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 earning 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 require at least 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
Bachelor’s degree programs deliver a comprehensive study of core competencies as well as other applicable job skills not covered during associate degree programs. You can find courses in business management, business strategy, technology innovation, applied systems analysis and design, as well as others not featured in most two-year programs. Through high-level courses that will help you grow into a strong candidate for IT jobs, you will also gain leadership, communication, and critical thinking skills.
Making the Time for a Bachelor’s Degree
One of the biggest reasons IT professionals avoid taking that next step in their education is because of a lack of time. You may initially be drawn to a two-year program, with the thought that 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 with online programs becoming more popular, it is more convenient than ever for professionals to earn a college degree while maintaining a busy life. In addition, many online programs are offered in an accelerated format, allowing you to earn a bachelor’s degree quicker and getting you on the job sooner.
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ROI and a Four-Year Degree
When you enroll in a college program, you are making a long-term investment in your future. 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 as you will have greater career mobility and can often get promotions into higher-paying jobs. In fact, according to PayScale, those with an associate degree in information technology earn an average of $54,000 per year, while those with a bachelor’s degree make $63,000 per year.
Apply Your Associate Degree Toward 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 IT 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 a bachelor’s program will build on competencies gained through lower-level courses to turn you into a well-prepared information technology professional.
Concordia University, St. Paul offers an online bachelor’s in information systems for professionals seeking a four-year degree. We accept most associate credit hours earned from regionally accredited institutions to fast-track your program. In addition, we provide financial aid to eligible professionals to help make a bachelor’s degree more affordable.