Associate Degree vs. Bachelor Degree: What’s the Difference?

February 8, 2022

Sometimes life throws us curveballs that interfere with our education. We may be forced to drop out of school to start working or put degree programs on hold due to family circumstances.

Although you’re gaining work experience, if you want to increase your income, you’ll need an educational background in your field too. Jobs that have higher pay usually require you to have an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree.

Depending on your situation, it’s important knowing whether an associate degree vs. a bachelor’s degree is better for your career advancement. If you’re curious, continue reading to learn about the key differences between these two degrees.

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Time Commitment

When deciding if an associate degree vs. bachelor’s degree is right for you, time is always an important factor. Education is now part of your daily routine. So you’ll need to figure out how much time you can give to your education.

Associate degree programs are usually two-year programs if you’re a full-time student. See how your schedule can accommodate the educational demands of the academic institution. Determine what your priorities are.

If it’s working right away, you can learn more about this degree program that can get you the necessary educational experience for a job. You can have a degree and earn an income boost.

Program Cost

Tuition costs are another critical factor when choosing a degree program. Associate degree programs usually cost less than bachelor’s degrees because program length is shorter. 

Although costs may be daunting, having a bachelor’s degree will allow you to earn more money. It can cancel out the debt accrued from your education. But consider your current financial circumstances before enrolling in a program.

Potential Income

A common question some professionals may have is, “Are associate degrees good for careers?” Yes, they are. You gain educational experience that gives you a foundation for your career.

But unless you obtain a bachelor’s degree, your income won’t increase. Most jobs that have an increased salary require you to have a bachelor’s degree.

The average yearly income for an associate degree holder is roughly $44,000 while having a bachelor’s degree gets you around $61,000. As you can see, the higher your educational level, the more you can earn.


Associate degrees give you two educational paths to choose from. You can enroll in classes that help you get specific skills for a job. The other path is general studies classes that you can use as credit towards your bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor’s degree programs focus on one area of study of a specific topic. You’ll need to complete two years of general education and core classes that make up your major.

Which is Better: Associate Degree vs. Bachelor Degree?

When deciding between an associate degree vs. a bachelor’s degree, your circumstances will determine which is better for your career. Associate degrees are good two-year degrees that give you a base level of educational experience and some skills for jobs.

Bachelor’s degrees provide you with an educational focus in one particular area, increasing your opportunity for higher-paying jobs. Both will enhance your career but choose the option more suited to you.

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