Types of Different Degree Levels
Hundreds of different degree programs are available for students who wish to continue education after high school. Universities and community colleges award degrees at varying levels, such as associate and doctorate degrees, with varying time requirements. When comparing different degrees, students can consider which program best fits their career goals and field requirements.
What are the Different Degree Levels?
There are four major categories of degrees - associate, bachelor's, master's and doctorate. Earning one of these degrees can take from 2-8 years, depending on level of degree and field of study. The advanced degree programs may require students to complete one or more lower-level degree program prior to enrollment.
Associate-level programs offer different degrees for a variety of careers. These 2-year degrees provide the necessary training to prepare students for entry-level positions in fields like nursing, graphic design and other vocational fields. Associate degrees are most commonly available from community colleges and technical schools.
Different degrees available at the associate-level include Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.) and Associate of Applied Science (AAS). Completing an associate degree program qualifies graduates to enter the workforce or continue their education in a 4-year university program.
A bachelor's degree is an undergraduate degree program that usually takes four years to complete. Enrolling in a bachelor's degree program requires that students choose a major area of study, such as finance, history, communications or biology. Graduates from a bachelor's degree program are qualified to work in entry- or management-level positions, depending on the field.
Different degrees available in a bachelor's program include Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). A bachelor's degree is also required for admittance into a master's program.
Master's degree programs are graduate programs that let students specialize in an area of study and typically take 1-2 years to complete. Along with an undergraduate degree, enrolling in a master's program usually requires passing an entrance exam, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Many master's degree programs require a dissertation or research project for graduation.
Different degree programs available at the master's-level include Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA). Earning a master's degree qualifies graduates to work in advanced or executive-level positions. It is also required for entrance into some doctoral programs.
Doctoral degree programs are the professional-level of academic study programs. Admittance into a doctorate degree program usually requires a master's degree. The most common degree awarded at this level is a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Completing the Ph.D. usually takes from 2-3 years, involving the completion of a dissertation and a major research project. Ph.D. graduates are qualified to work as experts in areas of business or research or as professors at the university level. Other common doctorate degrees include a Juris Doctor (J.D.) for law school graduates, Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) for medical school graduates and a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) for graduates of dental school.
Which Degree Is Right for You?
There are many different types of degrees out there. Which one is right for you? It depends on what you want to do with your education. Certain degrees are required for some jobs—medical degrees, for example. Others are more general. A Master’s Degree in Business (MBA) is a degree that is useful in many, many fields. A Bachelor of Arts degree in almost any discipline will help you get a better job. They tell the world and future employers that you have a well-rounded education.
And some people choose to earn degrees that are for their own personal edification, or because they have a passion for a certain topic or discipline. Some doctorates of philosophy (Ph.D.) fall in this category. Emphasis here is on the some.
So what are your choices? There are certificates, licenses, undergraduate degrees, and graduate degrees, sometimes referred to as post-graduate degrees. We’ll take a look at each category.
Certificates and Licenses
Professional certification and licensing, in some fields, is the same thing. In others it is not, and you’ll find it’s the topic of heated controversy in certain areas. The variables are too numerous to mention in this article, so make sure to research your particular field and understand which one you need, a certificate or a license. You can do this by searching the Internet, visiting your local library or university, or asking a professional in the field.
In general, certificates and licenses take about two years to earn, and tell potential employers and customers that you know what you’re doing. When you hire an electrician, for example, you want to know that they are licensed and that the work they do for you will be correct, to code, and safe.
Undergraduate can be a confusing term. It encompasses those degrees you earn after a high school diploma or GED credential and before a Master's or Doctoral Degree. It is sometimes referred to as post-secondary. Classes can be taken at any of the many different kinds of colleges and universities, including those online.
There are two general types of undergraduate degrees, Associate’s Degrees and Bachelor’s Degrees.
Associate’s Degrees are usually earned in two years, often at a community or vocational college, and generally requre 60 credits. Programs will vary. Students who earn an Associate’s Degree sometimes do so to see if the path they’ve chosen is correct for them. Credits can cost less and are usually transferable to a four-year college if the student chooses.
Associate of Arts (AA) is a liberal arts program that includes studies in languages, math, science, social science, and the humanities. The major area of study is often expressed as “an Associate of Arts Degree in English,” or Communication or whatever.
Associate of Sciences (AS) is also a liberal arts program with a greater emphasis on math and sciences. The major area of study is expressed here in the same way, “Associate of Science in Nursing.”
Associate of Applied Science (AAS) puts more emphasis on a particular career path. The credits are generally not transferable to four-year colleges, but the associate will be well-prepared for entry-level employment in their chosen field. The career is expressed here as, “Associate of Applied Science in Interior Decorating.”
Bachelor’s Degrees are earned in four, and sometimes five, years, usually at a college or university, including those online.
Bachelor of Arts (BA) focuses on critical thinking and communication in a wide variety of liberal arts areas, including languages, math, science, social science, and the humanities. Majors may be in subjects such as History, English, Sociology, Philosophy, or Religion, although there are many others.
Bachelor of Science (BS) focuses on critical thinking, too, with an emphasis on sciences such as technology and medicine. Majors may be in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Nursing, Economics, or Mechanical Engineering, although, again, there are many others.
There are two general types of postgraduate degrees, referred to as graduate degrees: Master's Degrees and Doctorates.
Master’s Degrees are usually earned in one or more years depending on the field of study. They are generally sought to improve a person’s expertise in their given field, and usually earn the graduate a higher income. A few types of Master’s Degrees:
- Master of Arts (MA)
- Master of Sciences (MS)
- Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Doctorates generally take three or more years depending on the field of study. There are professional doctorates, a few of which are:
- Doctor of Medicine (MD)
- Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)
- Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) or Law
There are also research doctorates, known as Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), and honorary doctorates, awarded in recognition of a significant contribution to a field.
Non-Traditional Doctoral Degrees
While hiring trends are more welcoming for graduates with nontraditional or online PhDs than they were five years ago, only about 50 percent of human resource professionals consider online doctorates as equal to more traditional PhD programs. Nevertheless, as long as an online university is accredited, graduates with online degrees are readily hired by businesses and corporations. As online or distance education gains in credibility, more busy professionals who wish to advance their careers will attend universities offering online master's and doctoral programs.
Individuals seeking to expand their knowledge may enroll in doctoral programs online or in a traditional classroom environment. Obtaining a doctoral degree will provide individuals with the necessary skills to research, teach, or advance in an executive position.
Depending on the focus of the doctoral program, the opportunities are endless. Salaries for doctoral graduates are also typically more than a Master’s degree graduate or Bachelor’s degree graduate. Most doctoral graduates will earn over $100,000 per year in their given profession.
A Master’s degree is required to enter most doctoral programs. Students should also possess a strong academic record and solid recommendations from professors or professionals. Individuals entering an Executive Doctoral program must also have a certain degree of professional work experience prior to entering a program of study. Professors prefer students that have some practical frame of reference for the discussions and principles taught in lectures.
Students may study nearly any course of study to obtain a doctoral degree. Some of the most popular doctoral programs include the following:
Medical Doctor, Dentistry, Law, Education, Mathematics, Economics, Theology, Ethics, Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, Business Administration, Leadership, Public Health.
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FX: The Foreign Exchange Market
The foreign exchange market is the biggest financial market in the world. Every day, transactions worth about 3.98 trillion dollars are carried out within the market. The major aim of introducing the foreign exchange market is to facilitate international trade by enabling businesses to perform transactions outside their local currency. The market operates round the clock from Monday through Friday.
In the foreign exchange market today, a trader can purchase some amount of international currencies by paying with a different currency. This type of foreign exchange market started to develop in the 1970s, which was about thirty years after foreign exchange was introduced. Some important features about the FX market include the following:
1. It has a very large number of daily participants. This makes its liquidity one of the highest in the world.
2. Participants come from several countries in the world.
3. The market is open from 22:00 GMT on Sunday to 20:00 GMT on Friday.
4. Exchange rates are affected by a number of factors.
Market Size and Liquidity
Liquidity in the forex market is the highest among other financial markets in the world. The market comprises central banks, currency speculators, organizations, governments, retail investors and international investors. Over the years, the size of the FX market has been constantly increasing. In 2010, The Triennial Survey by the Bank of International Settlements reported that the average daily transaction in the US for the month of April was $3.98 trillion. This was much greater than the $1.7 trillion recorded in 1998.
The UK had about 36.7% of the traders in the market to make it the highest contributor in foreign exchange trading. Second on the list was USA, which had about 17.9% traders while Japan was third with 6.2% of the total exchangers from the country.
There are three types of participants in the foreign exchange market. These are: central banks, global funds, retail clients (or individual retailers) and corporations. The commercial and investment banks belong to the group known as “interbank” market. The interbank market is the largest market that operates in the foreign exchange market. Corporations, central banks and global funds also operate at this level. Being the highest traders in the market, participants in the interbank level are given the best rates. This level constitutes about seventy five percent of the total volume available each day.
The role of the central bank in the forex market is to control the supply of their country’s currency. Hence, they are not required to speculate. Some of the major roles it performs include fixing overnight lending rates, purchasing and selling government securities to moderate the supply of money and determining interest rate of their currency by buying or selling them in the open market.
Currencies that are often traded include the United States dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen, Pound Sterling, Australian dollar, Swiss franc, Canadian dollar, Hong Kong dollar, Swedish krona, New Zealand dollar, South Korean won, Singapore dollar, Norwegian krone, Mexican peso and Indian rupee. There is no regulation for the traders on the kind of currencies to trade since this is an over-the-counter market. However, there are different market places where the participants can trade on the different currencies.
Exchange rates among currencies are affected by the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), inflation, interest rates and balance of trade. News about the foreign exchange market is given to the public on scheduled periods so that every trader involved gets access to it at the same time. However, the big banks are given higher priority by letting them see the operations of their customers.
Determinants of FX rates
For countries operating on the floating exchange rate regime, the exchange rates of their currencies can be determined by the following theories:
1.International Parity Conditions: These include theories such as relative purchasing power parity, interest rate parity, domestic fisher effect and international fisher effect. Although these theories work to actually determine FX rates, they can also falter because they are formed on assumptions that are not always true.
2.Balance of payment model: This is concerned with the exchange of goods and services without considering the effect of the flow of money between and among nations.
It is not possible to predict FX rates within long time frames with these theories. The best that can be done with these is predicting future prices that can occur within a few days. FX rates cannot be judged on a single factor but rather by combining several factors in economics, politics and market psychology.
Financial instruments in the FX market include spot, forward and swap.
A spot transaction lasts for two days except when currencies such as the US dollar, Canadian dollar, Euro, Turkish Lira and Russian ruble are traded. In these cases, transactions are completed on the next business day. Normally, there is no interest involved in this transaction since it is just a direct exchange.
Forward transaction is an effective way of reducing risks in the FX market. With this, traders do not exchange money until when an agreed exchange rate between currencies is actualized. This may happen in one day, several months or years.
In swap, two traders agree to make a transaction that will be reversed in the future. Since this is not a standard operation, there is no exchange created for this.
Currency speculation is a subject that attracts several views as a result of its positive and negative effects. While some believe that this devalues currencies, other scholars such as Milton Friedman believe that this acts as a stabilizer in the system by transferring risks from those who do not want them to those who need them. Besides, speculation also makes the FX market open to all. Speculation is done by individual traders and large hedge funds. Since individual traders do not invest so much money into this, they are normally regarded as destabilizers of the system.
Risk aversion is a trading pattern that results when unfavorable conditions are bound to occur. This is caused by the liquidation of risky assets and diverting the funds into safer assets. In the foreign exchange market, traders liquidate the funds they envisage potential risks and divert them into more secure ones like the US dollar. However, it is being observed that most traders use these more secure currencies because of fear rather than the results shown on economic statistics. For example, during the global economic meltdown of 2008, the US dollar was unaffected while other currencies depreciated. The success of the US dollar was achieved despite the similar negative results caused by the crisis in the United States.