College Degrees

What Is a Certificate Program?

Certificate programs are offered at career training schools, community colleges, career colleges and online schools. They allow students to learn specific career skills in order to obtain a particular job or specialize in a certain area within their chosen careers. Some students choose to obtain certification instead of obtaining a degree, while others take certificate programs to enhance the degrees they've completed. Our counselors help with identifying which path is best for each student, by spending time getting to know them and their capabilities, talents, skills, and areas of intelligence.

What Is an Associates Degree?

Associates degrees are awarded to students who have completed 60 academic credits, usually through two years' worth of full-time study (or longer if attending part-time). An associates degree can be earned at community colleges, career training schools, online schools and in some four-year colleges and universities. These degrees can be completed on campus or through online program and platforms from home. An associates degree provides students with career training or helps prepare them to transfer to a four-year college or university. Associates degrees will translate to good jobs and careers within many industries.

If a student is choosing to continue on to a four-year degree, it is good to make sure to check if credits will transfer to a chosen university when the time comes. When taking a set of courses relating to a specific major, students can get ahead by taking prerequisites where possible during the time they pursue their two-year degree. Communication between the school where an associates degree is being pursued and four year programs afterwards should be taken in to consideration before graduation, otherwise students may spend additional time to earn necessary credits.

What Is an Online School and Distance Learning?

Online schools are academic institutions in which all or the majority of the coursework is completed through a distance learning program. Online schools offer a range of online degrees, such as online certificate programs, online career training, online bachelor’s degrees, and even online master’s degrees. An online school may refer to the online branch of a college or university that has a physical campus. It can also refer to schools that strictly offer online degree programs and online courses, without a college campus or campuses.

Online schools are great for those who work better from home, have health or family issues, have commitments to community groups, clubs or sports teams, or who have work schedules that might conflict with typical university class schedules. Within a four-year university structure, some classes might only be offered at one time per year, or at one time of day, and some campus sizes can be too large for those who have health limitations. Whatever the student’s needs, there is a college path to suit it and a career to succeed in after high school.

What Is a Bachelor’s Degree?

Students can earn a bachelor’s degree by completing approximately 120 to 130 college credits, usually through four or five years of full-time study. Bachelor’s degrees are awarded by a variety of colleges and universities, including private universities, public universities, liberal arts colleges, career colleges and online schools. These degrees can be completed through courses on a college campus, at an online school, or through a combination of classroom and online courses.

A four-year bachelor’s degree will open doors to different roles within companies. It is good to be aware of what job titles, working roles, industries and companies a student desires when choosing the best degree and course of study to pursue. Higher level positions at more prestigious companies sometimes require bachelor’s degrees, as well as some work that calls for security clearance from the government. APEX counselors are well versed in these areas to help guide students. Knowing the end goal job role can help to work backwards in to the action steps to take to achieve it well.

What Is a Master’s Degree?

A master’s degree is a graduate school program you can pursue after your bachelor’s degree is completed. Master’s degree classes allow you the opportunity to delve deeper into a specific field of study than you do before you graduate school. Some careers require a master’s degree, while others require the master’s degree as a step towards a doctorate degree.

High level management roles and managers of many people tend to hold master’s degrees. People who work in some parts of the medical industry, science and technology, teaching, and psychology are all examples of paths that likely require a master’s degree. Once a bachelor’s degree is completed, the student can evaluate whether their chosen career path will require a master’s down the line. One choice is to complete this degree while the material is fresh, and the student is already in a state of constant learning. Once completed, the fast track to promotions come quicker. An alternative if a student is not sure, is to pursue a master’s later. Some companies will pay for an employees’ continuing education, so this degree could be completed over a longer period of time while also working if a job offer is extended at a great company after graduation with a bachelor’s.

Eligibility for College

Parents and students should be aware that completion of the A-G requirements does not guarantee admission to a university. A student’s grade point average and test scores will also factor into admissions decisions. In order to be competitive, students should plan to take higher levels of courses that exceed the A-G requirements. Students should consult their counselor for guidance in this area. Parents and students can log onto to see a list of A-G courses offered at each high school.

Various essays are required by some schools to demonstrate why a student wishes to attend, and to help them stand out. APEX helps its students learn self-awareness and real-world comparisons in lessons so that they are capable of handling all of the tests and tasks required in the process of applying to and being accepted in to college. Our students have attended universities and schools across the country successfully, and we expect that time-honored tradition to continue.