Are Bachelor’s Degrees Losing Their Value?Oct 09, 2022
The 4-year college degree was considered a ticket to a better life for generations. Unfortunately, with rising inflation and ballooning student debt, the value of the bachelor’s degree is in decline.
Companies like Amazon, Google, and Tesla, in addition to large portions of the banking and technology sectors, have eliminated college education as a prerequisite for entry-level jobs.
Today, the job marketplace is seeking individuals who can think. Workers who can swiftly come up with creative solutions to unexpected problems and those that remain prepared to experience continuous challenges from discoveries or innovations.
With few exceptions, a 4-year bachelor’s program serves as a signaling function, meaning that the bachelor’s degree signals to potential employers that an applicant possesses desirable characteristics.
Today’s employment environment is often about more validation than skill-building. As a result, employers desire not only intelligent but also compliant and punctual workers. With bachelor’s degrees carrying this significant signaling function, the number of job seekers possessing a 4-year degree has substantially increased, creating an environment where a bachelor’s degree simply doesn’t carry the weight it once did.
No matter the reason, potential job seekers now wonder, “Is a bachelor’s degree worth it?” as well as “What is today’s average salary for a bachelor’s degree?”
Why Are College Degrees Being Devalued?
In the United States today, the job market remains flooded with individuals seeking employment who also possess a bachelor’s degree. Why so many college graduates? This could be due to ease of graduation and decreasing standards related to some coursework than in prior generations.
Employers today understand that unskilled students still receive their degrees despite not meeting the former skill or experience standards of the past. Today, a degree alone isn’t always enough to set a candidate apart from the pack and instead commonly serves as the minimum requirement.
While a bachelor’s degree can demonstrate that candidates have reliable work habits, including good attendance and task completion, solid work experience on a resume is the best way to create good impressions with any prospective employer.
College consulting services like Clark College Consulting still advise students to seek careers in growth areas during their education. Jobs will frequently look at work taken with nonprofit programs and entry-level positions, as well as internships in a chosen profession while the student is still making their way through college.
The Value in Earning a Bachelor’s Degree
Although the real-world and workplace value of a bachelor’s degree is decreasing, earning a 4-year degree brings numerous other benefits beyond increased earning potential over associate’s degree earners and high-school graduates.
Furthering education demonstrates decreases in the risk of unemployment. For example, the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree holders is around 2.2 percent compared to a slightly higher number for those with associate’s degrees at 2.7 percent, and the highest figure of 3.7 percent among those with a high school diploma only.
Earning a bachelor’s degree increases the likelihood that future employers will consider a job seeker for career advancement opportunities. Similarly, a bachelor’s degree is the prerequisite for earning a master’s or doctorate, an often motivating factor for those considering pursuing graduate education and gauging the average salary for a bachelor’s degree.
Is a Bachelor’s Degree Important in 2022?
People have questioned, “Is a bachelor’s degree worth it?” for decades. Is it worth the cost and effort that goes into earning it? This question takes on even greater prominence today due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is one of the most commonly brought up points with college consulting services.
Most colleges today have enacted strict social distancing guidelines for on-campus students and faculty, in addition to shifting classes partially or entirely online. As a result, many students are not entertaining the idea of waiting until things return to ‘normal’ before pursuing their degree. Unfortunately, this isn’t the wisest decision.
Coronavirus and the subsequent lockdowns have forced many businesses to reduce their workforce, totaling millions currently out of work. These individuals now compete for the same jobs as degree seekers and college graduates alike.
Earning a bachelor’s degree still helps candidates stand out from those only carrying a high school diploma or associate’s degree, effectively leveling the playing field between an applicant and other individuals attempting to secure employment with a bachelor’s degree credential.
It is also essential that degree-seeking students realize that many careers now consider a bachelor’s degree a minimum requirement. This modern hiring environment includes various fields in science and business, as well as jobs where an associate’s degree may have been previously accepted.
For example, while it is technically possible to become a registered nursing professional by achieving an associate’s degree from an accredited program, many hospitals now require that all new hires hold at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
The reality of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced numerous employers to look for candidates that can adjust on the fly, with specific specialized skills, and the ability to work remotely. In addition, attaining a bachelor’s degree online or in a hybrid form demonstrates to many employers that graduates can self-manage while remaining effective outside the classroom or office.
In such an uncertain education and hiring environment, “Is a bachelor’s degree worth it?” is a more critical question today than ever. College consulting services from a college admissions coach like Clark College Consulting can provide clarity while helping students learn the skills and abilities to remain flexible and adaptable in an ever-changing workplace.
A Bachelor’s Degree Can Be The First Step to Something Greater
Completing a bachelor’s degree under today's circumstances isn’t easy. However, this can make degree holders more compelling hires for businesses looking for specific, specialized skills. Clark College Consulting services guide students toward higher education.
Although the value of a 4-year college degree has already gone down due to a vast increase in the number of workers possessing degrees and various other reasons, various kinds of loan programs, government scholarships, and other programs incentivize more students to pursue college degrees.
This isn’t to say that students with aspirations of a career in specialized fields should avoid college. Quite the opposite. Instead, students should work with a college admissions coach or other advocates to ensure they obtain the marketable skills and the credentials they need to stand out in a job market seemingly flooded with degrees.
To learn more about college consulting services, the average salary for a bachelor’s degree, and the potential options that Clark College Consulting can provide, reach out to our dedicated and caring team today for more information!
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