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What Is a BAT Degree?

by Tanya Lee

The Bachelor of Applied Technology degree is similar to the Bachelor of Science degree earned at a four-year college or university, but the path to the degree is significantly different, and the focus of courses for the degree leans more toward contextualized instruction that has direct relevance in the workforce.

Rationale

While the BAT and similar degrees have been around for a few decades, they have taken on increased importance as employability becomes more dependent on having a college degree and as the American workforce adapts to changes in the labor market. President Obama has made post-secondary education a priority and called on Americans to seek higher education. Programs offering BAT degrees are one way for working adults to earn a college degree.

The Path

People who have earned an Associate of Applied Science degree at a two-year institution of higher education, such as a community college, are the target audience for BAT and similar degrees. As a rule, most institutions accept all of the credits a student has earned to achieve his AAS degree. This is a unique aspect of the BAT degree; usually an AAS is considered a terminal degree and its courses do not count toward a bachelor's degree.

Goals

The BAT course of study is intended to move the students toward higher-level critical-thinking skills, expand their general education competencies and enhance the technical coursework they have already done by giving it an academic foundation. It can be an important step in moving toward a better, more interesting, higher-paying job.

Fields of Study

Different schools offer the BAT degree in different fields of study, such as business management, environmental health and safety, process operations management, general technology management, computer information systems technology, workforce leadership and training, and health services management and technology. Students wishing to pursue a BAT should find out what colleges offer the degree in the field in which they are interested.

About the Author

Tanya Lee is a professional writer with more than 30 years experience. She has published extensively in the field of education and as a journalist, the latter in such publications as "High Country News" and "News from Indian Country." Lee holds a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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