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Credential or Degree? What do you need? College 

Credential or Degree? What do you need?

In most cases, with each level of education, the better your chances for job security and higher income. Find out how financial aid can help you reach your next level on page 32.

One-year certificate
Complete requirements in a year or less at a community college or other training center and earn a workforce certificate in a wide range of jobs such as computer technology, security, commercial truck driving, accounting, certified nursing assistant or many other areas.

Train for three to five years in one of more than 1,000 nationally recognized occupations while earning a paycheck and possibly an associate degree from a community college. Pipefitting, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, HVAC, elevator installation and repair and, many other careers are available.

Associate Degree
Associate degrees open doors to high-demand jobs in business, construction management, biotechnology, information technology, engineering, nursing, dental hygiene and education. If you go full time, you can finish in just two years.

Bachelor’s Degree
Earn a bachelor’s degree at a public or independent (private) college or university campus in four years if you go full time. A bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree is often found in the liberal arts, such as English, political science or history. A bachelor of science (B.S.) degree prepares people for careers in the sciences, business, engineering and social sciences.

Master’s or Professional Degree
Complete at least two additional years (or more) of full-time study after a bachelor’s degree to continue to advance your career. Some careers require an advanced degree such as law, some managers, some engineers and school counseling.

Depending on field and career goals, three to five years or more is typical for a doctorate or PhD degree. Many careers in medicine and science require a doctorate degree, but so does any field in which you hope to research or teach at the highest levels. Examples include medical doctors, research scientists and college professors.

For each level, ask yourself:
• How will this credential or degree help me?
• Am I prepared to do the work to finish this degree?
• What degree is required to do the work I want to do?
• What degree is required to advance in my career?
• How can I prepare now for the next level?

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