When evaluating degrees to pursue in your college education, you may have seen how popular getting a B.A. or a B.S. is with other students as well as with potential employers. Either one of these bachelor degrees will help you gain employment and the salary you desire. However, the coursework that you will complete, during your four years in college, is a large factor in what differentiates these degrees.
One may provide more structured courses, while another allows more freedom to choose select classes. Take the time to do your research before applying to a specific program and you’ll be steady in the knowledge you have made the right decision.
The Difference Between B.A. and B.S.
Bachelor of Arts, the B.A.
In a bachelor of arts program, you will spend more time studying subjects that do not directly pertain to your chosen major. The courses you take will be from a variety of different areas, which provides a well-rounded degree. Many classes that you will take to earn your B.A. undergraduate degree come from the liberal arts. Some of these may include language, history, English, a foreign language and more. A few of the majors available in the B.A. program are communication, music and English, to name a few.
Highlights to Achieving a Bachelor of Arts Degree
- Will provide the ability to choose more of your elective courses
- There are wider educational opportunities
- Easier to achieve a double major
Pros to the B.A. Degree
- Humanities courses teach you how to become better at critical thinking
- Easier to add a minor – or a double major, if you choose
- Better communications. You will learn to write well and speak in public
Cons to the B.A. Degree
- Class schedule may present too many options
- The possibility of not having the needed skills to change careers down the road
- Courses may not be as marketable to employers
Example Professions for a B.A. Graduate:
Human Resources Manager
2016 Median Annual Income: $106,910
Career Outlook: Increase by 9%
2016 Median Annual Income: $99,310
Career Outlook: No change
2016 Median Annual Income: $55,860
Career Outlook: Decline by 3%
2016 Median Annual Income: $47,640
Career Outlook: Increase by 4%
2016 Median Annual Income: $37,230
Career Outlook: Decline by 5%
Bachelor of Science, the B.S.
While earning a bachelor of science degree, you will be taking more courses that directly relate to your major, leaving you with less opportunity to choose your classes. Often times, these courses offer you a chance to specialize in a certain aspect of your field. This also provides you with an opportunity to focus your energy on mastering the field you have chosen. Most of the courses you will take when earning your B.S. degree are from a technical background, including high-level math and sciences. Some of the majors you can study in a B.S. program include physics, math, computer science and more.
Highlights to Achieving the Bachelor of Science Degree
- Great choice for those interested in science and math courses
- Generally provides a more clear path to achieving your degree
- Courses provide a scientific approach to solving daily or complex problems
Pros to the B.S. Degree
- May be viewed as more ideal to potential employers
- Will provide a deeper knowledge of the subject, due to specialized courses
- Increased employment opportunities
Cons to the B.S. Degree
- Fewer elective course choices
- A rigid class schedule may create additional stress
- Not having the ability to take many courses outside of your major
Professions for a B.S. Graduate:
2016 Median Annual Income: $83,540
Career Outlook: Increase by 11%
2016 Median Annual Income: $81,760
Career Outlook: Increase by 11%
2016 Median Annual Income: $81,330
Career Outlook: Increase by 14%
2016 Median Annual Income: $79,840
Career Outlook: Decline by 7%
2016 Median Annual Income: $68,450
Career Outlook: Increase by 15%
The B.A. vs the B.S. – Which Degree Looks Better on a Resume?
We have discussed many differences in a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science degree, so you might be wondering what potential employers think. That all depends on your specific employment goals. Many companies choose to hire people who have earned a bachelor’s degree, without being concerned if it is a B.A. or a B.S. degree. However, there are those places that do want to see very specific courses taken and items learned. In order to get a good idea of what future companies are interested in seeing, do the research before you actually decide which degree to earn. If possible, talk to current employees and find out what it will take for them to move up the career ladder.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
Many companies are not particular if you possess a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree. The main focus is knowing that you have completed the education to earn a bachelor degree. However, if you plan to work in a specialized field, certain technical courses may be needed. If you are still undecided about which degree to pursue, here are a few tips to help you.
Take some time to figure out who you are as a person. What is it you enjoy doing? Would you enjoy being locked in an office writing the next best-selling novel, or creating a movie script? If so, you may be more inclined to choose a bachelor of arts degree. However, if you prefer spending your time creating scientific theories and working on math problems, you may be better suited for a career that will use a bachelor of science degree. Everyone is different, with a various set of likes and dislikes. Additionally, not everyone excels at the same subjects. By finding out what you enjoy doing and are good at, you will be better equipped to know which degree and which career to pursue.
Get out and find people who are already working in your dream field. Consider talking to professionals who you may encounter at your current job, or those you come into contact with every day. These people may be able to tell you things about their career that you have never considered, as well as giving you tips on which elective courses may boost your resume when applying for these jobs. Additionally, these people may be able to tell you what their current company is looking for when hiring individuals. If you don’t have much contact with people in your chosen profession, consider joining a professional social site to find like-minded individuals.
Are you planning on earning your bachelor’s degree, securing a job and being done with school? Or are you looking to continue your studies and gain your master’s or doctorate degree? If you plan on continuing your education, take a look at what the appropriate program requires. Also take the time to find out which degree the current applicants hold, as well as those who have already graduated. This may help you to choose between earning a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree.