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HomeStudyTypes of Associate Degrees and Features: Which Should You Opt for?

Types of Associate Degrees and Features: Which Should You Opt for?

Types of Associate Degrees: Are you a senior in high school planning to enroll in college? Do you want to enhance your studies as an adult? Are you an employee wishing to switch industries or boost your skills? You might want to think about earning an associate degree if any of these situations describe you.

While many associate degrees can be transferred to larger universities to pursue a bachelor’s degree, they are beneficial on their own. A student may be able to find a well-paying work full-time or on the side while continuing their education by earning an associate degree, which is frequently far more affordable than taking the same college credits at a university.

What is an Associate Degrees?

Associate degrees are undergraduate, post-secondary degrees that are typically completed in two years. A certification above a high school diploma but below a bachelor’s degree is an associate degree. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), those with associate degrees may expect to make 20% more money on average than those with merely high school certificates. Several associate degrees can even lead to six-figure salaries! Associate degrees typically focus on the arts or sciences.

Why Should I Get an Associate Degree?

If you’ve been considering getting an associate degree recently, know that there are a number of benefits to doing so. Here are a few benefits to think about if you’re debating getting an associate’s degree.

1. Flexibility

Flexibility is provided by associate degree programs in many different ways. Earning your associate degree at a community college gives you the flexibility of attending part-time or full-time, and offers courses in the evenings and online, without sacrificing the quality of your education. It can be challenging to balance a college education while maintaining a job or family.

Types of Associate Degrees
Types of Associate Degrees

You can easily continue working either part- or full-time with an associate degree program, depending on your needs.

A lot of associate degrees can also be obtained online, which is a convenient alternative for working adults and people with busy schedules. It is significantly preferable to pay off college fees as you go rather than deferring them until after you finish if you have the freedom to work while seeking a degree.

2. Budget-Friendly

An associate degree often costs less because it can be earned in less time than a bachelor’s degree. Comparing the first two years of a bachelor’s degree at a four-year university to the cost of completing your associate degree at a community college, you can save thousands of dollars.

Since an associate degree is a shorter-term commitment, starting your career early will probably make it simpler for you to pay off your student loans. When attempting to choose the best kind of academic program and how they want to advance their education, many people find this cost-effectiveness to be of particular assistance.

3. Takes Less Time

An associate degree also has the advantage of requiring less time to complete than other degree programs, such as bachelor’s and master’s degrees. An associate degree can usually be earned in just two years.

In contrast, the majority of bachelor’s degrees take four years to complete, or six or more years if a master’s degree is also required. You won’t need to dedicate a significant amount of time to furthering your education if you obtain an associate degree. Instead, you might begin making plans to develop your profession in a few years.

An associate degree can be the best option for you if you want to graduate from college quickly and launch your career. The quicker you acquire your degree, the sooner you can start working and earning money.

4. Career Possibilities

You might anticipate having more professional options if you earn an associate degree rather than only a high school diploma. Your commitment to lifelong learning demonstrates to potential employers that you possess the desire, discipline, and determination required to get a college degree.

Instead of concentrating just on academic courses, several associate degree programs will help you get ready for the workforce. You’ll acquire useful real-world experience that will help you in a variety of careers while honing specialized skills associated with your field of study.

5. More Options for Education

An associate degree can be used as a stepping stone to more advanced degrees if you want to enhance your education. For instance, you probably will be able to transfer some of your associate degree program’s credits to a bachelor’s degree program.

While you can still find a variety of entry-level jobs with an associate degree, enrolling in a bachelor’s program will provide you more educational experience, which will improve your CV. This makes you eligible for a larger range of employment prospects and gives you a competitive advantage in the eyes of potential employers.

6. Greater Earnings Prospects

Do associate degrees help you make more money, you might be wondering. Having post-secondary credentials on your resume will undoubtedly improve both your employment prospects and your compensation.

Employees with associate degrees typically make $150 or more more per week than those with merely a high school diploma. Another advantage that makes getting an associate’s degree worthwhile is that it can result in thousands of dollars more in earnings annually and over the course of a lifetime.

Also Read: 12 Remote Part Time Jobs

Types of Associate Degrees

Associate degrees come in a variety of forms. Regular, applied, and certificates are the top three. Commonly utilized as transfer degrees are regular associate degrees, such as an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science. In order to apply for a bachelor’s degree, the student plans to transfer their credits to a four-year institution. By doing this, the student usually enrolls in their four-year institution as a junior as opposed to a freshman.

Associate of Applied Arts or Associate of Applied Science degrees are examples of applied associate degrees that are designed to prepare students for the workforce rather than transfer to a university. Applied degrees frequently concentrate on a certain industry or profession. Similar to applied degrees, certificate programs are intended to help students advance their careers. Let’s delve a little more deeply into the various types.

1. Associate of Arts

About 60 credits of a broad liberal arts education are offered via associate of arts (AA) degrees. History, literature, music, writing, and communications are just a few examples of the courses that are often taken to get an AA and are equivalent to those studied in the first two years of a bachelor’s degree. A student who wants to work in the humanities, social sciences, or arts, such as a reporter, editor, marketer, archaeologist, psychologist, or public relations manager, would benefit most from earning an AA degree. These degrees translate well into bachelor’s degree majors in business, economics, sociology, history, and political science.

2. Associate of Sciences

Like AA degrees, Associate of Science (AS) degrees offer roughly 60 credits that can be used to a future bachelor’s degree. However, AS degrees frequently include some humanities coursework with a STEM focus. A student pursuing an AS degree can anticipate taking a lot of classes in arithmetic, computer science, physical science, and biological science. A student who wants to work in STEM fields such as engineering, data analysis, IT, or science would benefit most from earning an AS degree. These degrees are easily transferable to bachelor’s degree majors in fields including pharmacy, architecture, biology, agriculture, textiles, or biology.

3. Associate of Applied Arts

Instead of educating students for transfer to a larger university, Associate of Applied Arts (AAA) degrees concentrate on preparing students to enter the workforce. An AAA can require 60–80 additional credits to finish than an AA, on average. A student pursuing a AAA degree can anticipate having a wide range of academic options, such as fine arts, advertising, music, or design. Automotive design, product design, landscape design, and urban design are just a few of the occupations open to AAA alumni.

4. Associate of Applied Sciences

An Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, like a AAA, helps students get ready for the workforce. Accounting, computer information systems, and welding are typical AAS specializations. AAS degrees typically provide the prerequisites for employment with stable income and can be completed in 60 to 80 credits. AAS graduates have access to a wide range of employment and transferrable skills. Bookkeeper, auto mechanic, paralegal, and dental hygienist are a few employment alternatives.

5. Certification Courses

The goal of certificate programs is to increase a student’s knowledge of a particular field or sector. A certificate may occasionally be regarded as continuous education. A student would be enhancing their knowledge of the work they are already performing in this way. A data science, cybersecurity, or blockchain certification are a few examples of these.

Students who complete other certification programs may be eligible to change industries. These could include certificates in cloud architects, digital marketing, or full-stack web development. Any resume can benefit greatly from certificate programs. They demonstrate your commitment to your profession and your drive to keep up with the most recent business trends.

Types of Associate Degrees
Types of Associate Degrees

Also Read: Best New York City Journalism Schools

How to Select a Program for an Associate Degree

1. Take Your Interests and Career Goals Into Account

Community college programs might be more diverse than undergraduate programs at institutions because of their adaptability. You should consider your goals while determining whether community college is the correct choice for you, and pick a program in line with those goals.

You can decide whether you want to pursue an associate’s degree in science or the arts based on your interests. After you’ve made that decision, you need to think about your career timeline and ambitions. If you intend to enter the workforce in the next year or two, you should probably choose an applied degree. Or, if your long-term goal is to enroll in a sizable four-year university, a standard associates degree would be a better choice for you.

2. Examine the Conditions

Make sure you understand what is required to earn your degree. Like many nursing schools, some community college programs offer competitive admissions with minimal academic prerequisites. Their website is a helpful resource for finding school prerequisites. Your guidance counselor may assist you with your research and navigating the various criteria, so you should speak with them as well.

3. Evaluate the Faculty, School, and Coursework

After choosing a school, look over their course offerings. Does what you seek pertain to the courses they offer? Do they offer electives that are engaging? Check out the faculty’s reputation and interview the teachers. Find out how the faculty has been rated by prior students. Additionally, look at the academic resources and career guidance offered by the institution. They provide tutoring, right? Do they offer job placement assistance? These are all crucial inquiries to make while determining whether a school is the best fit for you.

4. Think About the Costs

Many individuals find the cost of education to be prohibitive, and for some it actually is. An associate degree might be the best option if your objective is to start a career or trade immediately away or even if your goal is to complete a four-year degree. According to the Education Data Initiative, an in-state student’s tuition for a public, four-year university education costs $10,740 on average in the United States. Scholarships can be helpful, but this is a significant amount of money. On the other hand, an associate degree program typically costs $3,800 in tuition. Earning credits toward a bachelor’s degree while paying much less is possible with associate degrees.

Types of Associate Degrees
Types of Associate Degrees

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning of an associate’s degree?

A community college, junior college, online university, or some four-year institutions in the US all grant associate degrees, which are two-year college degrees. A bachelor's degree and an associate's degree are the two highest levels of education.

What is equivalent to an associate degree?

Bachelor Degree. It is essentially the same as completing the first and second years of a bachelor's degree.

Is a degree superior to a diploma?

Generally speaking, degree programs are more rigorous than diploma programs and frequently call for full-time study, but many institutions also offer part-time programs for certain courses. You might be able to work while you study by selecting a diploma program or a part-time course.

Can diploma holders apply to master’s programs in the US?

16 years of education: The first thing to keep in mind before choosing an MS is that most American colleges demand that applicants have completed at least 16 years of school. As a result, the fundamental requirement is having completed at least 4 years of schooling (graduate or diploma) following 10+2.

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