How a Bachelor’s Degree Affects Your Salary Potential

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In previous years, young professionals could enter the world of marketing, finance or human resources based on previous job experiences along with a passion to learn. However, many employers are now insisting prospective hires have a Bachelor of Science degree before bringing them on their teams. A bachelor’s degree has become a requirement for many jobs, especially as the work has become more complex. The reason, according to Peter Cappelli, writing for The Washington Post, is that employers are eager to bring on candidates that do not require extensive on-the-job training. They have higher expectations for employees looking to join today’s fast-moving marketplace. Earning a bachelor’s degree online from the University of Alabama at Birmingham can help graduates keep pace in the job market.

UAB’s online Bachelor of Science programs work for students who are just embarking on their secondary education or those who already have previous college credit under their belt. The choice of whether or not to complete a bachelor of science is not an easy one. While there are many clear benefits to earning a bachelor’s degree, students have several considerations related to both financial costs and opportunity costs. For students completing an online bachelor’s degree, like that offered by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the positives will likely outweigh the negatives.

Bachelor's Degree Graduates

Interacting with professors makes all the difference

Gallup and Purdue University surveyed college graduates in 2015 to investigate whether they considered their educations worth the investment. The two companies polled over 30,000 alumni – and found that students were twice as likely to view their degrees as a smart investment if they found teachers who inspired them to learn. An online bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers students access to the on-campus faculty, giving them the opportunity to engage with thought leaders in their field in classes that can prepare them for their careers. Online courses are taught by the same faculty who teach on-campus. In addition, the University of Alabama at Birmingham is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. As a result, UAB is determined to deliver one of the highest-quality business programs to its students.

The challenge for students is to find degree programs that fit into their budget. The benefit of completing a bachelor’s degree online is the ability to take classes at a customized pace, fit to a student’s budget and schedule. Individuals can graduate in as little as 4 years.

An online bachelor’s degree could continue to pay

A major positive to earning a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Distribution, or one of the six other programs available at UAB, is the potential for a salary increase. This “premium wage gap” according to The New York Federal Reserve’s article “Do the benefits of college still outweigh the costs?” is substantial: Graduates with a bachelor’s degree are likely to earn more than $14,000 more than those with an associate’s degree – and a staggering $23,000 more than high school graduates. This wage gap extends and increases over a student’s lifetime. Those who earn a bachelor’s degree will go on to earn, on average, $325,000 more than their counterparts with only an associate’s and $1 million more than individuals with a high school diploma. The investment students make toward earning an online bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, could improve graduates’ salary potential for decades to come.

One factor that may influence a graduate’s salary potential is the major he or she decides to pursue when earning an online bachelor’s degree. Some students prefer to study what they find interesting. Others are looking for a degree with a high return on investment. The New York Federal Reserve found that majors that emphasized analytical thinking, quantitative skills and technical skills had the highest ROI. The report, citing statistics from 2012, found that a bachelor’s in business earned a 17 percent return on investment for college graduates, making it one of the top five majors with the highest returns. The reason for this high return may be because employers have an easier time understanding how a student’s degree applies to a job when they can see a direct application of knowledge from the classroom to the office. A Bachelor of Science in Marketing, Accounting or Finance offers the combination of classes focused on technical training as well as analytical thinking, giving students the tools to develop their technical skills for a future job.

Students with a background in marketing, for example, may need a clear understanding of the creative elements of marketing, which involves choosing the most effective platforms to reach customers. The online marketing program offers classes like Social Media in Marketing to familiarize students with each platform and the best way to utilize it. The University of Alabama at Birmingham also gives students the opportunity to cultivate their analytical thinking abilities by completing a capstone in sales management or strategic marketing. This requires students to make key decisions and develop marketing plans. Being able to conceptualize and execute a marketing plan is a great way to show employers that they can handle any challenge in the workplace.

Graduates in finance can participate in quantitative analysis and accounting classes, honing their ability to critically and analytically break down financial statements. Similar to the online marketing program, the Bachelor of Science in Finance requires students to complete a capstone that draws on and highlights their knowledge of economics, accounting and management – and more importantly, show how they process that information to come up with a business solution. With a completed project in hand, graduates can feel confident of their abilities when they step into a new business environment.

There are many other programs that UAB also offers online. Students can choose to build their leadership skills with a Bachelor in Science in Management or Human Resources Management program. They may also be drawn to applying their business understanding to Industrial Distribution or Information Systems.

No matter what program students choose to pursue, the technical skills students develop in their classes are important when they enter into salary negotiations. By highlighting how they put their classroom training and strategic thinking to work in their capstone and in their current work environment, graduates may be able to negotiate a higher salary when starting a new job.

Applying an online bachelor’s degree to a career

In addition to a potential salary increase, students have also noted other positives to earning a bachelor’s degree. Gallup and Purdue showed students that graduated with a degree felt a higher level of accomplishment, especially when it came to feeling a sense of purpose related to work. That sense of accomplishment and purpose may lead to an elevated sense of well-being while at work.

With a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, students can work on their degree while pursuing a day job, so they can complete their degree at their own pace. This offers the chance for graduates to showcase their work in the classroom as well as on the job to employers. For instance, graduates of the online marketing program can participate in the Professional Sales class, where they can construct and deliver a sales presentation. They can then apply what they have learned in their next presentation at work. For graduates of the online finance program, they can apply what they have learned in the Short-Term Financial Management class to their next client’s portfolio.

Explore the possibilities with the University of Alabama at Birmingham

For students interested in completing their online bachelor’s degree, they will need a program that helps them minimize the opportunity costs of their education while also providing them with the hard skills that they need to bring into the workplace. The online Bachelor of Science degrees from UAB, were rated one of the “Top 100 Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs” by U.S. News & World Report (2017). See more information on the seven online bachelor’s in business degrees that UAB offers.