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Is An Associate’s Degree Right For You?

Associate's Degree

During this pandemic, we’ve all thought about taking up a course or a job online! An associate’s degree is an academic programme taken at the undergraduate level (the first stage after secondary school). It aims to give students the basic practical knowledge, educational knowledge, and transferable skills they need for employment or for studies in the future of a chosen field. For some students, an associate’s degree provides preparation for a bachelor’s degree, while for others it’s a qualification in its own right. It helps to improve employment possibilities compared to having only a secondary level education.

Some individuals use the associate’s degree to move to a bachelor’s degree programme. Professionals with an associate degree make way more than their co-workers with only a high school diploma. A college education often makes professionals eligible for promotion, as many companies restrict management-level positions to employees with a college degree. Earning an online associate degree prepares students for careers in many industries, including healthcare, business, and education. An online associate degree programme teaches essential skills, preparing graduates for the workplace and providing the means to a four-year degree.

The Difference Between A Bachelor’s Degree And An Associate’s Degree

A Bachelor’s degree and an Associate’s degree are open to students as soon as they complete secondary level education since both are classified as an “undergraduate” degrees. In contrast, a “postgraduate” degree, such as master’s or PhD programmes, requires students to have already completed a bachelor’s level programme. Deciding whether to go to college for an associate degree versus a bachelor’s degree can be a tough decision to make. The degree programme you choose should line up with your personal, professional, and financial goals for your future.

Associate's Degree

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If you are still confused about making the right choice, here are some key differences you must consider between both degrees.

Key Differences Between Associate Degrees And Bachelor’s Degrees

Focus Of The Programme

There are two types of associate degree programmes, each with a different focus.

One is specialized technical or vocational coursework. This works well if you want to learn a particular set of skills or want to train for a certain job title. The second one is the general studies approach which does not focus on a particular job, set of skills, or declared major. If you want to earn college credit that can later be applied to a bachelor’s degree, this is the one that will work for you.

Cost Of The Programme

It generally costs less to earn an associate’s degree than it costs to earn a bachelor’s degree. Though the cost of tuition and fees might vary widely from one college to the next. There are many learning potentials and jobs that now require a bachelor’s degree. The programme cost alone should not be a discouragement if you are considering a bachelor’s degree. Most students receive one or more types of financial aid to obtain a bachelor’s degree, whether it’s a loan, a grant, or a scholarship. Moreover, many colleges will assess and convert relevant prior work experience to earned college credits by reducing the cost of a degree.

Duration Of The Programme

It takes a different amount of time to earn each of the degrees. An associate degree programme lasts two years for a full-time student. A bachelor’s degree programme, on the other hand, lasts four years for a full-time student. Many colleges now offer flexible schedules, including night, weekend, and online classes to accommodate working professionals, parents, and other anticipated students who would not be able to attend classes during the day. Both types of programmes can take longer if a student picks a part-time programme.

Career Options

The decision about whether to earn an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree comes down to what you plan to pursue after completing the programme. As noted, the credits earned in an associate degree programme can often be applied to a bachelor’s degree programme, especially those that work in partnership with community colleges. For example, if you have an associate degree in business administration, you may be able to apply some or all of those credits to a bachelor’s degree in a major such as business administration, business management, or entrepreneurship. You may only need to complete two years of the bachelor’s degree programme, not four if you transfer your associate’s degree credits.

Associate Degree Years

A two years associate diploma/degree can prepare graduates for high-paying jobs in growing fields. Here is a list of the best careers where you need only an associate’s degree and careers with the highest paying salaries. 

Best Careers With Only An Associate’s Degree :

  • Police officer
  • Firefighter
  • Medical stenographer
  • Registered nurse
  • Dental hygienist
  • Radiation therapist
  • Fashion designer
  • Computer network specialist
  • Bank teller
  • Retail sales associate
  • Front-desk receptionist

Best High Paying Salaries With Associate’s Degree:

  • Air Traffic Controllers
  • Radiation Therapists
  • Nuclear Technicians
  • Funeral Service Managers
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologists
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
  • Web Developers

Types of Associate Degrees

Many students pursuing an associate’s degree can choose from four different degree options. Here is the list of associate degrees: 

  • Associate of Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Science (AS)
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
  • Associate of General Studies (AGS)

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog on ‘Is An  Associate’s Degree Right For You?’ Do check out our other blogs. 

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Associate's Degree

Is An Associate’s Degree Right For You?

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