What is an associate degree?
An associate degree is generally a 2 year degree which is offered in the United States by some universities and by community colleges and junior colleges. These degrees are offered by many online schools, thus making them available to those who wish to work on their degree by distance education while they are working, and to all those who prefer to study from home. The number of credits needed is at least 60 but varies by college, whether you want extra courses or just the basic ones, and by the program.
There are 3 common types of associate degrees offered – the Associate of Arts degree, the Associate of Science degree, and the Associate of Applied Science degree. The Associate of Arts degree and the Associate of Science degree are set up so that students can transfer into Bachelor degree programs. The Associate of Applied Science degree is often taken by students who are planning to go to work when they have completed it. However, the student can use the credits to transfer into a Bachelor’s program. Many colleges offer a professional associate’s degree that helps you to get jobs in specific fields but the credits are usually not transferable to a Bachelor’s program later. You can see why it is useful to know what your longer term goals are before you make a decision about which associate’s program to apply for. If your credits are all transferable to a Bachelor’s program, you will be able to complete it in 2 years instead of 4. Obviously that would not be the case with non-transferable credits.
Benefits of Associate Degrees
- You can make about an extra $135 per week according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics compared to high school graduates without an associate degree.
- You have a better chance of finding and keeping a job. The unemployment rate is lower for those with associate degrees compared to high school graduates.
- If you have thought ahead, you will be able to take your bachelor’s degree when you are ready
- If you have taken a professional associate’s degree, you will be well prepared to work in the career you have trained for.
- You will have saved yourself some time and money because it only takes 2 years to earn an associate’s degree.
Advantages of Online Associate Degrees
- You can work from anywhere – your home, your office, a library, a coffee shop.
- You have access to the course materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so you can study at the time(s) most convenient for you.
- You can study full time or part time.
- You can work at a faster pace and finish the degree earlier than the normal 2 years in an accelerated program or you can take longer to finish the degree if you need the extra time to fully understand the new materials you are learning.
- You have a wide range of courses available to you because you are not limited to the ones offered by the school nearest you.
Now that you know what an associate degree is, the benefits to you of completing one, and the advantages of doing it through distance learning, you can set yourself some new goals to get that job you really want or to get a promotion in your present career. An associate degree will help you reach those goals and possibly some of your future goals if you decide to complete a bachelor’s degree later. Be sure to choose a school that is accredited and that has the type of accreditation that you will need for those goals you have set. Start your planning today and consider an online associate degree as a part of that plan.