How a bachelor’s degree impacts your career

How much difference does a bachelor’s degree really make? When it comes to lifetime earning potential, it can make a big difference. According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, workers with a bachelor’s degree earn, on average, $1 million more in their lifetime than those with a high school diploma and $600,000 more than those with an associate’s degree.

Your earning potential isn’t just influenced by your degree; your occupation makes a big difference. Engineering is a field in high demand, and engineers often out-earn their counterparts in other fields. Payscale reports the median starting wage for mechanical engineers is $57,900 a year. An associate’s degree in an engineering field can help you land a good-paying job, but a bachelor’s degree can open doors to advancement and higher pay.

In addition to higher earning power, a degree can lead to greater job stability. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in an economic downturn people with an associate’s degree are 30 percent less likely to be unemployed than people with no degree, while a bachelor’s degree cuts your risk of unemployment in half. Engineering skills can be applied to multiple industries in today’s technology-driven world, making it easier to recover if your job is affected by a downturn in any one sector.

But not all bachelor’s degrees are created equal. Companies that have hired graduates of the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology tend to recruit from the college again, because NIU graduates are well rounded and have hands-on experience. You can earn your NIU bachelor’s degree right on the campus of Rock Valley College, working in a state-of-the-art facility and landing guaranteed interviews for internships with local companies. It’s that kind of real-world experience that will make your resume stand out and get you on that path to higher earnings, a stable outlook and a rewarding career.

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