Now you’re done with high school, and you’re planning for college. You may be wondering, though, whether to choose an associate’s or bachelor’s degree to pursue in the next step of your higher education journey. Don’t worry, this is completely normal, and many other students like you are in this fix! The truth is that it may be difficult to choose whether to go to college for an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree as the degree program you choose will have to align with your personal, financial, and professional goals. If you’re unsure whether to go for an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree, then it’s worth comparing the differences that we’ll highlight in this post! That said, here’s a detailed explanation of the two degrees and how they differ.
What is a Bachelor’s Degree?
A bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges upon completion of a program lasting between 3-6 years. The possibilities for bachelor’s degrees and their fields of study are nearly endless, but must often fall under three common degree types, including
- Bachelor of Arts (BA Degree)
- Bachelor of Science (BS Degree)
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA Degree)
What is an Associate Degree?
An associate degree is an undergraduate degree awarded after a post-high school study, usually lasting between two to three years. It’s a qualification level usually above matriculation, high school diploma, or GED, and below a bachelor’s degree. This degree is usually obtainable from an online university, community college, junior college, or some four years institutions in the United States. Students can go on to different things after their associate degree – some may choose to pursue a career after this program, while others would pursue a bachelor’s degree. Whatever the case, you need to understand the difference between both degrees before choosing which suits you.
Difference Between Associates Degree and Bachelor’s Degree
The first step to knowing which to choose between these two is understanding their differences. Here are some to note.
One of the most significant differences between the degrees is the time it takes to complete each. Associate degrees are usually completed within two years, regardless of major. On the other hand, the completion time for bachelor’s degrees is typically twice that, and may vary depending on major, institution, or specialization.
2. Coursework load
Bachelor’s students would usually undergo more intense, full-time training compared to associate’s students, who may attend school part-time. Hence, the BA student’s coursework load is usually more intense. A bachelor’s degree student will complete an average of 120 semester credits (40 classes), while an associate’s student will complete around 60-semester credits (20 classes) before completing their program.
3. Career Path
Your career goals should be a major determinant of which degree you’ll choose to pursue. A bachelor’s degree is actually necessary for careers in demanding fields like law, medicine, and engineering. However, if you’re aiming for a job that requires only an associate degree, though, then it makes sense to opt for an associate degree since it’ll help you save time and cost.
Associates Vs. Bachelors: Which Should You Choose?
Now that we’ve reviewed both degrees and their differences, you’re probably wondering which you should choose. The truth is that both degree types have their advantages and disadvantages. So, it ultimately boils down to what you’re aiming at. However, we recommend consulting your parents and college admissions counselor while making this decision. You can also check out suggestions and recommendations from other articles on our website.
Associate degree Vs. Bachelor’s degree is one debate we see too often. Students always want to know which is better and why they should apply for each. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you by reviewing their differences. However, if you’re still unclear about which to choose, contact us, and we’ll help walk you through the process.