Why Getting a Bachelor's Degree is a Good Idea No Matter Where You Are in Life

Bachelor's Degree in Policing
Bachelor's Degree in Policing

No matter where you are in your life – or along in your career – getting a bachelor's degree is a good idea because:

●      About three-quarters of the 100 best jobs in Canada require, or at least are relevant to, a bachelor's degree.

●      Stated another way, slightly over 77 percent of working-age Canadians without a bachelor's degree will not have access to the best high paying jobs.

●      A degree accrues lifelong benefits, the subjective sum of which are greater than the quantitative number of credits required to earn it.

Yes, a bachelor's degree means more earning power…

This piece on the CBC's website cites one University of Ottawa research finding that "higher education is linked to higher salaries almost regardless of the subject." Significantly, a degree does not have to be scientific or technical. The research found that even graduates in the humanities earned higher incomes than those who didn't get degrees.

Money and security are important, but…

Yes, making a good living through better access to the labour market is important. Good pay and job stability help fulfill the first level of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs for physiological  safety and security. Once those needs are met, it is natural to seek more in our lives – to climb higher on that pyramid to reach our full potential. A bachelor's degree is the springboard to self-actualization and achievement.

Subjective (and valid) reasons for getting a bachelor's degree

Educated people, according to CollegeAtlas.org, in addition to having a higher earning potential, can, among other things, accrue the following benefits:

Greater Opportunities

College graduates are more marketable and better equipped for lateral and upward movement in their chosen career field. The advantages in networking and exposure to opportunities tend to open more doors.

Higher Job Satisfaction

People with degrees qualify for more challenging jobs, typically in fields that interest them. Challenging and fulfilling work equates to higher job satisfaction. Higher job satisfaction leads to longevity, job equity, and financial stability.

Job Stability

During times of economic downturn, employers cut jobs at the bottom, which require fewer skilled workers. During recessions, according to College Atlas, "the unemployment rate among college graduates is substantially lower than the unemployment rate among employees with only a high school diploma."

Family benefits

Children of parents with a college education are better off socially and economically and are more likely to seek a degree themselves. The College Atlas article also cites an interesting connection between a woman's education and her children's health. It seems that according to the medical journal The Lancet, "between 1970 and 2009 there was a significant decrease in infant mortality rates for women as they attained higher levels of education."

Communication Skills

A college degree has the most positive impact on a person's written and verbal communication skills. Reading, research, writing, and presentation skills are honed through many hours of  university course work. The ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, are, by far, the greatest benefits of earning a college degree.

Competition is Keen

The 100 Best Jobs in Canada list ranks Police Officer as 16th , with a projected wage growth of plus 17 percent, but a job growth of minus 9 percent. Then there's an observation on the FAQs on myPolice.ca that the average police recruit/cadet applicant profile during the past decade includes:

●      more mature individuals (25-30 years old)

●      married applicants who are supporting a family

●      people already in a successful career, but have a strong desire for working in law enforcement

●      many applicants who have higher education achievements, including bachelor's degrees

Although most police organizations don't keep records on numbers of hires versus actual applicants, the consensus is that for every police recruit position available about 15-20 applicants are unsuccessful.

So the competition is keen, and an applicant with a bachelor's degree has a better chance of being with or ahead of the pack. For example, RCMP qualified candidates must take an entrance exam. However, candidates who produce evidence of a bachelor's degree are exempt.

Finally, two subjective reasons:

First, police departments are seeking a few good men and women who are thinkers. Those thinking skills involve de-escalating threatening situations through good communications and preferably non-lethal methods.

Then there's the value of the degree during the late stages in a career in law enforcement. A bachelor's degree is the best insurance for competing for the inevitable administrative assignments later on in the police officer's career.

Convinced that completing your bachelor's degree is a good idea? Laurier's Policing (BA Combination) program could be your ticket. The train has not left the station. Think you're too old to continue on the road to self-improvement? Answer this question: How old will you be if you don't do it?