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Is a Bachelor's Degree Worth It?

A bachelor’s degree can help prepare you for entry-level jobs, work in specialized fields and graduate studies. Consider your personal and professional goals to determine whether a bachelor’s degree is worth it for you.
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Know before you read
At SNHU, we want to make sure you have the information you need to make decisions about your education and your future—no matter where you choose to go to school. That's why our informational articles may reference careers for which we do not offer academic programs, along with salary data for those careers. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.

When thinking about the next step in your career or education, you might consider getting your bachelor’s degree. But if you're the first in your family to go to college or are going back to school as an adult learner, you may wonder if this is the best path forward. 

You want to know that the time, effort and investment of a degree is worth it, and there are many ways to measure that value. To help you figure out your next step, here are the answers to some of the questions you may have about getting a bachelor's degree.

So... Is A Bachelor’s Degree Still Worth It?

A bachelor's degree can open the door to job opportunities across industries. What you do with your degree can depend on your field or where you are in your educational journey.

With a bachelor’s degree, you may choose to pursue:

  • Entry-Level Jobs: Many industries require a bachelor's degree as a minimum qualification for entry-level positions. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), by 2032, 6.7% more jobs will require a bachelor's degree than they did in 2022.*
  • Specialized Fields: Your degree may prepare you for roles in specialized fields such as engineering, computer science, healthcare, education, psychology and others.
  • Graduate Studies: After getting your bachelor's degree, you may decide to pursue more education by getting a master's degree or a professional degree (like law or medicine — neither of which SNHU currently offers). Some fields require more education than a bachelor's degree to allow you to specialize further in your field or to open up higher-level career opportunities.

Getting a bachelor’s degree might mean the start of your career. Or, it can help with a change or advancement in your current career.

Josh Tolentino, a SNHU information technology graduate For Josh Tolentino '23, getting his bachelor’s degree at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) was an important step in the next chapter of his educational and professional journey.

As an active-duty U.S. service member, Tolentino was deployed in the Middle East throughout his degree, and an online bachelor's program worked for his schedule. Tolentino knows his bachelor’s degree in information technology can help lead him to new job opportunities. Now that he’s graduated, he hopes to find one that will allow him to work and live in another country. 

“As I keep going on the path I’m going on in my career, getting this degree was one of the breakthroughs for me,” Tolentino said. “It’s like a starting point … it’s one of the steps to getting where I want to be in the end.”

Are Bachelor’s Degrees Losing Value?

One way to look at the value of a bachelor’s degree is through salary and earning statistics. According to the BLS, in 2022, workers with a bachelor’s degree had median weekly earnings of $1,432, compared with $853 for people with just a high school diploma.*

But earning potential is just one way to measure the value of your degree. The different skills you can gain is another way.

Angela Woods, a career advisor at SNHU“(A bachelor’s degree) demonstrates dedication to professional development and proves you have the essential skills employers are looking for, like critical thinking, problem-solving and communication,” said Angie Woods, a career advisor at SNHU.

Value can also mean the positive impact a degree can have on your lifestyle.

“A bachelor's degree often translates to greater job security and more stable career options,” said Woods.* “And this can provide peace of mind and allow you to focus on your long-term goals.”*

Are There Disadvantages to Earning a Bachelor's Degree?

If you’re thinking about getting your bachelor’s degree, it’s normal to weigh the pros and cons. Some challenges you may experience throughout a bachelor's degree program may include:

  • Financial cost
  • Time commitment 
  • Balancing family responsibilities
  • Working full time
  • Living too far away from your desired college campus

Stephanie Ratliff, an admission counselor at SNHU“When talking to students, time and money are the main concerns that I often hear,” said Admission Counselor Stephanie Ratliff.

As an admission counselor at SNHU for the past 10 years, Ratliff has worked with many different kinds of students. She's familiar with the hurdles they experience when getting their bachelor’s degrees.

One way students can balance these commitments is with online learning. When you enroll in an online degree program, you can build your school schedule around your life — rather than building your life around your schoolwork.

According to Woods, it’s important to look at programs designed to support adult learners. For example, SNHU can help you earn your bachelor’s degree by offering:

  • Flexible Learning Options: Online degree programs can enable you to learn at your own pace and around your own schedule. This can be especially helpful for learners who also have full-time jobs and can’t commit to on-campus classes.

  • The Ability to Transfer Credits: If you have previous college coursework or relevant work experience, transferring your credits can significantly reduce the time and cost that comes with earning your degree.

  • Career-Focused Programs: Your bachelor’s degree should provide you with the skills and knowledge that potential employers are looking for. Career-focused programs are designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge employers seek.

  • Support Services: Academic advisors, career coaches and writing tutors are all helpful resources that can help you stay on track and succeed in your studies.

What Degrees are Most in Demand?

Deciding what you want to get your degree in can feel overwhelming. There are lots of choices, and the job market is constantly changing, but some degrees tend to hold consistently high value.*

Recently, Ratliff and Woods both share that they have observed an increase in applications and continued employment success in fields like:

With a bachelor's degree, there are many jobs you can pursue — and according to the BLS, many of these careers are going to see significant growth by 2032.* Depending on your major, you might consider a career as a: 

  • Data scientist 
  • Information security analyst 
  • Medical and health services manager
  • Software developer
  • Actuary 

“The knowledge and skills earned in technology-based programs are versatile,” said Ratliff. “They would allow students to pursue careers in an array of fields or venture out to build and advance a business of their own.”

Find Your Program

Is It Too Late to Get a Bachelor’s Degree?

Marilyn Barth, a SNHU graduate with her bachelor’s degree in general studies The benefits of a bachelor’s degree vary greatly from student to student. For some, choosing to go back to school can allow for career advancement or change. At SNHU, students enroll in programs at different ages, backgrounds, goals and walks of life. One of these students was Marilyn Barth '23, who completed her bachelor’s degree in general studies at the age of 75.  

“Dreams never die,” said Barth as a message to her seven grandchildren and other adult learners thinking about getting their degrees. “You’re not too old, ever, to achieve something that you want to do. If you are single-minded and push straight ahead, you can achieve what you want.”

If you're trying to decide if now is the right time to pursue your bachelor’s degree, it can be helpful to start by doing some research and reflection. Woods suggests that you:

  • Research your options: What different majors and career paths interest you? What are the market outlook and salary expectations for those careers?*
  • Think about your goals: What do you hope to achieve with a degree? Will it help you reach your career and personal aspirations?
  • Network with other professionals: Talk to people in fields you're interested in. Ask them about their educational background and how their degree has helped them.

“In my personal journey as a nontraditional student, I can share that the best time to pursue a degree is when you're ready to commit and see the journey through,” said Woods. “There's no right or wrong answer — the most important thing is to make an informed decision that sets you up for success.”

Take The Next Step Toward Your Bachelor's Degree

Earning a bachelor's degree can be a life-changing experience, but it's also a big decision. So, is it actually worth it? With the potential for higher salaries, leadership opportunities and exciting career paths, the answer for many students is yes.*

“To me, a bachelor's degree is 100% worth it,” said Ratliff. “Pursuing my bachelor's degree was one of the best decisions I made for myself. Not only did it prove advantageous in securing a position at a job that I love, but it proved to me that I can do anything that I set my mind to.”

A degree can change your life. Find the SNHU bachelor's degree that can best help you meet your goals.

*Cited job growth projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Actual salaries and/or earning potential may be the result of a combination of factors including, but not limited to: years of experience, industry of employment, geographic location, and worker skill.

Meg Palmer ’18 is a writer and scholar by trade who loves reading, riding her bike and singing in a barbershop quartet. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English, language and literature at Southern New Hampshire University and her master’s degree in writing, rhetoric and discourse at DePaul University (’20). While attending SNHU, she served as the editor-in-chief of the campus student newspaper, The Penmen Press, where she deepened her passion for writing. In addition to writing for SNHU, Palmer is an adjunct professor at Johnson and Wales University where she teaches first-year writing, honors composition and public speaking. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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About Southern New Hampshire University

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SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.