Associate’s Degrees: Understanding Associate Degree Programs

For some individuals, attending college and achieving a four year degree is not an option or sometimes, not even of interest. However, in the current job market an academic qualification is becoming an important asset and most students are looking at ways of achieving a higher education without the costs and time length of a regular college degree.

Associate Degree Programs Info

An associate’s degree is a useful qualification to possess. Unlike an undergraduate degree in college, an associate degree program takes only two years to complete. You can get your associate degree from a community college, junior college and even some four year universities. A large number of students are also pursuing their associate degrees online.

These degrees usually teach you the basic skills. In fact, if you were to attend university, your associate degree program would be considered equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor’s degree program. Many students pursue associate’s degrees at community college and then move on to bigger universities to pursue an undergraduate degree. For some others, an associate program is enough for them to establish themselves in their chosen field.

An associate degree program is made up of three important parts  – general requirements, major requirements and electives. To be successfully awarded an associate degree, students must complete two years of study or what is equivalent to 60 semester credit hours.

Types of Associate Degree Courses

Just like undergraduate programs, there are various types of associate degrees as well. One can pursue associate’s degrees in several fields depending on their preferences. The types of associate degree courses available to students are:

  • Associate of Arts (AA) degree

This degree is usually taken up by students to help them gain entry into a four year undergraduate course.

  • Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) degree

This degree prepares students for careers or if they wish, they can pursue it further at university.

  • Associate of Science (AS) degree

Like the AA degree, the AS degree prepares students for transfers to four year universities.

  • Associate in Occupational Studies

These associate degrees are designed for students looking for an academic qualification to help them enter the work force. These degrees focus on the practicalities of the chosen occupation of the students so they may enter the work force work ready. Students can of course choose to go on to university after this if they so wish.

Associate Degree Programs: Advantages

Associate degrees are an excellent option for students interested in further study and have some distinct advantages.

  • They can be achieved in a shorter period of time (a maximum of two years full time study).
  • Associate degrees usually cost much lesser.
  • Students unable to attend classes often pursue associate degree program as they offer the options of evening classes.
  • They are a good way of achieving work readiness.
  • Associate degrees often help students assess their suitability for certain professions or career choices before transferring to universities.

An associate degree is, for many students a more convenient way of gaining an education without the stresses and expenses of a full time undergraduate course. Now, with the introduction of online associate degree programs, it is even easier for students to pursue an online associate degree.

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