Career Checklist: Should I Go Back to College and Earn My Degree?

Is going back to school to earn your bachelor’s degree worth it? While not every career requires a college degree, a bachelor’s degree can open the door to a wider selection of job opportunities.

Returning to school is a life-changing decision. Use the questions below to help decide if a degree will help you achieve your career and life goals.  

Will a Degree Help Me Advance in My Career?

Many jobs, particularly in management and leadership, require or prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree. If you’re interested in moving up in your current organization, ask if a bachelor’s degree is required or strongly preferred for positions in upper management. 

If a position you aspire to reach requires a degree, it’s a strong sign that returning to school is a necessary step. Career paths in family counseling, business administration, and some technology careers often require a degree. 

Will a Degree Help Me Increase My Salary?

Having a degree can increase your earning potential. According to the National Center for Education statistics, on average young adults who have a bachelor’s degree earn twice as much as young adults with only a high school diploma. Typically, promotions and advancements with increased salaries are more attainable with a degree. 

Will My Degree Allow Me to Pursue Other Advanced Degree Options?

A bachelor’s degree is the first step to pursuing professions that require advanced study. If you aspire to go to graduate school, law school, or even medical school, a bachelor’s degree is required for enrollment.

Will Pursuing a Degree Provide Personal Fulfillment?

For many people, pursuing and completing a college education provides a tremendous amount of pride. While the professional and fiscal benefits are major motivators, the value of education runs deeply for many students.

Cheryl Serna is the Assistant Director of the School of Professional Studies and an academic advisor at the Tulsa location of Southern Nazarene University. She says professional benefits are a large part of the reason students return to school, but it goes deeper than that. 

“We have students who are the first in their family to earn a college degree,” Serna says. “There is definitely a sense of personal satisfaction.” 

Do I Have Time to Go Back to School?

Going back to school might seem like a time-consuming undertaking, but it is possible–even for working adults with young families. The key is to look for an adult program with an accelerated course format. 

The accelerated format of SNU’s adult programs structures class time to be as efficient as possible. Classes meet one night each week for about four hours. Coursework outside of class is created to be manageable even with busy work and family schedules.

“Traditional programs have class four nights a week. Those programs do not typically work for many students with families.”,” Serna says. 

In the Adult Programs such as  the ones offered at SNU’s Bethany and Tulsa locations, students can earn credit through prior work experience, allowing them to enroll in the program with the necessary 60 undergraduate course hours.

“We can count work experience towards course credits through life learning papers,” Serna says. “We have students who have worked at the same company for twenty years without a degree, but they have earned certifications or became managers–we can account for that.” 

Certifications or licenses earned prior to enrollment can also qualify for credit. This can include cosmetology, realtor’s, and other professional licensing. At SNU, advisors work with each student individually to figure out what credits they have and what experience can be credited toward their degree. If there is anything missing from enrollment requirements, Serna says advisors work with the prospective students to get enrolled in additional courses. 

“It’s unique for each student, but we work with everyone to find out what they have and what they need to get them on the right track,” she says. 

Is It Worth the Investment?

Many prospective students stress about figuring out the cost of returning to school, but many resources, like financial aid, exist to help students calculate costs. Unlike other universities that do not offer all-inclusive pricing, books and fees are included in the cost of the adult program tuition at SNU. If finishing your degree will help you advance professionally and provide a sense of personal fulfillment, it’s worth pursuing.

Earn Your Degree Through SNU’s Adults Programs 

Want to learn more about the adult programs offered by Southern Nazarene? We’d love to connect with you.