Is Earning a Bachelor’s Degree Online Worth It?

There are many personal and professional benefits associated with earning a bachelor’s. Yet, the cost of an undergraduate degree program can be substantial, as can the time commitment. These factors make weighing the costs and benefits of a college education necessary, especially for people with work and family obligations.

Recent years have seen a sharp increase in online bachelor’s offerings like Lamar University’s liberal arts and communication programs. The virtual format affords parents, caretakers and working professionals a great deal of flexibility, improving the feasibility of earning a degree.

It is still important to consider if the online model will work for you and help you accomplish your educational and professional goals.

Will a Bachelor’s Degree Improve My Career Prospects?

For many, the motivation to earn a bachelor’s degree surrounds improving one’s career opportunities and earning potential.

Consider these statistics and research from the last couple of years regarding the financial and professional benefits an undergraduate education offers:

  • The National Center for Education Statistics (NACE) reports that the 2018 employment rate of 25- to 34-year-olds with a bachelor’s degree or higher was 86%, compared to 72% for people who had only completed high school.
  • According to a MarketWatch analysis of 2018 U.S. Labor Department jobs reports, nine out of 10 new jobs went to people with at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that people with bachelor’s degrees averaged over $30,000 more in yearly income than people with only high school diplomas.

Plus, many roles require at least a bachelor’s degree, meaning options are limited without one. While the degree does not ensure a better livelihood, it surely improves one’s chances.

What Is the Personal and Professional Value of Earning a Bachelor’s Degree?

The fundamental purpose of liberal arts education is to develop students’ critical thinking capacity, problem-solving and written and verbal communication. Collaborative projects teach students to work well in teams. Rigorous academic studies demand students cultivate good time-management skills and a strong work ethic.

These personal development outcomes of liberal arts education closely mirror the skills and attributes employers look for, according to NACE’s 2019 Job Outlook survey. Indeed, the survey found employers valued these four competencies above all others:

  • Critical thinking/problem-solving
  • Teamwork/collaboration
  • Professionalism/work ethic
  • Oral/written communications

A liberal arts education also allows students to study many different subjects. Perhaps you know exactly what you want to do in life. If you don’t, the opportunity to explore new disciplines might light up a future career path. Finding it can lead to long-term satisfaction on the job.

What Are the Financial Benefits Associated With Earning a Degree Online?

Quitting a job to attend a full-time, traditional campus-based bachelor’s program means losing income, potential promotions and other job opportunities. This is known as the “opportunity cost” of going to school. With Lamar University’s online bachelor’s programs, you study wherever and whenever you want, which means you can keep working, earning and advancing your career.

Another advantage of the flexible online model may include savings on childcare, relocation and commuting expenses.

The online bachelor’s model is also resilient to disruptions like the coronavirus pandemic. Studies can continue regardless of campus shutdowns. Plus, the post-pandemic workplace will likely rely more on collaborative, technology-based remote work models. Engaging in online education prepares students for this shift.

Some people prefer the traditional, campus-based model of undergraduate study. But a high-quality online program can be effective while also being cost-efficient and convenient. If your life and work demand flexibility and financial continuity, earning a bachelor’s degree online could be a sensible choice, personally and professionally.

Learn more about Lamar University’s online liberal arts programs.


Sources:

College Factual: The Opportunity Cost of Going to College

Inside Higher Ed: Is College Worth It? Yes

Liberty Street Economics: Despite Rising Costs, College Is Still a Good Investment

Market Watch: Nine out of 10 New Jobs Are Going to Those with a College Degree

Money: Why College Is Still Worth It Even Though It Costs Too Much

National Association of Colleges and Employers: The Four Career Competencies Employers Value Most

National Center for Education Statistics: Employment rates of college graduates

U.S. News & World Report: Is College Worth the Cost?

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