Through the evolution of education, many jobs now require their employees to at least have a bachelor’s degree. As the labor market has developed, so too have the education requirements to meet the needs of that market. Previously very little, or no schooling at all, was required to get a job. However, as these advancements in education have become more widespread and available, degrees have become standard requirements for most white collar jobs and even some blue collar jobs. One of the most popular forms of higher education is a bachelor’s degree.
Georgetown.edu states, “35 percent of the job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree,” a four year degree that is specialized to your major. Commonly, a bachelor’s is required at a workplace such as an insurance company like BlueCross BlueShield. As the percentage of jobs requiring a bachelor’s continues to increase, so does the number of people obtaining their bachelor’s. Census.gov stated, “Between 2000 and 2018, the percentage of people 25 years and older who had completed a bachelor’s degree or higher increased by 9 percentage points, from 25.6 percent to 35.0 percent.”
Richard Evans retired from Georgia Pacific Distribution Center, a business that manufactures wood and forestry products, as a branch manager. He stated, “I was one of the last ones hired for a white collar job without a degree. That was in 1974.” He continued, “when I was hiring for management and sales, the applicants were required to have a bachelor’s in science. Today, in the case of many jobs, you don’t even get looked at without a four year degree…Personally, if I was hiring today, I would prefer to look at someone with a hard work ethic.”
Onree Wilson, an aircraft engineer who went back to school for his bachelors said, “I did not have an issue finding gainful and meaningful employment prior to completing my bachelor’s degree. I chose to pursue a bachelor’s degree because I was ready for a new challenge with a higher pay scale and exponential growth opportunities.” Wilson’s opinion on earning a higher wage is typical of people who return to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Aplu.org stated, “on an annual basis, bachelor’s degree holders earn about $32,000 more than those whose highest degree is a high school diploma. The earnings gap between college graduates and those with less education continues to widen.”
Wilson continued, “I entered college later in life which poses its own set of challenges. I would recommend that college be attended soon after high school if a degree is pertinent to one’s planned career. College is not for everyone; however a degree of any kind will certainly never hurt.”
While some delay attending college, some never finish their degree. Melissa Duncan said, “I only received a diploma for medical transcription. I did have trouble finding a job, and even years after I got my diploma, I couldn’t get hired because I need at least 6 months of experience in the field.” Duncan’s experience is a reality for many others. In fact, northeastern.edu stated, “College graduates see 57 percent more job opportunities than non-graduates.”
Duncan continued, “My original plan was to be a football coach, but I ended up getting pregnant and chose not to be away from my son for that long, so I ended up just getting a job in administration.”
Looking forward, it’s possible that over half the occupations available will require their employees to have at least a bachelor’s degree, and more jobs might even start to require a master’s degree. Especially now, it is extremely important to seek higher education because the workplace continues to become more competitive. A bachelor’s degree might be exactly what’s needed to put you ahead.