College degrees come in different shapes, sizes, years, and costs. Sometimes you don’t need one, but most of the time you do.
Understanding the differences between a certificate and associate’s can be baffling. You might know that a bachelor’s degree is common or that a doctorate’s degree means you can put two infamous letters before your name. If you’re considering getting a degree knowing the differences, big and small, between each of these is important.
Associate – undergraduate degrees typically taking two years of study and often the foundation of a four-year bachelor’s degree. They can be granted at community colleges, four-year institutions, vocational or technical schools. There are two general categories for associate’s degrees: transfer and career/professional degrees. Typical degree abbreviations include A.A; A.S. Average salary for full-time workers is $38, 272.
Certificate – Nondegree certificate or diploma which leads to employment in a specific occupational field. There are hundreds of certificate programs available in Accounting, Computer Sciences, Dentistry, Hospitality and more. Some bachelor’s programs ask students to obtain a certificate along with their bachelor’s degree, also known as a minor.
Bachelor – undergraduate degree typically lasting four years, and in many cases five to six (or in my case seven). Bachelor of Arts, B.A, and Bachelor of Science, B.S, are the most common. There are hundreds of academic majors, also known as specializations, such as Engineering, English, Chemistry, Nursing, Anthropology, Education etc. Average salary for full-time workers is $50,856.
Masters – graduate degree which typically takes two years after a bachelor’s degree. Students demonstrate a “mastery” of a specific field of study. Average salary for full-time workers is $63,856. Average awesomeness on a scale of 1 to 10 is 7.
Doctorate – a PhD is an academic/professional degree which qualifies the holder to “teach” in a specific field. There are professional doctorates such as Doctor of Medicine, research doctorates such as Doctor of Philosophy and even honorary doctorates where universities recognize the work of one individual in a particular field. Along with undergraduate studies, doctorate programs can take as long as ten years. Average salary for full-time workers is $80,860. Average awesomeness on a scale of 1 to 10 is 10.
A college degree can improve your chances for advancement and getting a higher salary. In this economy, job security is of the utmost importance which is another perk of higher education. Obesity and smoking rates are also lower among individuals with college degrees. Workers with college degrees also report that they are happier and more satisfied with their jobs. Overall, a college degree is good for the mind, body and soul.