In the war of more costs versus more college, students are left in the middle; they are allied with both causes but can’t quite decide which way to turn.
Spring graduation is rapidly approaching, and a decision must soon be made: transfer to a college, or transition into the workplace. Transferring to a four-year university to complete a bachelor’s degree is the best option for soon-to-be graduates.
While the cost of obtaining a bachelor’s degree is significantly higher than the cost of earning an associate degree, the opportunity for career advancement also increases with further education. It is atypical for individuals with less than a bachelor’s degree to be hired in fields such as engineering or education.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the 2012 median weekly earnings of those age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree was $1,066, which exceeded the median weekly earnings of an individual with an associate degree by $281.
Extrapolated over the course of a year, an individual in the United States with a bachelor’s degree will earn, on average, $14,612 more than someone that only has an associate degree.
Inversely, 2012 unemployment rates were lower for people with a bachelor’s degree. Though 4.5 percent of workers with a bachelor’s degree were unemployed, 6.2 percent of individuals with an associate degree were unemployed. Unemployment rates, however, were the highest for individuals with less than a high school diploma.
The top two fields Boston.com predicts to grow most by 2018, biomedical engineering and network systems and data communications analyzing, both require a bachelor’s degree for virtually all entry-level jobs.
Median pay for biomedical engineers in 2008 topped $77,000, more than $10,000 a year more than the tenth-most predicted growing career as a dental hygienist.
The company Burning Glass, which analyzes the job market and the degrees needed for different careers based on job ads, reported that employers now want applicants to have bachelor’s degrees for positions that didn’t traditionally require further education.
These careers include electronics engineering technicians, dental laboratory technicians, dental hygienists, and architectural drafters. In 2012, 55 percent of ads for dental hygienist positions required a bachelor’s degree, up 15 percent from 2007.
The percentage of employers requiring bachelor’s degrees is likely to continue to increase as the job market becomes increasingly competitive.
It seems as if many employers use degree level as a way to separate applicants into progressively smaller groups to interview; some employers consider more education to show more motivation.
Without a bachelor’s degree, career options will soon be limited.
Go bachelor’s, or go home.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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