Going Back to School: Choosing a Bachelor’s Degree

by | Nov 2, 2021 | Career Advice

For some individuals, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused them to reflect on their current profession, pondering whether this is what they still would like to do, both now and in the future. This is especially the situation with those that were with a company or an industry that was heavily impacted by the virus. The thought that perhaps COVID-19 is the type of event that will cause you to rethink the path that you are on.

This self-reflection may result in workers committing themselves to a better work-life balance or changing their current employer in an attempt to obtain a better situation. For some others, the focus is more on the idea of returning back to school to obtain the next level degree. The thought being that by obtaining an enhanced degree, you will move closer to obtaining what you are seeking.

The decision to return to school can lead us in a number of different directions. Our heart may direct us towards an area of study that most interests us, regardless of the job opportunities that it will afford. Our brain should gravitate us towards what major will best prepare graduates for a good paying job upon completion. In a perfect world, your interests and the labor market will be perfectly aligned, and you will be moving towards a profession that will provide you with lots of job openings. Since the focus on our weekly tips is finding employment, we will highlight the labor market and which degrees should provide you with the best work opportunities.

For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the degree that most of our readers would next be seeking and that is a bachelor’s degree. Of course, there are other pursuits to consider, such as an Associates, Masters, Certification, etc. depending on your particular situation.

Like most things in life, not all bachelor’s degrees are created equal. Some universities are regarded higher than others and, of course, some majors will create more opportunities and at a greater compensation level than others. Let’s take a peek at a recent study done by the Texas Policy Center that examined which bachelor’s degree were most profitable (defined as earnings potential in relation to student debt), and which ones tend to pay off the least.

Let’s start off with the bachelor’s degrees that should pay off the highest. It is no surprise that the Top 5 is dominated by degrees in the studies of Information Technology, Healthcare, and Engineering.
#1:Computer Science
#2:Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering
#3:Chemical Engineering
#4:Registered Nursing and Nurse Administration
#5:Mechanical Engineering

The majors in this Top 5 require individuals with solid math and science skills which are in high demand. Unfortunately, for our economy, these skills are not readily available in the workforce. These are areas of study that will require considerable dedication to complete and should not be entered into lightly.

The list of the bottom 5 also should not be much of a surprise, as it is dominated by careers in the Arts. These are stereotypically professions where there are limited positions available in its field, and they tend not to compensate as well as other careers. Please keep in mind that our purpose today is not to dissuade someone who has a lifelong passion to work in this field. But, if you are going to do so, accept that your earning potential is most likely going to be limited in these fields. Now, let’s see who made the Bottom 5 of the list.
#1:Drama/Theatre Arts
#2:Film/Video and Photographic Arts
#3:Fine and Studio Arts

Going back to college is a big decision, especially when considering the financial investment that is associated with this move. It can be particularly difficult if you are also trying to juggle a full-time job. Once you decide to go back to school, then the big decision becomes what to study. We all strive to be in a position that interests us and will provide daily motivation beyond the bi-weekly paycheck. It helps then to do your homework and consider strongly those degree majors that are most likely to facilitate gainful employment.

As always, the best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein

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