A bachelors in professional studies allows you to gain professional competencies and industry-specific knowledge that could increase your career marketability.
Many people earn some college credits but decide to leave their degree program before graduation. A bachelor’s in professional studies program allows working professionals to return to college and finish their degrees without starting from scratch.
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A bachelor degree in professional studies can be a strategic choice if you want to build on your previous experiences and gain new skills related to your preferred career path.
Online Bachelors in Professional Studies Degrees
A professional studies bachelor’s degree can teach you a wide range of transferable skills that are suitable for many industries. These degree completion programs often enable you to transfer large amounts of college credits earned at other institutions.
Some professional studies programs grant prior learning credits for non-academic life and work experiences, such as:
- Military training
- Professional work experience
- Professional certifications
- College-level examinations
- Volunteer work
- Research experience
You may be required to submit a portfolio or take exams in order to demonstrate your abilities and earn prior learning credits.
A combination of prior learning credits and transfer course credits may reduce the time it takes you to finish your bachelor degree in professional studies. Much like online general studies degree programs, online professional studies programs frequently require a mixture of core courses, electives, and specialty courses. You may also have the opportunity to complete a capstone project and participate in an internship.
Here are a few core subjects you might study in a bachelor’s in professional studies program:
- Business leadership
- Information technology
- Organizational dynamics
- Professional writing
A diverse selection of courses during your professional studies degree can help you develop many marketable skills and explore new career paths.
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In addition to taking general coursework, some programs allow you to complete a specialization related to your professional goals. Possible concentrations include:
- Business management
- Christian ministry
- Criminal justice
- Healthcare administration and management
- Human services administration
- Information technology management
- Leadership studies
- Teacher Education
Completing a bachelor’s in professional studies can help you qualify for new career opportunities and help you develop many sought-after professional skills. Because this degree covers so many topics, graduates can seek employment in various fields and industries.
Possible career paths for professional studies students include:
- Business Consultant
- Communications Coordinator
- Management analyst
- Project manager
- Public relations specialist
- Training and development specialist
If you want to earn a versatile degree that could help you qualify you for a variety of careers, you might consider a professional studies bachelor’s degree.
Professional Studies Careers and Salaries
A bachelor’s in professional studies can help prepare you for many career paths. You might consider choosing a program that offers a concentration in your preferred industry to ensure you gain relevant knowledge and skills.
Professional studies degree holders can pursue careers in many areas, such as business, communication, information technology, education, finance, healthcare, marketing, sales, and management. As this broad list demonstrates, a bachelor degree in professional studies can open doors in a wide variety of disciplines. The flexible skillset you gain while completing this degree may make it easier to transition between industries and roles.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median wages of a few possible career paths for professional studies majors, depending on their concentration.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Information Security Analysts||$102,600|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$101,340|
|Administrative Services and Facilities Managers||$99,290|
|Project Management Specialists||$94,500|
|Market Research Analysts||$63,920|
|Public Relations Specialists||$62,800|
|Human Resources Specialists||$62,290|
|High School Teachers||$61,820|
|Training and Development Specialists||$61,570|
The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that many of these careers will experience faster-than-average job growth over the next ten years. For instance, management analysts and training and development specialists are predicted to have job growth of 11% and 8%, respectively, during this period.
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Some positions, like a high school teacher, may require you to obtain additional certifications or licenses. It can be helpful to research the specific requirements of career paths of interest before committing to a bachelor’s degree program.
Bachelor of Professional Studies Curriculum & Courses
All degree completion programs have unique curricula, but you can expect to take a combination of general education and specialty courses.
Here are a few sample classes:
- College Composition: This general education course teaches fundamental communication and writing skills that you can use in a variety of academic, personal, and professional contexts.
- Ethics: You can study common ethical dilemmas leaders face, learn ethical decision-making strategies, and examine organizational responsibility.
- Introduction to Critical Reasoning: You can develop critical thinking skills that you can use to objectively assess complex situations, knowledge claims, and sources like online articles.
- Introduction to Industrial Organizational Psychology: This course examines the historical development of industrial-organizational psychology, contemporary theories, and ethical standards in the field.
- Introduction to Information Systems: You’ll learn about essential information system practices and theories, including artificial intelligence, codes of conduct, cybersecurity, and privacy.
- Leadership in Practice: You’ll develop valuable leadership and management skills by studying leadership behavior, practice, and theory.
- Marketing with Digital and Social Media: This class examines strategies and technologies for digital and social media marketing, such as content marketing metrics and cybersocial tools.
- Public Speaking: You’ll study the fundamentals of public speaking and learn techniques and tools for presenting information to audiences.
- Strategic Communication: You’ll learn how to communicate messages effectively to diverse audiences in professional settings.
- Supply Chain Analytics: You’ll explore approaches, theories, and tools to move products through the supply chain, like data visualization, supply chain software, and statistical methods.
Some programs may also require you to complete a capstone project during your final semester.
Every school has unique admissions requirements, but here are some common materials you may be required to submit when applying for a professional studies bachelor’s degree program:
- Letters of recommendation. You may ask your employer or professors for letters of recommendation.
- Standardized tests. Some colleges ask for the ACT or SAT scores, though many schools have eliminated this requirement.
- Transcripts. Most schools require you to provide high school and college transcripts. These documents can help programs determine if you’re eligible for transfer credits.
It’s beneficial to research admissions requirements ahead of time to ensure you have all the required materials.
Regional accreditation is one factor to consider as you explore degree completion programs. Accredited colleges and universities have demonstrated that they offer high-quality education and meet guidelines an external agency sets.
Attending an accredited program can help set you up for academic success. Many colleges only accept transfer credits from accredited institutions, and you’re required to attend an accredited program to qualify for certain financial aid opportunities. Some employers also prefer to hire graduates from accredited colleges.
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You can visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s website to check a school’s accreditation status.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
If you’re considering degree completion programs, you may be eligible for financial aid and scholarships that can reduce your educational expenses.
The federal government offers several forms of financial aid to qualifying students. For instance, you might qualify for grants or student loans. The government also funds work-study programs, which pay eligible students to work for their colleges or other organizations. You can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find out if you qualify for these opportunities.
Many colleges offer grants and scholarships to eligible students. Additionally, you can research and apply for scholarships from relevant community organizations and professional associations. Some employers also provide professional development programs or tuition assistance programs.
What’s a BPS Degree?
A Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) degree is a career-focused degree that helps you develop professional skills.
BPS students typically take a mixture of liberal arts and professionally focused courses to help prepare them for the workforce. You can often customize a BPS degree to suit your personal and professional goals. For instance, you can take classes related to your preferred career path and develop relevant skills.
Many BPS programs offer credit for prior learning experiences, like previously completed classes, work experience, and military training. This option can reduce the time it takes for returning students to finish their bachelor’s degree.
Is a Degree in Professional Studies Useless?
No, a degree in professional studies is not useless. This versatile degree focuses on career preparation and professional skills to help students succeed in the workplace.
A bachelor’s in professional studies could be beneficial if you want to advance your career, prepare for graduate school, or transition to a new field. A professional studies major can unlock a wide range of career opportunities, many of which are expected to have faster-than-average job growth over the next ten years.
Here is job growth data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for some potential career paths:
- Information security analysts: 35%
- Medical and health services managers: 28%
- Management analysts: 11%
Your degree concentration can tailor your studies to your preferred field.
What Can I Do with a Bachelors in Professional Studies?
A professional studies bachelor’s degree is versatile and can apply to a range of positions and fields. Most programs offer concentrations, so you can take courses that align with your preferred career.
For example, some BPS graduates complete a business specialization and enter the corporate world. Possible careers in this industry include auditor, management analyst, project management specialist, and supply chain logistician. Healthcare is another popular field for professional studies majors.
Some graduates become healthcare managers or nursing home administrators. You could also pursue a degree concentration and career in criminal justice, education, communication, government, and other industries.
Some BPS graduates may ask, what masters degree can I get with a bachelors in general studies. A growing number of universities offer an on-campus or online MPS degree program for students wishing to continue their educations in this major.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor in Professional Studies Online?
The time it takes to complete a bachelor degree in professional studies depends on your enrollment status, transferable course credits, and other factors.
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Most programs require at least 120-course credits to complete the degree. Full-time students typically take 4 years to finish a bachelor’s degree if they take fall and spring courses. The number of prior learning credits you earn can impact how long it takes you to finish your degree. If you enter the program with a large amount of these credits, you might complete your degree in less time.
What’s the Difference Between a BS vs. BPS Degree?
Many schools offer Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Professional Studies degrees. These degrees may sound similar, but there are a few essential differences.
|Bachelor of Science||Bachelor of Professional Studies|
A BPS degree could be a strategic choice if you want to focus on developing professional skills.
Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Studies Worth It?
Yes, a bachelor’s degree in professional studies is worth it for many professionals. These programs are often designed for working adults who want to finish their bachelor’s degrees. They tend to offer flexible schedules and grant more prior learning credits than other programs.
A professional studies major allows you to gain career-focused competencies and skills. You can typically specialize in areas like education, business, communication, information technology, and nursing home administration. These concentrations can boost your professional qualifications and help you enter many growing occupations.
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, bachelor-degree holders overall have an unemployment rate of 3.5%. This is much lower than the unemployment rates of associate-degree holders (4.6%) and high school graduates (6.2%).
Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Professional Studies Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Northern Vermont University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Studies. This program allows students to self-design a curriculum that best fits their professional goals. Classes offered cover a wide variety of subjects, including business, human resources, criminal justice, communication, and social services. This program utilizes a fully online learning format.
Northern Vermont University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Purdue University offers a 100% online program for a Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies. The curriculum is designed to help students develop broadly applicable skills, like strategic thinking and problem solving.
This program requires the completion of 180 credits. Students can attend with a traditional term-based schedule or a self-paced independent study model. The degree requirements can typically be completed in 4 years.
Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Regent University offers a Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies. This program may be an ideal fit for individuals who want to customize their education to their own interests and career goals. This 120 credit program can be attended online or on-campus. Students can potentially gain transfer credits for previous academic, military, or work experiences.
Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Rhode Island College offers a Bachelor of Professional Studies. This program is intended for adult students over the age of 25 who have 5 or more years of work experience. The curriculum uses a blend of synchronous virtual lectures and asynchronous online coursework. Students can select a specialization in either Social Services or Organizational Leadership.
Rhode Island College is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.
Stevenson University offers a Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies. This program’s convenient online learning format is designed for busy working adults looking to gain skills applicable in diverse fields. Potential courses include Adult Learning Theory and Practice, Organizational Communication, and Creative Leadership. The program offers 6 start dates a year.
Stevenson University is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education, the Middle States Association of Colleges and Universities.
The University of Cincinnati offers a Bachelor of Professional Studies. The program offers the opportunity to earn credit for qualifying professional work experience. Courses are offered in a flexible online learning format. Both part-time and full-time attendance tracks are available.
The University of Cincinnati is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Kansas offers a 100% online program for a Bachelor of Professional Studies. This program seeks to help students develop essential professional skills that are applicable to a diverse range of careers. The completion of at least 120 credit hours is required to graduate. Many graduates pursue roles in finance, construction, healthcare, manufacturing, and technology.
The University of Kansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of North Carolina—Charlotte offers a Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies. This program may be an excellent next step for students who want to take advantage of previously completed college credits or applicable work experience. The curriculum combines concepts from organizational sociology, business leadership, information technology, and human services. All classes meet online.
UNC Charlotte is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of North Carolina—Greensboro offers a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Professional Studies. Students can select a self-designed study plan or a focus in Health and Wellness, Service, or Arts, Entertainment, and Media. Classes are housed online, and each one is 7 weeks long. The program can typically be completed in 4 years.
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
William Paterson University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership and Professional Studies. The curriculum covers concepts like cultural competency, ethics, organizational understanding, quantitative skills, and professional communication. Classes can be attended fully online. Up to 90 qualifying credits from outside institutions may be transferred in toward the program’s 120 required credits.
William Paterson University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Getting Your Bachelors in Professional Studies Online
Earning a professional studies bachelor’s degree online can boost your resume and help you develop marketable professional skills. You can use this degree to explore a range of new career paths or specialize in a specific industry.
An online bachelor degree in professional studies can be especially beneficial for returning students who want to finish their degree with minimum stress and maximum convenience. These degree completion programs may grant prior learning credits, allowing you to graduate sooner.
Does a BPS degree sound right to you? If so, you can start exploring accredited schools today to find a program that fits your goals and schedule.