Five Bachelor's Degrees That Could Pay Off

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Find out which degrees could pay for themselves - even in today's economy.

By Renee Wade    

Once a common investment, the recession has many of us reconsidering the value of a college education...

But when it comes to earning potential and career opportunities, college degrees can still pay off.

In fact, according to a 2011 Reuters article, a college education is expected to be a hiring prerequisite for approximately 63 percent of positions in 2018.

Think a bachelor's degree might be a sound investment for you? We took a look at PayScale's 2011-2012 College Salary Report to see which college degrees offer the best prospects.

Check out five bachelor's degrees that could pay off.

Degree #1 - Bachelor's in Business

If you're good with finances but also consider yourself a "jack of all trades," a business degree may be just what the economy - and your future bank account - ordered. Classes generally include business management, global marketing, and leadership.

Click to Find the Right Business Bachelor's Program.

Average Pay: In terms of earning potential, business bachelor's degree grads have an average starting salary of $41,000, according to PayScale's College Salary Report. By mid-career, the average salary jumps to $70,500.*

Career Opportunities: Potential career paths for business degree grads include: human resources manager, business analyst, cost estimator, and marketing strategist.


Degree #2 - Bachelor's in Information Technology (IT)

Are you always up-to-date on the newest technologies? If so, an information technology bachelor's degree - where you might take classes like programming, database administration, and system analysis - could be a smart investment of your time.

Click to Find the Right IT Bachelor's Program.

Average Pay: According to PayScale, IT bachelor's degree grads have an average starting salary of $48,300, with the average mid-career salary rising to a whopping $78,500.*

Career Opportunities: Opportunities abound for IT degree graduates. Some career path options include: software developer, application systems analyst, database administrator, and web programmer.


Degree #3 - Bachelor's in Paralegal Studies

Do you have strong organizational skills and a passion for detective work? Consider studying paralegal studies. In this type of program, you're likely to learn about how to perform legal research, how to maintain legal schedules, and how to gather information.

Click to Find the Right Paralegal Studies Bachelor's Program.

Average Pay: PayScale reports that these entry-level professionals could earn an average salary of $35,300. By mid-career, average salaries may reach $53,500.*

Career Opportunities: Paralegals can find opportunities in a variety of settings, including at a corporate law department, government agency, or private law firm, to name just a few.


Degree #4 - Bachelor's in Computer Science

If you are a computer virtuoso, you could prepare for your calling by earning a bachelor's in computer science. Classes generally include calculus and statistics as well as web authoring and databases that can help you learn to create databases, and use statistics for creating reports and troubleshooting.

Click to Find the Right Computer Science Bachelor's Program.

Average Pay: College grads with a computer science bachelor's have an average starting salary of $56,600, according to PayScale. By mid-career, their average jumps to $97,900.*

Career Opportunities: Computer science degree grads have a variety of opportunities potentially available, including software architect, application support analyst, systems developer, and web developer.


Degree #5 - Bachelor's in Health Care Administration

If you're an organized person who enjoys helping others, a health care administration bachelor's degree may be a good investment for you. In this type of program, you'll likely get a blend of health care, business, and management education.

Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Bachelor's Program.

Average Pay: While the starting average pay seems a bit low ($36,700), by mid-career, health care grads have an average pay of $60,900, according to PayScale.* How's that for a solid return on your investment?

Career Opportunities: Health care is a growing field with many potential paths for health care administration grads, including health information manager, health services administrator (in smaller organizations like physicians' offices), and assistant health services administrator (in larger organizations like hospitals).


All salary information is from PayScale's 2011-2012 College Salary Report.

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