Applied Studies

A bachelor’s degree in applied studies is similar to a degree in liberal arts, but is designed for those who have attended technical schools and want to pursue a four-year degree. The applied studies degree is a customized degree that meets the needs of a very specific group of students who might otherwise have to start over with their educations, costing them two years of time and thousands of dollars.

What Is An Applied Studies Degree?

In educational language, applied studies generally refer to a course of study surrounding a technical skill. An “applied” program focuses on the skills involved in a field of study rather than on the abstract or academic portions of that field. Applied degrees are often sought-after in technical fields such as computers or manufacturing because graduates understand how to perform certain jobs rather than simply the theories behind the jobs.

A bachelor’s degree in applied studies is often a choice for students who took a two-year technical degree that will not transfer to a four-year college. A technical school or junior college often awards credits for two-year programs that have no parallel in a four-year school. When there is no comparable four-year degree for a two-year or associate’s degree, students often choose applied studies.

What Are My Options for An Applied Studies Degree?

Applied studies is actually a very flexible degree and can be customized to fit a variety of circumstances. Generally, a student and an advisor review the student’s transcript to determine which classes can be used for credit and the eventual path of study. Applied studies is designed to provide a framework for a customized degree that still meets the college’s standards for rigor and academic excellence.

Therefore, an applied studies degree can be molded to fit almost any type of two-year degree base. Applied studies may cover sciences, math, business, or even academic subjects such as history or English.

Recently, applied studies degrees have become prominent in online education programs. Applied studies programs lend themselves well to distance learning since the focus is often on performance rather than rote memorization. Students in an online applied studies program are often challenged to complete real-life projects such as creating a portfolio or coming up with solutions to hypothetical problems. Online applied studies degrees are often very useful for those who are already working in a field and want to expand their knowledge and skills. They can sometimes incorporate their “real life” work into their degree requirements and combine school projects with work-related projects.

What Types of Jobs Are Available for Applied Studies Graduates?

Applied studies graduates can obtain jobs in almost any field imaginable, depending on the focus of their degree. The three most common fields in which applied studies graduates are found to be working are computers, business, and healthcare.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a computer programmer with a four-year degree will earn a median salary of $71,380 per year. Applied studies in computer science can lead to programming jobs and may qualify students to take employment with certain companies by tailoring the degree to specific requirements. Applied studies graduates, for example, can include studies in their degrees that lead to certifications for A+, Network+ and other types of certificates that will open employment doors.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists logistician as a business job description that has a median annual salary of $70,800 per year and requires a four-year degree. This job is an example of one that requires a skill set that would lend itself well to study in an applied program. Logisticians manage supply lines for hotels, restaurants, and businesses; someone already working for a particular company could tailor an applied studies degree to address the unique challenges of that company’s logistics while still covering marketing and other general topics.

Healthcare is another area that is replete with opportunities for employment for those with applied degrees. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists medical technicians as earning a median annual salary of $46,680, although many of them have only two-year degrees. A person who has gotten a two-year degree as a medical technician and wants to shape his or her four-year program to learn more about a particular area of expertise can do so and earn more money for his or her work. For example, a radiology technician with a two-year degree could create an applied program to enhance radiology skills into a four-year program. This program could even be specified for nuclear medicine or medical imaging.

Applied studies is a very flexible degree that can be made to work with a number of two-year degrees to allow students to obtain the specific training that will help them find a job in the “real world.” Consider applied studies if you already have a two-year degree and a very strong idea about what type of job you would prefer for your future employment.

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