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Arkansas State University

What Can I Do With a BGS Degree?

Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) online program from Arkansas State University (A-State) is becoming increasingly popular, especially among online students, and the benefits of the BGS degree may surprise you. Courses in the BGS program give you foundational knowledge in a number of subjects and disciplines to prepare you for a variety of job opportunities and increase your competency in critical thinking, creative thinking and problem solving. This highly flexible degree can prepare you for any number of careers and bring you closer to realizing the career path most satisfying and rewarding for you.

Higher Salary

Most people understand that a bachelor’s degree has financial benefits. However, many are unaware of just how much difference a bachelor’s degree can make. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, in 2019, median earnings for young adults with a bachelor’s degree were $55,700 a year, compared with $29,300 for those without high school credentials and $35,000 for those with a high school diploma. In other words, students who earn a bachelor’s degree can expect to make 60% more than they would with only a high school diploma.

Further, the BGS degree can be a stepping stone for additional education, which translates to even more compensation. Between 2000 and 2018, workers with a master’s degree consistently earned around $10,000 more per year than their counterparts with only a bachelor’s degree and around $25,000 more a year than those with only an associate degree. The numbers in 2019 reached even higher, with a $20,000 bump in income above those with a bachelor’s and an almost $30,000 increase over those with an associate.

Lesser-known Benefits

While increased earnings potential is a common reason many pursue a bachelor’s degree, there are other, less-tangible benefits. In 2019, the College Board published Education Pays, a study that examined other factors that a college education influences. The results show that earning your bachelor’s can impact your life in wide-ranging, unexpected ways and offer career opportunities you may not have considered.


The researchers behind the study looked at the percentage of workers who had health insurance. It found that, among both full-time and part-time workers, those with higher levels of education are more likely than others to be provided health insurance by their employer. In 2018, only 52% percent of full-time, year-round employees with a high school diploma had coverage related to an employer’s healthcare plan. Among those with a bachelor’s degree, that number rose to 64%.


Studies show that educational level directly affects civil engagement, at least when it comes to voting in elections. The same study mentioned above looked at voter turnout for the 2016 elections. It showed that for 25- to 44-year-olds, the voting rate was 41% for high school graduates and 73% for college graduates, which is a difference of 32%. Those numbers constitute a significant increase in voting participation.

Time With Family

An interesting trend emerged when the College Board investigated parents’ time with their children. The study reports that mothers with high levels of education not only spend more time in active child care than mothers with less, “but that they alter the composition of that time to suit children’s developmental needs.” In fact, their study found that the children of parents with higher levels of education are more likely than other children to be engaged in multiple educational activities with their family members. Children of college graduates went to the library more and attended community, art and entertainment events at a rate of about 12% more than peers whose parents had graduated from high school but not attended college.

Classes Pay Dividends

One of the interesting findings from this study is the benefit of taking even only a few courses toward a BGS degree. The same patterns held for those who attended college but did not graduate: they consistently earned more, were more likely to have insurance and spent more time with their families and those who did not take any college courses.

Learn more about the A-State online Bachelor of General Studies program.


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