Ann Gianoglio Burk, MBA
This is a great question! The previous answers give a pretty good description for the difference between a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's degree. Both are titles earned with the level of education you earn. A Bachelor or Baccalaureate means advanced student. This means that you have a higher level of understanding in the subjects of math, English, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and history. To have a Bachelor's in a particular major means that you not only have advanced understanding of general studies, but that you have taken a set of core courses focused on a specific subject such as Business, Psychology, Criminal Justice, etc.
To have the title Master means that you are qualified to teach others in a specific area, or whose teachings are accepted. For example, a Master of English is qualified to teach English. You need to have already accomplished your Bachelor's degree in order to earn your Masters. Some colleges and universities do offer dual programs where you can earn both at once, but the Master's level courses are at a higher level of learning and will go into great depth than Bachelor's level courses. They will build on the foundations you learned in you Bachelor's.
Hope this helps!
Yes, the master's is similar to the bachelors, but more specialized. Similar to a bachelors, the bulk of the masters is still coursework, but the classes will be more specialized and potentially more challenging. There may also be a project or thesis requirement in a masters program, which I would highly recommend.
As far as the value gained from the degrees, there is much debate over that. Bachelor's degrees have become so popular that most people get one, and therefore it doesn't really distinguish you from your peers. To some extent, the Master's Degree has become the new Bachelors Degree because much fewer have it. To be honest, I don't highly recommend either a Bachelor's or a Master's unless your chosen career field definitely requires one, such as teaching or medicine. Whatever you do, don't go into debt paying for a degree that isn't guaranteed to land you a high paying job. More and more employers are valuing real-world experience over cookie cutter education.
My suggestion, is find what field you want to work in, and start working there, from the bottom up. For example, if you want to work in finance, take a basic course at the community college in tax preparation, and start working in tax preparation, and/or as a bank teller or something similar. Use the money from that job to pay for a professional certification and/or an Associates Degree (such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or an Accounting Degree. With that, move up to a higher paying job, preferably for a business that offers tuition reimbursement or other education incentives to its employees. Then transfer your Associates Degree, or other community college coursework, to a 4-year university, and complete your bachelors in Finance, Accounting, Pre-Law, or something similar. Now you have a 4-year degree, in almost the same amount of time as your peers, but for much cheaper, AND you have work experience to back it up - which they do not. From there, continue working, learning, and dreaming. If your chosen path has you going back for a Masters in Business Administration, or whatever, so you can land a SPECIFIC higher paying job, then go for it. But don't feel like the Master's, or any of the degrees for that matter, is a goal. And whatever you do, don't just go to school for 6 consecutive years without working, just racking up student loans, to earn a Bachelors and a Masters because it's supposed to make high paying jobs land in your lap the day you graduate - that's not how the real world works.
Hi! A bachelor's degree usually gives a person a broad knowledge of a particular area. Two years are devoted to core classes such as math, english, basic science, while the final year or two, depending on the major, focuses on whatever you may decide to major in. A master's degree will usually take an additional year or two depending on whether you attend full time or part time. The curriculum is more in-depth and geared toward your major. For instance, one of my graduate degrees is in Project Management. Nearly my whole master's program consisted of classes in Project Management. My undergraduate degree is in Psychology. About half of my undergraduate curriculum consisted of classes that weren't directly related to psychology. A master's degree has the potential of offering more opportunities such as teaching or consulting. In some careers, it may not matter as much.
In some industries a masters degree is becoming more the standard or is an absolute requirement for licensure, such as in mental health counseling you must have a fretted to become a licensed counselor.
Look into what you want to do before deciding on your path. I also suggest volunteering or internship in your area of interest. These opportunities will help you determine how you feel about your choice and will also help you gain admittance to grad school if that is necessary for advancement.
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