Bachelor's degrees can be earned through colleges and universities, and typically require four years of full-time study to complete. The time needed can vary depending upon the field; for example, some bachelor's degrees might require up to five or six years for completion. Bachelor's degree programs through online schools might allow students to take advantage of flexible scheduling and thus complete the degree at a more customized pace, depending upon the type or program, location and format.
Online colleges offer bachelor's degree credentials like traditional brick-and-mortar schools do, but with more choices in scheduling and a greater selection of schools. Some healthcare bachelor's degree programs may include a clinical or laboratory component in addition to other coursework.
There are a few different types of bachelor's degrees to choose from:
- Bachelor of Arts: These programs usually have an emphasis on the humanities, arts and social sciences. Spanish and sociology are two majors that would fall into this category.
- Bachelor of Science: As the name denotes, these programs typically focus on science-oriented fields, such as chemistry or biology.
- Specialty bachelor's degrees: Some bachelor's degrees don't fit neatly into the two above categories and have designations all their own. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) are examples of this.
Bachelor's Degrees and Career Earnings
Those who earn a bachelor's degree might enjoy higher pay and enhanced job opportunities and security. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that, on average, individuals over the age of 25 who earned college degrees saw higher weekly wages. Listed below are comparable 2012 median weekly earnings and unemployment rates:
- Some college, no degree: $727 per week; 7.7 percent unemployment
- Associate degree: $785 per week; 6.2 percent unemployment
- Bachelor's degree: $1,066 per week; 4.5 percent unemployment
The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that bachelor's degrees are often necessary for entry-level positions such as athletic trainers or other professionals in the field of fitness training. A bachelor's degree is the typical minimum qualification for healthcare managers, also known as medical and health services managers. Bachelor's degree programs could also prepare biological technicians for roles in the pharmaceutical industry.
Bachelor's degree programs can offer in-depth knowledge of a particular field and help prepare students to move into the workforce upon graduation. Required general education courses in subjects such as math and English may help students build workplace skills useful for record-keeping, research and communication. The bachelor's degree can also be a stepping stone to a master's degree, which is required for some healthcare occupations.
- Athletics Trainers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/athletic-trainers.htm
- Biological Technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/biological-technicians.htm
- Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
- Medical and Health Services Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Management/Medical-and-health-services-managers.htm