PDA

View Full Version : What can you do with an Associate's degree?


cat39645
09-28-2005, 03:11 AM
I don't think there's much you can do with an Associate's degree, but that is where I'm stopping my education due to lack of money and motivation. When I get out there in the real world am I basically screwed? Would it have been better to not get the Associates's and started working after high school?

CynicalGabe
09-28-2005, 03:26 AM
If you are not motivated, that is indeed where you should stop.

Noone should go to college if they are not motivated to take advantage of it and be an active participant in their own education. Otherwise, its just wasting your time and everyone elses.

Look at it this way: you can always go back to school later if you find your motivation.


And more education is ALWAYS better than less. You are better educated and hence more productive than your peers with only a HS diploma or GED. Employers will give you a degree of preference because of this.

cat39645
09-28-2005, 03:39 AM
The number 1 reason I'm not motivated is because of a series of Math classes I must take to transfer to a university. I just dropped the 2nd semester of a 4 semester math sequence because I received an F on the first test. I would love to get a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, but it's this college Algebra that's holding me back. I'm going to give it another shot in the Spring while subsequently taking an easier Math that I know I can pass to get my Associate's degree.

Cillasi
09-28-2005, 03:46 AM
No, you're not screwed, depending on your field and where you live (i.e., you can be a nurse with an associates in most states, but there are a few, like North Dakota, where you need a bachelors). An associates degree is usually a very focused course of study. A bachelors degree includes a healthy dose of liberal arts along with some advanced and more specialized study in your field. It supposedly gives you a more well-rounded education.

Your best bet is to compare requirements for both degrees. You'll see that your Associates degree has probably covered most, if not all of the course work required in the first 2-3 years of bacclaureate study except for the liberal arts component.

ftg
09-28-2005, 06:24 AM
Think of it this way: There's a pile of resumes a boss is looking at. Your resume will look better than someone with no Associates Degree. It won't look as good as someone with a Bachelors.

But that is quite general. If it's an Associate in HVAC, then clearly there won't be any Bachelors in HVAC to worry about. Etc.

Crotalus
09-28-2005, 08:09 AM
I earned an associates degree in mainframe programming in 1988 at the age of 34. Prior to that, my so-called career had been a depressing series of service and sales jobs that kept me just above the subsistence level. Since then, I have have enjoyed seventeen years of continuous employment at ever-increasing salaries. I have achieved a standard of living I didn't think was possible twenty years ago. It is clear to me that I always had the aptitude to do what I'm doing now, but the degree was my ticket to an entry-level job in my field. I think this is true of most technical associates degrees. A technical degree in a specific field can do you a lot of good, but a general, non-technical one will help only in the way described by ftg above. IMO, a technical associates degree will lead to more opportunities than a BS in psychology. I think you need at least an MS to do much in that field. Isn't there a career counseling office at your school? That's how I got my first programming job.

Si Amigo
09-28-2005, 08:19 AM
I am presently interviewing canidates for a CAD design position and am giving preferance to people with associate degrees over people with bachelors degrees. People with Bachelors degrees tend to be concerned about thier corporate upward mobility in engineering type jobs. You get them trained and then they move on after a year or two. People with associate degrees tend to stick around and do the job for a longer term and like becoming experts in a focused technology.

I generally don't consider people without an associates degree, but thier are exceptions because I recognize that not everyone has had the same opportunities. Someone with a high school education and lots of work experiance and referances can sometimes be the best fit. But that is an exception, generally I just toss non-degreed resumes.

groman
09-28-2005, 10:03 AM
An associate degree is typically less study than a minor in the same field from a 4 year school. I don't know if that tells you anything.

However, I am mystified by people dropping out of college because of basic Algebra. I'm honestly starting to think that it's the amount of homework in math classes - the classical math education system is just not fitting a lot of people. Maybe if math classes concentrated on having students understand the concept rather than the stupid repetition that tries to teach math as skill... *grumble* I think 99% of people have inherent abilities to grasp enough math to pass vector calculus and ordinary differential equations, it's just there's no place for them to apply those abilities the way only they can.

UncleRojelio
09-28-2005, 10:59 AM
I would love to get a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, but it's this college Algebra that's holding me back. I'm going to give it another shot in the Spring while subsequently taking an easier Math that I know I can pass to get my Associate's degree.
I don't mean to be an ass, but, come on! College Algebra is holding you up? And, why on earth would you take a class you already know you can pass? What good is that going to do? Go back and take the Algebra class and park your butt in the instructor's office till you get it. You are never going to get that Bachelor's degree with such a defeatist attitude. The main point of a degree is not to learn a bunch of obscure facts ( well, maybe it is a little bit ) but to show a future empolyer that you are willing to apply yourself. So get in there and apply yourself.

Wow.... I have finally turned into my dad.

friedo
09-28-2005, 11:07 AM
And more education is ALWAYS better than less.

That's true, but it's worth remembering that "education" doesn't always equal a formal schooling environment. I'm a college flunk-out (like the OP I had no motivation) and I now earn about double what a graduate with a BS in my field can expect to make at their first job, and I'm 25 years old. The most valuable stuff that I learned was all self-taught and on-the-job experience, and I've been able to advance very quickly because I was willing to constantly learn new things. That sort of thing is more do-able in some fields and not others, though. It doesn't work if you want to be a surgeon, for example. :)

friedo
09-28-2005, 11:11 AM
Oh, and I second the notion that college algebra is worth it. I can understand trying out integral calculus and not getting it, but basic algebra is a skill that every functioning adult should have.

Harriet the Spry
09-28-2005, 11:13 AM
Uncle Rogelio kinda has a point, but I think he's missing a big one. Math skills are cumulative. If you are not ready for this Algebra class, it is most likely because you need more background in the skills that build up to it. So taking the math class you can pass accomplishes 2 things: it gets you your associates degree and helps prepare you for the Algebra class.

I rarely if ever took a class that I thought I could wind up failing (as in getting an F). I was already pretty confident I'd get an A through a C. Build up your math skills on easier classes then tackle the algebra. Also, make sure you take the class with someone who is a good teacher, not just good at math. Don't take the class if the the prof has an accent you find hard to understand.

I have a bachelor's in Psychology, and I would agree you may want to rethink that goal. What exactly do you want to do with it? Because unless you have something specific in mind within the very few Social Services jobs you can actually get with a Bachelors degree in Psych, it will just move your resume up in the pile, but won't actually qualify you for much. I wound up getting a Masters in something else, and am currently working toward a PhD in yet another field, to let you know how useful my B.S. in Psychology from a very good school was. [Note: I did learn a ton of really interesting stuff, and it definitely helped me get into and succeed in grad school].

What can you do with an Associates degree? You can probably get a slightly better job than you could have with just a H.S. degree. Get some experience, develop knowledge of yourself, your interests & strengths, the variety of jobs that are out there, and come back to school in a couple years.

Patty O'Furniture
09-28-2005, 11:27 AM
I second what Crotalus said. If you can get an associates in a trade - any trade that involves labor - you may well do just fine. I landed in telecommunications and I'm sometimes a bit embarrassed to tell people how much I make with no 4-year degree. To make matters worse, upper management here likes to refer to me as a network engineer even though I have no engineering degree.

Now, not everybody can fall upstairs like this; I am sure I was helped by many years of electronics tinkering which helped me decide to enroll in a 2-year electronics school. But if you can take a skill that you already have and get schooled in it, you may do just fine.

Patty O'Furniture
09-28-2005, 11:30 AM
Oh by the way, algebra comes in quite handy from time to time. Especially if you end up in a technical trade. Try seeking out an algebra tutor. I had a tought time learning it in a classroom setting, but the moment a tutor helped me and showed me how to apply algebra in real-world situations, I soaked it up like a sponge.

CynicalGabe
09-28-2005, 11:59 AM
That's true, but it's worth remembering that "education" doesn't always equal a formal schooling environment.

True.

picunurse
09-28-2005, 12:54 PM
The first half of my nursing career was with a AD. I'm still not sure the other two years to get my BSN were worth the time or money.

wasson
09-28-2005, 01:12 PM
I have my Associates degree from an art school, where I majored in animation and multimedia design. It's a very specialized field and I had a helluvatime landing a job, but now that I have one, I'm better paid, happier, and have better benefits than most of my bachelored friends.

The downside is that I'll probably never end up in management, where the big bucks are. By the end of our careers, my more-educated friends will probably have better jobs with more money and the like. It just depends on what you want to do.

lorinada
09-28-2005, 01:57 PM
You get them trained and then they move on after a year or two.

People with this stereotypical attitude are keeping good people like me unemployed. I am told over and over again that I am "overqualified". I don't know what makes them think I'll "move on" - if I'm moving on it's becuase they have not offered me the opportunity to move UP in their company. I've been at the bottom before, that's how I got where I am now - by moving up becuase of what I could bring to a practice. I don't mind being at the bottom again, becuase I assume I will once again move to the top becuase of my merits.

I'm basically being punished because I've had the audacity to try and educate myself, rise to challenges, and improve my skills.

BlakeTyner
09-28-2005, 02:03 PM
One thing...

Many, many universities offer both a B.A. and a B.S. in psychology, mine included. I'm on the B.A. track in English, with double minors in psychology and religion, and only had to have one semester of math. FWIW I chose "Elementary Statistics Using Excel" and found it to be "easier" than college algebra. Typically the B.A. track trades the math for a foreign language, so I DO have to have quite a bit of Spanish.

Truth be told, I've also found statistics to be infinintely more useful in psychology. Much of the material crosses over.

That said, psychology involves quite a bit of math, including algebra, so you might re-think the goal if you're uncomfortable with it.

dropzone
09-28-2005, 02:23 PM
You will find that, with the jobs you can get with either an Associates or a Bachelors in Psychology, when the ad says, "degree required," they often don't care which degree you have as long as you have one. To illustrate the value of a degree or its relevance sometimes, I had a technical job once where my boss told me that my degree ahd put me ahead of the other candidates. "But my degree is in Anthropology!"

"Doesn't matter. It showed you could stick to a goal for four years."

[hijack] I've been at the bottom before, that's how I got where I am now - by moving up becuase of what I could bring to a practice. That was your problem in a nutshell: you were just practicing. :D

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
09-28-2005, 02:38 PM
Oh, and I second the notion that college algebra is worth it. I can understand trying out integral calculus and not getting it, but basic algebra is a skill that every functioning adult should have.

I basically sucked at math in school and had to repeat first-year algebra. The next year I had geometry and that was all the math I ever got in high school. In college I eventually had calculus but it was a set of nonrigorous courses which were aimed at liberal arts majors.

Years later I started looking at my father's old college algebra book, and had an epiphany. Algebra wasn't just about learning a set of unconnected tricks to answer different specific problems, but there was a underlying structure which could be built on to prove theorems, and algebra was built up of theorems just as geometry was. It was endlessly fascinating to me that you could work through a series of diagrams and intermediate equations, and prove the volume of a sphere or cone. I still sort of suck at math, but I don't suck quite so hard.

groman, I think you're right about the standard process of math education not fitting a lot of people. Algebra and geometry were taught as two completely different subjects--they should be taught together IMO.

vix
09-28-2005, 03:55 PM
cat39645, I work at a community college, and lots of students are in the same boat you're in with regards to math. Have you spoken with an advisor or a career counselor yet? Is there a math lab where you can get tutoring? There are probably lots of folks on campus who can tell you what you can do with an Associate's degree or help you find the right math class. Good luck!

handsomeharry
09-29-2005, 09:33 PM
The first thing to remember is that a 4 year degree can help you lord it over those better qualified that have no degree. The power structure is made up of degreed individuals. Not necessarily qualified, but degreed.

Also, if you are young enough, the state will usually have a good sampling of jobs for people that have any old degree.

Once you have your four year degree, then start doing what you want. You will find the 4 years go by quickly, and the chance to hang with better 'educated' people is a substantial asset/qualification in itself. ( I once went out on a first date with a real babe, when i had only 60 hours of college. She introduced me to her friends, and guess what the main topic was after what did I do for a living? Imagine how scummy I felt; then, imagine it happening to you.Then imagine the friends patronizing you and your heretofore-quite-agreeable date feeling uncomfortable because of...YOU. It doesn't take a PhD to know what the next step was.)

Also, I want to find out what friedo read for that hot job, and what kind of job it is! I found out, bitterly, that a liberal arts degree is worthless, in and of itself, and that self study is generally the best way to go.

I also suggest skipping the career counselor at the college. If they were so smart, they wouldn't be advising a bunch of college kids.

For the math, I agree with the previous post that says go with Statistics if if you can trade out for CA. More interesting, just as easy, more impressive to friends and coworkers ("No, you fool! I was talking about the weighted mean!")

cerberus
09-30-2005, 02:26 AM
Despite the awarding of credit for "College Algebra," it is not a college level course. Algebra is something that should have been mastered in High School. CA is essentially a re-hash/remedial visit to a course that is taught in two or three cycles, beginning in the 8th grade (US).

Accepting the current "legitimate" place of CA in mediocre sites of college learning, it is a reality that CA is a prerequisite for both Calculus and Statistics.

There are no shortcuts here. Get the algebra dealt with. You don't short-circuit an entire degree program over a general ed requirement.

Harriet the Spry
09-30-2005, 08:52 AM
I don't know what makes them think I'll "move on" - if I'm moving on it's becuase they have not offered me the opportunity to move UP in their company.


This attitude (not hiring the "overqualified") is very common in companies where there is no room to move up internally. That is a sad fact of life for some roles in some companies.

vix
09-30-2005, 01:51 PM
I also suggest skipping the career counselor at the college. If they were so smart, they wouldn't be advising a bunch of college kids.


What? Do you feel the same way about elementary school teachers? The career counselors I work with are smart, dedicated, interesting people who want to help others find the job most suited to them. How can that be a bad thing?

groman
09-30-2005, 02:02 PM
What? Do you feel the same way about elementary school teachers? The career counselors I work with are smart, dedicated, interesting people who want to help others find the job most suited to them. How can that be a bad thing?

I don't know how the poster feels, but I feel the same way. Career counselors usually know a lot about counseling and very little to nothing about careers, making them about as useful for career advice as the chair they're sitting on.

Voyager
09-30-2005, 02:13 PM
When I worked at Bell Labs we hired a lot of programmers with AB degrees, especially from one Community College which did an awesome job in training them. Some of them got bachelor's degrees (paid for by AT&T) and got promoted.

You should check to see where other students get jobs.

And I agree with other posters about the algebra. You might try checking out some books from the library so you get a couple of different approaches to teaching it. When my daughter was taking algebra, there were a few areas she just didn't get from the textbook and teacher, but got fine when I gave her another way of looking at the problem.

snailboy
09-30-2005, 03:20 PM
My Associate's degree has caused me nothing but trouble. After getting it, I wanted to take a break from computers (my study) for a while before getting into the field. This was apparently a mistake. Now employers in my field (which aren't too common in this area) seem bothered by the fact that I haven't had a job in my field since I graduated, and employers outside my field are worried that I just want the job as something until I can move on. I would love to move to Dallas and start over but no jobs will relocate anyone with less than a Bachelor's degree, jobs that won't relocate expect you to already live in the area, and I doubt rental places like to rent to people who don't have a job in the area. But hopefully your experience will be different. I wouldn't give up my degree because I have a feeling that some time in the future, it will finally do me good. I do wish I had a Bachelor's though.

agioe
09-30-2005, 04:41 PM
Frame it and hang it over that hole in the drywall

uglybeech
09-30-2005, 11:23 PM
Math skills are cumulative. If you are not ready for this Algebra class, it is most likely because you need more background in the skills that build up to it. You said it. I've tried tutoring a couple of students struggling through college algebra and both times I started with high hopes and ended up facing the same horrendous problem - their basic math and arithmetic skills were so feeble, you couldn't even begin to explain the algebra without having to go back and review something even more basic (like the relationship between division and ratios, etc). It ended up being an endless regression reviewing simpler and simpler concepts. If those basic math skills aren't rock solid, then algebra becomes a real monster to understand. The shocking thing is how many people are graduating high school with such weak arithmetic skills. :eek: