With the growing need for degrees, particularly bachelor’s degrees, to be competitive in the workforce, more and more people are wondering how long it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate degree offered at colleges and universities. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree complete general education courses and colleges courses related to the major in which they’ve chosen to pursue. A typical bachelor’s degree taken in a brick-and-mortar college takes four years to complete.
What the Bachelor’s Degree Entails
Also known as an undergraduate degree, the bachelor’s degree is a four-year degree that usually takes about 120 semester hours to complete depending on the college’s requirements and semester/quarter format. This is provided the college uses the semester system. If the college uses a quarter system, students are required to complete 180-quarter credits. Bachelor’s degrees are also referred to as baccalaureate degrees.
The highest number of bachelor’s degrees in the United States are awarded at regionally accredited liberal arts colleges. Of the credits required to complete a bachelor’s degree, more than 50 percent of them are liberal arts or general education courses. Surprisingly, only about 30 to 36 credits are actually in the student’s major area of study. Many graduate degree programs will not allow a student to enroll until they’ve first completed a bachelor’s degree.
On-Campus vs Online
The increasing need for workers to have bachelor’s degrees has increased the number of schools offering online bachelor’s degrees. When online programs were first created, they weren’t always looked upon with the same regard and respect as degrees earned in an actual college, but that is no longer the case with more and more colleges now offering online programs.
The choice between an online or on-campus program is a matter of personal choice. Often, the same instructors teaching on campus teach the online courses. The main difference is that online students are not required to attend classes daily but can do them at their convenience. Whereas a campus-based bachelor’s degree is usually completed in four years, online bachelor’s degrees may take less time or more time.
Types of Bachelor’s Degrees
Bachelor’s degrees may be one of three types.
- Bachelor of Arts (BA) – The BA degree focuses heavily on the liberal arts and less on the major. Common majors with the BA degree include Theatre, English, Music Art, Languages and Communications.
- Bachelor of Science (BS) – The BS degree focuses more on the student’s actual area of study and is chosen by students who are more career-focused and wish to work immediately after graduation. BS students often choose majors like nursing, computer science, business, chemical engineering and economics.
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) – The BFA degree is a professional or vocational degree that focuses more on the concentration than on general studies. Students pursuing a BFA often are creative individuals such as painters, singers, dancers, sculptors and actors, among others.
Top Bachelor’s Degrees Most Chosen For Full-Time Work
Choosing a major seems easy enough. Students often just choose an area of study that interests them. However, this often results in a degree in a field that’s not very marketable in the job market. Students must choose a major that they enjoy and one that can lead to a career. Here are the top ten bachelor’s degrees chosen for full-time careers as reported by the U.S. News & World Report:
- Computer Science
- Business Administration/Management
- Mechanical Engineering
- Information Sciences and Systems
- Management Information Systems
- Electrical Engineering
- Logistics/Supply Chain
Related Resource: 25 Most Affordable Online Master’s of Business Administration Degrees
With the possibilities of earning an associate, bachelor’s master’s or doctoral degree, the majority of the students today are choosing a bachelor’s degree. While it may take four years to complete a bachelor’s degree, this time is well spent, and this degree prepares students to join the workforce immediately or advance their education.
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