Bootcamps vs. Certificates vs. Degrees
Bootcamp, certificate, or degree? This might be one of the major questions you'll face when you're ready for a new job, a new career, or a potential raise or promotion.
However, these options aren't cut and dry. Even within each type of education path, there is a ton of variety. For instance, a free analytics certificate might only take a weekend to complete, while a paralegal certificate can take up to two years of intensive work.
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The same is true for cost. A bachelor's degree at a public college might run you a little more than $25,000, but a private college can cost you over $53,000 for the same major.
In general, you'll want to keep these considerations in mind when choosing your education option:
- Time commitment
- Type of program
To help you decide, here's how each education path breaks down.
Bootcamps vs. Certificates vs. Degrees
Bootcamps are short-term programs to quickly level up skills in a specific field. Many bootcamps are in tech, such as coding and web design.
Certificates are short-term programs in many subjects, such as marketing, business, and health care. They're useful for upskilling in a current role or switching careers entirely.
Associate Degrees are short college degrees that can be used to enter a specific industry or build credits before pursuing a more advanced degree.
Bachelor’s Degrees are the most common level of degree pursued, and often the most accepted level of education among employers.
Master’s Degrees are advanced college degrees after completing a bachelor’s degree. They are often specialized in a field of study.
Average of 14 weeks
Generally under a year
Average cost of $11,727 for the total program.
Free to $5,000 for the total program, depending on the speciality.
Average cost of $3,372 to $17,294 per year, depending on if it’s a public or private institution.
Average cost between $25,615 to $53,949 per year, depending on if it’s a public or private institution.
Average cost between $27,250 to $40,550 per year, depending on the program.
The average salary of a coding bootcamp grad is $69,000.
Around 79% of coding bootcamp grads report finding employment in programming careers.
The salaries of certificate-based jobs vary greatly. For instance, on average, EMTs make $29,300 a year, air traffic controllers make $47,202 a year, and real estate brokers make $71,287 a year.
Certificate programs are often used for upskilling for raises or better job prospects.
The median salary of an AA grad is $48,780.
The employment rate of someone with an AA degree is 93%.
The median salary of a BA grad is $67,860.
The employment rate of someone with a BA degree is 95%.
The median salary of a MA grad is $80,340.
The employment rate of someone with a MA degree is 96%.
Sources: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Association of Community Colleges, Education Data Initiative, Business Wire, Course Report, Career Karma, Indeed
Featured Image Credit: FreshSplash / Getty Images
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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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