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How many levels of college education are there in the U.S.?

I don’t want to seem ignorant but I can’t quite grasp the details of levels of college education in America. I know that you can get a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree. But what is the difference between them? Searching for the higher education degrees, I stumbled upon the term “associate.” It is also considered a higher education degree or still secondary? As far as I understand, it is inferior to the bachelor’s degree.

Any help on these specifics of college education will be appreciated. Thanks for the time and your advice in advance.

Naomi Doyle

in Higher Education

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Ross Pratt on February 2, 2018

Do not be shy to ask for help if you don’t understand something. It’s better to admit your lack of knowledge than remain ignorant. Besides, it’s great that you’ve asked such a crucial question here, where many people can help you— multiple points of view always show you the whole picture.

You are right to believe that the associate’s certificate goes before the bachelor’s degree. However, this is not secondary but already a higher education level. Basically, you can get it after school studying for about two years. There are those professions that don’t require a bachelor’s degree. When aiming at them, you can finish a community college and be free from the academic life. However, there are also transferable associate certificates that allow you to apply for a degree in a university. In this case, you skip two years of studies and can graduate the establishment in about two years. Considering that you choose your major at the beginning of the third year, there is no big difference where to spend the previous two years.

Let’s move on. There is an undergraduate and a graduate level of the college education. Undergraduate means that you are studying to get the bachelor degree. When you decide to receive a master’s degree or go for a doctorate, you are attending the graduate level courses.

So, here are the basics of the higher education system in the U.S. Higher education degrees vary and have their own advantages. It’s believed that the bachelor’s one is the most universal when it comes to getting a job. Most companies will be satisfied with it. However, most leading positions require a master’s degree. In any case, it can be achieved at any time and combined with your work. For the start, I think, finishing the four-year program in a college is enough.

Most students do just that. Only if you are interested in the academic studies and feel that research is your heart’s desire, pursue the doctorate degree for the task is hard and long. If you are going to get a white-collar job, this level of higher education will only take a few years from you and not give you any practical knowledge. Do not waste your time on something that you won’t need in the future.

My advice is to research the market and think whether the education in college suits out. Based on the jobs requirements, you can choose the degree you have to get.

Noel Byrda year ago

Of course, you need a get a higher education degree to apply for a good job. However, I see them as highly overrated. After the four years of studying, you are ready to go into the adult life and find a job. Staying it college longer only wastes your time. Even those four years are too much. You can get the necessary skills much quicker. Besides, who needs those two introductory years when you’ve already had twelve years of school? If I were to choose, I would change the whole system drastically. There are many courses nowadays that take less time to complete and give you the same knowledge at four years of university. I’d rather start practicing my skills sooner. There are many companies who don’t even look at your diploma; they give you a test task and look at your skills. I hope that in the future, the education system will change.


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