Associate’s Degree versus Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology

Posted December 3, 2013 | By csponline

Tech-savvy professionals making their return to college in pursuit of an advanced credential for job placement and career growth are faced with a lot of questions before enrolling in a degree program. Among the myriad of questions is whether to earn a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree. While simply gaining a degree could give you an edge in some job pools, the information technology positions with the greatest potential for job growth, higher earnings and increased responsibility are those with staunch education requirements, including that of a bachelor’s degree. If you are still on the fence about where to take your education, consider the following reasons to choose a four-year degree. In the battle of associate versus bachelor’s degrees, the four-year degree comes out on top.

Courses that Go Beyond the Basics

Four-year degree programs deliver a comprehensive study of core competencies as well as other applicable job skills not covered during associate degree programs. Concordia University, St. Paul’s bachelor’s degree offers courses in business management, business strategy and technology innovation, applied systems analysis and design, as well as others not featured in most two-year programs. You will also gain leadership, communication and critical thinking skills through high-level courses that will help you grow your career in information technology.

Making the Time for a Bachelor’s Degree

One of the biggest reasons professionals avoid taking that next step in their education is because of a lack of time. And, if you are debating between an associate and bachelor’s degree, you might initially be drawn to the two-year option, thinking it will put you in the job market sooner. However, you will miss out on core content that bridges traditional education with applicable job skills for a comprehensive education. A four-year degree aims to develop a well-rounded professional who has a thorough understanding of competencies needed to excel at the job. And, online information technology degree programs make it more convenient than ever for professionals trying to keep up with their busy life while earning a college degree. Online programs make it easy to log on and sign in to courses whenever you have the time and wherever you have an Internet connection. Many online degrees can be accelerated, allowing you to earn a bachelor’s degree quicker and getting you on the job sooner.

ROI and a 4-Year Degree

When you enroll in any college degree program, you are making a long-term investment in your future. And, while the cost of a bachelor’s degree is higher than that of an associate because of the extra credit hours, you will see greater return on your investment due to higher earning potential throughout your career. A bachelor’s degree delivers a real impact on your monetary return on investment. Consider the following data compiled by, which outlines average earnings for professionals with varying education credentials and experience.


Associate Degree in IT Salary Chart: 1-4 years, $40,530; 5-9 years, $50,558; 10-19 years, $60,720Bachelor's Degree in IT Salary: 1-4 years, $55,467; 5-9 years, $72,000; 10-19 years, $90,037

The proof is in the numbers. A bachelor’s degree in information technology positions you for greater earning potential throughout your career. The discrepancy can be associated with the likelihood that professionals with a bachelor’s degree have greater career mobility and often earn promotions into jobs that pay more.

Apply Your Associate Degree Towards a Bachelor’s Degree

An associate degree has value in the workforce, so don’t be discouraged if you are in the midst of a two-year information technology or a computer-related program. You should also know that most credits earned in associate programs can be applied to four-year programs, helping to maximize the value of your current degree. Many courses in the bachelor’s program will build on competencies gained through those lower-level, associate courses to create complex curriculum aimed at developing a well-prepared information technology professional. Associate courses will provide you with a solid foundation for continued learning and academic success.

Concordia University, St. Paul offers a bachelor’s degree in information technology online for professionals opting for a four-year degree. We accept most associate credit hours earned from an accredited college or university to fast-track your degree. And, we provide robust financial aid assistance programs to eligible professionals to make a bachelor’s degree more affordable and feasible. Step up your game and career with a bachelor’s degree from Concordia.

Also published on Medium.