A bachelor’s degree is a classic next step after completing high school. Yes, you can pursue an associate’s degree which has numerous advantages, but many people, employers included, prefer the four-year bachelor’s degree. These credentials can take the form of virtually any discipline from liberal arts to hard sciences. With a bachelor’s degree, potential earnings can be higher, there is a better chance to enjoy many stable, growing careers, and bachelor degree graduates can keep moving forward academically into master’s or doctorate programs.
Average Salaries for People with a Bachelor’s Degree
How much will you earn if you have a bachelor’s degree? Does a bachelor’s degree really make a difference, and, if seeking an education, why not just get an associate’s degree, which is often cheaper and faster?
If you have a bachelor’s degree, you’ll make a large leap in your overall earnings, statistically speaking. Not only that, you’ll also have a much lower chance of being unemployed. The following numbers come from unemployment and earnings statistics for 2020 published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
According to the BLS, people with a high school diploma make a median weekly income of $781. Assuming you are paid for 52 weeks a year, this would equal a total of $40,612. Now, what if you have an associate’s degree? In this case, the median weekly income is $938, a strong boost of over $150 a week. This means you would have an annual salary of $48,776. Certainly not a bad salary, but with a bachelor’s degree you are likely to do better.
If you have a bachelor’s degree, your earnings can make a significant leap. The BLS says the median salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree is $1,305, well over $350 more than the median for associate’s and $524 more than someone with only a high school diploma. Annually, a holder of a bachelor’s degree stands to earn $67,860 a year. That’s over $19,000 more than someone with an associate’s degree and $27,248 than the potential earnings of someone with only a high school diploma.
Better Chances of Employment
Sometimes the mere fact that you are employable, regardless of earnings, is just as important as salary. In this case, bachelor degree jobs bring a higher level of stability and employability to your career, at least from a statistical perspective. For the sake of consistency, this article will cite a 2018 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, then the 2020 statistics, in which the numbers had been affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The BLS says that for December 2018 the unemployment rate for all people over the age of 25 was 3.1%, while people with high school degrees and no college had a 5.8% unemployment rate. If you had an associate’s degree, the numbers improved, dropping the unemployment rate to 3.3%. The unemployment rate for people with a bachelor’s degree was at 2.2%.
The 2020 BLS reports that the unemployment rate for all people over the age of 25 reached 7.1%, while people with high school degrees and no college had a 20.7% unemployment rate. If you have an associate’s degree, the numbers improve, dropping the unemployment rate to the average, 7.1%.
However, if you had a bachelor’s degree in 2020, your unemployment rate was down to 5.5%. Clearly the chances of being employed are far better if you have, at the very least, a bachelor’s. Especially during a recession, a Pandemic, any kind of economic event you can think of.
Bachelor of Arts vs Bachelor of Science: What’s the Difference?
For many, pursuing a bachelor’s degree is the first step in post-high-school education. As a culture, we are familiar with a bachelor’s degree, but we may not be familiar with the two common types: the bachelor of arts and the bachelor of science. These two types of bachelor degrees offer unique educational opportunities, and while both hold a high level of regard among employers, they are different in both the educational process and the results. Understanding which one is right for you is essential when selecting a bachelor’s degree.
Bachelor of Arts
A BA is the more classically-themed education, touching on a wide range of subjects to develop a student’s communication, writing, and critical thinking skills. Broadly focused, a BA will have fewer classes that tie directly to the major, and more classes that touch on sweeping topics like the humanities, social issues, and language. Electives tend to be more flexible. Generally, you will find BA degrees in arts, history, literature, philosophy, and languages.
Bachelor of Science
Dealing with specific, usually scientific, mathematical, or technical, subjects, a BS is a far more focused and direct education. You will find that there are fewer options with a BS degree when it comes to electives, as the goal is not to develop a broad range of theoretical and classical knowledge, but to make a student into an expert on one specific area, such as microbiology or mechanical engineering. Generally, there are fewer theories and more right-or-wrong answers with a bachelor of science, as you’ll be studying subjects such as engineering, science, biology, and mathematics.
- American Public University System Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences / Earth Science
- Liberty University Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education / Middle Grades Science
- Post University Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics & Data Science / Life & Physical Science
19 Highest Paying Bachelor Degree Jobs
1. Systems Manager
Job Growth: 10%
Also known as IT managers and IT project managers, these professionals earn a median income of over 150,000 a year, making it the highest-paying bachelor degree job on our list. While you only need a bachelor’s degree for this career, you will need a few years of related work experience.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Information System Management from
2. Engineering Manager
Job Growth: 3%
These are the professionals who oversee engineering projects, with tasks that include hiring staff, developing plans, and coordinating work. Once again, because this is a management position you will need related work experience to move into this position, usually at least five years of experience to land one of these jobs.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration / Engineering Management from
3. Marketing Manager
Job Growth: 6%
With so many avenues for advertising products and services, effective marketing managers are needed to develop strategies and garner attention for manufacturers, retailers, and other businesses. The best marketing managers are well paid, and a bachelor’s degree, as well as work experience in the career, is usually required for this bachelor degree job.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Digital Marketing from
4. Natural Science Manager
Job Growth: 5%
A natural science manager needs to supervise and direct the activities of various scientists, which can include chemists, physicists, or biologists, depending on the position. This career only requires a bachelor’s degree, usually in the applicable scientific discipline, although many will find that advanced management and business degrees are also useful. At least five years of professional experience is also required to land one of these bachelor’s degree jobs.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science / Natural Resources & Conservation from
5. Petroleum Engineer
Job Growth: 3%
While some believe oil and natural gas are on their way out, making room for other energy sources, there is still a hearty demand for this resource. Engineers in this field are as important as ever. With a higher focus on safety and responsible practices, the need for engineers to create and use extracting equipment, as well as develop innovative new methods remains strong.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Applied Science in Energy Management from
6. Financial Manager
Job Growth: 15%
Large organizations need someone to plan, coordinate, and organize their finances, and they turn to financial managers to oversee these efforts. Most financial managers will have a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting, although some companies will require a master’s degree as well. At over $130,000 a year for median income, financial education is one of the highest paid bachelor degrees.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Science in Business Administration / Finance from
7. Sales Manager
Job Growth: 4%
Sales teams are often the most important unit for a company’s success, and good sales managers are needed to hire, train, and oversee an effective group. These professionals are well paid, with median salaries over $130,000. A bachelor’s degree is often the minimum required education, although on-the-job experience is often required as well.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Marketing & Sales from
8. Airline Pilot
Job Growth: 5%
While some pilots only need a high school diploma or equivalent, in addition to pilot training, airline pilots will need a bachelor’s degree. There will also be advanced certificates to land this job, including the Air Transport Pilot certificate, which is issued by the FAA. Airline pilots can have bachelor’s degrees in “any subject” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Business Management from
9. Human Resources Manager
Job Growth: 6%
An HR manager is the professional who coordinates and administers company compensation and benefits packages. They generally need a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or management, and at least five years of experience is usually required for these positions.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management from
10. Computer Hardware Engineer
Job Growth: 2%
While many professionals dedicate their careers to creating and refining software, somebody actually has to create the devices and equipment that make computing possible. Computer hardware engineers literally engineer computer components, and while they have a median salary over $119,000, only a bachelor’s degree is needed (for most positions) and no job experience or on-the-job training is required.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology from
11. Aerospace Engineer
Job Growth: 3%
Aerospace technology is constantly changing to be more efficient, effective, and safe. Aerospace engineers are responsible for developing new innovations in this field. They work on aircraft, spacecraft, and even missile systems, making them important for national defense as well as business and exploration. They only need a bachelor’s degree in mechanics, aerodynamics, or a related field, and no experience nor training is needed for these bachelor degree jobs.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Space Studies from
12. Computer Network Architect
Job Growth: 5%
Building and designing data communication networks, these highly trained professionals help keep businesses and organizations internally connected, and also help with the organization and utilization of data. Most people holding this type of position have a degree in a tech-related field, including computer science, information systems, or network engineering. No on-the-job training is required, but some industry experience is.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Network Operations and Security from
13. Nuclear Engineer
Job Growth: -13%
At -13% growth, the career of nuclear engineers is not keeping pace with the overall job market, with a projected 14,300 jobs for nuclear engineers by 2029. A bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering or a related field is needed, which calls for an intelligent mind that can handle advanced mathematical and scientific principles. The BLS suggests taking the path of nuclear medicine could be a more lucrative and sustainable career path.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology from
14. Training & Development Manager
Job Growth: 7%
The training of employees at large companies and organizations can be such a major task that they often hire someone completely dedicated to this responsibility. Basically, their job is to enhance the knowledge and skills of employees, which should result in a stronger, more productive organization. No training is required, but experience will be needed to be a training manager.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Human Resources & Organizational Leadership from
Job Growth: 18%
If you are good with numbers, specifically percentages, odds, and statistics, you may enjoy a career as an actuary. These professionals help businesses make decisions by analyzing the potential risk and benefit of any decision. No previous experience is required, but “long-term” training will be needed for these jobs that require a bachelor’s degree.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from
16. Software Developer
Job Growth: 22%
Behind every computer program and application, there is at least one software developer. Some developers create applications that allow users to perform a direct task, while others work on the systems that run computers. The pay for this career is excellent, and one of the most attractive aspects is that you can enter into these jobs without work experience or training beyond a bachelor’s degree.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Information Technology / Programming from
17. Chemical Engineer
Job Growth: 4%
From drugs to fuels to foods, chemistry is everywhere, and in a world of efficiency and regulation, the need for chemical engineers is crucial. Working in offices and labs, chemical engineers solve problems that address manufacturing, usually with the purpose of enhancing large-scale production in a safe manner. This career requires a science-related bachelor’s degree but no training or previous experience.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Energy Management from
18. Corporate Executive
Job Growth: 4%
Executives have an important role in many companies, and while years of on-the-job experience is required to work up to the ranks of CEOs and company presidents, the formal education needed is surprisingly short, as many top executives only need a bachelor’s degree. Business and administration are common degrees for these high-ranking professionals, and some may have MBAs or other advanced degrees.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from
19. Medical Health Services Manager
Job Growth: 32%
These professionals may also be referred to as health administrators or executives, and manage health facilities in office duties, healthcare delivery, finances, records, etc. Medical health service managers must keep up with current laws, policies, and regulations, making this a dynamic, fast-paced career. With so much responsibility and time on-call, medical health services management is one of the highest paying careers you can pursue with a bachelor’s degree.
#TRENDING: Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management from
High-Growth Areas for Bachelor’s Degree
In the list above, we largely discuss the highest-paying jobs available to people with bachelor’s degrees. Another significant factor of earning a bachelor’s degree is job security. Entering a career that will bring steady work and consistent opportunities, regardless of median pay, is a confident path. For bachelor’s degree graduates, the available jobs are largely tied to the growth (or decline) of specific industries, so if you want to have a sustained career, you should seek out a growing industry.
The financial sector is expected to experience a large growth, driven largely by a growth in the overall economy, which means more people have more money to manage. Companies accumulating more cash will also play a role in this growth, which means an emphasis on capital management and organization will be increased. In response to the recent economic troubles, there will also be a focus on risk management, which will further increase the demand for people with economic educations. Growing financial-related jobs include:
- Financial manager: 15%
- Management analysts: 11%
- Market research analysts: 18%
Information Technology & Software
It’s no secret that information use and technology are increasing at a rapid pace, and with this increase comes a growth in available jobs. The need for new applications and software will stoke the demand for software developers, while threats to data will increase the need for information security analysts. If you have a bachelor’s degree in a computer or technology-related field, you can expect a strong income and a steady career.
- Software developer: 22%
- Information security analyst: 31%
- Database Administrator: 10%
- Computer research scientist: 15%
Social and Human Services Degrees
Human service workers provide a wide variety of families, individuals, and groups with assistance in financial trouble, health issues, human rights issues, child welfare, and more. Becoming an agent of social change is challenging and dynamic, and can lead to a multitude of occupations with a much faster than average rate of job growth projected between now and the year 2029. If you have a bachelor’s degree in human services you are sure to find a career that can be sustainable and fulfilling.
- Social and human services assistants: 17%
- Social and community service managers: 17%
- Home health and personal care aides: 34%
Choose Your Degree with Confidence!
If you need help selecting the right degree for your future, contact GetEducated.com today. With resources and information on the best online bachelor’s degrees, we can help you choose the right education to achieve your dreams!