Diploma, Associate Degree, Bachelor - What's the Differences?

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If you are looking for information for studying abroad, you will often hear about various types of degree programs such as 'associate's degree', 'diploma', 'bachelor' and so on. The title 'Bachelor' is easy to understand because it is the same as S1 in Indonesia. What about the 'associate degree', and 'diploma' which are both continued from high school but are still undergraduate?



WHAT IS AN ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE?

Similar to Bachelor / S1, an Associate's degree is included in the undergraduate category, which is further education after completing high school. Associate's degree is equivalent to D3 in Indonesia and teaches basic technical knowledge and skills, as well as transferable skills before students enter the workforce, or continue to further education.

Associate's degree is very common in America and Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, and the Netherlands. If in the UK, the Associate's Degree program is more commonly known as 'foundation degree' or it can also be called a college preparation program.

In America, Associate's degree degrees are awarded by all types of colleges, including community colleges, junior colleges, technical colleges, affiliated colleges from universities or institutes.

The two-year Associate Degree Program. For some students, this is a preparatory program before proceeding to the bachelor / S1 degree program. This Associate degree can also serve as a qualification to improve employment prospects, rather than just having a high school graduation qualification.

In the Associate's Degree program, the lessons are broader, and study subjects outside the department, for example, English, history, mathematics, literature, and others. This is the same as the first year in bachelor / S1 lectures, where students will study general courses.

In the job market, students with an Associate's Degree are more valued and earning higher than their Diploma holders.

An Associate's Degree is possible to be transferred to a Bachelor's degree. The duration depends on the policies of each university. Therefore, if you really plan to get a bachelor's degree, you need to ensure that the Associate's Degree program you take can transfer credits to the bachelor program that interests you. If it's smooth, after completing an Associate's degree, you only need an additional 2 years to get a bachelor's degree.

WHAT IS DIPLOMA?

Understanding the Diploma abroad is somewhat different from in Indonesia. While in Indonesia there are D1 through D3, or even D4 programs, abroad, a Diploma is a certificate stating that students have completed a vocational course/program such as design, pharmacy, engineering and the like.

Unlike the Associate Degree that is only given by community colleges or universities, Diplomas abroad can be given by High Schools / High Schools, place of study, or trade colleges.

Unlike the Associate's Degree, the Diploma teaches a more specific field and focuses on that field. The duration of the Diploma program can range from one to two years.

ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE OR BACHELOR?

Should I take the Associate's Degree or Bachelor's program? This needs to be adjusted to what you want to achieve in the future. The following factors may provide input to consider which program is right for you:

1. Program duration

In America, the Associate's Degree program consists of 60 credits (hours of study) can be completed within 2 years, while the Bachelor consists of 120 credits (hours of study) and can be completed in 3-4 years.

An Associate's Degree is able to be transferred to a Bachelor's degree. The duration depends on the policies of each university. Therefore, if you really plan to get a bachelor's degree, you need to ensure that the Associate's Degree program you take can transfer credits to the bachelor program that interests you. If it's smooth, after completing an Associate's degree, you only need an additional 2 years to get a bachelor's degree.

2. Costs

Associate's degree program fees can be 2 to 3 times cheaper than Bachelor programs. As explained above, an Associate's Degree is able to be transferred to a Bachelor's degree. If you plan well, you can save a lot of tuition fees this way: take the associate degree program first, then to the bachelor. A detailed explanation can be read here. In addition to saving tuition fees, your college experience will also be more diverse, you can experience studying in a more informal college community and in a more formal university environment.

3. Entry requirements

Entry requirements for the Associate's Degree program are easier than a Bachelor's program. Usually, students who have not yet qualified for direct entry into a Bachelor's program can be advised by the university to take the Associate's Degree first.

4. Types of Associate Degree

There are 4 types of associate degree: AA (Associate of Arts), AS (Associate of Science, AAA (Associate of Applied Arts) dan AAS (Associate of Applied Science).

The difference is that an "applied" degree is more focused on preparing students for specific careers, more focused on vocational skills.

AA and US degrees are more specifically for students who plan to continue on to Bachelor. So make sure you plan carefully so you can choose the right program.

5. Careers who want to be pursued

You need to consider what career fields you want to pursue in the future. Please note, not all jobs require a bachelor's degree, for example, these 10 jobs only require an Associate's degree.

And because Bachelor degrees are more general in scope, sometimes Bachelor graduates need to take certain training or courses before they can start working.

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