Associates Degree

Find the right associates degree program at a community college or career training school, and learn all about your associates degree options and opportunities.

What Is an Associates Degree?

Associates degrees are awarded to students who have completed 60 academic credits, usually through two years' worth of full-time study or longer if attending part-time. An associates degree can be earned at community colleges, online schools and some four-year colleges and universities. These degrees can be completed on campus or in online programs. An associates degree provides students with career training or helps prepare them to transfer to a four-year college or university.

See All Schools Offering Associates Degrees in Career Training or Transfer Degrees

Associates Degree Time requirements

An associates degree from a community college or career training school is usually completed in two years, if you're attending school full-time. However, a large number of students complete their degrees part-time to accommodate work or family obligations.

Associates degrees can be completed through online programs or on-campus courses. Students are generally required to take general education classes, courses in their chosen major and elective courses in order to achieve a broad education.

Is an Associates Degree right for you?

There are many good reasons to pursue an associates degree from a community college or career training school. Here are some of the top reasons:

  • Increased employment and salary opportunities.
    Students with an associates degree are generally able to earn more money than students with only a high school diploma.
  • To get a degree in less time.
    If you're eager to start working, an associates degree can be completed in two years, rather than the four years generally required for a bachelors degree.
  • To save money.
    A two-year associates degree at a local community college is less expensive than a bachelors degree at many four-year colleges. You can either start working after getting your associates degree or transfer your credits to a four-year college or university and pursue a bachelors degree.
  • If you need flexibility.
    Many people earn their associates degree by attending school part-time, since community colleges and online schools provide more flexibility than four-year colleges. Many schools allow students to complete their associates degree with evening classes or online programs.
  • To improve your grades so you can transfer to a more competitive school.
    Many students get an associates degree to improve their academic skills and raise their grade point average (GPA) to help them qualify for a better four-year college.
  • For added convenience.
    Many areas of the country have schools that offer associates degrees, so you'll save on commuting costs and relocation by staying local. Also, students with access programs to complete their degree. To help choose a degree. If you're not sure what degree you want to pursue, taking classes toward an associates degree can help you explore different academic fields without spending as much time and money as you would at a four-year college.

What types of students pursue associates degrees?

People of all ages and academic backgrounds pursue associates degrees. High school graduates choose community colleges and online schools when seeking career training or a more economical, flexible alternative to four-year colleges and universities. Also, professional adults looking to re-educate themselves, reenter the work force, advance to a different position or salary level or refresh their skills in a specific area will pursue an associates degree.

Should you pursue an associates degree at an online school?

Taking online courses toward your associates degree presents unique circumstances you ay not face in an on-campus program. There are many benefits to online programs; among them, the flexibility to take classes at home at times when it's most convenient for you. Also, many students also choose online schools to save money, since studying by computer means being able to cut down on commuting costs or room and board at a school. You will need to make sure you have access to a working computer with Internet capabilities, and you'll need to be motivated to complete your coursework since you won't have on-campus teachers and classes to keep you on track.

How do I narrow down my choices of schools that offer associates degrees?

When you're choosing where to get an associates degree, there are many factors to consider. First, determine if you're looking for career training or if you want to find a transfer degree program and get a bachelors degree after your associates degree. Then look at the different types of schools, including online schools and community colleges, to determine which best meets your needs.

You'll also want to look at the school's accreditation and what courses and degree programs are offered. If you plan to transfer to a four-year college or university, find out what the student transfer rate is and whether the four-year schools you're looking at accept transfer credits from that school. If you're seeking an associates degree for career training, look at the school's job placement rates.