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    Types of Associate Degrees

    August 20, 2021 | Staff Writers

    Types of Associate Degrees
    Degree Finder
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    Students from high school or adults looking to earn a degree often get surprised at the wide variety of associates degrees available. There are numerous options for anyone aspiring to earn a degree. However, many people often think about bachelor’s degree and master’s degree when discussing advanced education options. Very few individuals know that those are not the only options out there. An associate degree program offers another choice that is equally promising to explore. 

    You can find an associate’s degree program for you in community colleges, vocational schools, and technical colleges. Depending on the type of associate degree, you can use it as a foundation for a bachelor’s degree or a master’s program at the university. Associate degrees can be obtained as qualifications for employment in very many industries. This post highlights different types of associate’s degrees and job opportunities they offer. 

    An associate’s degree is a two-year degree program offered in many colleges at an undergraduate level. These degrees provide technical knowledge, education, and a set of skills required to help students pursue different career opportunities. Associate degrees can be used as a starting point for students who want to advance their education to the university level. In this case, they are applied as transfer programs in various subjects of interest. Multiple types of associate degrees are mainly offered in community colleges, technical schools, and vocational colleges. 

    Associate degrees are widespread in the United States, where they are obtained at community colleges, junior colleges, or technical schools. However, you can also earn an associate degree in various countries, such as:

    • Australia
    • Canada
    • Denmark
    • Turkey 

    The United Kingdom has foundation degrees, which are quite similar to associate degrees. An associate’s degree is suitable for two types of students:

    • Students who want to use the degree as a qualification for a given profession. In this case, an associate’s degree increases their chances of being employed. 
    • Students who want to use the associate’s degree as a stepping-stone to obtain an advanced degree at the university level. In this case, the student uses an associate’s degree to transfer to a university program for a bachelor’s degree. 

    There are four types of associate degrees offered at the community college level:

    • Associate of Arts (AA Degree)
    • Associate of Science (AS Degree)
    • Associate of Applied Arts (AAA Degree)
    • Associate of Applied Science (AAS Degree)

    In contrast to any other type of degree and title, the difference between associate degrees is apparent. Associate of arts and associate of science degrees are designed for students who want to advance their education in the future. These degrees are used to leave the door open for future advancement. For instance, if you’re going to transfer to a university for a bachelor’s program, it is advisable to take any of the two. 

    It is crucial to analyze your situation to determine if an associate degree is a right choice for you. Therefore, it would be deserving to know more about these types of degrees in detail to help you make an informed choice before choosing one. 

    Associate of Science Degree

    Have you ever thought of earning an associate degree in the medical or science-related industry? Well, this would be the right choice for you. Whether you want a direct qualification to enter into the job market in this industry or look forward to pursuing a bachelor’s degree, earning an associate of science degree will open many doors for you.  

    What Is an Associate of Science?

    As the title suggests, an associate degree in science is designed to lean towards math and other science-related professions. Unlike an associate of arts degree that leans more towards various humanities topics, an associate of science degree is more into a technical set of skills. This degree helps students to prepare for further studies in scientific or technological fields. 

    An associate of science degree offers a wide range of career opportunities, ranging from information technology and web development to healthcare and many more. An Associate of Science degree is offered in many community colleges and various universities across the country. However, many students prefer transferring their credits to a four-year university to further their education. 

    How Long Does It Take to Earn an Associate of Science Degree?

    An associate of science degree is typically designed to cover 60 credit hours at the minimum. In this case, an associate of science degree would require students to study for two years, covering four semesters of coursework. However, the time frame can be reduced according to institutional policies and modes of learning. 

    Suppose you have a full-time job or any other commitments that keep you busy all the time. In that case, you can arrange with the institution to slow your learning pace to help you juggle your obligations without compromising your education. In this case, you will need more than two years to earn an associate of science degree. Accordingly, you can also accelerate the period to make you earn an associate of science degree in less than two years. This option is beneficial for people looking to transfer their credits to a four-year university for a bachelor’s degree program. 

    Jobs You Can Get with an Associate of Science Degree

    Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a bachelor’s degree to get a job. Associate degrees also offer a wide variety of job opportunities for qualified students. There are many occupations with decent salaries for an associate of the science degree holder. 

    So, what types of jobs do you think you can get with an associate of science degree? According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are many jobs you can qualify for if you are a holder of an associate of science degree. Here, we have rounded up the top ten associate science degree jobs that pay more than $50,000 annually. 

    1. Dental Hygienist
    2. Paralegal and Legal Assistant 
    3. Architectural Drafter 
    4. Cardiovascular Technologist 
    5. Web Developer 
    6. Occupational Therapy Assistant 
    7. Radiologic Technologist 
    8. Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician 
    9. Geological and Petroleum Technician 
    10. Funeral Service Manager 

    Why Should You Pursue an Associate of Science Degree?

    There are many benefits to earning an associate of science degree. However, this career path is not just right for everyone. So how do you know that an associate of science degree is right for you? Here is how. 

    • When You Are Ready to Work in An In-Demand Industry
      There is no guarantee after graduation. However, an associate of science degree gives you a clear path into employment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that jobs related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are expected to increase by 8.8% come 2028. This industry is often evolving, making it more challenging and in-demand. 
    • When You Want A Wider Variety of Notions 
      Many students taking an associate degree in science often have two options; find a job after graduation or transfer their credits to a four-year university for a bachelor’s degree. Many take this degree as a stepping-stone to advanced degree programs. Therefore, if you want to leave your options wide open, an associate of science degree is the right choice for you. 
    • You Want to Save On Education Costs
      Many people go after an associate of science degree to earn a degree at an affordable community college before transferring to a costlier university. You can also access various sources of financial aid. Some decide to call it good upon graduating with an associate of science degree. If you are still undecided about a four-year university, an associate of science degree would be a smart move. 

    For many students, pursuing an associate of science degree is always a good move. Not only does this program give you a pool of options after graduation, but it can also help you explore your interests at an affordable cost.  

    Associate of Arts Degree

    When it comes to visualizing your career path and development along the way,  you need to think about where you want to be in the next ten or so years. The idea here is to think about how much you are likely to earn to support yourself and your family. Are you likely to achieve the financial freedom that everyone craves? Is your current job in-demand? You should always ask yourself these basic questions when thinking about your education. An associate of arts degree makes it easier for you to find the answers to these detailed questions. 

    An AA degree can open many doors for students who choose to make college part of their lives. If you are looking for motivation, think about the employment opportunities you are likely to encounter with an associate of arts degree. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States’ unemployment rate is always in decline, with many jobs being created every year.  Someone with an associate of arts degree earns about $200 more every week compared to individuals with high school diplomas. 

    Which Options Do You Have with An Associate of Arts Degree?

    An associate of arts degree is a two-year program. Sometimes these programs can take longer or shorter to complete, depending on how you decide to schedule your studies. With an AA degree, you are well-positioned to enter a bachelor’s program for liberal arts. This program also opens the door to many professions because employers look for this level of a college education. Career fields where a holder of an associate of arts degree can find you better employment include various government and private sectors, such as marketing, healthcare, and education. 

    How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate Of Arts Degree?

    Associate of art programs differs in terms of the duration taken to complete each. However, the arts degree requirements are always about 50 to 60 credit hours spread along four semesters or two years. Like any other associate’s program, you can choose to extend or shorten this period. The majority of these hours are directed towards general education, especially for students looking to earn an associate of arts degree as a stepping-stone to a bachelor’s degree program or a master’s of fine arts or  MFA degree at the university level. 

    Jobs You Can Get with an Associate of Arts Degree

    Associate of arts degrees is considered as transfer degrees that prepare students for further studies in four-year universities. They cut across different industries. Here is a career outlook for people with an associate of arts degree:

    1. Preschool teacher
    2. Industrial designer
    3. Paralegal
    4. Human resources manager
    5. Executive assistant
    6. Operations manager
    7. Account executive
    8. Creative assistant
    9. Graphic designer
    10. Administrative assistant
    11. Customer service representative

    Why Should You Pursue an Associate of Arts Degree? 

    There are many reasons to pursue an associate of arts degree. However, everyone comes with personal interests and reasons. To know if an associate of arts degree is the right choice for you, consider it if: 

    • You Are Looking for Employment
      Getting any type of associate degree will lead to a high-earning job. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with an associate of arts degree are likely to earn a weekly income in the regions of $862. The unemployment rate is significantly lower for an associate of arts degree holders. 
    • You Are Looking for An Affordable Option for Education
      An associate of arts degree offers an affordable alternative for students to earn a degree compared to going for the university option. If you are looking for a way to transfer to a four-year university at a cheap price, an associate of arts degree should be your preferred choice. This is mainly because junior colleges often charge less compared to other universities but still offer employment opportunities.  

    The average cost of education at a community university is $3,440 in the United States. In contrast, a university is likely to cost $9,410, with some going north of that figure, especially private institutions. 

    • You Want to Leave Your Options Open
      As an associate of science degree, an associate of arts degree can be used for more than one reason. This program offers a well-rounded education across various subjects, such as humanities, language arts, and technical skills.  This means an associate of arts degree prepares students for various professional career paths. However, you can also take this degree as a transfer program to a four-year university. 

    If you want to ease into college, save on tuition costs, and explore a wide variety of disciplines before choosing the right one, an associate of arts degree should be a good move. You can always use an associate of arts degree as a stepping-stone to a specialized training program at a more advanced education level. 

    Associate of Applied Science Degree

    An associate of applied science degree is always appealing. College graduates with associates of applied science degrees often hold pretty cool jobs. An associate of applied science degree can be completed in two years, allowing you to dive into the job industry as fast as possible. If that is not promising enough, read on to see why you should opt for an associate of applied science degree. 

    What Is an Associate of Applied Science?

    An associate of applied science degree or AAS degree is a technical program you can earn after graduating from high school. Associate of applied science degree programs is offered by various schools in the United States, including community colleges and technical schools. Some are offered in universities. 

    An AAS degree program requires students to major in applied science courses. This discipline involves the application of scientific knowledge in a practical field, such as a library science degree. For instance, you may be required to solve a crime after looking at forensic evidence or develop a technology that improves healthcare. In essence, anything that requires you to use scientific knowledge to solve everyday problems involves applied science. 

    How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate of Applied Science Degree? 

    Like any other associate degree program, an associate of applied science degree takes two years of study at the college level. However, you can decide to go for other longer or shorter options depending on your schedule and commitment. 

    Jobs You Can Get with an Associate of Applied Science Degree

    Have you ever wondered about the types of jobs you are likely to get with an associate of applied science degree? According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there are many career opportunities for college graduates with an associate of applied science degree. Here are some top-paying jobs:

    1. Web Developer 
    2. Veterinary Technologist 
    3. Dental Hygienist 
    4. Medical Sonographer 
    5. Chemical Technician 
    6. Physical Therapist Assistant 
    7. Radiologic Technologist 
    8. Geological and Petroleum Technician 

    Why Should You Pursue an Associate of Applied Science Degree?

    Although an associate of applied science degree takes only two or fewer years, there are more significant commitments in terms of money and time. To make the right choice, you need to find a good reason to pursue an associate of applied science degree. 

    • When You want to dive into the job market immediately
      If you are eager to jump into the job market after graduation, an associate of applied science degree should give you the right option. Unlike associate of science and associate of arts degrees, an associate of applied science degree is solely meant to act as a qualification for employment. These programs do not offer the opportunity to transfer to four-year universities but are on-the-job training types of courses. Therefore, if you want technical skills for a professional career, this program is the right one for you. 
    • When You Are Looking for A High-Paying Job
      Associate of applied science degree programs always emphasizes technical and hard skills that lead to potentially lucrative professions. The amount you can make depends on the field you choose. However, the list of jobs above shows that this is a well-paying field. 
    • When You Want Flexibility
      If you are not ready to commit yourself to four-year coursework, an associate of applied science degree should serve you well. If you do not want to further your studies, earning an associate of applied science degree gives you the chance to enter different career paths. Earning this degree only takes two years, and it gets you into the job market directly. 

    Earning an associate of applied science degree has many benefits, including some lucrative professions. The real question you should answer is whether or not this is the right degree for you. Although you should make that decision all by yourself, this section has offered concrete information to point you in the right direction. 

    Associate of Applied Business Degree

    An associate of an applied business degree is designed to prepare students for middle-level entry jobs in the business world. The program explores a wide range of business disciplines, with a particular focus on basic practices in accounting, business law, economics, marketing, and human resources management. 

    Students looking to earn an associate of applied business degree must complete course requirements, including general education requirements and a total of between 60 and 62 credits (this requirement may vary, depending on the institution and the type of program you choose). 

    What is Associate of Applied Business?

    As the title suggests, an associate of applied business degree is a college-level program that prepares graduates for professional career development in the business world. The program takes an average of two years to complete, with options to extend or shorten, depending on personal commitments. It is considered the fastest associate’s degree for people looking to enter the job market. 

    Students are likely to acquire academic training that employers seek for various jobs within the listed period. Earning an associate of applied business degree could help you save soon tuition costs and offer you a direct employment ticket. 

    Jobs You Can Get with an Associate of Applied Business Degree

    The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that only 40% of Americans have an associate degree and above. This means that earning an associate of applied business degree is likely to increase your chances of employment. If you are not sure about pursuing this degree program, you should look at the range of career opportunities it leads to. 

    If you are concerned about the time and money you need to invest in your education to get an associate of applied business degree, the rewards should motivate you to focus more on it than ever before. It take much less time and money than a business administration degree while still opening doors to a new career.

    Job options and salaries associated with this degree make it a worthy investment. The pay comparison between an associate of an applied business holder and a bachelor’s degree holder is not wide. These are some of the best-paying jobs you can get with an associate of applied business degree:

    1. Project manager
    2. Administrative assistant
    3. Accountant
    4. Sales manager
    5. Office manager
    6. Human resources specialist
    7. Supervisor
    8. Customer care agent or supervisor
    9. Civil engineer

    Why Should You Choose an Associate of Applied Business Degree?

    An associate of applied business degree program prepares you for entry-level jobs in various organizations. Studying this course will help you gain experience and knowledge in managerial skills, problem-solving, decision-making, supervisory, and hands-on experience in different technologies. You will learn how to manage the flow of information at a workplace to enhance customer experience and better service delivery. Therefore, if you are still wondering if this is the right choice for you, here’ why you should consider this option: 

    • When You Want to Develop Your Career
      If you want to go on to further your education in business, organizational leadership, and management, you should consider earning an associate if applied business degree. This program allows you to gain associate of science degree valuable skills that make you employment-ready in your chosen area of study. It helps you prepare for entry-level jobs in the business world. You can easily join the various government and private agencies with an associate of applied business degree. 
    • If You Want to Experience the Real World of Business
      Associate of applied business degree instills skills and knowledge that students can apply in different career fields. This program makes the student ready to dive into the corporate world for employment. Therefore, it is suitable for people seeking to enter the job market directly and explore their options without going through four-year universities. 

    This program arms students with the knowledge and experience needed to transition directly from an apprentice into a professional. The coursework involves various internship options that help learners gain valuable experience in the business world. If you want to explore the business world, you should consider earning an associate if applied business degree. 

    The Bottom Line 

    Are you wondering if you should study for an associate degree? Well, the answer depends on your career plans and financial well-being. If you fancy a technical profession, you should do your homework well to determine if an associates degree is the right choice for you. 

    If you are not satisfied with your high school GPA, an associate degree will offer you an excellent option to study your subject of interest and improve your marks before transferring to a four-year university for a bachelor’s degree program. 

    You might find universities that allow you to transfer your associate course credits and study for two years of a bachelor’s degree program instead of going all the way for four years. However, you must ensure that your courses are compatible and the university you want to apply to accepts such credit transfer.  

    As long as your career path is well-planned and you know what you want, an associate degree can be a valuable asset on your way up the job ladder. 

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