There is no question that the world is more competitive today than it was 50 years ago when few people had college degrees and having one was almost a sure ticket to a well-paying job. In spite of this, a bachelor degree in a number of fields can be very helpful to a student looking for more than just a job but a career.
And while for a long period of time a degree didn’t get students as much as it used to, we have come into an age referred to as “credential creep” where many jobs that at one time didn’t require a degree, now do. This has in turn opened up a world of opportunity for many college graduates.
These jobs that now require college degrees are referred to as “middle skills” jobs. They are, for the most part, jobs that are above entry-level but below the most skilled and/or upper management jobs for the particular field.
For example, a student graduating with a degree in computer science can now get a position that is beyond the entry-level data entry (for programmers) or plugging in PCs (for network technicians) that they used to have to start at without a degree. Now they can start out as mid-level programmers or network technicians. In short, those with degrees now skip a step up the food chain. This also means higher starting salaries.
A computer programmer starting out today, even at the bottom 10% of the salary bracket, is earning over $42,000. And the salary ranges for entry-level positions across the computer-related fields are quite wide with the lowest being $30,060 for a webmaster and the highest being $62,040 for a software engineer on average.
But computer-related positions aren’t the only ones with a high demand for students with a bachelor degree. There are still many fields that almost always required one that are in huge demand today more than ever.
In fact, according to Forbes, the most in-demand fields for college degrees are financial analyst and petroleum engineer.
For many employers, to get a job as a financial analyst, they prefer a bachelor degree in business but will consider other degrees for the right candidate. The starting salary for a financial analyst is about $46,300 a year according to the Houston Chronicle.
Petroleum engineers are required to hold a bachelor degree in their engineering specialty. This will get their foot in the door for an entry-level position where they’ll essentially be searching for gas and oil and designing new ways to extract these materials so that they are able to be used by customers.
Now, hold onto your hat. The average starting salary for somebody with a bachelor degree in petroleum engineering in 2013 was $93,500. No, that is not a typo.
And the above positions are just the tip of the iceberg. With credential creep taking over the workforce, a bachelor degree is probably more important and helpful now than at any time in our history.