Online Bachelor's Degrees

A Bachelor’s degree usually takes about four years of full-time study to complete, although some programs can take longer and a few online degree programs can condense study time to as little as three years.

Bachelor’s degrees can be expensive. Community and online colleges typically cost considerably less than private universities, however, and tuition breaks are often given to in-state students and those with considerable financial need.

Why Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Because employers look for it. Most professional positions require a Bachelor’s degree. Often, it doesn’t matter what your degree is in as long as you have one—it’s very common for students to land jobs and start careers in industries that have little to do with their original subject of study. But for many careers, even entry-level jobs require a Bachelor’s.

Because your competition has one. Most professional-level workers have a Bachelor’s degree at minimum. If you’re entering the workforce with only a high school diploma or even an Associate’s degree, you may have a difficult time beating out applicants with Bachelor’s degrees unless your experience is strong enough to outweigh your disadvantage in academic credentials.

Because your earnings will be higher. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, workers with Bachelor’s degrees earn an average of $500,000 more than workers with an Associate’s degree over the course of a working life, and $900,000 more than those with a high school diploma.

Because it allows you to further your education. If you’re interested in continuing your education in law, medicine, or a Ph.D program, you won’t be able to do it at all unless you’ve earned a Bachelor’s degree first. Earning a Bachelor’s is a prerequisite to most advanced courses of study.

Because they open doors. In general, your career options will be greater if you have a Bachelor’s degree. Most entry-level professional positions will be available to you, and you’ll also be able to take the GRE’s and apply for advanced Masters and Doctorate programs. It’s true that you can make significant advances and have a strong career without a Bachelor’s degree, but in today’s competitive job marketplace, it’s becoming more and more difficult to overcome recruiters’ initial biases against those without the degrees. If you don’t have a long list of accomplishments and experience to outweigh your lack of a degree, you may have a tough time getting past the initial screening process.

Types of Bachelor’s Degrees

Bachelor of Arts. Bachelor of Arts degrees are typically given by U.S. institutions for all subjects that are considered “non-professional,” or not intended for preparation for a specific career. This includes a wide range of subjects. Students studying the humanities typically earn Bachelor of Arts degrees, but so to students in the sciences. It’s not unusual to see Bachelor of Arts degrees in chemistry, biology and psychology. This isn’t a universal rule, however; some institutions only award Bachelor of Arts degrees in the arts and humanities.

Bachelor of Science. In the U.S., most Bachelor of Science degrees apply to subjects that are intended for a specific career—students studying pre-medicine, finance, police science or nursing, for example, typically earn Bachelor of Science degrees. However, this is not universal among all U.S. colleges. Some schools award Bachelor of Science degrees to all students studying subjects in the hard sciences or social sciences.

In some cases, students can choose between a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Sciences in the same subject at the same school—the difference between the two may vary depending on the school. A very small number of U.S. schools offer Bachelors of Science in all subjects, including those in the humanities. In addition, some schools offer the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree (BAAS), which puts equal emphasis on work experience and academic scholarship.

A Bachelor’s degree significantly increases your opportunities and employability in the workplace. It opens doors in professional arenas as well as higher academics. While many people do succeed in having strong careers without a Bachelor’s, it can be tough to stand out over those with the degree unless you have a very strong portfolio or extensive experience, depending on the job you’re applying for. Earn your Bachelor’s, and you’ll find that you have a wealth of opportunities available to you.