What is an Associate Degree?

The term ‘Associate Degree’ is common in areas like Canada and the United States. However, students from other areas are more familiar with Ph.D., bachelors’ degree and masters’ degree. In countries like Nigeria, you may have heard of ‘Diploma’. It’s basically the same thing.

The degree (Associate Degree) is also offered in Australia, Hong Kong, Netherlands, and the UK. However, in the UK, it is called ‘Foundation Degree.’ As a foreigner who isn’t familiar with these terms but intends to study in any of the above countries, you might hear of the term ‘Associate Degree’ more often.

So… What Is An Associate Degree?

An associate degree is often attained immediately after secondary school. It is an academic program for undergraduates and is geared towards equipping students with the skills, academic and technical knowledge that is paramount in making them employable while pushing for further studies in their favored field.

An Associate Degree is a 2-year program and is readily available in the United States from institutions including all types of colleges (junior, community, or technical colleges) and also colleges in affiliation with universities.

For several students, having an Associate Degree is a win-win situation. It first improves a student’s employability in their chosen field and secondly, it prepares the student mentally for the rigors of bachelors’ degree while giving them an edge over students who don’t have it.

What Are The Available Types Of Associate Degrees?

Are you interested in getting an associate degree? There are four types that you can choose from.
• AA (Associate of Arts)
• AS(Associate of Science)
• AAA(Associate of Applied Arts)
• AAS(Associate of Applied Sciences)
The AAA and AAS courses are mostly geared at teaching the students practical vocational skills in their chosen career fields. On the other hand, the AA and AS courses are focused on students who intend to further their education to the bachelors’ degree level, preparing them mentally for the rigors of the university.

What Careers Can Be Undergone With An Associate Degree?

When it comes to choosing careers with an associate degree, there is room for choices depending on what the student studies as a major. there are several high-paying jobs that require a high level of skills as offered by an associate degree program.

Examples of such jobs include an air traffic controller, operations and engineering technicians, legal assistant, physical therapist, dental hygienist, and construction management.

An associate degree provides you with the skills you would learn in your bachelors’ degree program and sometimes you do not need a bachelors’ degree to get that dream job. Furthermore, a bachelors’ degree might be expensive, but with an associate degree, it is a cheaper means of attaining expertise and employability even without the higher degrees.

Another plus is that the bachelors’ degree program is more academically focused. And a bachelors’ graduate might need to undergo further vocational training before becoming employable. With an associate degree, however, one can begin work in their chosen field just immediately.

What Are The Reasons People Choose an Associate Degree?

People choose to undertake an associate degree for several reasons. One could be financial constraints. It is way easier to undertake an associate degree program with a budget as bachelors’ can be more expensive.
Others choose an associate degree program because they want to get into the labor market on time. Sometimes, their high school results alone cannot earn them a place in a bachelors’ degree program but the associate degree can help augment such results and make them eligible.

When you must have decided the career path you want to take, you can then choose a degree that will suit your choice. However, the job requirements in your country or city will best determine if you should go for an associate degree or a bachelors’ degree.

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