Is an Associate’s Degree Worth the Cost?

The term associate’s degree is popular among students who want to apply to universities. Those who apply for this degree can either go straight to their desired careers or move on to pursue a bachelor’s degree. The degree attracts hundreds of thousands of students across the US.

What is an Associate’s Degree?

An associate’s degree is an academic program available at an undergraduate level. To some, it is a stepping stone to a four-year bachelor’s degree program. To others, it is a job qualification in its own right. Students who pursue this degree acquire the technical skills and academic knowledge they need to go to the work field or move on with their bachelor’s degrees.

A typical associate’s degree takes two years to complete. Students take basic courses like mathematics and languages, but they also move on to more specific classes that are directly related to their degrees. This degree is ideal for someone who does not want to commit to a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

Benefits of Associate’s Degrees

An associate’s degree may be more helpful than you think. You have the potential to make more than those with high school diplomas. In a lifetime, people with associate’s degrees earn $600,000 more than those with high school diplomas. With an associate’s degree, you gain the credentials that increase your earnings by $7,200 per year. Not to mention, you have a great foundation for earning a bachelor’s degree or taking more advanced courses, leading to even higher earnings.

You are less likely to be unemployed if you have an associate’s degree. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who have associate’s degrees are two times more likely to be employed than those with only high school diplomas.

Another benefit of an associate’s degree is that it is flexible. You can change what you study and how you study it any time. Most of the programs are available online, leading to more flexibility and convenience.

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Cheapest Online Colleges for Associate’s Degrees

Common Associate’s Degrees in the US

There are many associate’s degree programs available in the US. They are mainly offered by community colleges, four-year universities and technical schools. The most common programs available include associate of arts degree, associate of applied science, associate of engineering, associate of fine arts and associate of general studies.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have a high school GPA of 2.5 or, for those with 12 or more college credits, a college GPA of at least 2.0 is required. All students should demonstrate outstanding skills in math for the last five years to be eligible. Additional requirements include two professional reference letters, health screening examinations and drug testing.

Where Can You Work With an Associate’s Degree?

There are many high-paying jobs for associate’s degree graduates. Some of these jobs pay as high as $75,000 per year. Registered nurse, dental hygienist, respiratory therapist, programmer, police officer, and paralegal are some of the attractive positions you can qualify for with an associate’s degree. Each of these jobs has a median annual salary of at least $50,000. This figure is more than what a bachelor’s degree graduate earns in some professions.

An associate degree will qualify you for certain professions or enable you to move on to a bachelor’s degree program of your choice. You just need to identify the career you want and apply for a program that will equip you with the knowledge and skills applicable to that position.