instructor handing a man his diploma while shaking his other hand

Technical and Community College Degrees

Technical and community college degrees are often the best or only available entry point into education for a large number of people either directly
out of high school or later in life. Whether it is an Associate of Arts (AA), Associates of Science (AS) or an Associates of Applied Science (AAS) these degrees can be extremely valuable and cost effective. Technical and community colleges can also offer a high standard of instruction and tend to be cheaper than their four-year school counterparts. The value of a community college degree are fairly well understood, but the hidden values of a technical college degree can be worth even more to the right students.

Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

Students who are interested and have the opportunity of going to a four-year can find it to be very rewarding, but for those trying to get into
the workforce quickly, in a well-paying job, a technical college applied education might be the best path. These programs are aimed primarily at students seeking practical, career-focused education. This focus can be in accounting, logistics, healthcare, construction, marketing or a multitude of other exciting fields. These programs tend to offer a more flexible schedule, work better for older and working students and include hands on training. Your local college, whether a technical college or community college, is able to focus in on jobs in which there is a growing shortage of workers to meet the workforce demands of their area. Because of these shortages, some states are even offering grants to people going to technical colleges in certain professions. Due to their focus on their local community, technical colleges will also know be able to better advise which degrees and certificates are the most valuable in your particular area and can help steer you to a path that intersects what you want to do with what will make you money.

Transferring your Technical and Community College Credits

Credits earned at an accredited technical college can transfer to a four-year university. Many high ranking schools like The Citadel have taken
notice of the drive of associate degree students and have offered bridge or 2+2 programs to their bachelors programs. These programs allow students to complete their bachelor’s degrees while working after earning their associates degree without missing a beat. If you are planning on transferring, you should talk to your advisor from the start to make sure you’re taking the right courses. You should also look at the transfer equivalency charts for the school(s) you are interested in transferring. Many four year programs will favor students who have an associate’s degree in a related topic, as those students have already demonstrated that they have the knowledge and drive to complete a degree. The journey does not have to stop there. After completing their associate and bachelor degrees many students continue onto graduate education.

Associates to Bachelors to Masters to Doctorate

Technical and community college programs are a great way of getting into the workforce, but can also be a stepping stone toward a bachelor and
graduate degrees later in life. In terms of staying out of debt, this route can end up saving students a ton of money in a world where student loans continues to reach new heights. I have personally worked with many associate degree holders who made the next step to their bachelor degree and are currently on their way to earning their MBA. The sky is truly the limit as long as you start with a good foundation and keep pushing.