What’s the big difference between associate's vs. bachelor's degree? Time and money are the main one differences. When adults consider going to college, they have sifted through a lot of information to find an institution that works for them. What they often have to consider is what degree will work best for them as well. There are advantages to attending a college for a bachelor’s or associate's degree.

Advantages of an Associate Degree

An Associate of Arts (A.A. degree) requires less and offers more for those seeking work in the job market. Career colleges, four-year colleges and online universities offer associate’s degrees with courses prepared for busy students who may work full-time or have other obligations that make it difficult to attend classes.

Private colleges can offer associate’s degrees in as little as 15 months of course work requirements. An associate’s degree typically takes about two years or less to obtain. It opens opportunities and higher pay for those who complete the curriculum, pushing them further up the career ladder in a short amount of time. They're often less expensive and time consuming to complete considering that an associate degree overall takes less than half the time to complete than a bachelor’s degree.

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Bachelor’s Degree Benefits

There are more choices for people with a bachelor’s degree. Students who choose four-year degrees can also have a dual major or second minor to round out their degree, which makes them more attractive to potential employers once they graduate. Four-year colleges and universities offer bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees.

The B.A. degree focuses on liberal arts, social sciences and humanities, while the B.S. focuses on math, technical and science subjects. They usually require a minimum of 120 course credits or more. A bachelor’s degree can be obtained at a private, public, for-profit or not-for profit institution. The schools may have harder prerequisites to be accepted, including a higher grade point average and minimum SAT and ACT scores.

Benefits of College

After attending college for an associate’s degree, students see that a it opens up career opportunities, but it also stimulates the student both intellectually and socially. They will make more money due to the experience they have gained, but they can also realize they have a thirst for knowledge. An associate degree can launch a student into a career path that can double what they would have made with just a high school diploma or equivalent. Some students also get motivated and move past an associate’s degree to get a bachelor’s, master's or Ph.D.

About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.