Higher Education Goals — The Different Levels of Degrees

GED or High School diploma – This is the baseline, the starting gun, the GO on a Monopoly board. Before you can start to achieve any college degree, you need to have earned either a diploma, or a GED.

What kind of degrees are available online? Photo by jcasabona

What kind of degrees are available online? Photo by jcasabona

Associate Degree – This is the lowest tier of higher education academic degrees. While not as valuable as a Bachelor’s degree, it is still an accepted and valuable achievement, and graduating with an AA (Associate of Arts) or AS (Associate of Science) can lead to increased value in the work place and increased wages. The Associate degree is the equivalent of two years of undergraduate college study. It is usually awarded by Junior college, community colleges, and technical schools, but can also be offered by four-year universities.

An Associate degree is earned upon completion of the required general education courses, and is sometimes earned by students without their knowledge as they pursue a Bachelor’s degree. Students are usually not required to select a major or minor for the completion of the associate degree. Although no specification is necessary (an Associate degree is more general than a Bachelor’s) it is possible to earn the degree in six different headings —  data processing, health services and paramedical, public service technology, natural science technology, mechanical and engineering, and business and commerce.

Bachelors – The most sought-after college degree is this, which is awarded for completion of all requirements during four years of course work at a college. The four years is a standard rule of thumb, but a Bachelor’s degree program can take anywhere from two to seven years to complete, depending on the school and the program.

It used to be the only common types of Bachelors degree were the BA (Bachelor of Arts) and BS (Bachelor of Science) but now the degree tend to be much more specific depending on your fiend of study. There is Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Math, Bachelor of Forestry, and dozens more. Virtually all of which are offered in a distance learning format. Use the Distance learning college search engine here.

Masters – To earn a Masters degree, a student must learn and display significant and thorough knowledge of a particular field of study or means of business. Taking anywhere from two to six years to complete, a Masters degree is available in virtually every field of study as the Bachelors degree, and some times the two programs are even linked.

Doctorate – One of the highest academic degrees that can be earned, it is also one that is very rare to find in an on-line program. They do exist, but the learning level required at the Doctorate level as of yet has not been translated to a distance format in any widespread fashion. In time, do doubt, that will change.

A Doctorate degree can either be a research degree or a professional degree. It entails taking classes, oft times teaching classes, and completing a dissertation. Earning a Doctorate degree can take anywhere from four to seven years, depending on the field.

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