College means more than you might think. It’s any educational experience after high school that offers a quality credential or degree. That includes technical, one-year, two-year, four-year opportunities and military educational experiences. And a four-year degree brings the opportunity to move ahead to a master’s or professional degree and doctorate.
Which will enable you to reach your career goal? Learn more about pursuing financial aid for college study on page 36-41.
Stackable degrees are a cost-effective way to pursue higher education. Some colleges offer this option, which enables you to earn a certificate, then have those credits count toward the next levels of study: associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate. With each level, you can expect to increase your income, qualify for better career options, and increase your job satisfaction.
1. One-year certificate
Earn a workforce certificate in one year or less at a community college or other training center. Areas of training include accounting, computer technology, certified nursing assistant, commercial truck driving and more.
More than 1,000 occupations require apprenticeship training. Train for three to five years while earning a salary and, in some cases, an associate degree from a community college. Careers include carpentry, electrical, elevator installation and repair, HVAC, pipe-fitting and plumbing.
Earn an associate degree in just two years if you attend school full-time. This degree will qualify you for high-demand jobs in the fields of business, biotechnology, construction management, dental hygiene, education, engineering, education and nursing.
A bachelor’s degree generally requires four years of full-time study at a public or private (independent) college or university. A bachelor of science (B.S.) degree prepares you for careers in business, engineering, social sciences and the sciences, while a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree encompasses liberal arts fields, such as English, history and political science.
5. Master’s or professional
At least two years of additional study are required after a bachelor’s degree. Law, school counseling and some management and engineering careers require these types of degrees.
Many careers in the fields of medicine and science require doctorate (M.D. or Ph.D.) degrees, as well as other fields that include research and teaching at the college level.