You’ve heard about 2-year and 4-year colleges. But what’s the difference? And how do you know which is right for you? Listen up! These are questions to consider:
What educational experience does your career require?
The type of degree needed to perform different jobs varies, so explore the minimum requirements needed for your desired career path. A medical transcriptionist needs a certificate after high school. Computer support requires a bachelor’s degree. Start at MyNextMove.org. The site allows you to search jobs and see the education needed for careers.
What colleges offer what degrees? What are the differences in degrees?
2-year community colleges (like Southeast, Metro, Northeast, Central, Mid-Plains, and Western) offer associate’s degrees, certificates, and diplomas.
- Typically certificates and diplomas are earned after learning very specific skills in a specialized area (welding, certified nursing assistant). An associate’s degree includes these skills plus more general courses, including writing and math courses.
- Some popular community college programs across Nebraska include: building construction, electrical, HVAC, auto body, nursing, business administration, accounting, criminal justice, and early childhood education.
4-year colleges and universities include: the University of Nebraska (Lincoln, Omaha and Kearney), the state colleges (Wayne, Chadron, Peru), or a variety of private colleges (like Wesleyan, Creighton, Hastings). These colleges offer bachelor’s degrees.
- A bachelor’s degree program will investigate topics more in-depth, giving additional theory behind ideas and offering the popularly-used phrase, a “well-rounded” course of study. In additional to general courses (writing, math, science), you’ll spend more time learning about your course of study.
- Many 4-year colleges also offer master’s and doctoral programs – you’ll need to discover if your career path will take you onto this additional education after a bachelor’s degree. For example, you earn a bachelor’s degree in biology, and then apply to medical school to pursue a doctorate.
How much will I pay?
A huge difference in the colleges are the cost.
- Community colleges are usually the most inexpensive college route. Tuition (the cost for classes) is generally around $3,000-4,000. Some students will complete general courses at a community college with less expensive tuition, then transfer to a 4-year school to complete their course of study.
- 4-year colleges and universities can be public or private. Public schools receive state government/tax funding and are typically cheaper, think $7,000-9,000 in tuition per year. A 4-year private college’s tuition will range between $21,000-40,000 in Nebraska. But don’t let the sticker price stop you from planning to go; many times financial aid can help cover significant costs.
So let’s sum up the differences:
|2-year community college||4-year college or university|
|Career Options||Explore your interested career path to find what type of education is needed!|
|Degree Types||Associate’s degree, certificates, diplomas||bachelor’s degree
master’s, doctoral degree
What’s the next step? Figure out your career path. Then search for colleges that offer it. Good luck!
By Kristin Ageton