Associate Degree - If going to school for two years appeals to you and you feel you are more about a community college or technical school, an associate’s degree may be your best bet. You will take general education courses, several core classes for your chosen college major and a few electives, usually 60 college credits completed in two years. You can also apply these credits to higher educational goals. You may be able to live off-campus and apply distance (or computer) learning in this endeavor.
Bachelor’s Degree - Offered in accredited colleges and universities, a bachelor’s degree is four years of schooling resulting in 120-128 hours of degree credits. This comprises the basics, general courses of study required to give you a well-rounded or broad academic foundation taken in your freshman and sophomore years. Then the coursework is more specific to your chosen field and some electives are an option. The courses you take will be directed for a specific job or career.
The two main types of bachelor degrees are a BA or Bachelor of Arts and the BS or Bachelor of Science. Arts emphasizes social sciences, the humanities, music or fine arts. BS features more scientific studies such as physical, life or mathematical sciences.
Master’s Degree - A master’s degree generally follows a bachelor’s. Students advance in a field with an additional two years training. MBAs or Masters of Business degrees provide higher entry into fields of business. MA, the Master of Arts and the MS, Master of Science are the most common degree plans.
The fields you enter can vary, such as psychology, mathematics or biology. Many classes involve seminars, discussion groups and final papers that require a master’s thesis or research paper for the field of study. Sometimes an internship can be braided into the curriculum, providing a leg-up on the daily work and expectations of the job.
Doctorate or Ph.D. Degree - If you want to hold a doctor of philosophy degree, or a Ph.D., you are delving deep into your field with experiments, reasoning, and thought problems. Although a “philosophy" degree, this degree is awarded in a host of other disciplines.
Comprehensive exams are a big part of the coursework with a large project called a dissertation at the end. This form of study goes beyond the master’s and the exact number of years varies with the student, their efforts and time allowance. It can typically run from four to eight years.
Votech-Technical Certification - There are vocational programs in a number of diverse fields from pharmacology to bartending, travel or fashion design to plumbing, electrical wiring, welding and auto mechanics. Most programs are two years or less and you may be able transfer to a four-year college if you decide to continue or gain more expertise.