What Can I do With a Bachelor Degree?

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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.

How high?

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.


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