Anyone find themself being limited with an Associates?

Anyone find them self having a hard time advancing while being limited with just an Associates degree? Like to the point where you're being told in interviews that a Bachelors or higher is REQUIRED?

The reason I ask is because I recently graduated with my Associates majoring in Computer Networking & Technology. I graduated about 5 months ago and my student loan payments should start rolling in by February. I'm having a hard time deciding whether or not I want to go back to school.

Let me just explain a little about myself for those who don't know me. I'm 20 years old and have been working full-time in IT straight out of high school since I was 18. My first IT job was Help Desk, did that for about 7 months until the help center closed down. I've since then landed a job as a Network Administrator (lucky I know) and have a combined 2 years worth of experience in the field. I figure since I got an early start I might do just fine with only an Associates. I do worry however that I might hit a brick wall down the road where a Bachelors may be required of me.


Here's my main concerns with going back to school:

1) I'm already $45k in debt from my Associates (I wasn't eligible for any financial aid then and I'm sure I won't be now) It makes me wonder whether or not any additional debt would earn itself in an employed salary 2 1/2 years down the road when I graduate.

2) I can't seem to find a school near by that has a major I'm looking for. It's all Computer Science and Information Science. I was looking for something more along the lines of either Security, Networking, or System Administration. I do not want to do an online degree and I feel the experience I'm gaining now is far too beneficial to leave state. I'd like to get at least another year or two of admin experience under my belt before making any job moves.

3) The only schools offering IT majors are liberal arts schools. I don't excel too well in liberal arts, hence the reason I went to a technical school for my Associates.

So... What do you guys think? Anyone find them self successful with just an Associates (or less even)?
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Comments

  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    I have found myself very successful with even less. I do not recommend anyone not going to school (I wish I would have) but it is not impossible to work your way up without a degree. I do think my military experience has helped me with not having a degree though.

    I am actually starting a new job in the new year working at the highest technical level for an ISP, and yes, one of the "requirements" for the position was a four year degree. There is no higher technical role to go unless I move over to the management side of things which isn't for me right now. I want to stay hands on while I'm still young icon_wink.gif

    If you can go to school by all means do it, but I wouldn't put myself in further debt if I were you though.

    This is just my opinion and experiences and I'm sure plenty people will be along to disagree icon_wink.gif
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  • shednikshednik Posts: 2,005Member
    paintb4707 wrote:

    1) I'm already $45k in debt from my Associates (I wasn't eligible for any financial aid then and I'm sure I won't be now) It makes me wonder whether or not any additional debt would earn itself in an employed salary 2 1/2 years down the road when I graduate.

    2) I can't seem to find a school near by that has a major I'm looking for. It's all Computer Science and Information Science. I was looking for something more along the lines of either Security, Networking, or System Administration. I do not want to do an online degree and I feel the experience I'm gaining now is far too beneficial to leave state. I'd like to get at least another year or two of admin experience under my belt before making any job moves.

    That seems really high for an associates unless there was room and board included in there, I would recommend trying to go back to school. Personally I don't know of any degrees in something specific like system administration, i know of a few online with security or networking. I don't think a CS/IS would be a bad idea yes you will have to program a little but they teach alot more then that. A BS from a strong school will go a long way from my experience, I wish I had a CE/CS degree rather then a business one right now, it has helped me alot more. At those school did you look at any of their business majors to see if they had a BSBA with a concentration is MIS. That might be you best bet if CS is not your thing but I do think a BS will be a good idea, but by no means is it a must. Hope this helps!
  • KasorKasor Posts: 912Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Two more years and you are college graduate... What so difficult to acheive? Too easy. Get a B.S on CS or IS.

    For long term, you need it. Unless you are your own boss, but school education do help you.
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  • shednikshednik Posts: 2,005Member
    Not sure where you live in LI exactly nor do i know the areas well, but I found both of these non-CS/IS BS programs.

    Long Island University - Not sure if this is the campus near you or not but looks alot like my degree a mix of business and IT courses

    http://www.brooklyn.liu.edu/sbpais/compsci/bsint/bsint.html

    NYU - http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/ioms/academic.cfm?doc_id=2548

    Another one that looks promising as well.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Posts: 4,162Member ■■■■■■■■■■
    The liberal arts classes aren't as bad as you think and they make almost everyone take them to make you more well rounded. IS you will still get the administration side you seek, but also some theory. I was in a program that was all hands on and theory. Covered everything from MCSE to CCNA and then some (Security+, A+, Network+, CEH, etc). Good luck, but I believe eventually you'll need the BS. It will probably be awhile till you'd have to worry about it. Experience will trump the education in almost all cases, just have to know how to sell yourself!
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  • SlowhandSlowhand MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, MCSA: Windows Server 2003/2012/2016, CCNA Routing & Switchi Bay Area, CaliforniaPosts: 5,163Mod Mod
    It's all relative, really. Right now, I make a very decent wage in one of the most expensive areas in the country and I have no degree at all. (Working on two Associate's and one Bachelor's, that may or may not eventually end up being a graduate degree.) For the time being, though, I'm making my way with nothing but my experience, a couple of mid-level certs, and a GED, (taken in severe frustration with the public school system the second week of my senior year in high school).

    You can go a long way with only an Associate's degree, especially if you're putting in a bit of effort to get come higher-level experience and certs under your belt. You can, of course, go further with a Bachelor's degree, and even further with a Master's or PhD, but that's the way in any walk of life. The more education you have, the more potential you have for easier career placement/advancement.

    My advice to you is this: stick with what you have for a year or two, focus on your work and your certs. Build your knowledge and experience, maybe even look for better work or advancement opportunities within your current workplace, and see about paying off that debt. (The trick to paying off college debts is to continue living like a college student for another year or two, despite the bigger salary. Resist the urge to buy a new car or upgrade yourself to a swanky new apartment or something like that. icon_lol.gif ) Once you've spent a little time feeling out what your current situation is, you can make an educated decision as to what you want, whether that is to go back to school and earn your four-year degree or continue working as you are. Giving yourself a little time might also be good for finding a degree program that suits you, there's nothing worse than forcing yourself to study things or work towards goals that don't interest you.

    Good luck, and let us know what you decide to do. :D

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  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAPosts: 4,171Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    I don't think you'll really be held back by having an associates as long as you have experience, if you're wanting to stay technical. Which it sounds like you do. In practice, most companies are going to prefer experience before degree and little experience when you interview for the better jobs.

    The BS might get your starting salary bumped up a bit and may make you a candidate for management type positions later on, though.
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  • paintb4707paintb4707 Posts: 420Member
    I appreciate the advice guys. The IS does sound appealing if it has some technical focus. I was assuming it would be just mostly programming and theory from what I've read. I feel that there's SO MUCH to learn when it comes to networking and administration so if I were to go back to school I'd like to find something that focuses on those things.

    Yes $45k is steep, there was no boarding. I went to Briarcliffe. That's what happens I guess when you go to a private technical school with no scholarships and receive no financial aid.

    I think the debt is my biggest concern because that's going to weigh over my shoulders for years to come. I'm worried that I may be another $20-30k in debt when it's all said and done and only benefit from a small bump in salary down the road that would not be able to compensate the difference.

    Perhaps I'll check some local colleges offering an IS program and try to get more information.
  • lildeezullildeezul Posts: 404Member
    yeah private schools are always more expensive than public schools.

    over here in NC, UNCG has both the BS in CS and IS, but also has a BS in a technical degree called computer networking/telecommunications. ( which is the one i am going to do.)

    are you a member of collegeboard.com ? is a great site, to see what colleges offer what majors, the tuition, acceptance percentage and ect.
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  • KGhaleonKGhaleon Posts: 1,347Member
    Two years is a bit long for me, so I will likely stick with my associates. I haven't really seen it become much of a factor in anything and I continue to get nice job offers. I plan to balance my education with IT certification and experience.
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  • stlsmoorestlsmoore Posts: 515Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I have only my associates but coupled with some certs and experience (focus on getting this while you're in school) I haven't had any probs. what so ever finding work.
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  • phantasmphantasm Posts: 995Member
    Very limited. I've had many prospective employers tell me my Associates was worth the same as a High School diploma. This is why I'm trying to finish my B.S. now.
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  • jryantechjryantech Posts: 623Member
    I have not read any of the replys just the initial post so here is my 2 cents:

    An Associates Degree does not really hit anything but the basics of what you want to study. If you have your Associates and you go to a Public University now, you will most likely only take courses retaining to what you want to study. (Depending on what transfers)

    45k in debt from your Associates seems way out of whack... I'm only going to be 12k in debt and I was only given $500 for books each semester.

    As for finding a Bachelors degree in Networking or Security you most likely have to go to a For-Profit school like ITT Tech... Not many Public Universities have a degree in this yet but some do.

    You can make it with just an A.A. and Certifications but from what information I have gathered it is a lot more stressful and you have to find the right gigs. But once you get a few years experience around your belt you'll probably see jobs come easier. Although A Bachelors degree will definitly help doors open (Lower and Higher Positions) and starting salarys to rise.

    Also do some research and try getting a job that does Tution Reinbursement. You could get lucky :)
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  • NobylspoonNobylspoon Posts: 620Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    I can't imagine spending that much for an accociates degree. Right now I am only paying about $650 a semester plus books for mine and all of my classes transfer over to any public university in Texas without a problem.

    I assume none of that $45K debt went towards that car in your sig block ;P I'm just kidding, I know how expensive some of these private schools can cost and also alot of public ones when you are from out of state. I moved to Texas a year ago but waited until now to take classes to save about $2000 a semester.

    One option you should consider is joining the Air National Guard, they will pay $20,000 of student loans off. I spend 6 years in Active Duty then switched over to the Guard and the difference is day and night. I just drive up once a month for the weekend and pack parachutes, I scored 97 in electronics for my ASVAB but I am colorblind which means no IT jobs for me in the military.

    Also depending on your state you can have your tuition paid for if you want to work on your bachelors. Texas pays 5 years of tuition at any state university plus GI Bill (not as much as the active duty one but an extra $350-$750 a month in your pocket for being a student.
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  • paintb4707paintb4707 Posts: 420Member
    jryantech wrote: »
    45k in debt from your Associates seems way out of whack... I'm only going to be 12k in debt and I was only given $500 for books each semester.

    It is. I was just a kid at the time, I went straight to college out of high school. Didn't really think about the debt, just that I wanted to go to a school where I knew I would be happy and succeed. My parents didn't really have much advice in the matter so I was fending for myself. I was more concerned with getting the degree and worry about the debt later.

    I've matured quite a bit since then and now I realize the debt has put me in sort of an awkward position. I'm fortunate however to have got into the field early enough where I can build up on experience.

    Not really sure what to do now since I still live at home and I'm itching to move out. I could probably make ends meet with my income as it is now, but I'm worried about next month when my student loan payments start rolling in. Which is another reason why I'm considering going back, just to avoid loan payments for another 2 1/2 years. But going back to my original paragraph, I don't know if any additional debt on top of my already $45k is going to help me significantly or hurt me worse. My current job does not offer any tuition reimbursement, but like I mentioned above the admin experience is far too beneficial for me to leave. Plus they've been great to me. They gave me a $7k raise upon graduating and will give me another boost next month, anywhere between another $2k-$5k I expect. I'd feel guilty leaving them so soon after.
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    Go back and get it down while you can. You'll pile on some more debt, but you'll likely increase your life-time earning potential significantly. Finishing a degree is increasingly difficult later in life, so take care of it now while you have the opportunity.

    Also, fix your avatar; I barely recognized you ;)
  • jryantechjryantech Posts: 623Member
    paintb4707 wrote: »
    It is. I was just a kid at the time, I went straight to college out of high school. Didn't really think about the debt, just that I wanted to go to a school where I knew I would be happy and succeed. My parents didn't really have much advice in the matter so I was fending for myself. I was more concerned with getting the degree and worry about the debt later.

    I've matured quite a bit since then and now I realize the debt has put me in sort of an awkward position. I'm fortunate however to have got into the field early enough where I can build up on experience.

    Not really sure what to do now since I still live at home and I'm itching to move out. I could probably make ends meet with my income as it is now, but I'm worried about next month when my student loan payments start rolling in. Which is another reason why I'm considering going back, just to avoid loan payments for another 2 1/2 years. But going back to my original paragraph, I don't know if any additional debt on top of my already $45k is going to help me significantly or hurt me worse. My current job does not offer any tuition reimbursement, but like I mentioned above the admin experience is far too beneficial for me to leave. Plus they've been great to me. They gave me a $7k raise upon graduating and will give me another boost next month, anywhere between another $2k-$5k I expect. I'd feel guilty leaving them so soon after.

    Yeah, the 45k for the Associates is a lot but even if you go for your Bachelors and it costs you another 55k being 100k in debt from school isn't a huge deal if your good with holding a job, your not a slacker and you strive to succeed. I know plenty of people who are 150k+ in debt from school and I am sure noone would go to any Ivy League school if student debts where to die for...

    Student debt is a part of an American life (also Credit Card debt for those who are irresponsible, haha!)

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
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  • skrpuneskrpune Posts: 1,409Member
    Not sure where you are on LI, but have you checked out SUNY Stony Brook? I went there for my undergrad (a billion years ago) and it's a great school. The tuition costs are reasonable ($207/credit if enrolled for 11 credits or less), and they offer a specialization in Information Assurance, geared towards security/network security. You can download the overall program info here.
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  • paintb4707paintb4707 Posts: 420Member
    skrpune wrote: »
    Not sure where you are on LI, but have you checked out SUNY Stony Brook? I went there for my undergrad (a billion years ago) and it's a great school. The tuition costs are reasonable ($207/credit if enrolled for 11 credits or less), and they offer a specialization in Information Assurance, geared towards security/network security. You can download the overall program info here.

    Wow, very cool, thank you. I'll check it out. Stony Brook is about 20 minutes from me.
    dynamik wrote: »
    Also, fix your avatar; I barely recognized you ;)

    I don't think I ever had an avatar, just a signature. icon_razz.gif And for some reason it's not working.
  • ULWizULWiz Posts: 722Member
    I personally would not be to worried about college debt. Its normal for college students and is something you will pay off over time. I believe the average is currently 50k to 80k so if you only owe somewhere in your 40K range you are doing better than most college students.

    And if you think college debt is bad wait till you buy a house. Mine was 330k try paying that off

    My Bachelors from Devry is 63k i believe and I am just fine with that. Its something i can pay off as i progress in my career. I dont even have a degree yet and only have the certs you see and currently make 43k a year.
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  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    ULWiz wrote: »
    I personally would not be to worried about college debt. Its normal for college students and is something you will pay off over time. I believe the average is currently 50k to 80k so if you only owe somewhere in your 40K range you are doing better than most college students.

    And if you think college debt is bad wait till you buy a house. Mine was 330k try paying that off

    My Bachelors from Devry is 63k i believe and I am just fine with that. Its something i can pay off as i progress in my career. I dont even have a degree yet and only have the certs you see and currently make 43k a year.


    You make 43k and bought a 330k house? Are you crazy or do you have someone helping you pay that? I make a lot more than that and would never put myself in a crunch like that...
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  • paintb4707paintb4707 Posts: 420Member
    ULWiz wrote: »
    And if you think college debt is bad wait till you buy a house. Mine was 330k try paying that off

    Well that's my concern... I'm not just worried about debt from the student loan but combined with other things like a condo for example. I'm looking at the big picture here. I'm worried that everything won't balance out the way I'd like it.

    I make the same salary as you do ($43k) and I can't figure out how on earth you could afford that. Hell, I can't even afford an apartment out here it's so expensive. Apartments on the island run for $1300-1500/mo for a single bedroom. I figured I'd save for a condo instead or a single family house with rent being so high.
  • ULWizULWiz Posts: 722Member
    You make 43k and bought a 330k house? Are you crazy or do you have someone helping you pay that? I make a lot more than that and would never put myself in a crunch like that...


    I hear ya there. This is not something i could do on my own. My wife to be next year is a doctor which makes things much easier. First time doctors also get special morgages compared to the average civilian

    Her current student debt is 220k so if you think you 43k is bad imagine what she has to pay back.
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  • jryantechjryantech Posts: 623Member
    I suggest going to a Public University and applying.
    See how many credits it will take to get your bachelors, then find out how long it would take to earn it going part time 6-9 credits a semester.

    I am pretty sure you will be able to get all of your classes at night and/or online. That will make keeping a 9-5 job easy.

    Currently I work 32 hours a week and go to school full time and I have Thursdays and Weekends off with one online course. You can make it happen.

    If you don't go back for your bachelors at least strive 10 times harder on the certifications. You have one life, do what you can with it :)
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  • ULWizULWiz Posts: 722Member
    jryantech wrote: »
    You have one life, do what you can with it :)

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  • supertechCETmasupertechCETma Posts: 377Member
    The Associates got me so far... the Bachelors made such a difference, I kept going for the Masters. I'm set now. I work in academia now so higher degrees are more valuable. Having the knowledge is one thing, having credentials is another. Try and look at the bigger picture. Where do you want to be in 15-20 years? Student loans are the cheapest money you will ever borrow. Student loans die when you do.

    It's not about the degree, its about learning. If you are a true lifetime learner, this should be a no-brainer.
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  • msteinhilbermsteinhilber Posts: 1,480Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    I haven't had any problems with employment even while I didn't have my Associates. I currently do have an Associates and I am well into my last year towards my Bachelors. I think that for jobs where I desire to end up working towards the beginning stages of the middle of my career onwards I will ultimately need or will heavily benefit from a bachelors as well as eventually a masters degree.
  • livenliven Posts: 918Member
    I have seen it both ways.

    I know man folks that have no degree and are making between 90k and 120k.

    I know folks with degrees that make half.

    I have an associates and I do very well, and have never had trouble finding work. For me the one thing that has always made the difference was experience.

    Sure there most certainly jobs that will require the bachelors degree. And i am not to far from having mine (comp sci). The sad thing is 95% of the stuff I learned in school has done nothing for me in the real world. Yes I am smarter but I learned VERY LITTLE if any on the job skills. The one thing I took away from my studies was learning C (two semesters).

    I got my associates from a community college so it was uber cheap, and I got the portion of my bachelors from a rather inexpensive state school. So I have no school debt to worry about at all.

    GRANTED, this is just my story and what I have seen from others... Getting a degree is a GOOD thing. But is not the end all be all. If management is a dream or goal for you I would say bach degree will help. But then again I know and have had lots of bosses that don't have degrees.

    Whatever path you choose try to keep moving forward. The more training, education, skills, and life experience you have the further you will go.

    GOOD LUCK!!!
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  • 1MeanAdmin1MeanAdmin Posts: 157Member
    paintb4707 wrote: »
    Wow, very cool, thank you. I'll check it out. Stony Brook is about 20 minutes from me.

    OMG, you are 20 minutes away from Stony Brook and you don't go there? If you can afford it, don't even think about not going there! It's a very respected school in the tri-state area and it doesn't cost a fortune, especially for in state residents like yourself. It's a bargain even if you add the cost of living on campus (which you don't need). I didn't go there, but I personally know several Stony Brook graduates who are doing exceptionally well.
    In addition, don't focus too much on the major (general "Computer Science" vs. very specific "Networking"). Undergraduate classes is the last place you should be looking for in-depth technical knowledge.
  • nelnel Posts: 2,859Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Can you not go to uni part time and work full time? This is what i have done and by the end of it in one year i will have no debt from my Bsc Hons degree (thats one below masters in the UK). Working full time and going to uni is hard but you can see financially its much better imo.

    In the UK its pretty hard to find courses like i have but the luck has paid off. Just remember that the degree DOES NOT gurantee you sucessfull job positions. It does help, but its not the ultimate. Just make sure you dont double your debt or anything otherwise you will be delaying the inevitable.

    Wish you the best of luck mate. Think long and hard about this one!
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