Choosing a 2-Year College versus a 4-Year College - SALTER College
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Choosing a 2-Year College versus a 4-Year College

Relevant Campus(es): Chicopee, West Boylston

2 year college vs 4 year collegeWith rising costs of college tuitions, students are weighing their options

In this day of rising college tuitions, some people are questioning whether investing in a four-year college degree is right for them. As with many decisions, there are a lot of pros and cons to consider.

For some people, it is a matter of expense. A two-year college is simply a more affordable option. For other people, it is a matter of time. Some people wish to get started in the workforce as soon as possible, and do not want to spend four years in school. For others, it is a matter of career interest. Certain people may simply prefer the job fields that require career-focused training rather than academic coursework. Whatever the reason, it is important that both two-year and four-year colleges are available for today’s students.

Where should you get started on your research? The NCES offers a helpful tool to search and investigate the 2-year and 4-year colleges in your area. The NCES College Navigator allows you to search schools by the programs they offer, and also by the type of degree they offer (certificate, associate’s, bachelor’s, and advanced). This resource is a great place to get started.

Associate’s Degree Versus Bachelor’s Degree: Pro’s and Con’s
Most two-year college programs result in an associate’s degree, while four-year programs result in a bachelor’s degree. In some cases, earning an associate’s degree can prepare you for entrance into a bachelor’s program. In other cases, an associate’s degree may be enough to get you started in your chosen career field.

What are some of the factors you should consider when deciding between a 2-year and 4-year college? Much of your decision will depend on your own interests and needs. Try making a “pro’s and con’s” list for yourself to help identify what is most important to you.

Benefits of pursuing a two-year college program

  • More affordable tuition
  • Less debt after college
  • Faster entry into workforce
  • Start earning money sooner
  • More hands-on career-focused curriculum and fewer academic courses

Benefits of pursuing a four-year college program

  • More time for students to determine what career they want
  • More flexible career choices
  • Can lead to higher paying jobs with more responsibility
  • More rounded curriculum choices
  • Demonstrates a commitment to higher education

What Jobs Require or Don’t Require a College Education?
Another very important factor in making your decision is your career interests. Take some time to think about what you want to do for a living. With the whole world of choices in front of you, it is sometimes difficult to narrow down what you want.

One useful tool is the Federal Student Aid program’s career exploration tool. This online tool is fully searchable based on your career interests. You can read about career options (many you might not know existed!), the job responsibilities, the level of education needed, the average salary, and the expected demand for this career in the future. This tool may help you decide whether a 2-year college with an associate’s degree is sufficient to start your career, or whether you will need to invest in further education.

With these thoughts in mind, we hope your decision-making is made easier. Starting your career education is an exciting time of life, and starting with the right tools can help you make a decision you will be happy with in years to come.


This article was written by the Salter College. For more information about the Salter College’s associate degree programs, visit our home page, or contact us directly and a representative would be happy to talk with you.


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