There are many different types of bachelor’s degrees available, and it can become a little confusing to students when considering a major. When most people refer to having a “college degree”, they are usually referring to a bachelor’s degree.
Determining which type of bachelor’s degree you want to earn comes down to the major you want to study.
What Is A Bachelor Degree
A bachelor is short for baccalaureate. The word baccalaureate comes from the Medieval Latin word baccalaureātus, meaning the initial (first) degree you obtain at a university. When you hear bachelor’s degree or baccalaureate degree, they mean the same thing.
Bachelor’s degrees are offered at both public and private colleges and universities. They are the most common undergraduate degree awarded by universities and colleges in the US. According to the National Center For Education Statistics, during the 2019–20 academic year 2,038,000 bachelor’s degrees were awarded.
Out of the two million degrees awarded, the top 10 bachelor’s degrees earned by field of study were:
- Health Professionals
- Social Sciences & History
- Biological & Biomedical Sciences
- Computer & Information Sciences
- Visual & Performing Arts
- Communication, Journalism, & Related Fields
Bachelor’s Degree And Other Type Of Degrees
There are 4 types of college degrees. Each degree comes with its own set of course requirements.
Here is the order of rank:
- Associate Degree: Two-year undergraduate degree
- Bachelor’s Degree: Four-year undergraduate degree
- Master’s Degree: One to three-year graduate degree
- Doctorate Degree: Five to eight-year graduate degree
How Long Does It Take To Earn A Bachelor’s Degree
Typically, a bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete. For students on a semester system, which 90% of colleges are, it takes a minimum of 120 credits to earn a bachelor’s degree. That’s about 40 college classes. For students who are enrolled in a college using a quarter system, it takes a minimum of 180 credits.
There’s a big difference between semesters and quarters. Knowing the difference can help you pick the type of college you want to attend. Semester vs. Quarter System will address the pros and cons of each.
You can’t just have 120 random credits and expect to walk away with a bachelor’s degree. It’s a little more complex than that. You must make sure the credits fit into a structured degree program and are meeting all your universities requirements. How To Graduate College With A Bachelors Degree In 4 Years does a great job of explaining the requirements and the process.
A bachelor’s degree is the highest level of an undergraduate degree. It can be completed in four years, sometimes less. Bachelor’s degrees cover a specific major (also called discipline) and consist of a mixture of major requirements, electives, general education requirements, core requirements, capstone classes, and many universities have diversity requirements.
What Are The Types Of Bachelor Degrees
This is where it gets a little confusing. There are several types of bachelor’s degrees that students can earn. But the 2 most common are, a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS).
There are additional bachelor degree classifications, such as a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS), and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) but these tend to be more highly specialized to a particular field.
The majority of bachelor’s degrees awarded are BA and BS degrees. It can get overwhelming looking at every program so for simplicity’s sake we will concentrate on BA and BS degrees.
What Is the Difference Between a BA And a BS
The difference between a BA and a BS is not that hard to understand once you know the basics. It comes down to classes.
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
- A BA degree is awarded after competition of coursework for liberal arts majors. Some popular BA majors are humanities, language, history, social science, literature, anthropology, sociology, economics, and psychology.
Bachelor of Science (BS)
- A BS degree is awarded after completion of coursework for science majors. Some popular BS majors are math, engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, and different STEM fields.
STEM degrees are some of the Highest-Paying degrees.
Which Is Better; a BA Or a BS
One degree is not better than the other. What’s important is deciding on a major that will guide you to the type of career you would like. Whatever degree you choose will be very beneficial.
A degree prepares you intellectually and socially for your career and for life. The opportunities and benefits of a college education go far beyond career opportunities such as better pay and benefits, studies have shown that it also leads to overall happiness and stability.
A bachelor’s degree can help a candidate stand out to potential employers. It lets an employer know that you can remain committed and work through years of academic courses to become knowledgeable in a specific field of study. It also shows employers that you have learned many skills that will be of value in the job setting. Skills such as perseverance, communication, time management, problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork.
It’s Easier To Get A Job With A College Degree
There is overwhelming evidence that a college degree substantially improves one’s employment prospects and earnings potential. When students start college, it can be difficult for students to find their focus, not everybody is certain about what they want to major in. However, most students know they want a good-paying and secure job. This is why they are willing to make the investment of time and money to go to college. Bachelor’s degree holders are 50% less likely to be unemployed compared to their peers who only have a high school diploma.
A bachelor’s degree can open up unexpected and exciting opportunities and pathways that aren’t always available to those who haven’t earned a higher level of education. Just by having a degree, you are a stronger candidate for higher-earning jobs. This can open doors to career employment opportunities that are more attractive, having perks such as a better work environment, retirement, health insurance, paid time off, bonuses, stock options, wellness benefits, continuing education, as well as gym and other memberships.
Having A Bachelor’s Degree Pays More
There are substantial differences in lifetime earnings by educational attainment. According to SSA.gov, men with bachelor’s degrees earn approximately $900,000 more in median lifetime earnings than high school graduates. Women with bachelor’s degrees earn $630,000 more in median lifetime earnings than high school graduates. That’s a lot of money!