How Do I Choose Between Pursuing an Associate’s Degree vs. a Bachelor’s Degree?

When you are choosing between an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree, consider not just how long you must commit to your studies, but also what each degree will prepare you for. The entire purpose of completing a formal degree program from an accredited school is to be marketable to employers by showing them that you are motivated and knowledgeable. Some individuals would like to travel down a career path that requires nothing more than a 2-year associate’s degree, but some jobs require at least a 4-year degree (please see, What is the Difference Between an Associate’s Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree). Read on, and learn how you should choose between the two degree programs.

Consider the Costs of Each Degree Program

Before you can place value on a degree program, you need to know what it costs. Students can consider both the time spent in school and the money spent on tuition and educational expenses as the costs of earning a degree. It can cost significantly less to attend a 2-year degree program than it costs to attend a 4-year degree program. If you would like to enter the professional world sooner, the timesaving factor of earning an associate’s degree is something to consider.

If you can enter into a mid-level position by spending an additional two years in school, the extra time might be worth the time and money spent. You should add up the overall costs for each, and then consider what your potential income would be once you graduate. If average earnings are significantly different, the investment into a bachelor’s degree can pay off.

Decide What You Want to Do

Once you review the costs of college, you need to decide what you are interested in. A large percentage of first-year students enter school as undecided majors and even more students switch majors years into their program. If you need help getting ideas on college majors that are right for you and your personality type, explore careers and see what excites you the most.

Occupational Requirements and Employer Preferences

In some cases, you might not have the option to study for an associate’s degree. You have to do your homework and learn what degree you must possess to even be a qualified candidate for the title or a professional license you desire. You will need to have a general idea of the field you want to work in and the title you would like to hold. If it is possible to get into the field with just an associate’s, you could earn your 2-year degree and then return to school after you are established as a professional. If you must have your bachelor’s degree to work for a specific employer or to test for professional licensure, you may not have a choice but to earn a bachelor’s degree from the start.

Choosing the right degree program is extremely important. Not only do you need to study at the right institution, you need to pick the right major and type of degree to pursue. There are a long list of options, but first you need to know how long you will study and which degree will take you where you want to go. Once you do your research, choosing between an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree will not be as difficult.