A bachelor's degree is typically a four-year program at an accredited college or university. The degree ranks as a higher level of education than a technical or associate degree and precedes advanced degrees, such as a master's or doctoral degree. A bachelor's degree holds a number of purposes for personal and career development.
Entry-Level Job Preparation
A bachelor's degree is typically viewed as a period of preparation for entering a career in a chosen field. Some students complete general education degrees that coverage a broad range of academic fields and skills development. This allows for potential entry-level work in a variety of career areas. Other students complete degrees in specialized areas, such as marketing, science, education or engineering. This allows for entry into more technical fields that often require more specific education.
Income and Advancement Opportunities
Higher education commonly equates to better pay once you enter the workforce. A four-year typically affords greater earning potential than if you end your education after high school. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provided data from 2012 that supports this notion. Median pay for bachelor's degree holders was nearly 64 percent higher than with a high school diploma, and nearly 36 percent higher than with a two-year associate degree.
Segue to Graduate Study
A bachelor's degree also is a step on the path to an advanced degree. With a four-year degree, you may gain admission to a master's, doctoral or professional degree program. These advanced degrees offer opportunities for more specialized types of work, like medical, legal or executive management careers. Pay is also significantly higher. Doctoral degrees, for instance, led to a 52 percent higher income level than a bachelor's degree in 2012, according to the U.S. labor bureau.
A more global purpose of a bachelor's degree education is the development of more education, well-rounded individuals who have more to offer employers, communities and society. Bachelor's degrees typically include a more well-rounded educational experience than a technical or associate degree. Students usually take at least two years of general education in humanities, communication, science, math and language arts. Technical programs also include more focused career education as well as electives, which allow for customized course selections.