Is an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree better?

Associate’s degrees vs bachelor’s degrees

Deciding on a college major is a major decision in itself.  After all, your major may determine your future job, or at least the jobs you’re qualified to do.  But, deciding what to study isn’t necessarily the final step of the college search process.  In some cases, you now have to decide on whether it would be best to earn one of the many associate degrees, or perhaps widen your opportunities with one of the possible bachelor’s degrees.  First though, you need to understand the difference.

Associate’s degree

With an associate’s degree, you can count on about two years of study at either a traditional college or online college.  These types of degrees are primarily vocational or occupational.  Simply put, they’ll help teach you a specific skill.

Many high paying jobs only require an associate’s degree.  These jobs are in healthcare, and possibly electronics.  You can also gain a two-year degree in automotive repair and social work.  For some careers, though, if you only get a two-year degree, you may be at a disadvantage competing against people holding a four-year degree.

An associate’s degree costs less, and allows students to get into the workforce quicker.  It also allows more flexibility, especially for those who have families to take care of.

You can also use an associate’s degree as the first step of a four-year college or university program.  In this case, you’ll do general studies, preparing yourself for a future bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor’s degree

This brings us to a bachelor’s degree.  It usually takes about four years to get this type of degree, and a bachelor’s degree is required for such fields as engineering and teaching.  The most popular degree programs are a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science.

Typically, degrees in most colleges and universities are centered on the humanities, science, business and education.  Coursework includes general education classes, as well as core curriculum classes.  Electives are chosen by students.  Sometimes students will use their electives to gain a minor.  For example, you could get a major in business administration, then minor in accounting.

A bachelor’s degree often, but not always, allows for a higher salary after graduation.  However, earning a bachelor’s degree costs more money, and takes more time.

To help you weigh the pros and cons of both degrees, we’ve provided access to this easy-to-use college finder.