Earning an Associate Degree is similar to earning an undergraduate degree but does not require as many semester hours. Associates degrees are usually obtained in preparation to for entry level career positions and in preparation for higher education opportunities. Programs consist of three general areas of focus: general education courses, courses oriented towards your major and elective courses. Generally, an Associate Degree can be completed in as little as 2 years by attending 4 semesters (two 15 semester credit hours per year). Traditionally community colleges, junior colleges and select technical colleges offer associate degree programs.
While associate degree are recognized as requiring a general education base many value an associates degree for the vocational and career specific training they provide. Associates degrees are awarded in both job-specific vocational areas such as business, technology and electronics or in liberal arts. Today many employers looking for employees with job-specific training now prefer graduates with an Associate Degree as these graduates are more likely to have the skill set necessary to excel in entry and mid-level occupational positions.
Associate Degree Programs include:
- Associate of Arts Degree (A.A.) - This degree is a preparation or prerequisite degree four-year college or university.
- Associate of Science Degree (A.S.) - This degree is designed to prepare students to transfer to a 4 year college or university upon completion.
- Associate of Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.) - This degree is designed to prepare students for entry level and career advancement opportunities. These degrees may also help student qualify for entry into a 4 year college or university program.
- Occupational Associates Degree - The goal of this degree is prepare graduates to fill entry level career positions immediately following graduation. The goal of this degree is be prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation.
In the United States, an associate degree is a 2-year degree given by colleges upon completion of an associate degree program. Associate degrees are generally 2-year degrees, like those awarded at community colleges. Associate degrees are also available online - allowing students to study on a schedule that suits their busy lives. An Associate Degree is a type of undergraduate degree that requires at least 60 semester credit hours. With full-time study, it will take 2 years to complete - or 4 semesters with 15 credit hours. An associate degree program involves a general education requirement, major requirements, and electives.The two types of associate degrees offered are the A.A. or associate of arts degree, and the A.A.S., which is the associate of applied science degree.
You can earn and A.A. degree at a community or junior college, at a technical school, or even online. This degree designation indicates that you have completed a course of study with an extensive foundation in general education, as well as concentration in a particular area. Your degree is often in an occupational area, or in liberal arts. This degree is designed to transfer to a four-year college or university. Associate of Applied Science degree (A.A.S.) is intended for graduates that seek career entry or job advancement after 2 years of college study. AAS degrees will possibly transfer some or all credits to a four-year college.
Associate of Applied Science degrees are the preference of employers seeking people to fill various middle level technology positions. Once you get an associate degree, you typically need another 2 years or 60 credit hours to earn a bachelor degree. Earning an associates degree is a great away for a student to see what direction they want to take in their education. Either degree is a great option for those seeking to earn an associate degree.