The choices you make right before and during your early college years have an impact on all of your future career moves, so it becomes vitally important for all students to understand the Post Secondary Education Options that are available to them.  So many of us put off the decisions about our future because we are unsure of the path we want to pursue, and for the first two years of college, this is considered normal.

As you enter into the junior year of college, you should have a stronger sense of the area of study that you would like to concentrate on and how far you want your education to take you.  Some career paths may only require an Associate’s Degree while others will command a Master’s or Doctorate Degree.  The post secondary education options are numerous and should be seriously considered.

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Post Secondary Education Degree Options

The time you spend on a post-secondary education will depend largely upon which course of study you choose.  The requirements for the various career paths that you may decide upon will undoubtedly be varied in both structure and length.  These are all part of the post secondary education options that you must consider when making these all important choices.

Do you want to attend a college or university near home or do you want to move away?  Do you want to attend a traditional college campus or are you more interested in a trade or vocational school?  Do you want to start small or dive right in and start earning your degree?  What kind of degree do you hope to pursue?

Listed below is an overview of the various post-secondary education options that students will ultimately have to make.

Certificate Programs  ~  Certificate programs are designed to supply students a focused field of study without the full educational offerings of a typical degree course.  The certificate received after successful completion of the course is not a degree but it does signify that you are skilled in the area of study.  For students with a degree in an unrelated field, a certification course can richly supplement their resume.

Diploma Programs  ~ Although similar to a certification program, a diploma program readies the student for entering the work with a skill or a trade.  Often compared to trade or vocational schools, diploma programs validate the successful completion of all requirements and established criteria in each given subject.  As a supplement to a degree, a diploma or certificate can provide a real edge in the job market.

Associate’s Degree  ~  An Associate’s Degree is granted after successful completion of a two year degree program offered at community colleges as well as most colleges and universities. Typically considered the foundation or starting block of a four year degree, an Associate’s Degree in an undergraduate program that focuses on three distinctive areas of study: general education requirements, major requirements, and electives.

Bachelor’s Degree  ~  While still an under-graduate degree, a Bachelor’s Degree, or Baccalaureate, is the standard degree for successful completion of a four year term at a fully accredited college or university. Post secondary education options for Bachelor Degrees are numerous in a vast array of subject choices.  More and more businesses are requiring applicants to have a college degree and research shows that those with a Bachelor’s Degree earn a great deal more money than students without one.

Master’s Degree  ~  A Master’s Degree is an advanced degree.  To enter into a Master’s program, a student must have a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field.   This academic degree is granted to students who have mastered the subject matter of a specific field of study.  Graduates with a Master’s Degree are acknowledged as skilled in analysis, critical evaluations, and professional applications as well as solve complex problems.  Employees with a Master’s Degree can demand a much greater salary remuneration.

PhD Degree  ~  A PhD, or Doctorate Degree, is the highest academic degree earned at a college or university.  As a graduate program, each student must build upon the degrees previously earned, such as the Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees.  A doctorate degree involves two disciplines; they must master the subject matter and secondly, each student must expand the knowledge of their chosen field. Post secondary education options within the framework of a PhD Degree are expansive and growing.

Post Secondary Education Combination Degrees Options

A combination degree, also called a joint or double degree, allows students to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in conjunction with a Master’s Degree in less time than is typical.  Other post secondary education options for combination degrees may be an Associate’s and a Bachelor’s.

The most popular dual degree is a dual Bachelor’s or dual Master’s.  Combination degrees are a growing trend due to the specialized fields of technology and as the advancements in the field of healthcare expand, the need for double degrees will be highly valued.  So, colleges and universities are designing programs for students to be able to earn dual degrees without extending their schooling for another four years.

Most students apply for the graduate combination programs while still in the first few years of undergraduate studies and begin the graduate program before the end of the fourth year.

Knowledge is power, as they say.  Use it to your advantage.  The earlier a student recognizes their chosen career path, the sooner that student can begin the plan to make it happen.  With all of the post-secondary education options available, success is simply a few books away..