Many high school graduates expect to attend a four-year college and earn a bachelor's degree, but this is far from the only postsecondary educational option. In fact, associate degrees may be preferable in certain situations. If you're graduating soon, here are some good reasons to pursue an associate degree over a bachelor's degree.
Finish School in 2 Years
The biggest distinction between an associate degree and a bachelor's degree is how long it takes to complete the degree program. An associate degree requires just two years of study, while a bachelor's is usually done in four years of coursework. Of course, anyone who goes part-time or doesn't pass classes will need more time to complete either program.
Completing school in just two years can be a major advantage, for it both reduces how long you must pay tuition and lets you begin working in your chosen field sooner. Rather than spending four years paying tuition, you can cut that time in half. Moreover, you'll spend those latter two years bringing in an income instead of paying to take classes.
If you need to take out student loans, the cost-savings that a two-year program offers are hard to understate as most college students leave school with a mountain of debt. By reducing how much you pay for a degree, you can lower your future debt load — which will save you in monthly payments and interest once you begin to pay on student loans.
Even if you're able to cash-flow school and don't have to get student loans, the savings that an associate degree provides is still beneficial. The money you'd otherwise spend on your junior and senior year in a bachelor's program can instead be put toward another major investment, such as the purchase of a house or the start of a small business.
Earn a Good Income
Just because you go to a two-year school doesn't mean you can't earn a decent income for the duration of your working years. Many associate degrees are in highly relevant fields, such as trades, and jobs in these fields tend to pay well and have a high demand for workers.
Pursue a Bachelor's Degree Later
If you ultimately do want a bachelor's degree, an associate degree program doesn't preclude you from earning a four-year degree later on. The coursework you do for an associate degree might apply to a bachelor's program and shorten how long you have to study later to earn a four-year degree.