Society & Culture & Entertainment Education

Define an Associate Degree

    Time Frame

    • An associate degree typically takes 2 years to complete and requires 60 credit hours.

    Location

    • Student in library

      Students can earn associate degrees at community, technical and business colleges. Some 4-year universities also offer them.

    Features

    • Students are required to take general education and major requirement courses, as well as electives, just like they would for a bachelor's degree.

    Purpose

    • Some associate degrees are designed specifically to carry credits over to 4-year universities, enabling the student to earn a bachelor's degree with only two more years of school. Not all credits will transfer to all universities, however.

    Types

    • Students can earn an Associate of Arts, an Associate of Applied Science, an Associate of Science and an Occupational Degree. Common associate degrees are earned for the medical, computer, legal and public service fields.

    Considerations

    • Majors available to associate degree students are more limited than those available to bachelor's degree students.

    Benefits

    • Dollar bills

      An associate degree is a good base for a long-term career and for more college education. Also, those who have earned an associate degree have more earning potential than those with only a high school diploma, according to a U.S. Department of Commerce Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2004 Panel, (see link in Resources).

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