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Degree Overview: Associate and Bachelor Degree

Majors Overview March 10, 2014

Bachelor’s degrees are an extension of associate’s degrees. Most of the time, both won’t be needed and associate’s degrees can be counted towards the first half of bachelor’s degree programs. Bachelor’s degrees take twice as long as associate’s degrees but will make plenty of more careers available to graduates. Read more on these two degrees below.

Overview of Associate’s Degree Programs

It usually takes two years to complete Associate’s degree programs that are usually aimed at specific careers. However, students can complete general studies at this level as a first step towards earning a bachelor’s degree. State universities and community colleges offer associate’s degree programs for interested students to enroll in; this would require them to take about 20 classes in keeping with a specific curriculum devised by the school.

Vocational degrees (devised to impart training in a specific skill), occupational degrees, and transfer degrees (suitable for students interested in enrolling into a four-year university or college) are among the types of associate’s degrees offered by schools. Coursework completed in either type of transfer degree program allow transfers to universities all over the United States; often, there is a direct linkage of junior colleges to local 4-year institutions, in order to ensure smooth transfers and encourage a continuing pursuit of advanced education.

There are similarities between associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs, including choices in fields such as healthcare technology, social work, electronics, construction, law enforcement, drafting, communication, business and art and design. Many employers expect candidates for jobs to hold at least an associate’s degree, particularly job givers in the medical assisting and healthcare technician fields.

Overview of Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Students typically need four years, or about 120 credits of coursework, to complete Bachelor’s degree programs. Job givers in many fields consider bachelor’s degrees as the minimum level of education needed to secure employment. The fields include engineering and teaching. The most popular baccalaureate degree programs are in humanities, education, health sciences, and business categories; (National Center for Career Statistics (NCES)).

Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs are often required to spend about half their credits completing classes in general education subject areas that are compulsory for all enrolled students at the university or college.

Western Civilization, English, history, fine arts, science, math, theology, languages and philosophy are some examples of courses. Courses are divided into core (subject-oriented) and elective components. Students can use electives to explore themes of individual interest that also offer an interdisciplinary perspective to their coursework. A minor – a recognized specialty in a concentration area of study that serves to complement the major – may also be formed by tailoring a set of elective courses for the purpose. For instance, an accounting minor would serve to complement a business administration major.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch), Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.), Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) are some of the degrees conferred at the bachelor’s level. In 2007-08, the United States witnessed the awarding of about 1,563,000 bachelor’s degrees (NCES).

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