Experience can definitely give you an edge when applying for a job, and the completion of a degree is often crucial in establishing a successful career in your chosen field. Completing a program or earning a degree serve as stepping stones that can help you make it big in your career of choice. Whether you are looking to switch careers or wanting to pursue more challenging roles in your current position, there are a number of degree programs to choose from. Here’s a summary of the different program types to help get you started:
Certification and Diploma Program - A certification or diploma typically serves as a validation of an individual’s specialized skill. Usually granted by a review board or through an assessment process, a certification can be completed in as little as a few weeks to about a year. While a certification or diploma program cannot replace an actual degree, it serves as solid evidence of a person’s expertise in a particular skill set. Since these are awarded upon completion of a course of study or a particular test, one can apply for them on top of othe existing degrees.
Associate Degree - Associate programs are ideal for nontraditional students and adult learners who cannot be out of the workforce for very long. Typically offered by most degree granting institutions, acquiring your degree will take about two years. The program often consists of three parts; general education requirements, major requirements, and electives. An associate degree often creates opportunities over and above those with a diploma. The completion of an associate degree can also serve as the first step towards earning a Bachelor’s degree.
Bachelor's Degree - More career opportunities are generally made available to bachelor degree holders. This is why many people still opt to earn a bachelor’s degree despite the longer study period of nearly four years. A bachelor’s degree is often required for professional positions and even for many entry-level jobs. Bachelor’s degrees are offered in various fields like language, information technology and health sciences, but they are generally classified under two types of Bachelor’s degrees—Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS). A bachelor’s degree must first be acquired before pursuing a Master’s degree or Doctoral degree.
Master's Degree - Often taking one or two years to complete, a master’s degree is sometimes required for certain professional positions or before acquiring a doctoral degree. Earning a master’s degree definitely gives professionals a competitive edge among their peers. Master’s degrees may be research-based or fully-taught, usually depending on the field of expertise. A master’s degree can effectively increase a person’s marketability in the career playing field while at the same time increasing their lifetime earnings.
Doctoral Degree - Individuals who pursue a doctoral degree typically end up in the academe or in research. Doctoral degrees are considered as the highest level of academic credential. It takes anywhere from three to as much as ten years to complete the degree. A master’s degree is necessary in order to apply for a doctoral degree.