What Is An Associates Degree?

What is an Associates DegreeI’ve you’ve asked yourself ‘What is an associates degree?’, you’ve already begun the process! 

There are many reasons why an associate’s degree can be a very beneficial degree to have. It’s also a great stepping stone to getting your four-year bachelor’s degree, and going on to further more intensive studies. It’s especially helpful to someone who doesn’t necessarily want to commit to spending the money it takes to attend a traditional four-year college, or for those who don’t know what they want to major in. Trying to get a two-year degree doesn’t require much of a time commitment, but you can always apply your two-year courses to most major universities if you decide you want to go that route later on, and get your bachelor’s degree.

What is an Associates Degree and How Long does it Take?

A typical associate’s degree only takes about two years to obtain if you are a full-time student. For some people already in the workforce trying to get an associate’s might take a little longer as a part time student. Either way it’s usually about 90 credit hours in total. You take all of your basic “core” courses like English and some Math, but then you move on to a more specific list of classes directly related to your degree. So if you are the type of student who is easily bored by the “core” classes that everyone has to take, you’ll get to the more interesting classes related to your career sooner. For someone who doesn’t want to commit to a four-year college, an associate’s degree might be a smart choice. Two years is pretty quick, and you’ll have a valuable degree in your field in no time flat. You just have to decide what’s right for you time-wise.You can also take into consideration that the average cost of a two-year degree is much less than a four-year degree. The typical cost of getting a bachelor’s degree per year is $9,000 for a state school and $30,000 for a private school. Associate’s degrees cost a fraction of that to complete. So not only is it more cost-effective, but it will take less time if you are a full-time student. Factor in living costs, books each semester, and other incidental expenses while you attend school, and it just keeps adding up, so it does save you a whole bunch of money to be done in only two year’s time.

Where To Get An Associates Degree

Associate’s degrees are usually offered by community colleges, online schools, and technical colleges. Some four-year universities will sometimes offer associate’s degree, but not all of them do. It’s best to check with the specific school you want to attend. In actuality, you can take some online courses in combination with classroom courses to get your two-year degree. For parents of small children, this might be a good option because it allows you to do some work at home, and then fit in classes at off times such as evening classes or on the weekends. It’s always a bit of a juggling act trying to raise a family, and get your degree at the same time, but there are ways to do it. Online colleges are realizing this, and taking the steps to help students complete their degrees part-time when they can.

Types of Degrees

The typical fields of study that an associate’s degree gives you are in these programs, agriculture (horticulture), business management, computer sciences (IT), culinary arts, legal (paralegal), trade skills, medical field, and communications. Under these major headings, there are many different specialties that you can pursue. Say for example you want to be in the medical field, and then two of your choices are to be a radiologist or dental office administrator. There are many more to choose from, so it’s important to explore all your options because you can really zero in on a field that you find interesting, and will be rewarding for you to have a job in later on after your studies are completed.

Great Careers To Choose

It’s a myth that you can’t make a great living just having an associate’s degree. There are many lucrative careers that you can choose from with your two-year degree. Think about all those poor souls that go to a traditional four-year school, and end up with student loan debt after that is just overwhelming. It can even add up to over $100,000 of debt! That’s pretty scary, so not only is it more financially feasible to get a two-year degree, but you might make more money after. For example look at nursing. Nurses on average make upwards of $60,000 a year. A dental hygienist makes about that as well. What about some of the trade jobs like construction management? $70,000 a year on average. Computer engineers are also high on the list with around $75,000. So it is possible to make some serious money with just an associate’s degree. Here are a list of other possible careers with an associate’s degree according to Tri-C or Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, OH. A very popular and well-respected community college.

  • Accountant
  • Massage Therapist
  • Human Resource Manager
  • Court Reporter
  • Early Childhood Educator
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Nutritionist
  • Landscape Designer
  • Medical Assistant
  • Paralegal
  • Veterinary Technician

That’s just a small sampling of possible jobs to obtain with just a two-year degree. It does afford you the opportunity to get a good paying job in a shorter amount of time. If an associate’s degree is right for you, call your local community college to find out how you can get started on your road to job success. Check out here a great list of some of the highest paying college majors here.