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What is a Bachelor’s Degree?

What is a Bachelor’s Degree?

Maybe it’s been a nagging idea in the back of your mind. You’ve thought about going back to school, but you have questions. Such as, what are bachelor’s degrees exactly, and do you even need one? How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s degree, and what are the benefits? Let’s answer those questions so you can decide what your next step should be.

What are Bachelor’s Degrees?

This degree is also known as a baccalaureate degree. It is the most common degree earned by post-secondary students, and it is growing in prevalence. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from 2010 to 2019, the percentage of people age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher jumped from an average of 29.9% to 36.0%.  

The reasons students pursue these degrees vary, but common objectives include a career change, a higher wage, career advancement, or as a stepping-stone to earning a graduate degree. Because organizations are increasingly requiring a bachelor’s degree to qualify for certain jobs, having the credential increases your odds of landing a position that’s a good fit.

What is an Undergraduate Degree?

An undergraduate degree refers to any degree earned immediately beyond the high school level. It can technically be an associate or bachelor’s degree; however, an undergraduate degree usually refers to a bachelor’s degree and denotes that it falls below the graduate, or master’s, degree level. An undergraduate degree is a prerequisite for earning an advanced degree.

Bachelor’s degree programs consist of both general education courses, electives, and targeted training in the major the student chooses. An undergraduate degree provides a broad base of knowledge in the field, develops strong critical thinking skills, and gives students well-rounded exposure to the liberal arts that together build a strong educational foundation for entering the working world. Certain majors allow or require students to do an internship, participate in a work-study program, volunteer with relevant organizations, or complete a practicum that provides valuable experience before graduation.

Types of Bachelor’s Degrees

There are two primary types of bachelor’s degrees – a bachelor of arts (BA) and a bachelor of science (BS). Both are equally credible. As their names imply, the primary difference between the two degrees is their emphasis.

Bachelor of Arts Degrees

The Bachelor of Arts degree is generally related to the humanities and is typically broader in its educational approach. Ottawa University offers a wide range of online BA degrees in such areas as:

Bachelor of Science Degrees

A Bachelor of Science degree, on the other hand, is offered primarily for scientific and technical-related areas of study and may include a practicum or field service for program completion. The BS takes a more targeted educational approach, with a deeper dive into the science behind the subject. So, if you are planning to continue your education to become a physician, engineer, architect, or clinical counselor, a BS is likely the degree to pursue.

Ottawa University offers accelerated, online BS degrees in the following majors:

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor’s Degree?

While associate degrees require 60 credit hours to complete and take approximately two years to earn, usually through a community college, a bachelor’s degree typically requires approximately 120 credit hours to complete. Students can earn their degrees in about four years. The amount of time it takes can vary, however. For example, many of our students transfer credits from previously attended schools, which significantly saves their time to completion.

Transfer Advantage Program                    

Ottawa University partners with several local technical colleges in the states of Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, and Wisconsin. Through our Transfer Advantage Program, associate degree graduates from partner institutions are eligible for a special tuition rate to earn Ottawa University’s bachelor’s degrees.

There are four steps to the program:

  • Earn your associate degree through a partner community or technical college 
  • Participate in a free bachelor's degree planning session with an enrollment advisor from Ottawa University
  • Complete additional 100-level and 200-level electives at your community or technical college as outlined in your bachelor’s degree plan. 
  • Transfer to Ottawa University for your bachelor's degree (major and upper-level courses)

Accelerated Programs

More and more of today’s bachelor’s degree students are working adults who need to juggle families, jobs, and other commitments. That’s why Ottawa University offers the majority of its bachelor’s degrees fully online. Our accelerated 8-week terms, generous transfer policy, and flexible learning environment are just a few of the reasons why attending Ottawa University is the most affordable and quickest option to complete your education. With campus locations in Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix, you can earn your online degree on your schedule.

Benefits of Earning a Bachelor’s Degree

In today’s competitive market, earning your degree can increase your employment opportunities and salary potential, while also laying the groundwork for an advanced degree that can raise the bar even higher.

Increased Salary

Not surprisingly, students often continue their education to earn more money. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, graduates who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2021 garnered an average salary of $72,173. Contrast that with the salary ranges for those without a degree – $30,000 for employees without a high school diploma to $46,000 for associate degree holders. 

Expanded Job Opportunities

Beyond increasing earning potential, other students go back to school for better job opportunities. Finishing school will qualify you for far more entry and mid-level jobs. As part of The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment projections, 174 occupations typically require a bachelor’s degree. Moreover, employment in these occupations is projected to grow by 10% from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the 7% average.

Improved Well Being

In addition to higher salaries and greater job opportunities, another perk is living a happy and healthy life. According to a 2019 College Board Report, graduates of a baccalaureate program have greater self-esteem; higher job satisfaction, and more civic engagement. They even lead healthier lives because they tend to exercise more and have lower rates of smoking.

Are You Ready?

If you’ve been asking, “what is an undergraduate degree”, “how long does it take to get a bachelor’s degree”, or “what are the benefits of earning a bachelor’s degree”, you’re likely at a tipping point in your educational and vocational journey. Our enrollment advisors can help you choose the accelerated, online degree that’s right for you and set you on the path to reaching your goals.

Contact us today!

See Also:

What Kinds of Degrees Can You Get Online

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Master's Degree

How to Change Careers

Posted: 03/23/2022 by OU Online
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