Over the last decade, attendance at two-year universities in the U.S. has increased dramatically, as more students opt for a quicker, and oftentimes less expensive, path to their degree. It’s easy to see why: Pursuing an associate degree costs, on average, about half as much as pursuing a bachelor’s at a public university, or one-third as much as most private universities.1
An associate degree will open a lot of doors, but there are still limitations. Completing your bachelor’s degree has a lot of advantages. Ultimately, sacrificing a little bit of time and energy now can yield returns for the rest of your life.
Earn More Money, Starting Now…
If two students graduated today, one with an associate degree and one with a bachelor’s, who would make more money? It’s not surprising that a bachelors is tied to higher earnings by as much as 26 percent.2 But that’s for new degree holders. What happens five years down the line? Ten years?
…And for the Rest of Your Life.
For workers with 10 or more years of experience, the pay premium between an associate degree and bachelor’s degree is often 50 percent or more. That means if you’re in the 90th percentile of pay, you’d be making an average of $90,200 per year. With a bachelor’s, you could be making as much as $146,000. That’s a 62 percent difference.2
Even in jobs where associate and bachelor’s degree holders earn roughly the same amount of money, there is greater job security with a bachelor’s degree. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the more time you spend in school, the less chance you have of ever being unemployed in your lifetime.3
Enhance Your Skill Set
Pursuing your bachelor’s degree can help give you the time and space to practice indispensable skills that will serve you, no matter what career track you pursue. Besides the additional knowledge you’ll gain from pursuing further study, you’ll find that your study habits will sharpen. Your communication habits will also improve as you flex them in working with faculty and other students in your course work, as will your ability to attack questions from different viewpoints as you work through challenging projects and ideas.
Your problem solving skills will likely be enhanced as well. Additional study will require the development of your ability to locate resources and interpret research. Even in technical roles, the advancement of these skills will help to make you more hireable, more promotable, and can also increase your confidence and recognition.4
Believe it or not, educational attainment is strongly tied to mortality.5 According to one study, each year of school completed corresponds to a linear decrease in mortality. The odds decrease even more steeply for each year of education after attainment of a high school diploma. Finishing your bachelor’s might just increase your life expectancy, statistically speaking.
No Time Like the Present
No matter what is pushing you to think about finishing your bachelor’s degree, it’s hard to think of any drawbacks. You can unlock a lifetime of increased opportunities, and may find yourself better able to weather adversity. You’ll be more marketable and, no matter where your career takes you, you can be sure that your degree will be working for you.
Thinking about the value of completing your bachelor’s degree in computer science for your own career outlook? Here are some more details about computer science career outcomes to consider.
- Retrieved on February 19, 2018, from marketwatch.com/story/is-an-associates-degree-the-new-bachelors-degree-2014-08-01?mg=prod/accounts-mw
- Retrieved on February 19, 2018, from marketwatch.com/story/is-an-associates-degree-the-new-bachelors-degree-2014-08-01
- Retrieved on February 19, 2018, from bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
- Retrieved on February 19, 2018, from aarc.org/careers/career-advice/professional-development/five-reasons-bachelors-boosts-career/
- Retrieved on February 19, 2018, from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4435622/