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ASSOCIATE DEGREE VS. BACHELOR’S DEGREE: WHICH IS BETTER?

Generations College

UNDERSTANDING SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES OF DEGREE PROGRAMS

Associate and bachelor’s degrees can offer an advantage over people with high school degrees when you’re ready to enter the workforce. Employers like hiring workers who have demonstrated their ability to set goals, work hard and ultimately achieve those goals. Of course, employers also like hiring people who have a foundational knowledge in their chosen field of employment.

Here are some of the ways associate and bachelor’s degrees are alike and different:

  • Typical time commitment: The most obvious difference between the two types of degrees is how long you’ll be in college. Most associate degree programs can be completed in two years — sometimes even less. In contrast, students pursuing bachelor’s degrees are in college for at least four years, often five. If you want to be able to get into the workforce faster, an associate degree may make the most sense.
  • Expense: Associate degree students also usually leave college with significantly lower student loan debt than bachelor’s degree students. There are two reasons for this. First, as mentioned above, you can usually complete an associate degree in less than half the time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree. Tuition at colleges offering associate degrees is also often less expensive than at traditional four-year colleges.
  • Difference in content: When pursuing an associate degree, expect to jump right into courses in your chosen major. With a bachelor’s degree, you’re required to take general education and elective courses in other areas that may not seem like they apply to your degree — including courses in the arts and sciences, history, mathematics, languages, and more.
  • Career opportunities: There are many great career options you can get with an associate degree. In some fields, however, you will need a bachelor’s degree to find meaningful work in your industry. Another consideration is your long-term career aspirations. If you intend to go on to earn a master’s degree or law degree, an associate degree won’t cut it; you will need a four-year degree first.

MAKE THE CHOICE THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOUR SITUATION

There is not a “one-size-fits-all” degree for everyone; you need to choose the degree option that works best for you — one that is aligned with your career goals. Remember that you can always start with your associate degree and apply the credits you’ve taken toward a bachelor’s degree later. Generations College in Chicago offers a variety of popular associate of science degree programs, including business administrationcourt reportingcriminal justice and paralegal studies.

Ready to learn more? Check out our on-campus and online degree programs online. Then contact us for more information and to take the first step toward earning your degree.

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