Getting a Second Bachelor’s Degree [2022 Guide]

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Have you already been through college once but now you’re thinking about getting a second bachelor’s degree? There are many reasons you may want to do so.

Getting a Second Bachelor's Degree

Reenrolling in school could help you work toward a new career, a promotion, an enhanced resume, or a refreshed skillset. Returning to college after already graduating is usually a bit different than the first trip through school.

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Before you sign up for a new undergraduate program, it’s beneficial to weigh the value of a second degree and explore the steps that are involved.

Getting a Second Bachelor’s Degree

Get a Second Bachelor's Degree

When you first graduated from college, the thought of getting another bachelor’s degree may have been nowhere near your mind. As time has gone on, though, you might have started thinking about the possibility.

Earning another bachelor’s degree has the potential to open new doors for you. It could help you advance in your current career or start a whole new one. Getting a second bachelor’s degree could be a strategic choice if you want to:

  • Change career fields. Is it time for something new in your life? Going back to school for another bachelor’s degree could be the path to a whole new career. If you want to make a major job shift, then you might appreciate the new skills and training that a bachelor’s degree can provide.
  • Get ready for grad school. Breaking into a new field may require more than just a second bachelor’s degree. You might also need a master’s. If your initial degree was in an entirely different area, you might want—or need—another bachelor’s degree before enrolling in grad school. In a relevant bachelor’s program, you can learn foundational skills so that you can start your master’s studies on an even playing field with your fellow students.
  • Go back to work. Did you take some time away from the workforce? You may find that reentering it is trickier than you’d expected. A second degree may provide a shot of confidence in your abilities—both for you and the employers who are deciding whether to hire you.
  • Improve your credentials. Thanks to your on-the-job training, you may already have a lot of the knowledge that a second bachelor’s program could provide. What you don’t have, though, is the college degree to prove it. By going back to school, you can earn a degree that could improve your resume and appeal to potential employers.
  • Keep up with developments in your industry. Some fields go through major changes every few years. The tech degree that you earned a decade ago may not be as cutting-edge as it once was. By earning a degree in a related but different field, you could sharpen your skills and get up to date on the latest developments. One of today’s most in-demand degrees could give your resume a major boost.
  • Make more money. You may have broken into your field with a degree that was only somewhat related to your position. At the entry-level, that wasn’t a big deal. Achieving more senior roles may require a degree that’s more directly related to the industry. Going back to school could be the key to earning promotions and raises.
  • Shift your focus. Moving into management roles often requires a new set of skills that you didn’t need when you were lower in your organization’s hierarchy. A second bachelors degree could provide the necessary training for managerial responsibilities.

Deciding to get a 2nd bachelor degree doesn’t mean that your first one was a waste. Your first degree may have helped you break into the workforce. Plus, it laid a foundation for your future studies and helped you grow as a person.

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If nothing else, your 1st bachelor degree may have helped you figure out what it is that you want from here on out. Think of your next degree as a natural step in your lifelong process of learning and growing.

Should I Get a Second Bachelors Degree?

Second Bachelors Degree

Getting a second bachelors degree can have its advantages, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you. Before you commit to a program, weighing the pros and cons can help you decide if a second degree is right for your situation.

Pros:

  • Broad educational base. Bachelor’s degrees cover both general and field-specific knowledge. You may have opportunities to take classes, especially electives, that you didn’t have the first time around.
  • Career knowledge. A second bachelor’s program could provide the training to help you launch a new career.
  • Foundational studies. Bachelor’s degrees are designed for those just getting started in a particular field. Undergraduate studies can help you build a foundation of knowledge from the ground up.
  • Transfer credits. Since you already have one degree, your new college may accept some of your original coursework as transfer credit, speeding up the degree-earning process.
  • Tuition savings. Undergraduate studies are sometimes less expensive than master’s programs, especially if you get transfer credit. Colleges often charge more per credit hour for graduate classes.

Cons:

  • Cost. While a second bachelors degree might cost less than other degree programs, it can still be a significant expense.
  • GPA requirements. If you didn’t do too well in college the first time around, you might not meet the admission requirements for a second degree.
  • Limited resume benefit. Some employers may see having two bachelor’s degrees as a benefit, especially if one of them is directly relevant to their industry. Others, though, may prefer candidates who have taken the initiative to go to grad school.
  • School selection. Not all colleges offer programs specifically for second-degree students. Those that do may have stringent requirements.
  • Time investment. Even if you get transfer credit, it can take several years to earn a degree.

If you need help making your decision, a college admissions counselor may be able to help. Admissions counselors can also provide insight on whether another program, such as a certificate or a master’s program, might be the better way to achieve your specific goals.

Second Bachelors or Masters Degree, Which Is Better?

Second Bachelors or Masters Degree

Going back to college doesn’t look the same for every student. Some may want to get another undergraduate degree, but for others, it might make more sense to enroll in grad school. As you debate a second bachelor’s degree vs. masters, you may want to think through the following list of considerations:

  • Cost. Another undergrad degree might be the less expensive option. Depending on how many of your past credits transfer in, you may need to take fewer bachelor’s classes than you would for a master’s degree. Plus, the per-credit-hour price of undergrad courses is usually lower.
  • Time. Transfer credit can also give you the chance to finish a second bachelors in less than the 2 or 3 years that it takes to complete many master’s programs. On the other hand, some master’s programs can be completed in 1 year of full-time, year-round study.
  • Focus. What do you want out of your studies? If it’s a broad overview of a particular field, then a bachelor’s degree might be the way to go. If you’d prefer a specialized look at one particular aspect of a field, then you can get that from a master’s program.
  • Resume benefit. In some cases, a second degree can be a great addition to your resume. On the other hand, since there’s typically greater effort required for grad school, a master’s degree might be a more strategic credential to add. Plus, in some industries, a graduate degree may be a minimum requirement, especially for leadership roles.
  • Similarity to previous studies. A bachelor’s degree can provide a broad introduction to a whole new field of work. That’s something you might appreciate if your new degree program will be quite different from your original one. While many master’s programs don’t require an undergrad degree from the same field, a big switch may leave you feeling like you have to play catch-up.
  • Workload. As a general rule, undergrad courses are easier than graduate classes. In a master’s program, you can expect to spend a lot more time on research, data analysis, and writing assignments. If you’re concerned about overcommitting yourself, then you may want to opt for the lower intensity of a bachelor’s degree.

So, which is better? Only you can decide.

The debate between second bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees is a personal one. It’s beneficial to weigh the pros and cons to figure out which one best fits your availability, interests, and goals. If you want input from an expert, you can consult a college’s academic advisor or admissions counselor.

Second Bachelor Degree Admissions Requirements

Second Bachelor Degree Admissions

What does it take to get into college for the second time? It varies from one school to another, but common requirements include:

  • College transcripts—may need to reflect a minimum GPA
  • Information about your intended major
  • Letter or essay about why you want to earn another degree
  • Standardized test scores (if required)

The process for getting a second bachelor degree from a different school may be somewhat different than it is for those returning to their alma maters. Going back to your original school might involve applying for readmission.

How to Get a Second Bachelor’s Degree

How to Get a Second Bachelor's Degree

You’ve been to college once before, so you probably have some idea of what to expect. Even still, this enrollment process probably won’t be exactly the same as the first. Here’s what to know about the steps involved in earning a second bachelor’s degree:

  • Weigh the pros and cons. Before going any further with the process, it’s helpful to make sure that a second bachelor’s degree, not a master’s degree or a certificate, is what’s best for you.
  • Research schools and programs. It’s necessary to figure out what degree you’d like to get and to find schools that will allow you to do so. Different colleges have different rules about accepting second-degree students.
  • Consider financial matters. You can fill out the FAFSA and apply for scholarships, but your options may be more limited than they were for your first degree. It’s strategic to make sure you can afford college before you commit.
  • Apply. You can send applications to multiple colleges where you meet the admissions criteria, and you’ll then wait to hear back about an acceptance decision. Second-degree students are often last on the list for admissions, so it might take longer to hear back.
  • Consult your academic advisor. You may be eligible for transfer credit, which would reduce the number of classes you’d be required to take. You can speak to your advisor about that before signing up for any courses.
  • Work toward your degree. Finally, you’ll arrive at the step you’ve been waiting for: attending college. You can take your classes, complete your assignments, and keep plugging away until you make it to graduation!

The process of getting a second bachelors degree can take several years, but it could also help you get closer to your goals.

Can You Get Two Bachelor Degrees?

Two Bachelor Degrees

Yes, you can get two bachelors degrees, either during your initial undergraduate program or after it. Getting two bachelors degrees at the same time is usually considered a double major.

If you’re currently enrolled in college and want to earn credentials in two different fields, you can talk to your academic advisor about your options. You may choose to pursue both fields at the same time rather than re-enroll later.

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If you’ve already completed one bachelors degree, you may be able to go back to school for another. Some colleges have specific programs for people who want second degrees.

What Is a Second Bachelor’s Degree?

What Is a Second Bachelor's Degree

A second bachelor’s degree is a college undergraduate credential that you can earn after graduating from your initial program.

You could re-enroll in college shortly after completing your first degree, but it’s more common to go back to school after an extended break. Some people even complete a master’s program before returning for undergrad studies.

A second bachelor’s degree can be useful for making career moves. It’s a way to develop the skills you’ll need for working in a new field. It can also be a way to prove that you have the expertise that’s needed for leadership positions.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Second Bachelor’s Degree?

Second college Degree

An initial bachelor’s degree generally takes about 4 years of full-time study to complete. How long a second degree will take depends on how many transfer credits your new school will accept. If several of the general education courses from your first program are accepted, you may be able to finish a second degree in 3 years or less.

Another way to speed up your time in school is to choose an online college with an accelerated format. If you’re willing to take 8 week classes throughout the calendar year, you may graduate sooner than those who enroll in programs with traditional 16 week semesters.

Can I Get Financial Aid for a Second Bachelor’s Degree?

Financial Aid for a Second Bachelor's Degree

Even though financial aid options are more limited for second degrees than for first ones, it’s still beneficial to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Second-degree students are often eligible for government loans. There’s a lifetime limit to how much you can borrow, so your funding may, in part, depend on how much you took out the first time. In general, you can’t get grants for second bachelor’s degrees, but there are exceptions for students going into high-need fields.

You may also have the opportunity to win scholarships. Some scholarship programs are aimed at non-traditional students. There are employers who contribute to their workers’ continuing education too.

Is It Worth Getting a Second Bachelor’s Degree?

Second Bachelor's Degrees

Yes, a second bachelor’s degree is worth getting for many students. Getting another bachelor’s degree could help you start on a new career path. If it’s time for a change in life, more undergraduate studies might be a strategic way to achieve it. You can develop the foundation of knowledge that’s needed for a new sector.

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Earning a second bachelor’s degree could also help you qualify for new positions or raises in the field where you already work. If you seem to be hitting roadblocks when it comes to advancement, a second degree may provide the momentum you need to break through.

Getting Your Second Bachelors Degree Online

Second Bachelors Degree Online

You may have been young when you earned your first bachelor’s degree. Now, though, you might be a working professional with a full slate of adult responsibilities. Uprooting your life to move to a college campus may not be a realistic possibility right now.

Fortunately, that doesn’t need to stop you from earning a second bachelor’s degree.

Online bachelor’s degree programs often welcome working students who need to balance school and a career. When you select an online program from an accredited college, you can count on receiving a quality education for your second degree.

If you’re considering this next step in your education, you can start searching for schools and programs that align with your personal and professional goals today.

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Jordan Meeks
WRITTEN BY
Jordan Meeks
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degree programs.