A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.
If you’ve decided to return to school, having a clear vision of your educational goals can be helpful. One question working professionals may ask is whether a second bachelor's degree or a master's degree should be pursued. There are a number of factors to consider when making this choice; however, your decision may depend on whether you're seeking advancement in your current field or are looking to begin a new career.
While the answer to this question will vary from person to person, consider the following information when deciding if a second bachelor's degree is worth the investment.
Do You Plan to Switch Career Paths Entirely?
Choosing to return to school for a second bachelor's degree may be a sensible choice if you’re looking to begin in a new career field and are not seeking advancement in your current field. While certain degrees may complement each other, a bachelor's degree is designed to introduce you to a field and help you work to develop a new skill set and a fresh knowledge base for future work within that field. Therefore, a bachelor's degree may prove useful if your desired profession is outside the scope of your current degree.
Pursuing a second bachelor's degree may also be favorable if a second bachelor’s degree is needed as a prerequisite to enter a master's degree program in your desired field. For example, if you have several years of experience working in IT for a medical services company, and discovered a passion for helping others, then a position in healthcare administration or management may be ideal. Thus, returning to school to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in healthcare management may make sense since a familiarity in a range of administrative processes, operations and management concepts, and industry regulations may be needed before pursuing opportunities in the new field. However, this decision may be different for someone with a bachelor's of business administration bachelor's working in a similar position, yet already has several of the required fundamental administrative skills for healthcare management and needs additional knowledge of certain industry specifics.
Can You Make Use of Your First Degree Program's Credit Requirements?
In certain cases, you may be able to apply qualifying credits from your first undergraduate degree program toward some of the requirements of a second bachelor's degree. When deciding whether to pursue a second bachelor's degree, it is worth investigating whether you can shorten the amount of time it can take to complete the program by applying transfer credits to introductory and/or elective course requirements. In certain cases, relevant skills acquired in a non-academic setting may also be able to be applied toward a degree.
If your existing coursework and educational experience overlap with the second bachelor's degree you're considering, then you may want to consider a master's degree instead.
Is Financial Aid Still Available for a Second Bachelor’s Program?
One factor to keep in mind is whether similar financial aid options may be available when pursuing a second undergraduate degree compared to those available when seeking a master's degree. There are types of financial aid for which you may no longer qualify if you already have a bachelor's degree, such as the Pell Grant or the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).1
Be sure to do your research and consult with financial aid advisors at the institution you plan to attend to make sure you’re aware of potential funding and financial aid options.
Types of Bachelor's Degrees in Demand
If you plan to return to school for a second bachelor's degree and hope it may help your pursue certain career opportunities, consider whether the degree is in high demand among employers. While no degree guarantees you a job in your chosen field, demand for particular academic disciplines can be important if professionalization is your primary motivating concern in completing a second bachelor's degree.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' Job Outlook 2018 survey, the top majors in demand employers intend to hire include finance, accounting, business administration/management, computer science and marketing.2
Possible Reasons to Pursue a Master's Degree Instead of a Second Bachelor's
If your desired career path is one you've already started down, either during previous undergraduate studies or through professional experience, then pursuing a graduate degree may be advantageous to help meet your professional goals.
Those looking to potentially advance further in their current profession may choose to expand their education with a master's degree, which is designed to build on the foundation of an undergraduate degree and help students delve into deeper, more comprehensive and advanced topics related to their field of interest. Furthermore, a variety of master's programs are designed with the schedules of working professionals in mind and may be completed in as little as one year.
So, is a second bachelor's degree worth pursuing, or should you consider a master's degree instead? The answer will depend on your goals.
Ready to learn more? Explore online bachelor's and master's degree programs at AIU.
1. Types of Aid – Grants and Scholarships. Retrieved from: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/grants-scholarships/pell (Visited 12/3/18).
2. "Business Majors Dominate List of Top Majors in Demand." National Association of Colleges and Employers. Retrieved from: https://www.naceweb.org/job-market/trends-and-predictions/business-majors-dominate-list-of-top-majors-in-demand/ (Visited 10/11/18).
American InterContinental University cannot guarantee employment or salary. For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
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