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Associates (Community College Level) vs. Bachelors (Four Year College or University)

Community College Level

An Associate degree (two year community college) is designed as a two year program of study as a full-time student provided the student takes the degree as prescribed by the college. Evidently it would take longer as a part-time student. Within the United States, the associates typically falls into three main categories; Associates of Arts (AA), Associates of Science (AS), and Associates of Applied Science (AAS). An associates of arts (AA), and associates in science (AS) degrees are typically designed for transfer to a four year college or university. Therefore, these degrees have a strong liberal arts emphasis and include a good balance of humanities, social science, and written communication along with the exact sciences especially in higher level math. They also have the foundational course work needed as prerequisites for the higher level courses at the four year institution. The AAS was typically designed as a terminal degree giving the student all the expertise needed to enter the workforce after completion of the degree. However, today, many AAS degree are transferable, but the student should meet with the transfer counselor for appropriate direction when it comes to the AAS degrees. Depending on the program of study and state mandates, the associates can take anywhere from 60 to 64 credits to complete. Some programs of study (usually within the health related fields) may take a bit more in credits.

Four Year College or University Level

The bachelors degree (four year college or university) is designed as a four year program of study provided the student takes the degree as prescribed by the college or university. Again, part-time students will take longer to complete the degree. How long it would take depends on the credit load taken per semester. Basically, within the United States there are two common categories; Bachelors of Arts (BA), and Bachelors of Science (BS). It depends on the institution and department within the school as to which focus they prefer.

The BA has a broader scope, with a strong emphasis on the humanities, theoretical and general knowledge in a recognized discipline, interdisciplinary field, or of a professional study.

The BS is more of a focused approach with a science base to include a balance of liberal arts, technological knowledge, math and computer oriented skills, and practical skills needed for a particular discipline within the field.

The number of credits required depends on the program of study. In general, the bachelors can take between 120 and 128 credits to complete. Some programs of study may take more. For example, architecture. The following are some differences between community colleges, and four year colleges and universities.

Community College

Many individuals start at the community college level for a variety of reasons to include:

  • Community colleges are less expensive to start out with. You can cut the cost of a four year degree almost in half by starting at a community college first, and then transferring to four year college or university to finish up the last two years.
  • There are typically smaller classroom sizes at the community college with a better professor to student ratio, which means more individualized attention.
  • Some students do not meet the entrance requirements of the four year college or university, thus they start at the community college first, then transfer later.
  • The community colleges are typically more family oriented, with a strong sense of community.
  • Some students like to be close to home, thus they start at their home county community college.

Four Year Colleges and Universities

  • Four year institutions are usually larger, with a number of activities not offered at the community college level. For example, fraternities, and sororities, College Football, etc.
  • Some colleges may have top name lecturers, within large lecture halls which are preferred by many students.
  • Some individuals like the four year institutions environment (the university atmosphere).
  • There are students who can major in special program curriculums not offered by the community college.

In the end, it is a matter of preference. Do you like being a big fish in a little pond, or a little fish in a big pond? Whichever you choose, you must be happy with your school, its offerings, the services provided, and environment. If you're not happy, you will not fair as well.

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11y ago
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11y ago

Personally, I would not back up into another associate degree, unless the change in career goal was very specific. In other words, if my associates degree was in business, and now I wanted to pursue a career as a registered nurse, then that might be an option. It all depends on the career choice and which avenue of approach will best satisfy your needs, wants, and desires. It would be appropriate in this case to discuss this with a good career adviser at a college or university. Still, once again I personally would not back up into another associates degree unless the intent was very career specific.

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14y ago

First, with a bachelor's degree, I do not understand why you would want to backup to an associates in business. If the associates was specific, such as an associates in applied science in the technologies, allied health fields, then I could understand it, but not for business. If you are interested in business, then you could pursue it at The Bachelor's level. How many credits would be applied from your bachelor's degree will depend on what that degree was in. If the courses at the community college are less expensive you could inquire about how many you could take for transfer purposes. You might want to look into a master's degree in business, which would make a whole lot more sense. You could take the prerequisite coursework at the undergraduate level then enter the specific program at the master's level. It doesn't matter what your undergraduate work was in. My bachelor's degree is in psychology, but my master's degree is a business degree in organizational management. An associate in business is just not going to mean that much.

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12y ago

The short answer is no.

The longer, and more accurate, answer is: an associate's degree never "counts toward" a bachelor's degree, but some or all of the courses taken for the associate's degree might count toward a bachelor's degree.

If you get the bachelor's degree from the same college you got the associate's degree from, it's almost certain that all of them will count, though they may only count as electives.

If you switch schools, the new school may accept some, none, or all of the previous credits; the details depend on the particular schools and courses involved.

The best thing to do if you think you might continue on to the bachelor's degree is to work with your major department in selecting courses that will apply directly to the bachelor's degree (and to work with the other college as well, if you think you might switch schools). For example, you might choose to take a more advanced course than is actually required for the associate's degree, because that course is part of the bachelor's degree program.

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14y ago

It depends on the field you intend to enter. Some fields require a Bachelor's, or even Master's, degree, while others an Associate's is more than fine. You should research what other people in your field say about the required education.

Before you jump into a Bachelor's program, consider what you really want to do for a career. There's an idea that everyone get's that you need to go to a 4-year college to get anywhere in the world. But there are many great careers you can get with an Associate's degree, and you can start working after 2 years with a lot less debt.

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Q: Do I really need a bachelors degree to get a good job, or could I get an associates instead?
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Related questions

What degree is nursing fall into?

To work in nursing all you really need is your Associates Degree in Nursing, but workplaces are now seeking people with their bachelors degree instead. It is also possible to get your masters and doctorates.

What degree comes after an associates of the arts?

Well any degree really. If you decide to get a 4 year degree in a science field, find a major that either 1) interests you enough to see it through no matter what or 2) Perfectly matches the classes you took for the AAS so as to mean only 2 more years.

Where can I go to further my education in finance?

This really depends on where you live, so I can't give you very detailed information. If you already have a certificate or an associates, you can futher your finance degree with a bachelors or masters at your local university.

What types of jobs can one get with an associates degree?

It really depends on the subject area of the associates degree and whether or not vacancies are available. In terms of educational qualification, an associates degree comes in between a GED and a bachelor's degree. Therefore, an associates degree holder would be picked before a GED only holder.

What type of degree does a police officer?

Bachelors or Associates degree would be nice. But you really only need to take Public Safety through out highschool. Even if you DIDN'T you can still just have a clean record and go through basic. To be a sherrif or High Patrol is different. (:

What questions do you need to ask before you transfer to a four year university or college?

Answer 1: First and foremost, the four-year bachelors program must be accredited by an agency approved by the US Department of Education (USDE), and/or the USDE-sanctioned Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).Next, you'll want your entire two-year associates degree to count as the entire first two (freshman and sophomore) years of the bachelors degree; so that you may enter said bachelors program as a full junior, and complete just two more years in order to earn your bachelors. If any part of the associates won't count toward the freshman and sophomore years of the bachelors, then you may have to take a few additional lower division (freshman and sophomore level) courses to satisfy whatever are the bachelors degrees requirements which the bachelors degree program says you're missing. You'll want to be crystal clear about all that before entering the bachelors program.Beyond that, there's not too much to worry about, academically, because it's mostly the upper-division (junior and senior year) courses that matter in a bachelors program... that's where all the courses in the major (and minor, if one is declared), and the general electives, are taken; and almost nothing that you took in the associates degree manifestly affects any of that. What matters most about the associates is that it satisfies whatever are the bachelors program's requirements; and said requirements are usually related to what's called "lower division general education" (LDGE).If your associates is sufficiently well-crafted, then the bachelors program's LDGE requirement will be either entirely, or nearlly entirely satisfied by the associates degree. As long as that's the case, then the only academic questions you should have for the bachelors program will be related to your major and/or minor... neither of which have anything to do with the associates, even if the associates is in the very same thing, or something compatible with, whatever will be your bachelors degree's major.So, then, all that leaves, really, are questions about things like what life will be like on campus, in what kinds of extra-curricular activities you could become involved, what things cost, what are the rules, where and how will you live, etc., etc., etc.

Does the Work keys test qualify as an associates degree?

The Work Key Test is really an assessment of various skills whether as a student, or worker. However, it cannot be equated to an associates degree. You have to complete a program of classes to earn an associates degree.

Do universities accept the credits of an AS degree to transfer to bachelor of a different major?

Answer 1: Yes. With most bachelors programs, the associate degree's major almost doesn't matter. All the bachelors program really cares about is whether or not the associates degree contains all of the right "lower division general education" (LDGE) courses.A two-year associates, remember, is equivalent to the first two (freshman and sophomore) years of a four-year bachelors. Said four-year bachelors requires certain LDGE of its freshman and sophomore students; and so it will be looking for approximately those same LDGE courses in the associates that's being transferred into it. That's really, when you get right down to it, all that the bachelors program cares about.And because you're asking about an AS degree -- which, by nature, contains more math and science courses than an AA degree -- then your AS degree will likely be quite acceptable as equal to the first two (freshman and sophomore) years of pretty much any either BA or BS degree program. If you had an AA, then it might not contain enough math/science for a BS degree; and so said BS program might require a couple additional math and science courses before it would let you become a full junior. But an AS degree would likely be acceptable to either a BA or BS program.So, you're probably okay.I could get into how, in some states, like California, for example, the transferring associates degree requirements of the two different state school systems (the California State University system versus the University of California system) are a little different; and so the associate degree seeker must be ever-mindful of which system into which s/he eventually intends to transfer his/her associates degree; and must, then, craft said associates degree so that it will meet the standards of whichever bachelors degree system s/he ultimately enters......but... oy!... that's beyond the scope of this question.

Is it possible to receive a Master's in Sociology if my Bachelor's is in Communication?

Yes, however typically you will have to go for a bachelors degree first. But there are a few known exceptions to the traditional education paths. It really depends on the schools acceptance of the associates degree to pursue the masters.

What do i need to do to get a bachelor of science?

It really depends on the school in which you are getting your Bachelors Degree from. Every college has it's own requirements for any degree.

Should you get a BA for a six year pharmacy college?

In the US, a pharmacy degree has always been a five- or six-year degree which begins right after high-school. So, then, a bachelors degree, first, typically isn't necessary. In the old days, it was a typically six-year-long "Bachelor of Pharmacy" or "Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy" degree; but the accreditor of all the pharmacy schools has changed the nomenclature such that it's now called a "Doctor of Pharmacy" (PharmD) degree. It is, however, a professional, and not an academic degree, and so it's not really at the academic doctoral level. It is, in fact, four years of undergraduate, or undergraduate-plus-post-baccalaureate-level study that begins immediately after a two-year academic associates degree. So, then, it's not an academic four-year bachelors degree that one needs before entering pharmacy school; but, rather, an academic two-year associates degree... ...then, from there, one enters the four-year "PharmD" program. A full six-year "PharmD" program may be entered right out of high school; or one may get one's associates degree (or finish the freshman and sophomore years of a bachelors degree) and then enter the four-year "PharmD" program. Either way will work. Of course, some people don't like the idea of never having gotten a proper bachelors degree before getting the PharmD degree. In that case, then, yes, one goes ahead and gets one's bachelors degree... on pretty much anything, really; and then, from there, depending on the pharmacy schoool, one gets an either three- or four-year-long PharmD degree. If one is absolutely certain that one will only ever be a pharmacist in life, then not getting a bachelors can work fine. But on the off-chance that one may end-up not becoming a pharmacist (or one quits pharmacy) after all in life, one really needs a bachelors degree to even get the kind of job that, twenty five years ago, a person with only an associates degree -- or maybe even only a high school diploma -- could get. So, bottom line, I always recommend getting the bachelors, no matter what. Just take the four years to get that first; and then, after that, enter whatever PharmD program one wants to enter... ...but that's just me. The bottom line is that a person may become a pharmacist, with a "PharmD" degree, six years after graduating from high school if one wants.

What is a foundation degree?

A foundation degree would be equivalent to a two year associates degree. The term "foundation degree" is really particular to schools within the UK and not really used within the US. Still, its just a matter of semantics.