The 4 Types of Degrees 2024
The 4 Types of Degrees 2024

The 4 Types of Degrees 2024

It is widely accepted that a college education can open doors to a whole new world of opportunities.

For students looking to choose a career, the first step is likely to be deciding on a course and college.

However, this isn't always as easy as it sounds.

The world of higher education can be littered with a variety of letters, titles, certifications and abbreviations.

Understanding the importance of each and the differences between them can be vital in knowing which path to take when it comes to your own further education and future career.

Associate's Degree

An associate's degree is a qualification that is most commonly found within technical and community colleges.

Offering a broad overview of studies that do not solely focus on one particular career path, they are popular with individuals looking to broaden their skill set before entering the workplace.

They are also a popular stepping stone for those wanting to take a bachelor's degree.

Types of Associate's Degree

There are three categories of associate's degree:

  • Associate of Applied Science
  • Associate of Arts
  • Associate of Science

Within these categories, there are a number of course options, each suited to different careers.

For example, someone looking for a career in teaching could consider taking an associate of applied science course in education.

How Long Does an Associate's Degree Take?

A full-time associate's degree will typically take two years to complete.


The exact cost for completing an associate's degree can vary considerably depending on the type of college students attend and whether they are in-state or not.

For students attending a public college, the average for tuition fees is $3,500 per year.

This is considerably higher for individuals looking to attend a private college.

After Your Associate's Degree

Once you have completed your associate's degree, you can choose to enter the workforce or continue your education.

Many find that the level of knowledge gained during an associate's degree is sufficient to begin a career at an entry-level.

Others prefer to take the generalized knowledge gained from an associate's degree and focus their future studies on a specific subject, therefore, turning it into a more specialized degree.

Many associate's degrees will be able to be transferred into credits towards further degrees, with some being worth as many as 60 credits.

Bachelor's Degree

Students who already know the career they want will often find that a bachelor's degree is more suited to their needs than an associate's degree.

This is because each course is tailored towards a specific career and the course material offers a more detailed level of knowledge to students.

The first two years of the course are designed to give a broad understanding of the topic, with the final two years offering advanced courses.

If students are using an existing associate's degree as credit towards their bachelor's, they may find that they are only required to complete the final two years of the course rather than all four.

Students wishing to take a bachelor's degree will need a minimum of a High School diploma or an equivalent qualification.

Types of Bachelor's Degrees

When considering a bachelor's degree, it is important to know which type to choose. There are six categories to choose from:

  • Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Architecture
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts

Each of the courses within the six categories offers a more specialized program of study designed to offer students the skills they will need to enter specific careers.

How Long Does a Bachelor's Degree Take?

A full-time bachelor's degree will typically take four years to complete


As with all degrees, the exact cost of studying for a bachelor's degree will vary.

It is often much more affordable for students to complete their courses at a public college rather than a private one.

Living costs can also be reduced by studying at a college in-state or staying at home rather than in student dorms.

The average cost of a bachelor's degree for someone studying in-state at a public college is $9,500 per year.

For students studying out-of-state or at private colleges, the cost is considerably more.

After You Finish Your Bachelor's Degree

Once students have completed their four years of study and gained their bachelor's degree, they will be able to enter the workplace.

Most students will find that their qualification is sufficient to gain a mid-level management role.

Alternatively, students may choose to carry on their education, gaining further degree qualifications.

Master's Degree

More and more employers require their staff to have specialized degrees.

This means that after completing a bachelor's degree, many students will go on to complete a master's degree.

The master's degree offers a combination of coursework and research requirements that provide students with an in-depth knowledge of a specific subject area.

4 Types of Degrees: Differences, Examples and Destinations
4 Types of Degrees: Differences, Examples and Destinations

How Long Does a Master's Degree Take?

Most master's degrees will take between one and two years to complete. This will depend on the type of degree chosen.


The cost of a master's degree will vary depending on the course chosen and the college a student wishes to study at.

Private colleges are considerably more expensive than public colleges, and most students will find that it is cheaper to study in-state rather than attending an institution out of state.

The average tuition cost for someone wishing to study for a master's degree is between $20,000 and $60,000 per year.

There are often scholarships available to help students with the cost of tuition fees.

It is also important to remember that the costs incurred with a master's degree are likely to be on top of the costs required to gain previous qualifications.

After Your Master's Degree

Once students have completed a master's degree, many will find that they are able to enter the workforce, taking managerial, executive-level and senior administrative positions.

Alternatively, they can choose to pursue a doctoral degree in their chosen discipline.

Doctoral Degree

A doctoral degree is a highly specialized post-graduate qualification which will ensure that an individual has all of the knowledge that they will need to enter the workplace.

This is the highest level of college qualification available to students and, as such, can take many years to complete.

Students will be required to have already completed the previous study in their chosen field, with many colleges insisting on a relevant bachelor's degree as part of their entry requirements.

Some may also insist on students having completed a master's degree before beginning their doctoral studies.

When people think of doctoral degrees, they will often think of medicine.

While it is true that doctors and pharmacists need doctoral degrees to practice, there are many other areas that also require doctoral degrees.

For example, many universities will require doctoral qualifications for their lecturers, with individuals holding the title of Doctor of Education.

How Long Does a Doctoral Degree Take?

A doctoral degree can take many years to complete due to the in-depth nature of the study.

On average, it will take a student between two and ten years to complete all areas of their doctoral degree.


As with all other degree types, the exact cost of obtaining a doctoral degree is variable.

Largely, it will depend on the type of degree being taken and the chosen college.

Public colleges will cost considerably less than private colleges, and a longer doctoral degree will cost more than a shorter one.

On average, a doctoral degree will cost between $28.000 and $55,000 per year.

There are scholarships and student programs available, but a qualification for these will depend on the type of degree being studied and the student's personal circumstances.

After your Doctoral Degree

Once students have completed their doctoral degrees, they will have the ability to work within their chosen industry at the highest possible level.

Many individuals who hold doctoral degrees will be able to work as consultants or specialists and will be considered experts within their field.

Final Thoughts

While it is becoming more and more common for a college education to be expected after high school, this does not mean that it's the only way to achieve your chosen career.

It is important to remember, however, that not all education is equal, and if you have a specific career path in mind, you should be sure that your chosen qualification will offer you the right opportunities.

In some cases, experience is valued above a degree, whereas in others, having the correct certification is vital.

Spending time researching your preferred career and the entry routes to it can save you a lot of time and money in the long term.

You will be able to direct your efforts in a way that is most beneficial for you and means that you are able to attain your ambitions.

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