Associates Degree Schools

Have you heard of "starter homes"? Typically these are the smaller houses that a newlywed couple or first time homeowner might acquire. It's not the last home they'll own; it's more of a stepping stone towards something bigger. You could also have a "starter job" which might not be the career you're going to spend the rest of your life in, but could be the perfect place to gain experience. What about higher education? An associate degree can be thought of as your "starter degree." It can be the best way to start your higher education experience.

The average associate degree can be earned in as little as two years. Measured against a classic four year college path, the associate degree is equal to the freshman and sophomore years. To be awarded an associate degree means you will have successfully finished 60 credits of course study. That breaks down to around twenty different classes.

The most common place to go for an associate degree is at a local community college. Keep in mind that it's just not community colleges who hand out associate degrees. Many four year universities have also developed a program they call 2+2. This allows student to wrap up their associate degree in the first two years and then their bachelor's degree in the following two years. It's a win/win all around! Additionally, many students are finding the option of online degrees as being a viable way to go.

Here's when to consider getting an associate degree:

  • When you've already have a few credits to your resume from a summer class or AP course. Boosting those credits with a complete course of study will land you that first degree in no time.
  • When you want to transfer from one college to another and carry those credits with you.
  • When your career or education goal requires an associate degree.
  • When you want to experience college without committing the finances to a four year course load.

Types of Associate Degrees

Once you have embraced the concept of going for an associate degree you'll need to settle on a specific course of study. Even if you want to get all the basics of a bachelor's degree out of the way, there are still different types of associate degrees to choose from.

The transfer degree is the beginning of a bachelor's degree. With this type of associate degree you'll be completing all the general education requirements needed before you transfer to the college. This is a very affordable way to go after that bachelor's degree. Two years online or at a community college then onto the big show.

Among the associate degrees you can focus on is the Associate of Arts degree. This is where the focus is on the social sciences or the humanities type of course. The Associate of Science degree is handed out to students who are concentrating on areas of study such as math, natural sciences, health sciences, or technology.

With the Associate of Fine Arts degree you'll find students spending their time immersed in music, theater, art, dance or creative writing. For a person interested in education, the Associate of Arts in Teaching is the way to go. This provides the ground work to allow someone to begin their teaching career while going after their bachelor's or master's.

An Associate in Applied Science degree is less about general education requirements and more about gaining practical experience. This is geared for those students who intend to head into vocational careers such as electrician or computer tech. The same for the Associate in Industrial Technology degree. Typically, the students going for these types of degrees have their eye on specific career paths that they'll want to jump into after the two years.

No matter which one of those degrees you go for you can expect to be taking general requirement courses and elective course. With the elective courses you'll have the opportunity to expose yourself to different interests. These electives could also inspire you to head down new roads of learning.

Where to Go for An Associate Degree

Recent surveys found that half of all the degrees available online were associate degrees. This is where that issue of transfer comes into play. You can attend a community college if you have the access and time. However, an online degree can provide you with the opportunity to learn while you're still working and taking care of the family. Depending on the course, you could take care of your class work on your own time when it is the most convenient for you. That's one of the biggest benefits with an online degree program. The other is cost.

Clearly, with an online degree you won't need to worry about new housing, transportation or other costs associated with physically going to a brick and mortar type of college. As long as the online college is accredited, that degree will be able to transfer to any college or university. Of course it doesn't hurt to check before enrollment. You might even find that your first pick college has their own distant learning for associate degrees. Think it through, do your homework and find the best fit for your education plans. It could be just a mouse click away.