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How a Bachelor’s Degree Boosts Earning Potential

female graduate

With the financial pressure of raising a family and enjoying life’s comforts in today’s world, some people have to take on extra jobs or “side hustles” to earn more money. (Thirteen million, according to the 2013 US Census.) Instead of spending more time hustling, why not make the hours you spend at work worth more? Everyone has the same 24 hours in the day, and you want the eight (or more) you spend away from your family or hobbies to be as valuable as possible. 

One way you can increase your earning potential is by earning a college degree. College graduates often see a boost in salary after graduation, due to a variety of factors.

College Degree Salary vs. No College Degree

Even though they may have less experience at first, college grads often earn more than colleagues without a bachelor’s degree throughout their lifetime. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported salaries of college graduates nearly doubled those with no college education.

Median Weekly Income by Level of Education

While average salary changes across industry and based on experience, this provides a brief snapshot of the lives of working Americans. As an adult, you understand success in the workplace is determined by more than a degree. There are many reasons why a person may earn more post-graduation.

The best way to secure a raise is to simply ask. But how should you approach  the conversation with your boss? This infographic has the answers.

Ways a Bachelor’s Degree Helps You Earn More

Going back to college and graduating is no small feat. It requires hours of attending lectures (or listening to them online), notetaking, studying, corresponding with peers, completing assignments, and more. However, all that hard work can pay off in a variety of ways. Here are some things you gain along with your diploma.

Gain Credentials

The major benefit of having your degree is being able to list your degree--and all you’ve learned--on your resume. Many positions require a bachelor’s degree, and without having it, you may not even be able to get in the door for an interview. A degree can show you have a base level of knowledge in your field of study. If you own your own business, it can help show you know that you can deliver on your promises.

Gain Needed Skills

Just like you wouldn’t want a doctor operating on you who hasn’t been to medical school, you would also expect your accountant to have taken some accounting classes, your nurse to have her degree in nursing, and your IT person to have training in the technology field. Going to school allows you to learn about the field you will be working in after graduation. As referenced below, you’ll also learn skills important to succeeding in the workplace like how to adhere to deadlines, work well with others, and think critically about problems you’re facing. Many employers understand what is taught in the course of a degree program and respect the time and investment it took to win this hard-earned knowledge.

Gain Connections

Your peers and professors will be some of the most valuable people you meet. Not only because they’ll understand your educational journey better than many around you, but also because of their industry connections. Oftentimes, instructors are hired for their expertise and maintain excellent connections to those currently working in the field. They will be able to give you insight that has been developed through years of hard work and will be able to leverage their own networks to help you on your way to your goals.

Those who study alongside you in class may not currently be high-level employees in innovative firms, but just like you, they are working toward great things. The person you borrowed notes from may just be the next VP of a major company or work on a team you’d like to join someday. Nurturing these relationships can help you find your next great opportunity.

Gain Confidence

Confidence may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about valuable attributes, but it could mean thousands or more dollars for you each year. Those with more self-confidence may ask for higher salaries and vie for leadership positions more often. In addition to some of these ideas, going back to school and developing critical knowledge can help you gain the confidence you need to move purposefully forward in your career. 

Earning more money isn’t as simple as crossing the graduation stage and seeing more money appear in your bank account. There are calculated steps you can take to make your degree work for you.

Ways to Get Your Degree to Work for You

As with any investment, your degree doesn’t guarantee a raise, just like owning a rental house doesn’t guarantee a profit. You must work to present your assets in a way that makes them more valuable to others who are willing to pay for them.

Earn a Raise

Once you’ve graduated with your degree, speak with your employer about earning a raise for your new credentials. Oftentimes companies or organizations have policies in place that account for the acquisition of higher education. For example, teachers in Oklahoma can receive pay increases based on experience and level of education.

Related Article: Teachers: 4 Reasons to Get a Master's Degree

Get Promoted

Once you have your degree, you’ll likely be more qualified for positions that open within your company. Be on the lookout for opportunities to lead a team or create a new position that blends your skills and qualifications with the needs of the organization. You may find your way into a role that pays more and challenges you in ways you never anticipated!

Related Article: How to Become a Manager

Start at a New Company

If you’re not seeing a raise or promotion in your future, one of the best ways to see an immediate jump in salary is to move to a new company and role. You may sacrifice some comfort or familiarity, but you’ll likely find new challenges, increased earnings, and opportunities for growth. Be sure to have one of your professors look over your resume and mentor you on how best to leverage your experience and education!

After all in the process of your education, you’ve gained knowledge and skills that make are sure to make you a more valuable employee wherever you go. Here are some skills you can be sure to highlight.

Skills You Learn that You Can Use to Earn More

When searching for a new job or making your case for a raise or promotion, be sure to point out these skills you gain while earning a bachelor’s degree as an adult student. 

Time Management

We all know going back to school as an adult student isn’t easy. You must maintain your work schedule while completing assignments and taking in lectures. All of this hard work is making you an expert at time management. You will leave college knowing how to prioritize your time and projects because the only other option is not finishing.

Critical Thinking

Professors always stress the importance of critical thinking skills because earning a degree is about more than rote memorization and passing tests. You need to be able to digest material and apply it to your career. With so much focus placed on critical thinking, you will have opportunities to grow in this area, and ultimately highlight them as skills to current or future employers!

Research and Analysis

Researching and analysis that takes place during degree programs is crucial to your future work. You’ll be able to analyze results and research solutions more efficiently and effectively, thanks to your time in school. Knowing how to do this, and do it well, will help your projects be more successful and allow you to constantly be growing in your career.

Clear Communication

Communication is a common hangup in the workplace, but with most degree programs including courses on this topic, you’ll be a step ahead of others. In addition, you’ll have plenty of chances to practice during your studies as you correspond with professors, peers, and university staff. Using this skill and highlighting it well is sure to impress potential employers!

If you’re ready to take the next step and begin a journey that will set you on the path to increased earning potential, apply today. Our team regularly works with adult students who want to earn a bachelor’s degree and guides them to graduation! We are here to help you make every hour of your day count for more.

How to ask your boss for a raise

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