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Study in the US – Associate Degree or Bachelor’s Degree?


Studying in the USA can be an exciting experience for international students pursuing higher education. Deciding where to start a higher education journey is a struggle most students have. If you’re wondering what an associate and a bachelor’s degree are and their differences, you can read on for a quick overview of both degree types! 


An associate degree is typically earned at a college, community college, or vocational/technical school, with programs designed to be completed within two years. Associate degree programs include introductory courses through which you can learn about a particular field or academic discipline and learn basic tools, methods, and principles that will help you get started in the industry. Because of this, the courses in an associate program may overlap with the lower level courses in a bachelor’s program in the same field or subject. The average cost of an associate degree is around $3,570 per year.


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A bachelor’s degree is typically awarded through a four-year college or university program. You are not required to receive an associate degree before pursuing a bachelor’s, as the requirements for an associate’s are often built into a bachelor’s program. Bachelor’s programs include more specialized courses that build on the information covered in an associate program of the same subject by offering more in-depth knowledge and information. Due to the required course load, earning a bachelor’s degree will typically cost more than obtaining an associate degree, on average, $25,000-$35,000 per year.


You may be asking yourself, “Where should I start?” The truth is, there is no one correct answer. The best way to decide is by considering the life goals you want to achieve by pursuing higher education and choosing the available academic options that align from there.

If you know you want to earn a degree but aren’t yet settled on a specific career path, earning an associate’s degree at a U.S. community college or college may be a good place for you to start. It can help you determine your interests before completing a bachelor’s degree. It can also be a good way for you to get a feel for what going to school in America will be like and what you can look forward to while studying in the USA.

You can also consider a 2+2 degree, where you attend a community college for two years and then transfer to a college or university for another two years. A 2+2 degree program would allow you to skip the SAT or ACTs, save around $50,000 USD, and offer you flexibility with your schedule.

If you’re sure of your field of study and chosen profession and have decided that aiming straight for a bachelor’s degree is right for you, get ready to dive all in and find the U.S. university that is right for you.


Author Jenise Jackson. This article originally appeared on the Study in the USA website