How Do I Choose between the Different Types of College Degrees?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Higher educational degrees often lead to better employment opportunities.
Higher educational degrees often lead to better employment opportunities.

Choosing among the many types of college degrees can be tricky, especially for a recent high school graduate who is expected to think carefully about his or her future. The best way to start choosing among the many types of college degrees is to narrow down your interests and talents to figure out in what subject area or major you belong. You can then think carefully about what level of education you want to obtain: some students choose to earn associate's degrees, which are two-year degree programs that will provide you the basic qualification for some entry-level positions.

Obtaining a bachelor's degree will most often take four years to complete.
Obtaining a bachelor's degree will most often take four years to complete.

If you want to open up more opportunities for yourself in a wide variety of career fields, consider obtaining a bachelor's degree. The advantages of these types of college degrees include higher qualifications that will improve your chances of securing a higher paying job, a more thorough education, and the qualification to apply for higher degrees such as master's degrees or PhDs. You will need to start thinking about what your career goals are, as this will often dictate which types of college degrees are most appropriate for you. If you are unsure of your career path, you may want to start by earning an associate's degree in a broad category, then applying for a bachelor's degree program once you complete your associate's degree.

Some students have a better idea of what field they want to enter after graduation, in which case the choice among the many types of college degrees will be simplified a bit. You will still need to determine what level of education will be required to obtain the jobs you want to pursue; some engineers, for example, may only need a bachelor's degree to get jobs in the field that pay well and promise upward mobility. An English major who wants to teach at the college level, however, will probably need to obtain at least a master's degree, if not a PhD.

You will also need to think about how much time you want to spend in school. An associate's degree usually only takes about two years to complete, but a bachelor's degree will take four or more years. A master's degree is likely to be an additional two to three years on top of your bachelor's degree, and a PhD program can last five years or more, depending on the field of study and whether or not you will be working toward your degree full- or part-time.

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    • Higher educational degrees often lead to better employment opportunities.
      Higher educational degrees often lead to better employment opportunities.
    • Obtaining a bachelor's degree will most often take four years to complete.
      Obtaining a bachelor's degree will most often take four years to complete.