetimes, college graduates will make $1 million more than someone with a high school degree. Even graduates who need student loans to pay for school will typically earn enough after 2.4 years of work to cover the debt, according to the Brookings Institute.
What's more, despite the rising cost of college in recent years, the average monthly payment for college loans has stayed the same or decreased in the last 20 years, Brookings found. Students can also reduce their college loan debt by applying for scholarships, signing up for work-study programs and taking out no-interest loans.
Online Bachelor's Degrees Available
WorldWideLearn.com features online universities and colleges offering bachelor's degree programs in a number of disciplines. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Art & Design
"What is a Bachelor's Degree?," GetEducated.com, Accessed June 27, 2014, http://www.geteducated.com/career-center/detail/what-is-a-bachelors-degree
"How to Earn a Bachelor's Degree," University of Alaska Fairbanks, Accessed June 27, 2014, http://www.uaf.edu/catalog/current/baccalaureate/bac1.html
"Requirements for a Bachelor's Degree," University of Iowa, Accessed June 27, 2014, http://clas.uiowa.edu/students/handbook/requirements-bachelors-degree
"BFA in Architecture," Savannah College of Art and Design, Accessed August 19, 2014, http://www.scad.edu/academics/programs/architecture/degrees/bfa
"Benefits of College Still Outweigh Costs, Fed Study Says," U.S. News & World Report, Accessed Oct. 12, 2015, http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/06/24/benefits-of-college-still-outweigh-costs-fed-study-says
"Education Pays 2013," CollegeBoard, Accessed June 27, 2014, http://trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/education-pays-2013-full-report.pdf
"Earnings and unemployment rates by educational attainment, Employment Projections," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oct 13, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
"Types of College Degrees," CollegeAtlas.org, June 27, 2014, http://www.collegeatlas.org/types-of-degrees.html
"Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music & Bachelor of Fine Arts," Portland State University, June 27, 2014, http://www.pdx.edu/advising/bachelor-arts-bachelor-science-bachelor-music-bachelor-fine-arts
"Degree Programs," Towson University, June 27, 2014, http://www.towson.edu/main/academics/degreeprograms/
"Degrees Offered," Sam Houston State University, June 27, 2014, http://www.shsu.edu/catalog/degrees.html
"School of Graphic Design," Academy of Art University, June 27, 2014, http://www.academyart.edu/graphic-
"Academic Programs and Planning," California Polytechnic State University, June 27, 2014, http://www.academicprograms.calpoly.edu/content/academicpolicies/policies-undergrad/ba-bs-difference
"Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.)," Dartmouth College, June 27, 2014, http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/academics/undergraduate/be/
"Types of Degrees," Illinois Student Assistance Commission, June 27, 2014, http://www.isac.org/counselors/processes/finding-applying/types-of-degrees.html
"Types of Bachelor's Degree Programs," myFootpath, June 27, 2014, http://myfootpath.com/mypathfinder/types-bachelors-degree-programs/
"Bachelor of Science in Nursing," California State University, Long Beach, June 27, 2014, http://www.csulb.edu/colleges/chhs/departments/nursing/programs/NursingBachelorProgram.htm
"Bachelor of Architecture Degree," Pennsylvania State University, June 27, 2014, https://stuckeman.psu.edu/arch/bachelor-architecture-degree
"Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon?" Brookings Institute, Brown Center on Education Policy, Oct. 12, 2015, http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/reports/2014/06/24%20student%20loan%20crisis%20akers%20chingos/is%20a%20student%20loan%20crisis%20on%20the%20horizon.pdf