Considering my major is broadcast journalism I only need two years of college, if I want to attend college all four years is that bad?
I don't think it's bad to attend the full 4 years of college if that's what you want to do. As another commenter pointed out, controlling how much debt you have is very helpful, but so is an education. While college will teach you skills that are focused on your major, it also offers a broader education - teaching you how to think, as well as expanding your horizons. In a tech job, you'll learn most of the actual skills on the job, so learning how to be better at learning is tremendously helpful. As talent or a producer, a broad worldview and the ability to parse information quickly and well is a necessary skill (or should be - there are certainly people that are just good at reading a prompter and looking nice, but they're rarely the top-level people).
School plus paid internships and summer/night gigs at your local TV/radio station (or post house, or ad agency or whatever) can help split the difference between learning in an academic setting and learning on the job, so you come out of school with both practical knowledge and less debt. I highly recommend that course, but I realize it's not available everywhere.
Well having your Associates degree may get you in working, but it depends what you want to do. Behind the scenes in a technical role such as videographer/editor or in production, 2 years maybe enough. But if you want to be talent I think a B.S./B.A. Degree may suit you better. But being on air is more than what you know, but also having the right look and presence as well. At least in TV. So be honest with yourself if you think you can see yourself doing it. I hate to say it, but there's a reason why all the ladies doing traffic or on cable news are attractive.
Another thing I tell people is this. Contol your debt, because having a degree is no guarantee of landing a job. If you do land one, expect to have to move around the country and the money may not be all that great starting out. For a short while I worked with a lady who's now on ABC's GMA. She had to take some jobs in some small markets before she worked up to a top 10 market, and finally network. Those smaller markets do not pay all that well. But also too, she worked on perfecting her craft and probably had the advice of an agent. So its the tenacity and work you put into moving your career forward. You have to measure the cost of your degree versus the job you want and its earnings potential . To take a quote from financial expert Dave Ramsay, you may have to eat rice and beans to pay your debt off for quite a while. Unless you got grants or scholarships, which is awesome. Dont go so high into debt it will take you 20-30 years to pay it off. It will affect your ability to have a real life once you arrive at the career you've dreamed of.
Finally, look 20 years from now. Perhaps 30? Think about when you are seasoned, or at an age where carrying a heavy gear may not be physically doable, or perhaps you see yourself in a senior role over people. Or perhpas in a related but different field such as public relations, advertising, etc. How will your degree serve you in that role?
Stay focused through college, get through it as soon as you can, and set short term 1-2 year goals and 5-10 year goals and work towards them. On where you want to work, the quality of your work, and the skills you want to learn and master to get there. If your goal is to work network, and you land a job in a 100 something market, then do network quality work. You will meet people stuck in smaller markets becuase they either they don't have the drive or their goals are just different then yours, but in my experience I have met these people who do the basics to do just enough to get by and never really tried to push their craft and better themselves.
However for me I never got my degree. After half way of going towards my 4 year degree I found work doing newscasts. Then years later I was promoted to to a production job doing essentially what I do now. My goals in life were to stay in my state and somewhat close to friends and family. Becuase of that In paid my dues longer than most other people. Starting out the money I made was poor and life was a struggle sometimes. But today the light at the end of the tunnel is that I'm doing what I like and I'm debt free. Having no degree though hurts me from moving into certain jobs, or perhps from getting a management role. But for the time being I do not see myself being management, unless I freelanced or started my own company.
Also,when I entered college, all of the technology that's now standard such as non-linear editing was in it infancy. Colleges didn't teach it. So I had to learn it all on the job. So having done that, I can tell you that the technology will always change. If you major in learning the technical aspects you might behind the curve down the road. I have met so many interns in school who know software but dont know how to edit or tell a story. The software/technology is just a tool to the end goal of telling a story. The tools change but the craft of story telling remains the same. So by all means learn the technical aspects of broadcast TV, get the basics and master them, but get your major should be in something that has a bigger picture and scope.
If someone from the future said to me starting out in college that I would be in TV advertising, I would have gone for a marketing degree, but still taken the radio/TV courses. Of all the all the courses I took in college the only ones I still use are college comp I - critical thinking, broadcast tv 101 - the basics of television, photography, and the two audio production courses. I wish I had the education in the selling aspects, and as well the tv law class that covered things like copyright law. The rest of what I leanred was all on the job. Including part-time work I had working in college radio and TV stations. Which gave me experience and I think helped me land the first job.
I would absolutely recommend completing all four years of college. I never thought of college as training me for a specific job, rather training me for life. I think college can help you think in ways that may not be obvious how it will help you in your career, but will undoubtedly add to your toolbox for success. I would suggest expanding your horizons in college to learn a variety of subjects and different classroom styles. Knowing how to discuss a topic in a group and articulately make your point is a valuable skill that can be gained in certain types of academic settings. The topic doesn't really matter, learning the art of communication is what's valuable. Even if you feel you know exactly what you want to do now, having a broad background of skills will help you as you potentially change courses throughout your career.
Unless you can put together a killer reel or portfolio because you have a ton of real-world experience, commit to getting a 4 year degree any way that you can, no matter how long it takes. A B.A./B.S. is basically just a ticket into the circus, and you'll likely be competing with people who have Masters degrees for entry-level positions. A 4-year degree tells a prospective employer that this person can probably work hard, focus, and see something through to the end. That extra two years of time and learning maturity makes a difference, too--I rarely see someone with a 2-year degree who can handle the demands of a modern corporate workplace. Yeah, it costs twice as much and takes twice as long, but make the sacrifice--start out at community college and matriculate to a state school, go online, apply for every scholarship and grant you can find, all of the above. If you can swing the additional two years it is a richer educational and practical experience. A richer life experience, too.