When someone says “college,” what comes to mind?
Associate degrees are simply two-year degrees. Although they can take longer or shorter to complete, depending on the pace of study, they are generally half the workload of a four-year bachelor’s degree. They are, therefore, about half the price of a bachelor’s degree, and sometime significantly cheaper than that because associate’s degrees are often provided by more affordable community colleges.
There are three specific types of associates degrees. Each one has it’s own qualities and advantages, as well as drawbacks.
An AA degree is usually the most broad, and therefore the least specific, of all the associated arts degrees. During the AA program, students will take wide-ranging courses that can include introductions to history, art, literature, music, business, writing, and communication. The main advantage of an associate in arts degree is that it does not limit the graduate to a certain path, meaning there are many AA degree jobs available.
An AS degree is still broad, but it has a little more specificity than an associate in arts. These types of degrees are generally chosen if the student intends to pursue further education in an area that includes science, such as nursing or engineering.
An AAS degree is a highly-specific education path, usually technical, that focuses on a single career field. Students who want to get an education and jump immediately into a specific career will want to consider an associate in applied science.
There are many reasons that people choose an associate degree, but it really boils down to two major motivations: a faster education, and a cheaper price tag.
So what careers with an associate’s degree are actually available? The BLS found that 4% of all jobs in the United States only require an associate’s degree. Massachusetts, Vermont, South Dakota, and West Virginia have the larget share of associate degree jobs—5% or above, while Massachusetts and Rhode Island have the highest paying associate degree jobs—median pay is over $66,000.
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Associate Degree Jobs: Finding Your Career
50 years ago, a bachelor’s degree was a virtual guarantee of a prosperous, rewarding career. Today we live in a world where a large section of the working population has bachelor’s degrees; it’s now merely a step in the right direction and does not guarantee employment in an ever competitive job market. So how can someone with a two-year degree hope to compete in the world of four-year degree holders? Have no fear! Millions of Americans are turning to associate degrees to jumpstart a new career. The BLS even issued a special report detailing how an associate degree can advance your career.
Because most associate degrees are broad, expansive, and diverse (especially the associate in arts), students can use their education to build on many different career and educational fields. In many cases, the credits you received in your associate’s degree will apply directly to the bachelor’s degree, meaning it may only be another two years to complete a bachelor’s degree program.
Find the Right Associate’s Degree Online for Your Future
Whether you want to jump-start your education in an affordable manner or study for two years to launch a profitable career, an associate degree is a great choice. With a high paying associate degree job in your future and little to no student debt, the future is looking bright!