A bachelor’s degree has long been considered the foundation of a successful career. Today, experts say that “students are increasingly getting college-level education throughout their careers, even if they aren’t getting the actual degree.” As education changes with the times and the ever-evolving workplace, students are enrolling in skills courses and pursuing online bachelor’s degrees to gain the knowledge and credentials they need to be successful in a modern workplace.
More students than ever before are taking advantage of the benefits of online education and earning bachelor degrees online. A common misconception about higher education is that a bachelor’s degree can only come from spending four years in a ground school. But this outdated idea is far from the truth. Learning online has proved to be the best option for many nontraditional students who want to earn a first or additional degree to advance their career. Here are five important reasons to consider pursuing bachelor degrees online:
A report recently released by the U.S. Department of Education found that only about half of students who entered college from 2003 to 2004 had earned a degree or certificate by the summer of 2009- six years later. Ground schools across the country and online schools face low completion rates, and the issue does not seem to be improving. These numbers are similar to the results of a study conducted about 10 years prior, which analyzed the degree completion rates of students who began college from 1995 to 1996.
Laurel Andersen graduated from the University of South Carolina Aiken with a psychology degree only to realize that she would rather become a nurse. She then decided to return to USC Aiken, in order to earn a second degree—a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Going back to school to obtain a second degree is becoming increasingly popular due in large part to the ease and convenience of online schools.
Financial security may or may not be at the top of a college student’s list of reasons for choosing a major. But, the current state of the economy may leave some students, particularly those pursuing a liberal arts degree, wondering if financial security is in their future at all. From 2009 to 2010, the number of job openings for recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree obtained from a traditional or online school dropped 22 percent. This is an especially valid issue in terms of loan repayment and graduate’s financial stability. Unemployment for this age group and education level is currently above 7 percent.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently spoke at an American Enterprise Institute forum on the topic of a “New Normal” in education. The “New Normal” says Duncan, are the standards and guidelines which education, at all levels, must be held to even amidst factors like inadequate funding. Duncan presents several solutions to overcome funding issues. But the solutions, he warns must not increase productivity by inadvertently cutting funding in such a way that decreases the quality of either traditional or online schools and negatively affects students.
Although our current job market shrinks in comparison to the booming market of the late 1990s and early 2000s, it is set to make a small, but significant comeback. The faltering market is expected to make a “slight rebound” in the next year and employment opportunities for newly-minted college graduates are expected to increase. In fact, notes a recent report released by MSU’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute, overall hiring will see an increase of 3%. Students with bachelor’s degrees and MBA’s will enjoy the highest hiring increase at 10%. Ph.D. holders will also see an increase of nearly 5% in hiring.