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Thread: Should I pursue for an Associate's Degree, or just go for my Certificate?

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    Member brandtheman's Avatar
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    Default Should I pursue for an Associate's Degree, or just go for my Certificate?

    I will be majoring in Architectural Drafting at my community college. I am wondering, for those already out in this field of work, is it better to obtain an Associate's Degree than to just go for my certificate in this major? The only benefit I know of so far is that Employers will hire someone with a degree over somebody else with a cert.. But, can you negotiate higher salaries with employers if you have an Associate's. What are benefits to having a degree?

    I will not be going for a Bachelor's (too much schooling), so I'd like to know if their are any good benefits, because I don't want to waste my time with these history and composition classes if an AA won't offer any more of an incentive compared to certs.

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    The Silent Type Mike.Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I pursue for an Associate's Degree, or just go for my Certificate?

    Hi "brandtheman" ( Sorry, I do not know your real name )

    Please note I have *moved* this thread from the CAD Mgmt. General forum to this one, as I feel this particular forum is a more appropriate place for such a topic.

    Thanks, Mike

    Forum Manager

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    Mod / Salary / SM Wanderer's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Should I pursue for an Associate's Degree, or just go for my Certificate?

    Speaking from my own experience, I obtained three certificates, and while they would be enough to get me a job, there are many who really wouldn't be as impressed with them as they would be with a full degree. I don't know why, as it demonstrates the same amount of discipline specific schoolwork. ~shrug~
    An item of note would be that, after I completed my degree, I was automatically given a 10% increase in pay (when I started my job, I had two certificates, one in 2d drafting and one in 3d drafting, I was hired, but, at the very bottom of the pay scale. I earned two merit increases before I got the increase for my degree).

    you know, looking back at the 2005 Salary survey, I didn't give any results on how much is earned by people in each educational division. mental note to me for 2006, that would be a good one.
    Quote Originally Posted by brandtheman
    I will be majoring in Architectural Drafting at my community college. I am wondering, for those already out in this field of work, is it better to obtain an Associate's Degree than to just go for my certificate in this major? The only benefit I know of so far is that Employers will hire someone with a degree over somebody else with a cert.. But, can you negotiate higher salaries with employers if you have an Associate's. What are benefits to having a degree?

    I will not be going for a Bachelor's (too much schooling), so I'd like to know if their are any good benefits, because I don't want to waste my time with these history and composition classes if an AA won't offer any more of an incentive compared to certs.
    Melanie Stone
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    Super Moderator david_peterson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I pursue for an Associate's Degree, or just go for my Certificate?

    Quote Originally Posted by brandtheman
    I will be majoring in Architectural Drafting at my community college. I am wondering, for those already out in this field of work, is it better to obtain an Associate's Degree than to just go for my certificate in this major? The only benefit I know of so far is that Employers will hire someone with a degree over somebody else with a cert.. But, can you negotiate higher salaries with employers if you have an Associate's. What are benefits to having a degree?

    I will not be going for a Bachelor's (too much schooling), so I'd like to know if their are any good benefits, because I don't want to waste my time with these history and composition classes if an AA won't offer any more of an incentive compared to certs.
    Don't be a fool, stay in school.
    I graduated from my local community college and that's how I got my job. You may not see it, but a good community college not only gives you the education in CAD, but how to detail and it's also your first chance at good networking. Not to offend anyone, but IMHO, just about anyone can get a certificate that says "I know something about CAD". Now depending on where you got that from it may say a lot, but it may say very little. If the local industry doesn't know much about the program you've attended, they may not even look at you. A certificate doesn't always mean that you know the finer points of drafting, just that you know the software.
    I now sit on the academic advisory panel for the school I graduated from. We meet with the instructors on a bi-yearly basis to discuss where the program is going and what we (the industry) needs in the future (ie job potential) 5 yrs ago we discontinued the certificate program due to lack of job placement, and the types of jobs the students were being placed in.
    About 3 weeks ago, I went to a portfolio show there and was surprised at what I saw. But the kicker was right after I walked in and said "Hi" to my old instructor, he said "Hey, I've got someone you should meet". At which point I was introduced to the best of the best of that years graduating class. Lots of students got jobs that day due to little things like that.
    Your instructors know people in the industry and if you're in the top of your class, the jobs just might come to you.
    Last edited by david_peterson; 2006-05-23 at 06:10 PM.
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    I could stop if I wanted to Ogre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I pursue for an Associate's Degree, or just go for my Certificate?

    Quote Originally Posted by david_peterson
    Don't be a fool, stay in school...
    I agree...I have my AAS in Electrical Engineering Technology and a Certificate in AutoCAD...While my AAS show the company the I worked for that I knew more and was driven, it did not help get the job...I had (and still do hopefully) strong knowledge in AutoLISP...My instructor hooked me up with the job and recommended me...(on a side note he kept pushing me to make my 90 day eval so that he could collect the "Reference Bonus"...He wanted to put in a deck) I was able to speak with my boss and him candidly after they hired me full time about why they hired me...My boss said that it was not the Certificate...The certificate just showed that I knew the software...Anyone can learn software, but not everyone can draw or create a program based on a drawing...They wanted to make sure that I knew how to do the job, not just know how to mess up the software...

    To my boss (and the general census of my previous bosses) the certificate was just a piece of paper...Yeah it showed that I knew the tool and the general idea of what they do, but to know how the pieces fit and why the pieces are shaped like they are was more important...

    Stick with the degree...Truthfully I recommend you getting your Bachelors...The AAS is nice, but the bachelors will open more doors...

    I was out of work for 6 months after I got laid off...The associates kind of helped me, but it made it to where I could only go so far...If you stick with the Bachelors, you will get more reward...Take it from someone who has enough knowledge to make twice as much as he is making, but because of the degree, I can only go so far...

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    Member dangrivakis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I pursue for an Associate's Degree, or just go for my Certificate?

    There is alot of wisdom in what people are saying in this thread. The suggestion is to go with the degree. A certificate is all well and good but it only shows the fact that you know how to use a tool which CAD primarily is. Most certificate courses only focus on the basics of getting to know the tools such as intro to cad, autocad 1, 3d cad, ect.... When you go the route of a degree you will get the drafting (understanding the tools) and also design courses(understanding principles behind the use of the tools) The degree will carry you further and the higher your degree the more opportunities to advance. Remember that when you choose the field learning will not end in the classroom you will need to retrain and develop your design skills. The more you know, the more you understand the better you will be and more valuble you become.

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    Default Re: Should I pursue for an Associate's Degree, or just go for my Certificate?

    I'd get the degree. The other, seemingly unrelated classes that you'll be required to take will actually come in handy. You may not see the benefit of studying language or math until you have to talk to an architect or engineer. But also with a degree you show that you're teachable.
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    Certifiable AUGI Addict tedg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I pursue for an Associate's Degree, or just go for my Certificate?

    Go for the degree, you'll be glad you did.
    I received my Associates in "Technical Graphics and Design Technology" about 8 years ago and happy I did. It gave me all the tools I needed to pick what I wanted to do and I had a "nice piece of paper" showing my credentials. I know that's what all the job offers in my area are looking for ("a minimum of an Associates degree....blah blah") and where I work it will probably get you an interview over someone without one.

    Anyway, that's my two cents.
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