Everything You Need to Know About Associate Degrees

Have you completed schooling, and are looking to join in a university? If yes, then you might have come across the term “associate degree” or might come across websites providing you an online associate degree. It is different from a bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and PhDs. While it is a degree that many students pursue in the US, many others don’t know what an associate degree is. This article will shed light on what an associate degree is and everything you need to know about it.

What is an associate degree?

An associate degree is an academic program that can be taken after secondary school at the undergraduate level. It aims to provide students with basic academic and technical knowledge, and transferable skills that help them get employment easily or helps them study further in a specialized field. These degrees are offered commonly in the US and some parts of Canada, Hong Kong, Netherlands, and Australia. Other countries have similar programs but under different names, like foundation degrees in the UK.

In the US, associate degrees are available at various universities and colleges, including technical colleges, community colleges, junior colleges, affiliated colleges under universities, and even university institutes. For many students, an associate degree is a preparation for a bachelor’s degree, while for others it’s a qualification that helps with the chances of getting employed. An associate degree provides more employment options to students than a basic secondary-level degree does.

What is the difference between an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree?

Both associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree are undergraduate degrees that a student can pursue after completing his/her secondary level education. Although there are many similarities between a bachelor’s degree and an associate’s degree, there are some fundamental differences as well, that might confuse you when choosing the best degree for you. If that’s the case, here are some key differences between the two degrees:

  • Time

For any degree, there are a specified number of study hours or course credits that a student needs to complete. The study hours or the course credits vary depending on the course, institution, and the location. While a bachelor’s degree usually takes three to four years or 120 credit hours to complete, an associate degree takes two years or 60 credit hours to complete full-time.

Students can also choose to study part-time for an associate degree, but part-time courses may take longer than full-time classes. Also, it is possible for a student to take up a fast-track course while pursuing an associate degree. These courses work at an accelerated pace and involve studies in holidays as well.

  • Costs

The tuition fees for any associate degree tends to be much lower than any bachelor’s degree. As the course takes less time to complete and provides necessary information on the chosen subject, it costs very less for students. However, not all associate degree courses are cheap; it depends on the institution and the course that you want to pursue.

  • Requirements to get into a degree

Getting into an associate degree is considered much more comfortable than getting into any bachelor’s degree course. Although there are some necessary requirements for a student to get into an associate degree program, they are less competitive when compared to the essentials you need to get into any bachelor’s degree.

Types of associate degrees

Generally, there are four types of associate degree programs that students can choose from, AS (Associate of Science), AA (Associate of Arts), AAS (Associate of Applied Science), and AAA (Associate of Applied Arts). While AA and AS are targeted for students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the future, the AAA and the AAS programs are more focused on preparing them for a specific field. If you want to pursue an associate degree, you can check out various universities, or you can also check for online associate degree programs that suit your needs.

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