An associate degree is a two-year college degree that typically leads to a bachelor’s degree. An associate degree typically requires fewer credits than a bachelor’s degree, and it may be granted by a community or technical college, junior college, or university.
A four-year associate degree is generally considered the equivalent of a two-year bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is the most advanced level of education after an associate degree. However, there is a big difference between an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree.
An associate degree is typically the first level of education after high school. After that, a bachelor’s degree is the highest level of education. There are many different degrees, but the main difference is how much work you have to do to get them. You typically have to complete about two-thirds of the credits for a bachelor’s degree, but you only have to meet one-third of the credits for an associate’s degree.
Differences in Degree Programs
When choosing between associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees, it is helpful to consider the different bachelor’s degree program options available at the associate’s and bachelor’s degree levels.
A 2-year degree program most commonly results in an associate’s degree, and You may earn these degrees at community, technical, and vocational colleges. A 4-year degree, in comparison, is most commonly awarded as a bachelor’s degree at a college or university.
Community colleges generally offer 2-year associate degrees and 1-year certificates. Some of the more common forms of 2-year degrees include an Associate of Arts, an Associate of Science, and an Associate of Applied Science.
Academic Transfer Programs
Many associate degree programs are designed to mimic the curriculum of the first two years of a 4-year degree program and transfer seamlessly to 4-year schools, granting an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree. As a result, many general education requirements for 4-year degrees can usually be met with an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science. by earning a transfer degree. Some of these general education requirements may include studies in:
- English composition
- Natural science
- Social and behavioural science
- History and government
- Ethnic studies
A career or professional associate’s bachelor’s degree is designed for students who plan to work in a particular field after graduating. The typical degree offered is an Associate of Applied Science. Most of these programs often eliminate the need for general education requirements for career-related courses.
Possible subjects vary widely but may include automotive technology, hospitality management, office assistant, culinary arts, and accounting.
The most common 4-year degree is an associate’s degree. However, graduates need a bachelor’s degree to be eligible for most entry-level positions. Engineering graduates often hold a Bachelor of Science or a bachelor’s degree.
A Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) program is a comprehensive course of study based on a major’s humanities and theoretical and general studies. Students may earn a B.A. in a wide variety of subjects, such as:
- Theatre arts
A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program concentrates on a particular field of study with a technical emphasis. Most students spend the first two years exploring general education courses like the B.A. degree. The following two years are spent searching for the major. Possible B.S. majors include:
- Computer science
Specialized Bachelor’s Programs
Many undergraduate programs can be considered “general” degrees, but what about those specializing in a particular field? According to the US Department of Education, over 160 specialized bachelor’s degree programs are offered at US colleges and universities. In addition, technical degrees may be more specific in their focus than general degrees, or they may provide unique coursework not found on other undergraduate programs.
Some examples of specialized bachelor’s degrees include business administration, criminal justice, nursing, health science, education, etc. If you’re interested in pursuing a specific type of degree or want to explore a new field of study, check out the specialized bachelor’s degrees available at your college or university.