Choosing Between An Associate Or Bachelor’s Degree Program

There are entire books published every year listing of all sorts of majors and programs for which you can go to school. Before you even select a major itself, how do you know whether a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree is better suited for you? All students ask this question as they examine the costs and benefits of going for continued education. It may help you to narrow down the major differences between the degrees themselves to figure out which will be best for you.

In order to help you find direction concerning your academic endeavors, consider these areas as you examine relevant degree programs that will prepare you for your future career:

Consider the tuition and other costs

Generally, a bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete while an associate degree takes two years. In schools that design programs to help you get your degree more quickly, a bachelor’s degree may take as little as 18 months and an associate degree will take even less. Because it is shorter, an associate degree program costs less to receive. You don’t need to take as many classes, therefore the cost per credit will not add up as quickly.

There is more than just the initial tuition cost to consider. Also, if you decide to go for your associate degree, that’s two years less that you have to be in school. This translates to two more years of work time where you can be earning money. Some people are interested in a more streamlined program where they can learn the skills they need for a job and then jump into the professional world. These people will find that an associate degree is better suited for them. For someone who wants to take a little more time getting his or her education, a bachelor’s program will offer a broader array of coursework.

Consider your career goal

Depending on the job you would like to have, you may or may not need a bachelor’s degree. Someone studying security management may not need a bachelor’s. However, people who go into accounting or business, may find that they can only advance so far until they need a bachelor’s degree to keep moving up within a company. So even though you may start out at the same job regardless of having a bachelor’s or associate degree, you may not have the same opportunities for advancement in the future.

Consider your future salary

With an associate degree, you can be sure to make more money than you would if you only had a high school diploma. With a bachelor’s degree, you may have the opportunity to make more than you would if you only had an associate degree. The more education you have, the more likely you are to qualify to earn more money. This is just a common practice of the modern day business world and has to be a consideration as you take a closer look at which type of degree is best for you.

Don’t consider the stigma

There is a stigma by some people that an associate degree is not as good as a bachelor’s degree. This is only going to be true if you allow it to be true. We hope that a capable, competent person will beat out an incompetent person for a job, regardless of the degree they hold. Go into your interviews knowing that you may have more relevant technical knowledge than you do broad based education, but that doesn’t have to mean you are less qualified or prepared than someone else. A bachelor’s degree will broader your scope of understanding in your field, but this does not have to mean that you have fewer skills after completing an associate degree program.

Consider getting both degrees

It may be a good idea for you to start with your associate degree and plan on getting your bachelor’s degree later. This is a good option for many people. It may end up costing you less overall. You can get some career experience in between degree programs, which will make you more marketable when you do complete your bachelor’s. You will have additional education to support your advancement to higher positions.

If you choose the same school to get both degree programs, you will not have to worry about transferring credits. The last thing you want to do is spend the time and the money on an associate degree and then have to retake the same classes when you are studying for your bachelor’s because some credits didn’t transfer.

Whether you choose an associate degree program, a bachelor’s degree program, or both, receiving an education is never a bad idea. Simply choose the one that you feel will best help you to achieve your career goals. You may be surprised at what you are capable of if you just try.

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