How Do I Decide What Degree I Want: Associate vs Bachelor?

Are you ready to attend university but need to know which degree level is right for you? Consider your career goals, financial situation, whether you have additional responsibilities, and what employers are looking for in candidates in your field. The following article will help you better decide whether to complete an associate or bachelor’s degree. The following sections will shed light on both types of degrees to help you make a more informed decision.

What is an Associate Degree?

The associate degree is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by Florida National University (FNU) upon completion of a program of study. An associate degree can be a stand-alone or stepping-stone to a bachelor’s degree. There are a few types of associate degrees offered at Florida National University. They include an Associate of Science (AS) and an Associate of Arts (AA).

What is a Bachelor’s Degree?

The bachelor’s degree is the highest level of undergraduate degree available. The curriculum includes general study and lower—and upper-division core requirements. Florida National University offers a few bachelor’s degrees, including a Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA).

How Do I Decide What Degree I Want: Associate vs Bachelor?

Each degree has different strengths depending on the student. It is essential to understand how much time and resources you have to dedicate to a degree, the level of advancement you are considering, the depth of knowledge, and whether your fellow job seekers have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Time in School

Time is the most significant difference between the two degrees. Most full-time students can complete an associate degree in 2 years or a bachelor’s degree in 4 years. Since the associate degree is shorter, it may also cost less. However, financial aid is available for those who qualify as associate and bachelor’s degree students.

Freedom to Choose

Getting an associate degree may be the right educational path if you want to experience a job before completing a bachelor’s degree. You can complete an associate degree, start an entry-level job in the field of your choice, and then consider a bachelor’s degree if and when you decide to advance in your career. This pathway will also allow you to choose a specialty within the field. Once you know which direction your career is taking, you can consider additional educational opportunities.

Transferable Credits

Knowing whether the associate degree credits are transferable to a bachelor’s degree program is essential. For example, the Accounting Associate of Arts degree courses at Florida National University are identical to the lower division core courses required in the Accounting Bachelor of Science degree. That means you can transfer those associate degree course credits to the bachelor’s degree. Not all credits are transferable, so speaking with your career counselor before making your educational decision is essential.

Enrollment Requirements

While both the associate and bachelor’s degree programs require a high school diploma or GED, bachelor’s degree programs can be more stringent and need letters of recommendation, a GPA in a certain percentile, or passing scores on standardized tests like the ACT or SAT. Again, it would help if you spoke with your career counselor before deciding on an associate or bachelor’s degree program.

Job Level

If the job you are working towards does not require a bachelor’s degree, consider an associate degree instead. For example, to become a certified accountant, you must complete a bachelor’s degree and get on-the-job experience before completing the certification exam. However, if you want to be a bookkeeper or support certified accountant, you can complete an associate degree in accounting.

Another consideration is whether you want to advance into a managerial role. Some employers value education and work experience differently when considering a candidate for a promotion. Understanding how the industry views different degree levels and, specifically, what your current employer considers when promoting employees to managerial levels is essential.

Depth of Knowledge

The associate degree programs at Florida National University focus on the lower-division core requirements of a major. In contrast, the bachelor’s program covers core requirements for lower and upper-division schools. That means the associate degree can be a stepping-stone to the bachelor’s degree. However, you do not need an associate degree to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program. You can enroll in a bachelor’s degree program after high school. It is important to note that most master’s programs require a student to complete a bachelor’s degree in the field. Therefore, if you plan to advance to a master’s degree program, starting with a bachelor’s degree is essential.

Diving deeper into the field that you are studying may indicate that a bachelor’s degree may fit your educational path better if you want to advance your knowledge in that field.

A Competitive Edge

When you consider your career, knowing what the workforce and employers demand in a candidate is essential. Look at job descriptions and ask hiring managers about the educational requirements for the role you are considering. Do you need a bachelor’s degree to compete in the workforce, or is an associate degree the amount of education required for the role? Some entry-level jobs do not require an associate degree, so completing this degree may give you a competitive advantage in the industry.

What is a Master’s Degree?

A master’s degree is a graduate degree that focuses on advanced knowledge of a subject. It allows students to better understand the subject, develop additional skills, and improve career advancement opportunities. In addition, a master’s degree is required if you are considering a doctoral degree.

Most master’s degree programs are one to three years in length. Florida National University offers master’s degree programs in business administration, criminal justice, forensic psychology, health services administration, industrial and organizational psychology, nursing, and operations research analyst.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the difference between an associate and a bachelor’s degree, it is time to learn more about Florida National University. FNU offers academic advisement. The primary purpose of the Academic Advising Center is to advise new and current students in developing meaningful educational plans that are compatible with their life goals. Whether planning your semester schedule, reviewing your academic program requirements, or wondering how to approach a professor, here you will get the help you need to have a fulfilling college experience.

Eager to Learn More?

At Florida National University, we believe everyone should have access to higher education to improve their lives and the lives of their families. From athletics to academics, everything we do is focused on you, the student, to ensure you have a rich and fulfilling college experience. Small class sizes, personalized attention, and an emphasis on celebrating diversity make Florida National University much more than a university – we are a community.

Contact us today to learn more about our degree programs.