When you decide to go to school to study business information, you may have to decide between a two-year degree in business information and a more in-depth degree in a specialty area such as computer information system. The following questions will help you make a more informed decision about which degree to pursue.
How Much Time Can You Dedicate to Your Degree?
If you do not currently have many adult responsibilities such as a mortgage, children, a spouse, and debt, then you may be free to dedicate four years to earning a degree. However, if you currently have a high amount of responsibilities or expect to have an increase of adult responsibilities in the next year or two, then you may want to pursue a two-year degree instead. This can allow you to take on less student debt and start earning money and building a stable career faster. For example, if you are switching professional fields, you may want to start with a two-year degree as opposed to a four-year degree.
What Level Do You Want to Enter Your Field In?
In general, individuals with a two-year business information degree often enter the field of business information at entry level. This may include several support positions such as customer support, decision support, or technical support. This will give you the opportunity to continue learning while you are working, which many people enjoy more than learning in an academic institution. You may be able to advance to management positions after you gain a few years of experience.
If you graduate with a four-year degree, then you are more likely to be able to enter the work field in a middle-management position. This will come with added responsibility as well as higher pay. However, some people find the stress of entering management directly out of school difficult to handle and would prefer to learn while on the job instead of in university.
Does Your University Accept Credits From Your Associate's Degree Towards Your Bachelor's Degree?
Most universities accept credits from an associate's degree towards a bachelor's degree. If all or most of the credits that you gain while getting an associate's degree in business information can be applied towards a bachelor's degree in the field you want to pursue, then you may want to get your associate's degree first and continue directly into your bachelor's degree. This will allow you to start work part time while you continue your bachelor's degree, if you want.
What Earning Potential Are You Looking For?
In 2014, computer network specialists, a common position for people with an associate business information degree, earned around $61,830. Alternatively, network and computer systems administrators earned around $79,770 and computer systems analysts warned $87,320, both of which generally require a bachelor's degree. However, e-commerce developers, which also tend to have bachelor's degrees, were only earning $57,580, which means you could potentially earn more with a two-year degree if you select an appropriate focus for your studies.
Although you may be able to find a higher paying position with a bachelor's degree, you should also take into account that the exact position you are applying for, the cities you are willing to work in, and the company that hires you will ultimately affect your pay-scale as well.
Can You Afford 2-4 Years of Study?
School can be expensive if you are not eligible for government grants and you do not have scholarships to cover your tuition. Besides tuition, you also have to consider the amount of time that you will not be able to work each week while you are studying and the extra money you may spend on books and supplies. When considering these costs, you may decide that a two-year degree is more affordable at this moment. However, if you can afford four years of studying, the extra investment may pay off in the future with a higher paying job.
When deciding between two potential degrees, it is a good idea to meet with an admissions counselor and discuss whether it is possible to combine the degrees into a single program, allowing you to make the most of your time and money.