These demonstrate that you have a set of skills for a particular occupation. The length of time required varies by occupation, ranging from six months to less than two years. Certificates and diplomas are available in subjects like auto mechanics, welding, cosmetology, and practical nursing (LPN).
These are two-year degrees that provide preparation for a career or for a transfer to a four-year college or university. Examples of careers that require an associate’s degree are dental assistant, teacher assistant, and electromechanical technologist. Students can also earn an associate’s degree, then transfer to a four-year school to earn a bachelor’s degree.
At four-year colleges and universities, you can earn:
A bachelor’s degree is awarded after four years of study at a college. The bachelor of arts (BA) and bachelor of science (BS) are the most common, and both require general education courses, a major, and electives. This degree is also called an undergraduate degree. Examples of careers requiring bachelor’s degrees are teaching and engineering.
A master’s degree is an advanced degree earned in a specialized field after the completion of a bachelor’s degree. Most master’s degrees take two or three years of full-time study and include writing a thesis or taking comprehensive exams. School counselors, physical therapists, and social workers are examples of people with master’s degrees.
A doctoral degree, also known as a doctorate (PhD), is the highest educational degree you can earn. A doctoral degree indicates expertise in a specialized field. Doctoral candidates often spend 3–5 years after earning a master’s degree completing courses and research and writing a dissertation.
Professional degrees are advanced degrees in fields like dentistry, ministry, law, medicine, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine. These degrees are earned after completing a bachelor’s degree, and the length of study required varies for each profession.
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