What Is an Associate Degree?
An Associate Degree is a 2-year undergraduate degree, often offered through community colleges and focused on technical and occupational skills. An Associate of Arts or Associate of Applied Science enable graduates to pursue careers or further their education by transferring their credits to a bachelor's degree program.
Individuals who earn an Associate's Degree understand basic principles, methodologies and concepts, according to the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office. An Associate's Degree program also teaches students to understand themselves and the global community. An Associate's Degree program includes general education courses, major classes andelectives.
Types of Associate Degree Programs
Students must complete approximately 65 credit hours, usually in about two years, to earn an Associate's Degree, according to the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Students can earn several different Associate Degrees such as an Associate of Applied Science, an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Applied Arts.
Students who earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree can pursue careers in business, construction, technology or health sciences. An Associate of Arts Degree mirrors the first two years of a liberal arts bachelor's degree program and enables graduates to work in fields like art or music, according to Stark State College of Technology. Students who earn an Associate of Applied Arts Degree can have careers in advertising and communication.
Some Associate Degree programs are also called Career Associate Degrees because graduates can pursue specific jobs, according to Macon State College. Examples of Career Associate Degrees include nursing, respiratory therapy and health information technology.
Many Associate Degree programs have partnerships with four-year institutions to allow students with an Associate's Degree to transfer and apply credits toward a bachelor's degree program, according to the University of Washington-Seattle. These partnerships allow students to apply credits from their Associate Degree program toward the general education requirements at a four-year institution even if traditional students usually can't do the same.