Types of Degrees and Certificates

What's the difference?

From one-year certificates to four-year degrees, higher education equals opportunity. Different careers require different levels of education. UtahFutures can help you understand the kind of education required for the career you want.


Entry-level employment in a particular career. Program length is typically one year, but it may be longer.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.)

Provides broad knowledge for solid employment preparation and possible career advancement. Program length is typically two years.

Associate of Arts (A.A.) and Associate of Science (A.S.)

Completion of the academic foundation for transfer to a four-year degree. Program length is typically two years.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Provides specialized knowledge for entry into career or preparation for future study at the graduate level. Program length is typically a minimum of four years, but may be longer depending on the chosen major.

Master's or Professional

Provides qualification for a particular career or for career advancement requiring preparation beyond the bachelor's degree or for entry into doctoral program. Program length varies, but is generally two or three years; usually you must earn a bachelor's degree first.


Provides career entry or advancement for fields requiring experience in research methods. Program length varies, but is generally no less than four years.