What is an Associate's Degree?

There are various degree levels a student can pursue in the world of higher education. One very popular avenue students take in college an associate's degree.

So what exactly is an associate's degree? An associate's degree is an undergraduate degree that usually accounts for about two years' worth of college, or around 60 credits. Most associate's degrees are issued through online, community, or technical colleges, though traditional universities may offer them as well.

Just like a four-year degree, the associate's degree has basic requirements. They include:

  • General education
  • Major requisites
  • Electives

Types of Associate's Degrees

There are several classifications of an associate's degree. Examples are: 

  • Associate of Arts degree
  • Associate of Applied Science degree
  • Associate of Science degree
  • Occupational degree 

College specializations/majors at this level are wide-ranging - from healthcare to technology degrees. Most common degrees of this type are in the fields of medical assistant, paralegal, technology, data processing, and various forms of public service. They are perfect for people who would like to get certification quicker than those seeking a bachelor's degree. Keep in mind that the requirements for this type of degree may vary, so research the college of your choice carefully before making a final decision.

Most of these degrees are designed to allow associate's degree graduates to transfer their credits over to a four-year degree if desired. However, certain types of degrees only allow one to transfer part of their credits over to the new college institution. This would mean that a student may have to repeat some classes they have already taken in order to receive their associate's degree - it all really depends on the college. With this in mind, anyone pursuing an associate's should look into these options beforehand just to be sure.

Where to Start

View our list of available associates degrees here.

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