Degree Levels

It's often said that any education is better than just having a high school diploma. This actually pertains to what career is in your future. There are actually many students who spend only a year in college and are able to find incredible job opportunities. In particular, technical degrees can offer you a quicker job placement after college and allow you to still make a relatively decent salary at $50,000 per year. However, bigger salaries, responsibilities and prestige also come with higher degrees. At the baccalaureate level, you really hone your skills and find new talents, while master degree programs refine what you have learned and give you advanced knowledge, giving you more qualifications for the jobs today.

Associate Degree Programs

Associate degrees break down into two main categories: Associate of Arts or Associate of Sciences. These are typically two-year degrees, available at either junior colleges or technical schools. These degrees may also be completed in a shorter period of time, but will almost always focus on completing general requirements in core subjects like math, English and science, as well as specific courses related to your major. For technical degree programs, much of what you learn will be related to the job field and how to perform certain skills correctly to perform different responsibilities. For instance, a two-year nursing program will allow you to become a registered nurse, so your classes will focus on hands-on clinicals, patient care, and technical skills required in a medical setting. Other A.A. and A.S. degrees are meant to give you beginner knowledge that will transfer into a bachelor's degree, such as an A.A. in communications that will turn into a bachelor's degree in business.

Bachelor Degree Programs

Bachelor degrees also break down into two categories: Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences. Universities actually vary greatly on what programs are included as arts and what programs are sciences. Bachelor of Arts programs typically focus on liberal arts and general education courses. Bachelor of Science degrees are more technical, devoted to science and mathematics education. However, it can get confusing with medical degrees. For example, you may have a B.A. in Psychology or a B.S. in Psychology. In general, all bachelor programs take four years to complete and will give you advanced knowledge in a particular area. While you have a major, which is your focus, you may have a minor to complement your focus or a double major. Basically, you'll be taking a bunch of credits when you choose to add a minor or major, and usually, your electives will be selected towards earning another major or minor. Most jobs require a bachelor's degree as a minimum requirement, but it can also allow you to go to graduate school.

Graduate Degree Programs

There are all types of master and doctorate degree programs. You can find that these programs will range in time requirements, from one year to eight years. Some master degree programs are required, such as a one-year Master in Education degree for teachers. When you start to research different graduate degree programs, the most important factors will be looking for a large faculty, multiple research centers and looking up recent projects that relate to the graduate school. Admissions selectivity will also play a major role in whether you get accepted to a graduate degree program. Keep in mind that some professions require a master's degree or doctorate as a minimum requirement, such as business and medical professions.