Bachelor’s Degree VS Associate’s Degree: Which Is Right For Me?

The entertainment industry is a wide field with a broad set of careers. Is a high school degree enough for you, or will you need a bachelor’s or associate’s degree? An advanced degree can be the start of your career in entertainment, but it can be overwhelming to make sense of the strengths and weaknesses of different degrees.

Learn more about the difference between bachelor’s and associate’s degrees, what they entail, and which one is right for you.

Bachelor’s Degree

When most people think about a college degree, they’re thinking about a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degrees are separated into different fields depending on what the major or program is in.

Bachelor of Sciences (BS) degrees are based on hard skills and are typically more rigid. They’re offered in technical and scientific areas like computer science, mathematics, biology, and physics. At SAE Institute, our BS degrees include Digital Film Bachelor of Applied Science, and Audio Bachelor of Applied Science.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees are focused on soft skills and offer more flexibility. Courses in the humanities, English, social sciences, and foreign languages are typical parts of these degree programs. BA degrees include communication, history, psychology, and sociology.

Bachelor’s degrees are required for post-graduate degrees like a Ph.D. or a master’s degree.

What Does It Entail?

Bachelor’s degrees start with general education courses. These courses act as the foundation of all bachelor’s degrees that provide students with a well-rounded base of knowledge in a variety of fields.

After general education courses are completed, students work through their major program with advanced classes.

How Long Does It Take?

For a full-time student, a bachelor’s degree should take four years to earn. Completing a bachelor’s degree in only four years requires constant dedicated studying. If you change majors, retake a course, or decide to not take a full course load every semester it will take more time to complete your bachelor’s degree. On average, it takes almost six years to earn a bachelor’s degree.

There are some programs, like SAE Institute’s Audio Engineering Degree, that can be completed in as few as 32 months.

Associate’s Degree

Associate degrees are foundational degrees. They can count toward general education, core, and elective classes for a bachelor’s degree, and they can also be the only qualification needed for entry-level careers in some fields.

There are four types of associate degrees:

  • Associate of Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Science (AS)
  • Associate of Applied Arts (AAA)
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

Just like the bachelor degree classifications, “art” and “science” are used to separate programs. The biggest difference between these degrees is the “applied” title. “Applied” degrees (AAA & AAS) focus on preparing students for a particular career or vocation. AA and AS degrees are generally used as the starting point for a future bachelor’s degree.

What Does It Entail?

While there are some general education courses, like a bachelor’s degree, the majority of courses in an associate’s degree are focused on foundational skills and knowledge.

At SAE Institute, our courses are focused on industry standards and expectations. Each course is focused on providing vital information for our students’ future careers.

How Long Does It Take?

For a full-time student, an associate program generally takes two years. However, there are options, like SAE Institute’s digital film degree, that take as little as 16 months.

Which Degree Should You Pick?

There is no clear winner that fits in every situation. In most circumstances, it depends on which career you are looking into and the expectations and standards for that field. If the career you want to be part of requires an associate’s degree, it can be wasted money if you earn your bachelor’s degree. The same can be said about getting an associate’s degree in a field that requires a bachelor’s degree.

No matter which degree you pick, all programs at SAE Institute aim to focus on preparing you for a career in the entertainment industry. We focus on providing our students with the knowledge and experience they need to succeed. Learn more about your degree choices at SAE Institute today.