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4 Year Degrees: Why You Should Earn a 4-Year Degree?

It typically takes four years to earn a bachelor's degree, which can seem like a long commitment to people considering their postsecondary education options. However, having a 4-year degree can result in higher employment rates, greater salary potential, and the ability to qualify for graduate study or more advanced jobs. View article »

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  • 0:00 Why Earn a 4-Yr Degree?
  • 1:24 What Is a 4-Yr Degree?
  • 2:28 Where to Earn a 4-Yr Degree

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Video Transcript

Why Earn a 4-Yr Degree?

There are several reasons for earning a 4-year degree, including better job prospects, increased salary potential, and advanced degree program eligibility. Prospective students can also benefit from general information about these programs.

There are many professional and economic benefits to finishing a 4-year degree. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the unemployment rate for individuals with bachelor's degrees was 2.7% in 2016. Compare that to 5.2% for people with a high school diploma or equivalency credential, and you will see that your odds of finding a job can be higher with a 4-year degree.

Furthermore, individuals with bachelor's degrees typically earn higher salaries. The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2016 that the median weekly earnings for bachelor's degree holders were $1,156, as compared to $819 for associate's degree holders, and $692 for high school graduates. This increased earning potential may be due to the fact that having a bachelor's degree is a minimum requirement for advanced positions in almost any field. Having a 4-year degree is also a prerequisite for graduate study, which can help you advance even further in your career.

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What Is a 4-Yr Degree?

A 4-year degree is another term for a bachelor's degree, and is used to distinguish it from 2-year associate's degrees, which are the other common type of undergraduate postsecondary programs. Students don't generally need any previous college experience to enroll in a 4-year degree program. However, they must either have a high school diploma or have passed the GED exam to earn their high school equivalency credential.

There are several types of 4-year bachelor's degrees that may be earned, including a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Liberal Studies, and Bachelor of Business Administration. The most common bachelor's degree programs are BA and BS programs. It is possible to earn a BA in any subject within the arts or sciences. BS degrees can be earned in math, sciences, or engineering. Both programs can include general education requirements and free electives, but BS students usually need to fulfill more major requirements for their degrees.

Where to Earn a 4-Yr Degree

Students can earn 4-year degrees at colleges and universities throughout the country. These include everything from public universities to private liberal arts colleges to Ivy League institutions. Individuals who already know what they want to study may consider seeking out schools that are particularly well-known for those subjects. Those who plan to determine their majors after starting a program can search for schools based on location, size, general reputation, or one of many other factors.

Regardless of your reasons for choosing a school or program, make sure that you're studying at an accredited institution. Some graduate schools and employers may not accept degrees from non-accredited schools.


There are many types of 4-year bachelor's degrees that can be earned depending on the student's interest. Getting one of these degrees can provide a foundation for a more successful future.

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