Inside Scope on Medical Truths: Associate’s vs. Bachelor’s Degrees

Donya Forst, Print Editor

   Parents, family, friends and other loved ones are always telling us to be the best we can be or strive for the best. Most of them want us to get higher degrees than Associate’s because they will make us more knowledgeable, give us a higher salary when enter the work field or more marketable.    They say education is power.   

   We are all here at Misericordia because we believe these words to some extent. But what if going for higher degrees is just costing more money for education that isn’t really necessary?

   According to Princeton Review, an Associate’s Degree requires two years of full-time study in basic courses pertaining to an area of study. Princeton Review describes a Bachelor’s Degree to be a full-time degree over four years of study in which “They take more time and often require more advanced courses.”

   Associate’s as well as Bachelor degrees can be obtained for medical technologists, diagnostic medical sonographers, radiologic technologists and nursing.

   Which means, all of these degrees can be completed in two years, which would leave students with less debt, but would that leave them with less knowledge as well? In order to practice in a number of medical fields, a written test is required to earn certification.

    Whether you come from a two year or four year program, as long as you pass the test, you earn your certification. It is proven that four year programs have a higher pass rate for these exams, but students from two year programs do pass them as well, and in a lot of cases, the test is actually geared towards the lesser degree.

   Then the question is posed: why is the program four years? It can be for a number of reasons. The extra years can either be useless information, more information so you are well informed, or practice makes perfect, so the longer you are there, the more prepared you will be in the long run.

   So maybe you do gain more education and knowledge in those four year programs and have a higher likelihood of passing board exams, but is it worth having that extra $60,000 or more in debt?

   According to the Huffington Post, “In the U.S., we’ve tended to think that the bachelor’s degree is the only thing that matters,” author Mark Schneider said, “and this data tells us that technical degrees from community colleges are hidden gems.”

   The data Schneider refers to shows that some people withAssociate’s Degrees earn the same amount as Bachelor’s, even after all of that extra education. If more money is earned, it’s not more than $10,000.

   According to Huffington Post, recipients of four-year nursing degrees earned the most during their first year out of college with a wage of $48,959. Those with two-year nursing degrees averaged only slightly less at $45,342.

   So, to clarify, students are going to school for two years, while others are going for four, and coming out of school earning a simular degree, getting the same job, around the same salary and having less than almost half of the debt to pay back in student loans.

   According to New America, Bachelor’s degree students pay an average of $312 a month in student loans, while Associate’s degree students pay an average of $182 a month.

   So, you are going to school for four years, gaining maybemore experience and spending more money, for a higher degree, but for a job that pays the same salary. The way I see it, there are not really many benefits in the long run.