There are plenty of bachelor degree programs for working adults that give you both the flexibility of working on your own schedule and the satisfaction of knowing that you are taking a step towards improving your future.
Expand your skill set and enhance your life by heading back to school.
Best Degrees for Adults Returning to College
These days you don’t need to be a recent high school graduate to head to college. Plenty of working adults are getting their degrees later in life.
There are a number of different specialties that you can focus on, and now is the time to sharpen up your skills and take hold of your future.
Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:
- Business Administration
- Computer Science
- Criminal Justice
- Cyber Security
- Early Childhood Education
- Elementary Education
- Emergency Management
- Environmental Science
- General Studies
- Health Services
- Healthcare Administration
- Human Resources
- Human Services
- Information Technology
- Nursing (RN to BSN)
- Organizational Leadership
- Project Management
- Public Health
- Social Work
- Sports Management
Both of these fields offer plenty of opportunity for growth, a lot of different job prospects, and plenty of job security.
Accounting is a diverse profession, and you can work successfully in any number of areas in the field. Bookkeeping is an especially lucrative and flexible occupation that offers entry-level work, as well as mid and senior-level options for all types of employees. You can even further your education with additional certificates and earn more money.
Professional Certified Public Accountants earn quite a bit of money and wind up, making great careers for themselves.
Accountants need to be organized and meticulous. Since it’s a numbers-based profession, you need to be able to love detail-oriented work, as well as be a genuine people person. Those who work in Accounting will often find themselves needing to work with many people in C-Suite jobs, as well as laypeople from all over the world.
Diplomatic skills and the ability to crunch numbers with ease are an absolute must in this field!
Business Administration is one of the more popular degrees available these days, and it’s perfect for adult learners who want to get back to school. There is a whole multitude of things that you can do with a degree in Business Administration, and some of the more popular options include Financial Analyst, HR Specialist, and Sales Managers.
Those who excel in Business Administration often find themselves leading large teams of people and making a significant amount of money. If you love the business side of things and work well with others, this could be an excellent career option for you.
To be truly successful in this field, you’ll need the right mix of soft and hard skills. You will need to be able to communicate effectively with people from all over the company as well as understand the fundamentals of how business works. Accounting, economics and sales are all areas that you will be involved with.
The best candidates for this career path are those who understand critical thinking and can motivate people.
Communications is a hot field with plenty of job opportunities. People who work in this field are often very creative and like to think outside of the box. Marketing professionals and Public Relations personnel fall under the umbrella of Communications, as do Content Managers and Advertising Executives.
To excel, you need to be able to understand how to use the media to your advantage and effectively promote products or services to the public.
Being able to understand the unique balance of media and business is critical to your success when you work in Communications, so if you have a mind for business and creative flair, this could easily be the career path for you.
Successful candidates will have excellent communication and writing skills. They will be able to convey ideas effectively and cleanly to people and be able to spin topics, so they’re exciting and fresh.
With the technology industry always changing, a career in Computer Science could be precisely what you need to get ahead in the world. Skilled computer professionals are almost always very high in demand, and you will rarely ever find yourself without job prospects.
Additionally, there are plenty of certifications and courses that you can take to enhance your skills and make you a more lucrative candidate in the future.
Computer Science is one of those fields that is always evolving. You can get a job as a Software Developer, Web Developer, or Web Designer. You can work on the front or back end of technology and really steer the direction of companies. To succeed, you need to be both flexible and detail-oriented and want to be a lifelong learner of new technology.
Those who love people and want to help them will excel in the field of Counseling. This versatile degree can be used in any number of different applications, and you can work with at-risk populations, children, or adults.
There are plenty of ways that you can branch out, and you can even take your education further and get your Masters or Doctoral degrees in the discipline.
To be truly successful, you need to have a knack for what makes people tick. You need a good amount of compassion and a lot of empathy, as well as excellent listening skills. You also need to be able to give people tough advice that they don’t want to hear and understand how to deal with any number of different personalities.
Great counselors know that they are working with those who might be volatile or unable to listen to reason.
Criminal Justice is not a profession for everyone, but those who excel in it tend to do very well. You need the right mix of qualifications, soft skills, and street smarts to be able to be effective in this career path.
Criminal Justice majors can apply their skills in a number of different ways, including being a Police Officer, FBI Agent, Forensic Psychologist, or Crime Scene Investigator. You will need nerves of steel to do these jobs, as they often involve seeing people at their worst and situations that most people can’t handle.
Criminal Justice professionals must exhibit an extraordinary amount of patience, courage, and empathy. They must be able to show bravery in situations that most people wouldn’t be able to handle and deal with troubled people with compassion and care.
Cyber Security is a field that is growing more and more important through each passing day. As hackers get savvier, increased security is needed to be able to careful and effectively conceal sensitive information from those who wish to do harm.
Those who excel in this field are often paid exceptionally well and find themselves with a lot of job security. You can work in many different areas with your Cyber Security degree, including Security Architect, Chief Information Security Officer, and Information Security Analyst.
People who do well in the field of Cyber Security live and breathe technology. They can identify cracks in systems and pride themselves in being able to solve complicated problems with ease. They are detail-oriented and never shy away from a challenge: large or small.
Early Childhood Education
Early Childhood Education specializes in the teaching of some of our most vulnerable and moldable people: children. Anyone who pursues this career path must love children and exhibit a large amount of patience and understanding. You need to be able to roll with the punches and approach challenges with a good-humored worldview.
The best teachers are ones that have a lot of creativity under their belt and are able to sympathize with children from an adult perspective.
You can work as a teacher, teacher’s aide, counselor, or even be a principal. There are plenty of doors open for those who wish to work in this field, and you can move up with ease.
Education is a popular field, and there are plenty of different things that you can do with it. Plenty of people go into teaching, and you can indeed find yourself on that path if you love children, enjoy challenges, and have a lot of patience and people skills. You can also teach adults or even work with people from different countries as an ESL teacher.
Those who pursue this path often find themselves working in exotic locations and learning all about new cultures.
If you want to excel in Education, you need to be a lifelong learner with a passionate and creative bent. The most successful professionals regularly sharpen their skillsets and communicate well with both their peers and students. The most excellent teachers are the ones we remember forever, so a love of people is an absolute must in this profession.
A degree in Elementary Education can set you up for a long career working with children, and give you a lot of room for growth. This degree is multi-faceted and allows you to work as a primary school teacher, reading teacher, principal, or head coach.
You can really apply your own unique skillset and objectives to the job, and find yourself in a position where you are indeed the master of your own destiny!
Whenever you work with children, you need a lot of patience and the ability to go with the flow. Many of the most exceptional Elementary Education professionals have a wonderful sense of humor. They are experts at thinking outside of the box and coming up with creative solutions to various problems.
Emergency Management is an excellent field to get into if you want to help people and have the ability to think on your feet. You will need to have precise communication skills and be able to distill down information quickly and accurately to those working below you.
People who shine in this field are able to analyze situations quickly and make informed decisions on behalf of others. They also need to be able to motivate teams and calm people down in times of crisis. It’s a tall order, but those who do well in the field generally find the work very rewarding.
There are several different specialties that you can work within, including Disaster Recovery Manager and Emergency Services Director. In certain parts of the world, there are specific disasters that require immediate attention. For example, in the lower part of the United States, there is a need for Hurricane Program Managers.
Getting your degree in English opens you up to all sorts of possibilities. It’s a great base to build additional schooling on, and you can begin work as an entry-level employee and work your way up from there. Many English majors find themselves working in the journalistic field, either as journalists themselves or support staff to field reporters.
They can also work as copywriters and proofreaders, both of which can be lucrative professions over time.
You need to love the written word and be an excellent communicator and writer. The best candidates are those who love the way that language evolves over time and are prolific readers.
Environmental Science is a growing field that offers plenty of opportunities to stretch your skills and experiment with different disciplines. You can find yourself working in a number of different areas, including Environmental Consultant, Horticultural Therapist, or Environmental Engineer.
Although you can get many of these jobs right out of school, some require a little extra training or schooling to be competitive.
The people who excel in this field tend to have a passion for the environment and a love of science. Strong analytical skills are a plus.
You also need to be able to work well with a team, and present data in a fair and measured way. The best candidates are ones that have a lot of soft people skills and a real eye for numbers.
A degree in Finance allows you to explore all sorts of different career paths, like becoming a Financial Analyst, Accountant, or even an Attorney. Some of these disciplines require a little bit more schooling or credentials, but a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance can set you up on the right path to success.
The best candidates are ones who live and breathe numbers, and who understand how markets operate.
You need to be good at math and understand how to read data, as well as make good decisions quickly. You need to be able to distill down information and present it in a way that everyone can understand. People who operate in the higher levels of the financial system are excellent communicators who can read people well.
General Studies degrees are the blank canvas that you can paint your own picture on. You get a little bit of everything with this degree, and if you want to pursue additional schooling, you can with ease and flexibility. There are plenty of ways that you can apply General Studies to your life and career.
People with this degree work in a variety of different fields ranging from Social Work to Copywriting. They can also be assistants or work with Marketing Departments to develop a company’s brand vision.
You need to be curious and flexible to excel in this particular field, and the best candidates are skilled in a lot of different areas. They are generally the go-to people when it comes to fixing problems because they know a little bit about everything that is going on in the company.
The Health Services field is a booming industry, and getting your degree in this area is a smart idea if you want a lot of career options. You can branch off into many different areas, including Healthcare Financial Management, Hospital Administration, and Health Information Management.
Since the healthcare field is continually changing, you need to be able to be on top of current trends and anticipate how things will change in the future.
Since you will be working with people who are dealing with health-related concerns, you need to be an excellent communicator and extremely compassionate. Depending on your discipline, you will also need to anticipate the needs of others and be able to handle stress well.
Those who opt for Health Information Management must have a good handle on numbers and how best to navigate complicated computer systems.
Healthcare Administration is a branch of healthcare that focuses on the internal workings of hospitals and facilities. There are several positions available depending on your skill level and seniority, and you will generally start lower down on the corporate ladder. Even so, there is plenty of opportunities to hone your skills and move up quickly.
People who major in Healthcare Administration can find themselves working as department heads or Clinic Administrators. The ones who rise higher might even run entire hospitals.
As with any administration position, you will need to be able to work with people from all levels of an organization, and have a keen eye for numbers. People who work in this field will often be called on to make quick decisions and solve internal conflicts, as well as manage personnel.
A History Degree is an excellent way for people to combine their passion for the world with a lucrative career path that can take them places that they never dreamt that they could go. History buffs will be drawn to this field, and there are plenty of jobs available in this discipline.
You can be an Archivist, Heritage Manager, Museum Curator, or Academic Researcher. Some career paths require a little bit more schooling, but a Bachelor’s Degree in History is an excellent jumping-off point.
You’ll need a lot of critical thinking skills and the ability to translate the past to the present. If you want to work in a museum, you will need to be able to make history fun and accessible to everyone. It is helpful to be fluent in more than one language, primarily if you work in any type of translation.
A Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources sets you up with a career that could sky-rocket to the stars! There are plenty of ways that you can leverage your degree, including Career Advisor, Life Coach, Mediator, and Management Consultant.
People who work in this field understand the ins and outs of business and are able to identify and fix flaws in existing systems. They can help companies, schools, and even people run more smoothly.
The best candidates show a lot of compassion and empathy. They really care about the people that they serve. They are also high in EQ, or emotional intelligence, and seem to be more intuitive than others. Great Human Resources candidates can motivate teams and help everyone feel included.
Human Services runs the gamut through several different fields and disciplines. Many people who get a degree in Human Services work with people in mediation and therapy, but you can also be a specialized nurse or a Behavioral Management Aide. The key is really to understand what makes people tick and do your best to help them.
Essentially, candidates will need to use a knowledge base of sociology, psychology, and science, and apply it to those that they seek to help. Psychologists are just one example of professionals that work in this field, and they do excellent work helping their clients identify challenges and overcome them.
To be effective, you need to have a deep sense of empathy for people, understand how to fuse science and communication, and be prepared to deal with tremendous amounts of stress.
Information Technology is a growing field that seems always to be hiring. There are plenty of jobs that you can get in this area of study, including Computer Forensic Analyst, Software Development, Information Technology Consultant, and Computer Network Architect.
You can start off small and work your way up, and there is plenty of room to further your education with additional schooling and certification.
It goes without saying that you must love technology to be able to be successful. The best candidates will be on the cutting-edge of new technological trends. You also need to be able to solve problems quickly and work through any interpersonal issues within different departments.
As Information Technology is usually the backbone of a successful organization, you will need to work with a lot of people on a regular basis. A mix of soft skills and computer knowledge is required to be ultimately successful.
Management is one of those fields that seems to lead to endless possibilities. You can quickly rise up in any company if you have this degree as a solid foundation that you can build off.
Virtually every department in almost every company has some kind of management role, and you can apply your degree to the department that you want to work in. Those with Management degrees excel in sales, Nonprofit Leadership, Medical Practice Management, and Project Management.
Those who do best in this particular field have people skills that are second to none. They tend to be both decisive and fair, and never treat their employees like they are second best. If you want to work in management, you need to be able to handle stress well and make informed decisions that help the team.
It’s also helpful to have excellent analytical and data management skills.
A Marketing Degree can help you get ahead in business and allow you to work behind the scenes to shape a company’s brand image and how it presents itself to the world.
The best marketing professionals are those who can communicate effortlessly and efficiently across many different mediums, and who can genuinely anticipate the way the consumer landscape will change in the future.
There are plenty of jobs that you can get with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, including Brand Manager, Copywriter, Marketing Manager, Account Executive, and Media Planner. To succeed in these professions, you need to have excellent communication skills and be able to communicate with your team effectively.
Creativity and the ability to make the right decisions quickly are also great qualities to have when you are working within the marketing field.
Nursing (RN to BSN)
A Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing can open up several different opportunities in the healthcare sector, and set you up for a brilliant career path with lots of opportunities for growth.
There are plenty of ways that you can branch out, including working at a private physician’s office, being a school nurse, or working in an official capacity for military or civilian contractors.
Nurses are highly sought after professionals that are tasked with dealing with people at their very worst, and putting themselves in danger of infection while performing their jobs.
To be a successful nurse, you need to adhere to a high degree of professional standards, including understanding HIPPA regulations and patient confidentiality. They need to have a lot of compassion and must be able to deal with stressful situations and the inevitable curveballs that come with the job.
If you want to work in the Human Resources department of an organization, a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership will take you a long way. This degree helps candidates learn the basics of hiring and maintaining essential personnel and being able to solve employee problems with ease.
You will be able to transition this degree into work as a Training Specialist, Human Resources Manager, or Job Analyst Specialist.
Since your job will be to improve the overall efficiency of an organization, any suitable candidates must have excellent organizational skills and the ability to act quickly. You should also be able to communicate with people on all levels of an organization and deal with conflicts in a diplomatic fashion.
It helps to be able to handle stressful situations with ease and be able to see the bigger picture to help departments operate more smoothly.
A Bachelor’s Degree in Project Management will allow you to branch off and work in many different kinds of sectors. You will need to be able to move tasks from point a to point b, and properly motivate staff to be able to overcome challenges, hit milestones, and understand the bigger picture.
Project Managers generally work in the higher levels of organizations, but there are entry-level positions available also. You can work in the public or private sector, and many Project Managers have control over entire departments or large scale projects with lots of moving parts.
The most successful candidates for this field are detail-oriented and able to solve problems quickly and efficiently. They can organize their thoughts into actionable steps, and provide the correct roadmap for members of an organization, that allows them to understand precisely what they need to do to hit specific milestones.
Psychology is a popular profession, and getting your bachelor’s degree in this specialty can set you up for a positive career path in a number of different disciplines. Although some Psychology majors go on to be Psychologists or Psychiatrists, many utilize their schooling in different ways.
You can become a Career Counselor, Market Researcher, or Parole Officer with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. All of these jobs require you to be able to understand the human condition and respond to different prompts and cues accordingly.
The best candidates for this career path are those who are genuinely empathic and compassionate. If you genuinely love people and want to help them, this could be a fantastic career path for you. Additionally, you should be able to deal with stress and think quickly on your feet effectively.
A Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health is a good option for people who want to serve the general public and who have a keen understanding and interest in medicine. You can become a healthcare professional like a Public Health Doctor, HIV Specialist, Tropical Disease Expert, or Public Health Dentist.
All of these fields benefit the community as a whole and bring necessary services to vulnerable people who desperately need them.
In order to be effective in this field, you need to have excellent interpersonal skills and a good amount of compassion and empathy. You should also be able to solve problems quickly and make the right decisions that benefit everyone.
Strong analytical and data processing skills are great tools to have under your belt if you wish to work, and succeed, in the public health space.
If you want to work in Social Work, getting your bachelor’s degree is a great foundation to build your future career on. A Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work is necessary to get your foot in the door with certain professions, like Medical and Health Social Work, Community Social Work, and Child and Family Social Work.
As the name suggests, you will be working to help make your community a better place, and social work is one of the most altruistic professions that you can get into.
The best Social Workers are both completely compassionate and totally objective. They can deal with stressful situations and unpleasant realities with ease and are able to make educated decisions that help everyone.
A Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management is an excellent option for those who love athletics and want to help people reach their dreams in the world of sports. With this particular degree, you can be an Athletic Coach, Business Development Coordinator, Athletic Director, or Facilities Manager.
There’s room to get in on the ground floor and work your way up, and there are also plenty of additional training opportunities that you can take to equip yourself to work in the wonderful world of sports.
The best candidates for this degree are those that believe in fair play and holding themselves and others accountable. They tend to have strong work ethics and are experts at managing people.
Those who work in Sports Management have the twin responsibilities of running an organization and keeping all of their players motivated and focused on the ultimate goal.
Questions Related to Bachelor Degree Programs for Working Adults
It’s normal and natural to have a lot of questions before taking the plunge and getting your bachelor’s degree as an adult. There are a few specific things that you should clarify before moving ahead, such as thinking about realistically what you can afford.
Although there are plenty of student loan programs and grants available, you certainly don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. Instead, focus on looking at your education options objectively and only borrow what you need.
Another thing to think about is your time. As an adult, you will have less free time than you did when first graduating from high school. You may have other concerns, such as work or childcare obligations, to think about.
Although it’s tempting to be very ambitious and believe that you can do it all, it’s a good idea to take baby steps and realistically look at your schedule. You don’t want to burn out between your regular duties and your new schooling.
You will also want to think about what you’re currently doing for work, and if that can translate over into a new career path once you get your degree. It’s not vital for you to be able to transfer your skillset, but it is worth thinking about.
Some people want to make a complete change in their career path, and that is okay too. Just think about what works best for you and act accordingly.
Can You Earn a Bachelor’s Degree Online?
You can certainly earn your bachelor’s degree online. There are plenty of different credible options available for anyone who wants to go back to school but wishes to avoid having to attend a brick-and-mortar campus.
Adult learners find online options especially intriguing since they are able to balance them effectively with other responsibilities that they might have going on.
Online courses are sometimes less expensive as well, meaning that you get the same excellent education for a fraction of the cost. It’s no wonder that online colleges are booming! They’re a smart and cost-effective way to get a quality education.
Accelerated Bachelors Degree Programs for Adults
Accelerated online degree programs for working adults are very popular as they allow you to finish your schooling quickly. In order to qualify, many people need to have some education under their belts, such as an associate’s degree or additional certifications. Different fields vary, so make sure that you check with your institution before trying to get into an accelerated program.
You can also take accelerated or condensed courses, which will allow you to finish your schooling quicker. These courses can be more intense than their regular-length counterparts.
Flexible Degree Programs
Flexible degree programs are ideal for working adults who wish to translate some of their work and life experience into school credits. There are several types of flexible degree programs, including self-paced options that allow you to take as much or little time as you need to get your degree.
There are also programs that will enable you to transfer your existing work experience into credits. Not all institutions offer these programs, and getting into them might be stringent, so it’s good to check in advance to see what your options are.
Online Degree Completion Programs
These options are excellent for those who started off on the path getting a bachelor’s degree but never completed their studies. Instead of starting over, you can look at online degree completion programs, which will let you pick up where you left off.
There are certain exceptions, and not all of your credits may transfer, but it’s worth a shot, especially if you came close to finishing your degree but were unable to do so because of circumstances outside of your control. When you consider that college-educated people generally make higher salaries than their less-educated peers, it’s a good option!
Can I Go Back to College at 23?
There is no reason why people can’t go back to college at any time of their lives, and 23 is the perfect age to maturely consider higher education and be able to make informed decisions about your future. Those in their early twenties already have some life experience under their belts and understand what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Older students also tend to take the college experience a lot more seriously, and often find themselves excelling where their younger peers do not. If you want to make a career change and further your education, it’s never too late.
Are College Credits Good after 20 Years?
Theoretically, college credits do not expire, but some courses may become obsolete depending on the career you are in. For example, technology changes rapidly, and what might have been cutting-edge in computer programming twenty-years ago is old news today.
Certain degrees, like English, are more evergreen. Generally speaking, grammatical rules do not change too much over time.
What Should I Get My Bachelor’s Degree In?
What you should get your bachelor’s degree is really up to you and your personal tastes. If you want to work behind the scenes on creating a brand image and propelling a company forward through social media, Marketing is a great option.
If you want to serve the public and institute law and order, Criminal Justice might be more along the lines of what you want to be doing. Think about what your passions are, and see if there is a way to leverage them to make money and have a good career that provides plenty of opportunities for growth.