jc0481, on 14 January 2013 - 03:57, said:
Thank you both for the replies. My major is Accounting by the way. Right now just working a warehouse job. My plan was to get my Associate's in Accounting then tranfer my credits over to get my Bachelor's in Accounting. The only reason I wanted to do that is that I can get a better paying job and provide financial stability for my family. Stick with this plan or still go straight to my Bachelor's?
In the US, the major difference is the level that you want to work at. In accounting, I suspect that most serious accounting jobs will not strongly consider an applicant with only an Associate's, but it is not my field, so I cannot really say for sure. However, I can say that I know two Tax Accountants, and both of them have Master's degrees in Accounting (one specifically in Tax Accounting, and also a CPA). Tax Accounting can be very different from ordinary Accounting.
The real benefit to an Associate's degree, when it does not serve as "enough" to get a job in the field, is to provide a cheaper route to a complete Bachelor's degree. In most states, the community colleges have agreements with the full time colleges and universities (largely no real difference in the US), so long as you maintain a certain minimum GPA, which varies. For example, in Virginia (I don't know about Utah, sorry), most community colleges have a program to enable students to transfer to any participating state university, and for those students to pay the same rates that they did in community college, which provides massive savings, and then to still graduate with a complete Bachelor's degree from the full time school.
There is no shame in getting an Associate's degree whatsoever. It's less expensive, frequently more accessible (local), and it regularly provides a convenient way to avoid taking the more annoying electives while paying the full time school's price (e.g., degrees have seemingly odd requirements that have nothing to do with the degree, like art for accounting). Every same-state school should also accept an Associate's degree as transfer credit to make you an instant Junior, which means that you are starting where you left off, but you really need to verify this with both institutions (that the community college promises it, and the full time school you intend to go to lives up to their end of the bargain). Schools love to dodge transfer credit whenever they can because it generally means that you will need to pay them more money to graduate, so--as long as you are serious about it--you need to be vigilant about this aspect of it because you will otherwise end up wasting your money, but also your time. For those schools that do live up to the bargain, it generally means that you can skip all-or-most of your electives, and your core freshman/sophomore classes.
As a would-be Accountant in the US, I would definitely suggest a Bachelor's degree, at least. The real question about the Associate's comes down to accessibility. That means, if you have a full ride to Harvard, then you likely should skip the Associate's. If you live next to a full time college, but you live over an hour away from a community college, then the price difference might actually not be worth more than your time that could be spent studying, or spent with your wife and future child.
And do not kid yourself because you will need to study. It will take a lot of your time, and it will take more than you estimate. Being out of school, you now have the best resume material anyone can ever want: experience. It might not help you get a job as an Accountant, but it will always help you know what it is that you are working for: a better experience, both for you and your family. Don't slack. Get great--not just good--grades, and get yourself scholarships. That's money you can then spend on your family. If you can graduate with a Bachelor's degree as cum laude (3.5+ GPA), then you will have a much better shot at getting a higher paying job. Frankly, getting a GPA below 3.0 means that you need to revisit your priorities.
To keep making a long post longer, I also suggest that you do not take any breaks during school. It's so much easier to not go, and taking a break will only remind you of that. I did this in my undergrad, which I despised because I generally hate academics, particularly those that lack the experience that I actually had in the real world. I transfered to get away from the pompous academics--after taking a year and a half off to work full time--and found out that it really is not so different anywhere, and I regret not simply finishing at the first school. I did my Master's degree part time, with professors that worked full time in the field (Computer Science), which brought academics and real experience to an awesome combination (or, synergy as the marketers like to say).
Finally, I never once took an online class that I could not find myself bored, nor did I take one that held my attention when it should have. For me, particularly because I worked throughout my undergraduate and graduate courses, I always could find better things to do when taking online courses, so I avoided them.
(Any wild grammar errors are likely due to my current recovery from the flu)