Associate’s Degree

An associate’s degree is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by community colleges, junior colleges, technical colleges and some four-year bachelors degree-granting colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study usually lasting two years. An associate’s degree is equivalent to the first two years of a four-year college or university degree. It is the lowest in the hierarchy of post-secondary academic degrees offered.

There are several classifications of an associate’s degree. The most basic examples are: the Associate of Arts Degree (AA) , Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree, Associate of Science Degree, and Occupational Degree. All of these are designed to allow graduates to transfer their credits over to a 4-year degree if they so desire, however certain types of degrees only allow one to transfer some or part of their credits over. This would mean the student may have to repeat some classes they have already taken in order to receive their associate’s degree. With this in mind, anyone pursuing an associate’s should look into these options beforehand just to be sure. The Occupational Associate’s Degree is especially designed to focus on training in order to assist students with finding employment in a certain field.

Generally, the majors for associate’s degrees are slightly more limited than typical four-year degrees. Most common degrees of this type are in the fields of medical assistant, paralegal, computer-related fields, data processing, and various forms of public service. They are perfect for people who would like to get certification quicker than those seeking out a four-year degree. Keep in mind that the requirements for this type of degree various by University, so research carefully before making a final decision. Most Associate’s Degrees today can be obtained via online courses, making scheduling and time constraint issues much easier for the busy student of today.

Here are some examples of the pre-majors on offer:

• Art

• Accounting

• Criminal Justice

• English

• History

• Psychology

• Social Science

• Political Science

• Elementary, Middle Grades, or Special Education

• Business Administration

• English Education

• International business

• Computing

• Physical Science

In addition, you will undertake some core subjects:

• English Composition

• Humanities/Fine Arts

• Mathematics

• Natural Sciences

• Social/Behavioral Sciences

• Speech/Communication

An associate degree can earn you 27% more than the average high school graduate (U.S. Census Bureau).  In 2007, the average high school graduate earned $31,286, while the average graduate with an associates degree earned $39,746 per year.  An associate of arts degree can form a good basis for a wide range of bachelor’s degree programs and careers. These include the arts, humanities, languages, literature, social sciences, law, teaching, accountancy, health and social work, and business administration..  and employment opportunities will grow fastest for professionals with a college education.