If you’re a veteran, reservist, or transitioning/active-duty service member, you’re probably wondering about your next steps. The job market these days is extremely competitive and isn’t showing signs of slowing down. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a growth of about half a million jobs per year over the next 10 years, and there are plenty of people lined up to fill these positions. According to BLS, degree holders earn about $525 per week extra on average compared to high school grads.
But it’s not just about the money – it’s a game-changer when it comes to unemployment too. The unemployment rate for degree holders is 3.5% versus 8.3% for those with just a high school diploma. A college degree can significantly influence your career trajectory. You may have already had some college experience and earned some college credits, recognizing the paramount importance of a degree.
While it may be easy to talk about how important it is to have a college degree, finishing one while balancing your life commitments is another story. Obligations outside of school such as family and work can be difficult to balance. Furthermore, you want to ensure that you get a degree that proves to be a worthwhile investment and aligns with your long-term career goals.
The Bachelor of Arts in Professional Studies (BAPS) program with the University of Cincinnati Online is a fully online bachelor’s program that is made to be completed in fewer than four years and based entirely on your professional goals. Let’s explore what makes a Bachelor’s in Professional Studies a great option for veterans and current service members, and the benefits that the University of Cincinnati Online offers for military-affiliated students.
What Makes a BAPS Degree Different?
What makes the BAPS degree stand out amongst other degree programs is the ability to fast-track the degree journey with your life experience. The Professional Studies curriculum is unique because of its emphasis on real-world experience and co-op learning to help you hone professional skills. However, you may be able to finish this portion of the degree even faster.
The BAPS Foundations Course:
Every student entering the professional studies program must take the foundation course for their first semester: PD2180: Foundations. The content of this highly involved course on the professional studies curriculum is part of the Professional Development section. It consists of in-depth self-evaluation assignments where you will demonstrate skills from your past life experiences, discuss your previous college experience and credits (if applicable), and identify your career plans. After completing these assignments, the rest of your education track will be outlined based on your goals and how many credits you will need.
Life Experience Credits:
Upon completing the foundation’s course, you could qualify for all 18 Co-Op credit hours and fast-track your path to graduation by skipping these courses! This depends on what is demonstrated in the self-assessment portion. This type of evaluation can take several months in other institutions, but with UC Online, it can be accomplished in as little as six weeks.
The co-op learning portion of the program counts for 18 out 120 total credit hours (around 15% for the program). If you are already in the workforce, you likely have some or all the qualifying life experience for this portion. Life experience can include several things like:
- Military Experience (Active Duty or Veteran)
- Professional Work History
- Leadership Experience
- Volunteer Experience
You can see a breakdown of the full curriculum below.
Each of these life experience pieces must be applied to one of the six life experience competencies that are covered during the first semester’s foundation course. These competencies are:
- Managing projects, tasks, and time
- Taking initiative, personal responsibility, and exhibiting professional integrity
- Managing conflict and interpersonal communications
- Exhibiting emotional intelligence, empathy, and inclusion in the workplace
- Adapting to organizational change and emphasizing personal growth
- Using professional networking strategies and digital technologies
Once you have a chance to evaluate your life experience through the assignments with your professors, you may be able to avoid additional co-op learning classes and be eligible to graduate even faster. This is all part of the customization offered exclusively for UC Online’s program.
What Can You Do with a Bachelor’s in Professional Studies?
The Bachelor’s in Professional Studies program covers five core competencies that can lead to a wide variety of potential career paths that are all expected to grow in the next decade. These specific competencies include:
- Self-management and Human Relations
- Fostering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Complex Problem-Solving and Decision Making in Groups
- Data Literacy in Professional Contexts
- Effective Professional Communication
The O*Net Research Center, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration completed a recent study of career paths expected to grow. Some of the top paths that relate to the professional studies competencies include:
- Service Sales Representatives: Median Wage = $62,400
This field is broad but increasingly applicable. A recent study from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth found that the service industry is on the rise with the job force shifting away from manufacturing and other sectors over the next 10 years. Professionals in this field focus on resolving client problems by offering services on the individual or business level.
- Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners: Median Wage = $52,560
This industry has seen a lot of change in the last few years. Virtual events and hybrid event structures have grown as relevant and as common as in-person events, which means those in this field have a heightened urgency to keep up with the latest technology. Technology will help shape their typical responsibilities which include coordinating activities for groups including staff and convention personnel and arranging events and conventions.
- Project Management Specialists: Median Wage = $95,370
Project managers in any industry or professional environment have their work cut out for them. Their responsibilities include analyzing and coordinating the schedule, timeline, and budget of a particular product or service all while serving as the point of contact for a client or customer. Success in this field relies heavily on strong organization and problem-solving skills.
- Market Research Analysts & Specialists: Median Wage = $68,230
A versatile position that involves gathering information for online, national, regional, or local markets. These positions are often tasked with determining the potential sales of a product, or service, and planning a marketing campaign accordingly. Market researchers often employ search tactics to analyze web metrics and help increase the visibility of a brand across search engines.
These are just some of the career paths that the Professional Studies program will help you pursue. Each of these industries has grown over the past five years and are expected to grow over the next decade also! Please note that this is by no means an exhaustive list and there are many more opportunities where these come from.
Ready to Learn More Through UC Online?
The University of Cincinnati Online is a proud yellow ribbon participating institution offering military benefits & financial aid opportunities to veterans and active-duty service members. There are over 2,000 military-affiliated students currently enrolled getting world-class support while they earn their degrees.
If you’re interested in letting your experience in the military work for you in your education journey, the Bachelor of Arts in Professional Studies is the program for you! You can start the application process directly on our UC Online webpage, contact our Enrollment Services Advisors directly, or call (513) 556-6459 if you have any questions.