Diploma vs. Degree – What’s Best For Me?
Deciding where to continue your educational journey after high school can be difficult.
With countless options available, including different credentials, areas of study and employment prospects, it may feel like there’s no right choice. Proper research, knowledge, and contemplation can ease insecurities by guiding you toward your best option.
One of the first decisions to make regarding post-secondary education is whether to pursue a diploma, degree, or both. It’s important to first understand the difference between the two credentials.
In Ontario, for example, there are two types of diplomas – a two-year Ontario College diploma and a three-year Ontario College Advanced Diploma. A diploma program helps develop the foundational knowledge and skills required for success in a variety of applied positions by utilizing hands-on, real-world experiences.
Diploma programs cover a wide-range of subject areas including Dental Hygiene, Broadcasting, Human Resources, Computer Programming, Web Development, Lab Technician, Culinary Management, and more.
Colleges also offer apprenticeship certificates, one-year introductory or general certificates, and graduate certificates, which offer accelerated hands-on learning for applicants with previous education or significant work experience.
Universities offer a variety of undergraduate degree-completion opportunities for students entering direct from high school, including a Bachelor degree, three years, and an Honours Bachelor Degree, four years.
A three-year Bachelor degree helps develop a broad theoretical knowledge in at least one area of study. An Honours degree, four years in length, allows students to build a more specialized knowledge which can be applied toward research studies and final papers and projects.
Examples of university programs include Kinesiology, Business Administration, Engineering, Veterinary Medicine, Anthropology, Astronomy, Psychology, and more.
Following completion of a Bachelor Degree, students can enter the work force or continue to earn a Master or Doctoral degree.
Some colleges also offer Bachelor Degrees, but they are generally offered in more applied areas that a university does not typically offer programming in, such as Interior Design, Advertising and Fashion.
Most areas of study can be offered at both a college and university level. To investigate the best option for you, research career prospects and investigate what credentials are required for your desired career. You can also visit job boards and fairs or speak with people in the industry.
One of the biggest differences between post-secondary studies at a college or university level is cost. Tuition typically ranges from $3000 to $4000 per year in a college compared to $5000 to $8000 per year at a university.
To overcome the obstacle of finances and stand above the competition in the job market, many students pursue both a diploma and degree through established agreements developed between colleges and universities. This means transferring their completed diploma to receive advanced standing with a university, ranging from several courses to more than a year. This allows you to earn both a diploma and degree in less time than normal and at less cost.
There is no generic right answer. To choose whether a diploma or degree is best for you, research the options available and know that you’re never stuck. You can always pursue further credentials.