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Browse Associate Degree Programs

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What is an associate degree?

The lowest level post-secondary academic degree available in the U.S. is an associate degree. Most commonly awarded by community colleges, junior colleges, and technical colleges, associates degrees are also offered by some bachelor's degree-granting colleges and universities. In the United States, an associate degree is typically equivalent to the first two years of a four-year bachelor degree at a college or university. Completion of an associate degree is usually achieved after about 20 courses, or 60 credit hours have been fulfilled. Required courses usually include English & Writing courses, Math & Science, Sociology, and Humanities. Associate degrees may also be referred to as "two-year" degrees because it is likely to take a full-time student that long to obtain such a degree.

What types of associate degrees are available?

Associate degrees are obtainable in two categories, either transfer or occupational degrees. A transfer degree is a good choice for students that plan to continue on with their education beyond the associate degree level. This option allows the student to enter a bachelor's degree program with about half of the credits already earned. Courses usually consist of general education requirements and help students gain core knowledge and experience before embarking on the more specialized courses required for their major. Because community colleges frequently offer lower tuition costs than many bachelor's degree-granting colleges and universities, earning a transfer degree can be a great way to save money while still receiving a quality education. Common transfer degrees include the Associate of Science (AS), in major areas like: Art & Design, Mathematics, Environmental Science, and Technology, and Associate of Arts (AA) in major areas like: Education, Sociology, Psychology, and Liberal Arts.

Occupational, or vocational, degrees prepare students who are looking to start a career in a specific field upon graduation. Emphasis is placed on courses which enable the student to gain all the expertise necessary to enter the workforce in entry level positions. Common degrees in this category include the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) and Associate of Applied Arts (AAA) in career areas like: technology, healthcare, and various business and computer related professions. While some occupational degrees will offer the opportunity to further your education upon completion, many are terminal, in that the credits may not be transferable to a bachelor's degree program. Because of this, it is important to research your options and choose the degree that is right for you.

Is an associate degree right for me?

Associate degree programs are usually quite flexible, many offering classes during evening hours, allowing students to continue to work full- or part-time while studying. Some associate degree programs offer certificate programs, allowing students to work with additional credentials (and perhaps higher pay) after only one year or less of study, while they continue to pursue their full degree. Many schools offering associate degrees also offer online degree programs as well. Online associate degrees are among those most commonly pursued through distance learning. Associate degree holders commonly earn more over the course of their life, than high school graduates, and often have higher starting salaries than those without a degree.

Select an option from the list below to search available associate degree programs and request more information for details on admission policies, program and course offerings, financial aid, and more.

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