Professional Courses vs General Courses Which One is Better?

The Indian system of education was conventionally known to give more weightage to the academic degree or what is now called the general course. Ever since the turn of the century, professional courses have gained increasing popularity, with people choosing their specialization right out of school, so as to better develop their job skills, making them ready for government, corporate or technology fields, at the end of the course.

Professional courses like BTech, MBBS, BBA, BCA Course in Kolkata, are offered by a number of government and private colleges, which take charge of not only preparing students for a deterministic role in the market, but also providing campus placements opportunities with high salaries.

Lets us discuss some of the advantages of a professional course:

  • A Faster Step up To Your Career – for those who already know what they want to do when they will grow up, a professional degree is a faster way to approach one’s career, saving valuable time in years studied.  An MBBS (medical) or BTech (engineering), allows a student to hone their technical skills in order to deliver services considered essential to the functioning of the society. Even courses like hotel management and animation and multimedia fall under this ambit.
  • Developing a Work Culture – professional courses enable an individual to develop a work culture and work ethic, early on in their career. Due to the fast pace of these courses, individuals are always on the edge. And the practical training makes them skilled in one particular area through internships and industry oriented practice, which is far better than a generalised understanding of a subject.
  • The Entrance Exam Advantage – These courses have their individual entrances particular to every college. So someone from the science background can go into animation or law, thus giving them an opportunity to explore options no matter what was their stream in school.  Another advantage is, the importance of board exam scores are significantly diminished and in case candidate has not been able to score well enough in their 12th boards, they still have an opportunity at making a good career decision.

However, the professional degree comes with certain disadvantages:

  • Early Specialization–While developing job related skills is of essence, ignoring the academic aspect of one’s course could be harmful. Due to the lack of a grounded knowledge in academics, individuals may find it difficult to change careers or go for higher studies as an alternative career, later.
  • The Rat Race –In India particularly the troupe of a boy becoming an engineer and a girl becoming a doctor has persisted for a few decades and has led to every middle class family seeking a professional education for their ward. This has resulted in saturation and intense, unhealthy competition in these courses. The affordability of some of these are also in question with more and more colleges demanding hefty fees for the training. 
  • Inadequacy of Educational Institutions –Not only are these courses expensive but have also become an easy way of making money for a lot of colleges. The students fall prey to substandard colleges that provide inferior quality of education and work placements.  One should always verify if the institute he/she is enrolling into has the latest technology and good teachers to advice and guide him/her, especially in the campus placement records.

General or academic courses are BA, BSc, and BCom which were considered the groundwork of knowledge and higher education, even 30 years ago. A range of specializations are offered like BSc Physics, BA Sociology, BSc Computer Science, BSc Microbiology, and B.A English and so on.  This degree delays the work- oriented training for an in depth study of a subject, after which an individual can proceed onto a professional course or masters.

The advantages of general courses are:

  • Firm Groundwork –The academic knowledge of an individual is nurtured and made firm with an academic degree. It allows for more range in their career choices later. It is particularly good for those students who are yet to figure out what they want to do in the career. There are also some courses that require a general degree or can be studied using one, for example, one can study law after a BA in Political Science or Sociology.
  • Benefits Academia – It is essential that parents and students realise the importance of academics and in depth learning, which is what furthers our boundaries of knowledge and understanding.
  • Selection into Colleges is Merit- Based – It is often burdensome for students to score well in their boards as well as entrances to the professional courses. If a student is  unable to secure a seat through entrances but as a good 12th standard result, he can still go to study a general course and specialise later. For example, studying BSc Computer Science instead of Computer Engineering.

The disadvantages of a general degree are:

  • Not Self Sufficient – in spite of the benefits of an academic degree, it in itself is not enough to secure a steady paying job for any individual.  One must complete a masters or take up a short diploma course in order to be certified as job-ready.

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