Bachelor’s Degree

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What You Should Know About Bachelor’s Degrees

What Is a Bachelor’s Degree?

A bachelor’s degree, also called a baccalaureate degree, is an undergraduate degree offered by 4-year colleges and universities. It can take anywhere from 3-5 years of full-time study to complete and requires the completion of 120 to 128 credits, which equates to about 40 courses. Bachelor’s degrees are by far the most popular undergraduate degrees offered in the United States. A bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for entry into most graduate programs and is the degree level that most employers are looking for in new hires.

Requirements For Earning a Bachelor’s Degree

Most bachelor’s degree programs have a general education component, composed of courses in English, science, math, communications, humanities, and social sciences. In addition to general education courses, bachelor’s degrees require students to select a major, or a particular area of academic focus (e.g., biology, math, arts, English, foreign language, etc.).

How Much You Can Earn With a Bachelor’s

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with a bachelor’s degree earn 68% more than someone with only a high school diploma or GED and 42% more than someone with an associate degree. That’s an annual salary of approximately $59,124 with a bachelor’s degree vs. $41,496 with an associate’s or $35,256 with a high school diploma.

Median Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment

Need more convincing of the monetary benefits of a bachelor’s degree? The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found similar data on the monetary value of a bachelor’s degree. They found that those with a bachelor’s degree earn about $2.3 million in their lifetime, on average, which is 35% more than those with an associate degree ($1.7 million) and 77% more than those with a high school diploma ($1.3 million).

Transferring Credits Into a Bachelor’s Program

For students entering a bachelor’s degree program with an associate’s degree under their belt, they may have already met some, if not all, of the general education requirements. Most universities allow the transfer of up to 60 credits, from a nationally or regionally accredited associate degree program or community college program.

Bachelor’s Degree Types and Their Abbreviations

  • Bachelor of Arts (abbreviated BA or AB) The BA Degree is a 4 year college degree that usually focuses on the arts. Coursework may include social sciences, humanities, music or fine arts.
  • Bachelor of Science (abbreviated BS or BSc) The BS Degree is a 4 year college degree that usually focuses on the sciences. Coursework may include life sciences, mathematics, and physical sciences.

Architecture and Design

Arts

Engineering

  • Bachelor of Engineering (BEng, BE, BSE, BESc, BSEng, BASc, BTech, BSc(Eng), AMIE,GradIETE)
  • Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech. or B.Tech.)
  • Bachelor of Engineering Technology (BSET)

Business and Management

  • Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
  • International Business Economics (BIBE)
  • Bachelor of Science in Business (BSBA)
  • Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS)
  • Bachelor of Administrative Studies
  • Bachelor of International Business Economics (BIBE)
  • Bachelor of Commerce (BCom, or BComm)
  • Bachelor of Business (BBus or BBus)
  • Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies (BMOS)
  • Bachelor of Business Science (BBusSc)
  • Bachelor of Accountancy (B.Acy. or B.Acc. or B. Accty)
  • Bachelor of Comptrolling (B.Acc.Sci. or B.Compt.).
  • Bachelor of Economics (BEc, BEconSc; sometimes BA(Econ) or BSc(Econ))
  • Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management (BAOM)

Computer Science and Information Systems

  • Bachelor of Computing (BComp)
  • Bachelor of Computer Science (BCompSc)
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSc IT),
  • Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Technology (BAppSc(IT)
  • Bachelor of Business Information Systems (BBIS)

Healthcare and Medicine

  • Intercalated Bachelor of Science (BSc)
  • Bachelor of Medical Science (BMedSci)
  • Bachelor of Medical Biology (BMedBiol)
  • Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BN, BNSc, BScN, BSN, BNurs, BSN, BHSc)
  • Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH)
  • Bachelor of Health Science (BHS & BHSc)
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Biology (BSc)
  • Bachelor of Kinesiology (BKin, BSc(Kin), BHK)

Aviation

  • Bachelor of Aviation (BAvn)

Divinity and Theology

  • Bachelor of Divinity (BD or BDiv)
  • Bachelor of Theology (B.Th.; Th.B. or BTheol)
  • Bachelor of Religious Studies (BRS)
  • Bachelor of Religious Education (BRE)

Fine Arts

Film and Television

  • Bachelor of Film and Television (BF&TV)

Integrated Studies

  • Bachelor of integrated studies (BIS)

Journalism

  • Bachelor of Journalism (BJ, BAJ, BSJ or BJourn)

Landscape Architecture

  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLArch)

Liberal Arts

  • Bachelor of Liberal Arts (B.L.A.; occasionally A.L.B.)
  • Bachelor of General Studies (BGS, BSGS)
  • Bachelor of Applied Studies (BAS)
  • Bachelor of Liberal Studies
  • Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS)

Library Science

  • Bachelor of Library Science (BLS, BLib)
  • Bachelor of Library and Information Science (BLIS)

Music

  • Bachelor of Music (BM or BMus)
  • Bachelor of Art in Music (BA in Music)

Music Education

  • Bachelor of Music Education (BME)

Mortuary Science

  • Bachelor of Mortuary Science (BMS)

Philosophy

  • Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil, PhB)

Psychology

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (BAPSY)
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology (BSc(Psych))

Education

  • Bachelor of Science in Education (BSE, BS in Ed)
  • Bachelor of Arts for Teaching (BAT)
  • Bachelor of Science and/with education degree (BScEd)

Forestry

  • Bachelor of Science in Forestry (B.S.F. or B.Sc.F.)

Science

Science in Law

  • Bachelor of Science in Law (BSL)

Social Sciences

  • Bachelor of Social Science (BSocSc)

Social Work

  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BSW or BASW)

Technology

  • Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech)

Talmudic law

  • Bachelor of Talmudic Law (BTL)

Tourism Studies

  • Bachelor of Tourism Studies (BTS)

Mathematics

  • Bachelor of Mathematics (BMath)
  • Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences (BMathSc)

Urban and Regional Planning

  • Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning (BURP and BPlan)

Public Affairs and Policy Management

  • Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management (BPAPM)

Most Common Bachelor’s Degrees

Field of StudyNumber of DegreesPercent of Degrees
Business363,79919.2%
Health professions and related programs216,22811.4%
Social sciences and history166,9448.8%
Psychology117,5576.2%
Biological and biomedical sciences109,8965.8%
Engineering97,8585.2%
Visual and performing arts95,8325.1%
Education91,6234.8%
Communication, journalism, and related programs90,6504.8%
Homeland security, law enforcement, and firefighting62,7233.3%
Computer and information sciences59,5813.1%
Parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies49,0062.6%
Multi/interdisciplinary studies47,5562.5%
English language and literature/letters45,8472.4%
Liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and humanities43,6472.3%
Agriculture and natural resources36,2771.9%
Public administration and social services34,3631.8%
Physical sciences and science technologies30,0381.6%
Family and consumer sciences/human sciences24,5841.3%
Mathematics and statistics21,8531.2%
Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics19,4931.0%
Engineering technologies17,2380.9%
Philosophy and religious studies11,0720.6%
Theology and religious vocations9,7080.5%
Architecture and related services9,0900.5%
Area, ethnic, cultural, gender, and group studies7,7820.4%
Communications technologies5,1350.3%
Transportation and materials moving4,7110.2%
Legal professions and studies4,4200.2%
Military technologies and applied sciences2760.0%
Library science990.0%
Precision production480.0%
Not classified by field of study00.0%

30 Best Jobs You Can Get With a Bachelor’s Degree

The 30 jobs in this listing typically require a bachelor’s degree and have salaries of $55,000 or more. All jobs listed are projected to have positive job growth rate of at least 10% between 2014-2024 according to the BLS. The list mentions if the job requires on-the-job training.

Occupation2016 Median PayNumber of New JobsGrowth RateOn-the-job Training
Actuaries$75,000 or more1,000 to 4,99910 to 19 percentLong-term on-the-job training
Biomedical engineers$75,000 or more5,000 to 9,99920 to 29 percentNone
Computer and information systems managers$75,000 or more50,000 or more10 to 19 percentNone
Computer systems analysts$75,000 or more50,000 or more20 to 29 percentNone
Database administrators$75,000 or more10,000 to 49,99910 to 19 percentNone
Environmental engineers$75,000 or more5,000 to 9,99910 to 19 percentNone
Financial analysts$75,000 or more10,000 to 49,99910 to 19 percentNone
Financial examiners$75,000 or more1,000 to 4,99910 to 19 percentModerate-term on-the-job training
Geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers$75,000 or more1,000 to 4,99910 to 19 percentNone
Information security analysts$75,000 or more10,000 to 49,99910 to 19 percentNone
Management analysts$75,000 or more50,000 or more10 to 19 percentNone
Medical and health services managers$75,000 or more50,000 or more10 to 19 percentNone
Operations research analysts$75,000 or more10,000 to 49,99930 percent or fasterNone
Personal financial advisors$75,000 or more50,000 or more30 percent or fasterLong-term on-the-job training
Petroleum engineers$75,000 or more1,000 to 4,99910 to 19 percentNone
Software developers, applications$75,000 or more50,000 or more10 to 19 percentNone
Software developers, systems software$75,000 or more50,000 or more10 to 19 percentNone
Accountants and auditors$55,000 to $74,99950,000 or more10 to 19 percentNone
Cartographers and photogrammetrists$55,000 to $74,9991,000 to 4,99920 to 29 percentNone
Dietitians and nutritionists$55,000 to $74,99910,000 to 49,99910 to 19 percentInternship/residency
Environmental scientists and specialists, including health$55,000 to $74,99910,000 to 49,99910 to 19 percentNone
Film and video editors$55,000 to $74,9995,000 to 9,99910 to 19 percentNone
Forensic science technicians$55,000 to $74,9991,000 to 4,99920 to 29 percentModerate-term on-the-job training
Market research analysts and marketing specialists$55,000 to $74,99950,000 or more10 to 19 percentNone
Medical and clinical laboratory technologists$55,000 to $74,99910,000 to 49,99910 to 19 percentNone
Registered nurses$55,000 to $74,99950,000 or more10 to 19 percentNone
Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents$55,000 to $74,99910,000 to 49,99910 to 19 percentModerate-term on-the-job training
Social and community service managers$55,000 to $74,99910,000 to 49,99910 to 19 percentNone
Technical writers$55,000 to $74,9995,000 to 9,99910 to 19 percentShort-term on-the-job training
Therapists, all other$55,000 to $74,9995,000 to 9,99920 to 29 percentNone

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