Associates Degree

What is an Associates Degree?

Earning an associates degree has become an increasingly popular form of college education for both those students exiting high school, as well as adults already in the workforce who are looking to augment their current job skills. The associates degree is a post-secondary degree generally earned in two years, unlike a bachelors degree that can take up to four years to achieve. Many students use this degree as a stepping stone towards a bachelors degree, while other people use this degree alone to enter into their chosen career.

What is required to earn an Associates Degree?

To earn an associates degree, students must successfully complete 60 credits based on a two semester school year. Students may also be asked to complete 90 credits based on a quarter semester school year. Much of this has to do with the curriculum and schedule of each public community college, private junior college or individual vocational school.

Advantages of an Associates Degree

One of the distinct advantages of this type of college degree, is the fact that class work is often made flexible around the time restraints of the individual student. This allows students to earn a living on a full or part-time basis while trying to attain an academic degree. For many adults, this arrangement additionally gives them more leeway in scheduling childcare for their family.

Fiscal advantages

There are financial advantages as well. It is well known that the cost of a traditional bachelors degree has skyrocketed in recent years. This has left millions of college students in debt, quite possibly for the rest of their lives. Meanwhile an associates degree can be earned at more easily affordable community colleges and certificate programs affiliated with larger universities.

Variations on the Associate Degree

Contrary to what most people think, there are several types of associates degrees offered by most schools. Colleges that offer associates degrees will grant an Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS) and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. Each of these degrees are extremely useful in a wide range of in-demand fields.

An Associate of Arts degree will cover the liberal and performing arts. This general degree is useful for those students who wish to continue to earn a bachelors degree in the performing arts, liberal arts or the education of the arts. The Associate of Science degree is more directly involved with math and science. This type of AS degree is necessary for those planning to enter the fields of nursing, physical therapy and criminal justice. An Associate of Applied Science degree is designed to be more career-oriented and therefore ranks as a more vocational degree. Students earning this type of associates degree can use their new-found skills to enter such lucrative careers as web design, mechanics and paralegal studies.