Associate degrees can sometimes be confusing. Some lead to or are part of a four-year bachelors degree program, whilst others are totally different and instead provide vocational training to prepare students for the workplace.
This page seeks to provide some clarification by outlining the major types and comparing them, so as to enable you to select a suitable school and type of associate’s degree.
What are the benefits of an associate program?
There are at least three benefits of associate programs:
- Associate programs can help you prepare you for many technical jobs such as medical assisting, computer repair, or accounting. Some jobs only require certificates or on-the-job training, but many technical jobs require associate’s degrees.
- Many associate degrees (e.g., the Nursing associate programs online) give you credits that can transfer should you decide to take a bachelor’s degree.
- You can complete associate degrees in about two years instead of the four years required for a bachelor’s degree.
What types of associate programs are there?
When looking for associate programs you need to be aware that there are four different types:
- Associate of Arts (AA) – The AA degree usually consists of 60 college-level credits in the arts and humanities area. The majority of the courses taken in these AA degrees online should be transferable to a university.
- Associate of Science (AS) – The AS degree consists of approximately 60 college-level credits in the science area. The majority of the courses taken in these associate programs should be transferable to a university.
- Associate in Applied Science (AAS) – The AAS degree consists of approximately 60 college-level credits and is designed to prepare students for employment. You need to be aware that the transfer of AAS credits is very limited.
- Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS) – An AOS is a vocational degree similar to the AAS. The degree generally requires about 60 credits. You need to be aware that the transfer of AOS credits is very limited.
What subjects can you take as associate programs online?
There are associate programs in many subjects that can be taken online, e.g., Accounting; Electronics and Computer Technology; Network Systems Administration; Health Information Technology; Web Graphic Design. As can be seen from the list below, associate programs in many areas and schools are available, both online and on campus.
List of schools and programs