If you are planning to apply in any of those US universities or anywhere in Canada, chances are that you would have come across the word “associate’s degree”. Now, a very frequently asked question on this is – how many credits is an associates degree? If you are looking forward for the right answer, you are at the right spot. But before explaining you about it, we will start with a quick introduction.
What Is An Associates Degree?
An associate degree is an undergraduate academic program or a 2-year education program, taken at the initial stage after your secondary school. The main goal of this educational course is to give students some essential academic, technical knowledge and other transferable skills that are required before they precede their further studies or employment in the selected field. It takes 2 years for a student to earn this degree. Once the student gets the associates degree, he or she must have completed his or her sophomore and freshman years of college.
Associate degrees are commonly offered in United States. However, you will also find them in few parts of Australia, Netherlands, Hong Kong and Canada. Other countries also have programs similar to associates but might have a different name. Now, if you are about to take this educational course, a common question you will have in mind is – how many credits for an associates degree and how to get it? Read further to know.
Where Are Associate Degrees Offered?
In United States, associate degrees are available at:
- Public Community colleges
- Private colleges
- Technical colleges
- Junior colleges
- Affiliated colleges
- University institutes
Most students prefer either public colleges or private colleges to complete their associate’s degree. The reason why associate degrees are more popular is that they are less expensive, faster and a great way to change the traditional 4-year degree. Also, you will be interested in knowing the fact that a lot of 4-year colleges these days have been offering an option to earn your associate’s degree “en route”, after your complete your initial 2 years of a 4-year bachelor program. These educational courses are often termed as “2 + 2 programs”.
Job Opportunities For People With Associates Degree
Many decent-paying trade and technical careers like logistics, nursing, medical records, electronics, surveying, healthcare technology and technical writing accept associate degrees. Hence, you might never need that bachelor’s degree for some hot paying jobs.
What Are The Types Of Associate Degree?
An associate degree is of 4 types:
- AS (or Associate of science)
- AAS (Associate of Applied Science)
- AA (Associate of Arts)
- AAA (Associate of Applied Arts)
The “applied courses (see above numbers: 2 and 4)” focus in teaching a specific career in depth whereas the ones that aren’t applied (no: 1 and 3) target in preparing the students for their higher academic study.
Difference Between An Associate’s Degree And A Bachelor’s Degree
Both associate and bachelor degrees are labeled under “undergraduate” programs, which means that they are open to students, once they complete their secondary-level education. But the question is how to decide if you should apply for a bachelor’s or an associate? Well, here are some key differences that will help you decide better:
1. Time Requirements
Whether you wish to get a associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree, you have to complete the required course credits or study hours. However, this might vary depending on the location and the institution you study in. However, an associate degree requires 60 credits and 2 years to complete (on a full-time basis) whereas a bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours and 4 years to complete (on a full-time basis). Many associate degree students study part-time, which obviously means that it is going to take longer time for them to complete this course. But, there is something called “fast-track course”, which helps you finish the degree in a short time.
2. Tuition Fees
The tuition charges for an associate degree tend to be much lower and it take less time to complete when compared to bachelor’s degree. The cost between both the degree courses vary depending on the institute but one thing is for sure: a person can expect to pay 2 to 3 times less for an associate degree. Also, he or she will spend less time in finishing the course.
3. Enrolling Requirements
The entry requirements for an associate degree are less competitive when compared to bachelor’s degree. In fact, the admission deadlines are later. Hence, it could be an amazing alternative for people, who do not meet the bachelor’s degree entry requirements.
Why To Choose An Associate Degree?
Students prefer an associate degree for many reasons. Some of them include:
- To get employed more quickly
- Cost effective or low fees
- Wish to study a bachelor’s degree but might not have good grades
The best way to decide, if you should to take an associate degree or not is to consider the field you wish to get in. It may be worth to check the latest job listings and the country you desire to work in. Research more about the qualifications, skills-in-demand and other possible terms associated to the field.
Career Opportunities For An Associate Degree
Believe it or not, there are lots of highly skilled professions and high-paying jobs that can be got with an associate’s degree. Some examples include:
- Construction management
- Operations technician
- Legal assistant
- Dental hygienist
- Physical therapist
- Air traffic controller
Though an associate degree is good, studying a bachelor’s can open up many career opportunities for you. But you cannot deny the fact that many skilled roles just need only an associate level qualification.
Names Of Various Associate Degrees
An associate degree’s data is often dis-aggregated by the curriculum, which can be either vocational or non-vocational. HEGIS (Higher Education General Information Survey) counts the non-vocational degrees under “General Programs or Arts & Sciences” whereas the vocational programs fall under 6 categories, which are:
- Data processing technology
- Business and commerce technology
- Natural science technology
- Paramedical / health services technology
- Engineering / mechanical technology
- Public service technology