How Do I Know if a Degree, Diploma or Certificate Is Right for Me?

Smiling graduate holding diploma

There are many choices out there, and it can be difficult to know which option is right for you. The program that will work best for you will depend on many personal factors. You’ll want to consider:

  • How much time do you have to complete classes? What are your goals as far as program completion? If you’re looking to change to a new career as quickly as possible, a Diploma or certificate may be the best option. If you’re working full time, you’ll also want to be sure you pick a program where classes are offered in the evenings, on the weekends, or online.

  • The field you’d like to enter. If you’re looking to enter the field of criminal justice, you may need to complete a degree to get the education you’ll need. However, if you’re interested in being a personal trainer, then a Diploma will likely be sufficient.

  • Financial Aid. Money may be another factor in determining whether an associate’s degree, Diploma, or certificate is right for you. With Diplomas and certificates generally costing less than a degree, they can be the more cost-effective option when you’re looking to embark on a new career. Even an associate’s degree may be more cost-efficient and work just as well as a four-year degree, depending on your goals.

  • Evaluate your skills and interests. As with any career, whether you’re looking to enter the job market for the first time or you have an established career and are looking to make a change, your skills play an important part in choosing an education program. Look at whether you are good with administrative duties, are skilled at building things, are good at problem-solving, or if you are interested in working in a specific field like health care. Evaluating your skills and interests can help you pick a program that will work best for you and will lead you to a job you’ll be excited about.

The Takeaway

In a world where a variety of advanced education programs can be completed in less than a year, is it even worth it to get a four-year degree? The short answer: It all depends on your goals. The college experience and having the educational foundation a four-year degree provides is certainly a valuable commodity to possess.

For those who are working while attending school, are looking to change career fields, or are wanting to run down their career path as quickly as they can, the traditional four-year degree is certainly not the only option. Thoroughly evaluating all your goals and taking a look at where you plan to be in the future will be critical in determining which option will equip you best for your career.

Even once you have an idea in place, the information can still be overwhelming. We are happy to help at any point during the process. If you need assistance determining which program is best for you or if you have questions about the differences between your options. Just comment below.