Because of its popularity by students interested in earning a degree as quickly as possible, many wonder how long it takes to earn an associate’s degree. While there may be some variations depending on the field, most associate’s degrees can be completed in about two years. This bodes very well for individuals who are eager to start a career in a certain field without spending years in college. Here is some information on associate’s degrees, including what they entail, what careers they can offer and the benefits of earning an associate’s degree.
What is an Associate’s Degree?
An associate’s degree is considered by many to be half of a bachelor’s degree but with much less work and cost. They’re offered at community colleges and technical schools. They may be offered as on-campus or online programs. The curriculum for an associate degree program is usually general education courses, electives and major-related courses. Students are usually required to complete 60 credits to earn the associate’s degree.
How Long Does it Take to Earn an Associate’s Degree?
Associate degrees typically take two years to complete. A student in an online program may finish the associate’s degree in less than two years if time allows. Some careers, like a dental hygienist, may take slightly longer. Although an individual may become a dental hygienist with an associate’s degree, this career actually requires three years of education. At the other end of the spectrum are students who have the time to complete the program in only 18 months. Although different careers may result in time variations, associate’s degrees are generally two-year programs.
What Careers Are Available with an Associate’s Degree?
One exciting factor about associate’s degrees is that they offer training that can be used in many careers. Some popular career choices for associate degree holders include nuclear medicine technologist, an air traffic controller, registered nurse, dental hygienist or computer programmer. These careers are as different from each other as day and night, yet they’re all possible with an associate’s degree.
Benefits of Earning an Associate’s Degree
One of the main benefits of earning an associate’s degree, according to U.S. News & World Report, is that they can act as a starting point for someone who is eager to start working but hopes to advance to a bachelor’s degree in the future. There are several other benefits to earning an associate’s degree.
• Cost – Tuition rates at most colleges are based on a per-credit fee. Since associate degrees generally require 60 credits, and bachelor’s degrees require about 120, the cost for an associate degree is cut in half.
• Time – The associate’s degree takes around two years as opposed to four or more years.
• Distance learning – Many associate degree programs are offered online.
• Fewer admission requirements – Applicants can usually enroll in an associate degree program with no prerequisites other than possibly an entrance exam.
• Fulfills undergraduate requirements – Associate degree programs often include many of the prerequisite courses that might be required in a bachelor’s degree program.
Related Resource: Top 10 Dual Enrollment Programs Online
Earning an associate’s degree can be a great way to jumpstart a career and gain work experience without being in debt for many years. With so many possibilities available to graduates of associate’s degree programs, it’s easy to see why it’s such a possible choice, particularly when considering how long it takes to complete an associate’s degree.