Best Online Associate Degree in 2024

Best Online Associate Degree in 2024

An associate degree is a credential granted by colleges and universities to students who complete a typically two-year course of study at the undergraduate level. It is a lower level of education than a bachelor’s degree. The associate’s degree is primarily offered in the United States, but it is also recognized in other countries. It is often referred to as a “two-year” degree, although it can take longer to complete depending on the student’s pace and course load.

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Associate Degree Statistics

Associate Degree Statistics

Educational attainment among young adults in the US has been steadily rising across all levels since 2010. From 2010 to 2022, the high school graduation rate increased by 6%, while the proportion of individuals with associate’s and master’s degrees grew by 8% and 2%, respectively.

  • Education up across the board: High school graduation +6%, associate’s/master’s +8/2% since 2010.
  • Women lead in attainment: Higher percentages at all levels (high school to master’s).
  • Education boosts employment: 5% increase in job likelihood with each higher degree.
  • Education linked: 20% of homeowners hold graduate/professional degrees.
 
Is An Associate’s Degree Worth It? All You Need To Know!

In today’s competitive job market, many individuals may find themselves weighing the benefits of pursuing higher education against the costs and time commitment required. One option that is becoming increasingly popular is obtaining an Associate’s Degree. However, is an Associate’s Degree truly worth it? Let’s delve into what an Associate’s Degree entails and explore its potential value.

What is an Associate Degree?

Getting an associate’s degree is a sage career move.
Between 2008 and 2018, the number of associate’s degrees received in the US increased by 9%.
Associate’s degree programs are part of the undergraduate post-secondary education programs offered in the US.

They provide specific skills and knowledge that fall between the high school or GED level and the bachelor’s degree level.

An associate’s degree is a two-year academic program that awards either an Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.), or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.). Depending on the institution, there may be numerous specializations within these primary associate’s degree.

Subsequently, a large number of students decide to pursue further education at a four-year college or university to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree.

The Definition of an Associate’s Degree

An associate’s degree is an undergraduate degree earned after completing two or three years of post-secondary study in a certain area. Often, students earn an associate’s degree and then go on to earn their bachelor’s degree after two more years in the same or a more advanced program. At other times, students go directly from graduation to a chosen career. In the United States, some of the most common associate’s degrees are the Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Sciences (AS), and Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS), but we’ll cover that more in-depth below.

Related Content: Executive Degree Programs

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What Can You Do with an Associate Degree?

What Can You Do with an Associate Degree

An associate’s degree is a type of undergraduate degree conferred by community colleges, junior colleges, technical colleges, and universities after the completion of a two-year course of study. Associate’s degree programs typically offer a broad curriculum in general education, as well as specialized courses in a particular field or discipline.

 

Here are some of the many things you can do with an associate’s degree:

 

  • Transfer to a Four-Year University: Many students with associate’s degrees transfer to four-year colleges or universities to complete their bachelor’s degrees.If you’re considering this route, make sure to do thorough research to ensure that your credits will transfer.
  • Enter the Workforce: Depending on your field of study, an associate’s degree can be a valuable credential that qualifies you for entry-level positions in various industries..
  • Enhance Earning Potential: Statistics show that individuals with associate  degree tend to earn more than those with only a high school diploma. This is because an associate’s degree demonstrates a higher level of education and skills, making you more attractive to potential employers.
  • Specialize in a Specific Area: Some associate degree programs are designed to prepare you for a particular job or industry. For example, you might earn an associate’s degree in nursing to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN).
  • Continue Your Education: An associate’s degree can serve as a stepping stone to further education. After earning your associate’s degree, you can continue your studies and pursue a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or even a doctorate in your chosen field.
  • Improve Job Security: In today’s competitive job market, having a higher level of education can provide you with greater job security. 
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Minimum Criteria for an Associate Degree

Minimum Criteria for an Associate Degree

community colleges, technical schools, and universities. Typically, it requires two years of full-time study to complete. The minimum requirements for an Associate’s Degree can vary based on the institution and the program of study. 

  • High School Diploma or GED: To be admitted into an Associate’s Degree program, you must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
  • Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA): Many schools require a minimum GPA for admission to an Associate’s Degree program.
  • Prerequisite Courses: Some Associate’s Degree programs require you to complete certain prerequisite courses before being admitted. 
  • Major Courses: In addition to general education courses, you will also take courses that are specific to your chosen major or program of study.
  • Minimum Credit Hours: Most Associate Degree programs require you to complete a minimum number of credit hours to graduate.
  • Completion of Capstone or Culminating Experience: Some Associate’s Degree programs require you to complete a capstone project or other culminating experience to graduate.

 

All candidates for an associate’s degree must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Accumulate a minimum of 60 credit hours, which includes satisfying the General Studies prerequisites for each specific degree.
  • Complete at least 25% of the total credit hours required while enrolled at Dallas Baptist University. For instance, for a 60-credit hour degree program, this residency prerequisite amounts to 15 credit hours.
  • Maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 across all courses. DBU requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 for both major and minor coursework.

 

Careers You Can Get with an Associate Degree

An associate’s degree can be a valuable stepping stone to various careers, offering a quicker and more affordable path to certain professions than traditional four-year bachelor’s degrees. Here are some popular career options you can pursue with an associate’s degree:

  • Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Computer Support Specialist
  • Paralegal
  • Radiologic Technologist
  • Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)
  • Surgical Technologist
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Accounting Assistant
  • HVAC Technician
  • Automotive Technician
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Pros of Earning an Associate’s Degree:

Cost-Effective

Cost-Effective:

Compared to a bachelor’s degree, an Associate’s Degree is generally more affordable. This can be especially appealing for individuals who want to save on tuition costs or avoid taking out student loans.

Faster Entry Into the Workforce

Faster Entry Into the Workforce:

Since it typically takes two years to earn an Associate’s Degree, graduates can enter the workforce sooner than those pursuing a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Marketable Skills

Marketable Skills: 

Many Associate’s Degree programs are designed to provide students with practical, hands-on skills that are immediately applicable in the workforce.

Transferable Credits

Transferable Credits:

Some Associate’s Degree programs are specifically designed to transfer credits to a four-year bachelor’s degree program. This has the potential to conserve both time and financial resources in the long term.

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Cons of Earning an Associate’s Degree:

Limited Career Options

Limited Career Options:

While an Associate’s Degree can provide graduates with valuable skills, it may not be sufficient for certain career paths that require a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Lower Earning Potential

Lower Earning Potential:

Typically, individuals holding a bachelor’s degree tend to achieve higher earnings over time their lifetimes compared to those with only an Associate’s Degree.

Less Prestige

Less Prestige:

In some industries, a bachelor’s degree is seen as a minimum requirement for entry-level positions. As such, individuals with only an Associate’s Degree may face more competition in the job market.

Not All Credits Transfer

Not All Credits Transfer:

While some Associate’s Degree programs are designed to transfer credits to a four-year bachelor’s degree program, not all credits may be accepted by all institutions.

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Associate's Degree program

Associate’s degree programs offer students a foundational education in a particular field or discipline. Typically, these programs take two years to complete, although some accelerated programs can be finished in as little as 18 months. Here are some common associate’s degree programs:

  • Associate of Arts (A.A.)
  • Associate of Science (A.S.)
  • Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.)
  • Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.)
  • Associate of Business Administration (A.B.A.)
  • Associate of Engineering (A.E.)
  • Associate of Occupational Studies (A.O.S.)
  • Associate of General Studies (A.G.S.)
  • Associate of Criminal Justice (A.C.J.)

 

Online Associate Degree Programs at National University offer a pathway to success in highly sought-after and financially rewarding careers. Leveraging our 50 years of academic excellence, committed faculty, and expansive global alumni community of over 190,000, National University provides accessible online associate’s degrees for adult learners, parents juggling responsibilities, and dedicated professionals seeking a competitive advantage.

Explore All Online Associate’s Degree Programs

Online associate’s degree programs offer an opportunity for individuals to pursue higher education without the constraints of traditional classroom settings. These programs have become increasingly popular due to their flexibility, accessibility, and affordability

Here are some key aspects to consider when exploring online associate’s degree programs:

  • Flexibility
  • Accessibility
  • Affordability
  • Diverse Program Offerings
  • Quality Education
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Transferability
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Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)

An Associate’s degree in Nursing (ADN) is a two-year undergraduate degree program that prepares individuals for a career as a registered nurse (RN). It is often considered a more accessible entry point into the nursing profession compared to the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree..

Types of Nursing Careers & Specialties

Nursing is a dynamic field that offers a wide array of opportunities for healthcare professionals. From direct patient care to administrative roles, nurses play a vital role in the healthcare industry. Here are some types of nursing careers and specialties.

  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
  • Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Administrator
  • Nurse Informaticist
  • Forensic Nurse

 

Associate degree jobs

While some students may go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree or higher, many enter the workforce directly with their associate’s degree. There are a variety of job opportunities available to those with an associate’s degree, across numerous industries.

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What Can You Achieve with an Associate Degree?
What Can You Achieve with an Associate Degree

An associate’s degree opens up a plethora of career opportunities. To narrow down your options, it’s essential to consider your skills, interests, and other factors. Below are some job possibilities that come with an associate’s degree.

  • Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Radiologic Technologist
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Paralegal
  • Computer Support Specialist
  • Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA)
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)
  • Mechanical Engineering Technician

 

Accounting associate degree

Accounting is a vital field that serves as the backbone of modern business, and pursuing a degree in accounting can lead to a wide range of career opportunities. Whether you’re fresh out of high school or a seasoned professional looking to change careers, there are several different paths you can take to earn an accounting degree.

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Types of Accounting Degrees
Types of Accounting Degrees

There are several different types of  Associate Degree that you can pursue, depending on your interests and career goals. Some of the most common types of accounting degrees include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting (BSA)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Accounting (BAA)
  • Master of Science in Accounting (MSA)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)

 

Formats for Earning an Accounting Degree

There are several different formats in which you can earn an accounting degree, depending on your schedule and preferences. Some of the most common formats for earning an accounting degree include:

Formats for Earning an Accounting Degree

There are several different formats in which you can earn an accounting degree, depending on your schedule and preferences. Some of the most common formats for earning an accounting degree include:

  • Traditional Classroom-Based Programs
  • Online Programs
  • Hybrid Programs

 

Executive Degrees 

In the ever-changing world of business, individuals are constantly striving to improve their skill sets, broaden their knowledge, and advance their careers. Executive degree programs have become a favored option for ambitious professionals who seek to take their careers to the next level while continuing to work.

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In conclusion, earning an Associate Degree is a significant milestone that opens doors to a multitude of opportunities. It signifies dedication, determination, and a commitment to personal and professional growth. By completing this degree, individuals have demonstrated their ability to grasp complex concepts, apply critical thinking skills, and communicate effectively.

There are two main types of Associate’s Degrees: the Associate of Arts (AA) and the Associate of Science (AS). AA degrees often focus on the liberal arts and humanities, while AS degrees focus on science and technical fields.

Yes, many industries offer job opportunities for those with an Associate’s Degree. Common fields of employment include healthcare (nursing, medical assisting), technology (computer programming, IT support), business (management, accounting), and more.

The cost of an Associate’s Degree can vary greatly depending on the institution, location, and whether you attend full-time or part-time. Community colleges often offer more affordable tuition rates compared to four-year colleges and universities.

No, you do not necessarily need an Associate’s Degree to transfer to a four-year college or university.

An Associate’s Degree typically takes two years to complete when attending full-time. However, the duration can vary depending on factors such as course load, program requirements, and whether you attend classes part-time or full-time.

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