What are the Different Types of Associate Degrees?

Not everyone is aware of the concept of Associate degree, so let us learn about the this degree, various types of associate's degree offered and more.

Updated by Sreelekha R K on 6th October 2020

Associate's degree is basically a two-year degree program that is upheld in the colleges at an undergraduate level whose major goal is to provide technical knowledge or education and the skills required to the students (which will help them in pursuing a job) according to their subject of interest. Different types of associate degrees are usually found in community colleges and vocational schools.

You might be having an idea about how bachelor’s, master’s degrees are, and the specializations involved in it, but not everyone is aware of the concept of an Associate Degree, especially if you are not from the USA, Australia, Canada, and few lesser countries.

It is important to analyze if its the right decision to join this degree. So let us know more about this degree and it is necessary to be informed regarding the various types of degrees they are offering.

Types of Associate degree

Th associate degree types are mainly classified into four which serve its own purpose and goals. Careers of these graduates vary with respect to your major in an associate degree and there are certain relatively high paid and high skill career opportunities that are discussed in further topics.

1. Associate of Arts (A.A)

It is an undergraduate or entry-level degree program that helps the high school graduates to get prepared for better opportunities, increased salaries, and other benefits. It is a course with which a student will be able to complete studies in three main topics:

  • Business fields

  • Social sciences

  • Humanities

What can you do as an Associate of Arts graduate?

There is a wide range of career opportunities for an associate of arts graduates. You can become an engineering technician, preschool teacher, paralegal, human resource manager, industrial designer, clerk, interpreter, librarian, administrative assistant, and many more. The average annual income for the associate of arts graduate is $50000.

2. Associate of Science (A.S)

It is a course of two-year and this program allows students to pursue technical subjects as well as general studies. You will also be prepared to transfer to the traditional four-year college. Students work with mentors to implement study plans to achieve their career and academic goal. The three popular topics are:

  • Engineering technology

  • Information technology

  • Nursing

Also Read: What you can do with an associate degree in nursing?

What can you do as an Associate of Science graduate?

Once you complete your graduation, there are numerous career options in medical and engineering fields like dental hygienists, engineering technicians, radiation therapists, nurses, and many more. The average annual salary for the associate of science graduate depends on the job profile.

3. Associate of Applied Arts (A.A.A)

It is a degree specially created focusing on providing you with skills and knowledge to perform and are aimed at giving artistic training in the art of your interest. It is available in different areas as mentioned below:

  • Fine art

  • Music

  • Advertising art

What can you do as an Associate of Applied Arts graduate?

There are plenty of opportunities to work in art-related companies. And few of them are advertising layout artist, art instructor, music sales associate, private music teacher, and many more. The average annual income for these graduates is $46600.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S)

It is a technical education that focuses on a single profession field. Students who want to get an education and skip immediately into a specific career to earn will consider an associate in applied science as it helps you attain your career goals. The courses which are popular are:

  • Accounting

  • Computer support and operations

  • Business administration

  • Criminal justice

  • Web design

What can you do as an Associate of Applied Science Graduate?

These graduates have a wide variety of career opportunities which pay them really well. Few job profiles are web developer, registered nurse, chemical technician, architectural and technical drafters, and many more. The average annual income for these graduates is $56000.

Why an Associate Degree?

It is a degree that can be attained within a two-years of education and get ready for a job. The associate degree types help in choosing various career paths in a shorter duration by inducing diverse concepts at a surface level. Choosing the types of associate degrees is advantageous in the following ways,

  • This program will help you to achieve your bachelor’s degree in the future. Most of this course’s curriculum is based on the basic concepts of bachelors. So it will help you in acquiring a degree in the mere future. You will have to study the extra two years later to gain any UG. But there are certain online university programs which help you to complete it faster.

  • This would be the finest way to understand and improvise your earning potential. Unemployment rates are quite low when compared to high school graduates. According to research, unemployment rates faced by high school graduates are comparatively more than the associate degree graduates. So if you are planning to work after your high school graduation, give it a second thought and be part of an associate degree program.

How is an Associate degree different from a Bachelor’s degree?

It is essential for every student to know the differences between an Associate degree and Bachelor's degree as it helps you analyze and make the right decision regarding which degree program to be chosen. Here are the key differences:

Duration of the course

To achieve a degree, you will have to complete certain class sessions and follow a set of rules from the college. The number of classes to be attended by the associate graduates will be very less compared to a bachelor’s.

Masters or Ph.D. plan

If you are planning to do a master’s degree or Ph.D., it is a must that you should complete your bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree acts as an admit card to apply for your master’s or Ph.D.

Fee structure and other investment

The fee structure of the associate degree is definitely low compared to a bachelor’s degree as it is a two-year degree program. The other investments or costs such as stationery, for books, travel expenses, accommodation, and so on will also be very less. 

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