What is an Associate’s Degree
An associate’s degree is a two year degree and the students who pursue this kind of degree full time can complete a program in as two years though many choose to go at their own pace while Associate’s degrees have been popular for the last twenty years and increasingly people are turning to associate’s as a quicker less expensive route to career change than the traditional bachelor’s or four year degree.
Some occupations require workers to have a least some college in their educational background in which case an associate degree is a perfect fit while other employers simply require employees to have an associate degree and have it listed as an essential job qualification.
An associate degree takes half as long and therefore generally costs half as much as a traditional four year bachelor degree. Many community colleges offer low cost associate degree programs. Community college can be a cheaper more flexible and less time consuming way to pursue this kind of program. Other institutions that offer associate programs include junior colleges, technical and vocational schools, affiliated colleges of universities and universities.
However, it is important to note that there is a stigma attached to community college degrees. Many employers and hiring managers have earned bachelor-level degrees from traditional four-year colleges and, therefore look for potential employees with similar educational backgrounds.
Many people decide to earn an associate degree while maintaining a career and later choose to continue their education in a bachelor-level program. This level of degree is dedicated to vocationally specific skills and knowledge. An associate’s is considered the first stage of post secondary education.
An articulation agreement is the bridge between an associate’s and a bachelor’s degree. Many four-year institutions offer articulation agreements to community college and online college students.
Types of Associate Degrees
When deciding what kind of degree you may need, there are many factors to consider. What kind of job are you looking for? What kind of degree requirements are needed for entry level jobs in that field? Is it a job that requires more science and math-based skills and knowledge.
There are three types of associate degrees:
- Associate of Arts (AA)
- Associate of Science (AS)
- Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
Difference between an AA vs. AS vs. AAS
The main differences between these different kinds of associate’s degrees are the course requirements. An AS and AA degree prepare graduates for further educational pursuits at the bachelor’s level by focusing more on academic requirements and general education courses. An AAS has more “applied” course requirements, which means they are more practical in nature and are generally more focused on a specific career or vocational field.
How Many Credits Required is an Associate’s Degree
Generally an associate’s level program is 60 semester credits of study (or 90 quarter credits). This equals about twenty college courses and most are awarded by private career colleges or by public community colleges.
The number of years it takes to complete an associate’s program depends on the person pursuing the degree, but generally takes two years to complete.
Many associate degree programs in both online and traditional settings allow for flexible plans of study. Some people choose accelerated courses of study, while others with more responsibilities and schedule constraints may take one or two classes a semester.
Types of Associate Degrees in the US
- Associate in Electronics Engineering Technology (AEET)
- Associate in Engineering Technology (AET)
- Associate in Physical Therapy (ASPT-APT)
- Associate of/in Arts (AA)
- Associate of/in Science (AS)
- Associate of Applied Arts (AAA)
- Associate of Applied Business (AAB)
- Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
- Associate of Arts and Sciences (AAS)
- Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT)
- Associate of Baccalaureate Studies (ABS)
- Associate of Business Administration (ABA)
- Associate of Engineering (AE), also Associate of Engineering Science (AES)
- Associate of Fine Arts (AFA)
- Associate of Forestry (AF)
- Associate of General Studies (AGS)
- Associate of Industrial Technology (AIT)
- Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS)
- Associate of Political Science (APS)
- Associate of Pre-Engineering (APE)
- Associate of Public Service (APS)
- Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), also Associate of Nursing (AN) and Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Associate of Software Development etc