What Are the Different Types of Online Degrees?
When it comes to degree types, there is no one right path to take. As different jobs require different levels of education, and as everyone has their own budgets when it comes to both time and money, it's fortunate that attending college comes with a variety of options. While deciding how much education to pursue is tricky, being aware of how helpful each degree type can be is key to getting started.
Choosing a degree level can be tough at first, as it's hard to imagine what your future self or future employer will want. However, jobs are increasingly requiring applicants to have a degree of some sort, and research shows that the more educated you are, the more money you'll make(1). Whether you attend college in person or choose the convenience of earning your degree online, each type of degree comes with its own set of benefits that can make progressing in your career easier. Here's a quick breakdown of your options:
Associate degrees allow students to choose a subject to concentrate on and typically take two or so years to complete. This can get your foot in the door for many jobs, while not taking up as much of your time and money as a higher degree might.
Bachelor's degrees usually take about four years to complete and offer students the opportunity to specialize in a specific subject. For many careers, this is an entry-level requirement, which is why it's the common choice of students just out of high school.
Master's degrees are advanced degrees that offer a deeper concentration on a given subject than an associate degree or bachelor's degree. These degrees take two to three years to complete, in addition to the four years that you must spend earning a bachelor's degree beforehand. This can unlock promotions and higher wages in many career paths, making it worth the time for many.
Professional certificates are an education option separate from degrees that offer the training and preparation necessary for skills-based work. Usually lasting about a year, this is a great choice for anyone looking for a low-cost, focused, and convenient path towards a career.
Each level of schooling comes with its own list of pros and cons and suits a different set of career paths. Take into consideration your budget, the amount of time you want to devote, and what degree makes the most sense in the career path you're considering before committing. If you're not ready for a more advanced degree program right now, keep in mind that it's always possible to first earn a lower-level degree and return later if you find that going further makes sense.