Associate’s degrees: Are they Worth it?

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

When starting the journey of higher education, many people go straight to the Bachelor’s degree, without even considering the Associate’s Degree. What is an Associate’s degree? Is it worth pursuing it?

What is an Associate’s degree?

Associate’s degrees are two-year higher education programs that are offered at the undergraduate level. Which is its main goal? They are aimed at equipping students with the skills and knowledge required to allow them to start working right after they get this degree in a particular field. 

In the US, students can pursue Associate’s degrees at community, technical, or junior colleges. 

Main Types of Associate Degrees

There are four main types of Associate degrees:
  • Associate of Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Science (AS)
  • Associate of Applied Arts (AAA)
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

If you plan to enrol in a Bachelor’s degree program right after your Associate’s degree or you want to leave that door open for the future, either the AA or the AS is what you are looking for. 

AAA and AAS degrees, on the other hand, are more practical, since they aim at training students and providing them with skills they need to be able to apply at a workplace straight after graduation. Among other types of Associate degrees we can mention:
  • Associate of Business Administration (ABA)
  • Associate of General Studies (AGS)
  • Associate of Applied Business (AAB)

Difference between an Associate’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree

Both Associate and Bachelor’s are undergraduate degree programs, but the main difference between them is that, if you want to pursue a Master’s degree, only the latter allows you to do so.

However, there are some other differences between them that you should take into account before deciding to enrol in any of them:
  1. Duration: While Associate Degrees usually take 2 years to complete, Bachelor’s degrees generally take 4 years, which means that you can acquire some transferable skills and start working in the field you like much faster if you decide to pursue an Associate degree.
  2. Cost: Associate degrees are less expensive than Bachelor’s degrees, the former raging from $2,400 to $20,000 a year depending on the program and the university, while the latter usually go from $30,000 a year in the US.
  3. Admission Requirements: In general, Associate degrees have much less admission requirements to enter than Bachelor’s degree programs.

Should I study an Associate’s degree?

You should make this decision depending on your career plans and your financial resources. An Associate’s degree may be a great choice for you if you are more interested in a practical vocational profession.

They can also be a great way of improving your grades if you didn’t have a high GPA in high school, which will come in handy when trying to pursue a Bachelor’s degree because you’ll enter more easily. You’ll be able to improve your marks, start studying the subject you are interested in and even starting to work in that field in a shorter period of time. Then, you’ll be able to pursue a Bachelor’s degree with better chances of succeeding. 

Some Bachelor’s degree programs even allow you to transfer the credits you obtained during your Associate’s degree, which means you can get a Bachelor’s degree in less time than usual. You need to make sure that the University allows for this kind of transference and that the degrees are compatible. 

If you are interested in pursuing an Associate’s degree, click here to find the best programs available!

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