What Are the Most Common Associate Degree Programs?
The type of associate's degree program you choose may depend on whether you would like to immediately enter the workforce or continue on with your education. Read below for information regarding the most common associate's degree programs.
Offered at many community colleges and technical schools, associate's degree programs allow students to pursue academic degrees in a relatively short amount of time. Associate's degree programs can usually be completed in less than two years and prepare graduates for entry into the workforce or further study. Below are some of the most common associate's degree programs.
Important Facts About Associate Degree Programs
|Prerequisites||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Online Availability||Fully and partially online programs are offered|
|Possible Careers||Vary by program; air traffic controller, nuclear technician, respiratory therapist, insurance appraiser, fashion designer, loan officer|
|Continuing Education||For graduates of associate's programs that need to pursue certification or licensure, like respiratory therapists, regular continuing education coursework is required|
|Median Salary (2018)|| $124,540 (for air traffic controllers) |
$79,140 (nuclear technicians)
$60,280 (for respiratory therapists)
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)|| 3% growth (for air traffic controllers) |
1% growth (for nuclear technicians)
23% growth (for respiratory therapists)
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Associate of Arts (A.A.)
Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree programs generally require students to complete about 60 hours of coursework. This includes several credit hours of general education coursework and several credit hours of major coursework. Most A.A. degree programs usually include a major in the social sciences or humanities. In general, approximately three quarters of the curriculum of an Associate of Arts program is based in the liberal arts. Most students that complete this degree intend to apply the credit towards a bachelor's degree program. Some choose to enter the workforce after completing the A.A. degree. Common academic majors within an Associate of Arts degree program include history, social sciences, and music.
Associate of Science (A.S.)
Much like an A.A. program, Associate of Science (A.S.) degree programs usually require students to complete 60 hours of coursework. Both general education and core coursework are included and students generally major in subjects, such as mathematics, natural sciences, or technology. Unlike A.A. degree programs, the focus of an A.S. curriculum is typically less on liberal arts courses, focusing instead on courses in the chosen academic major. While this degree program may prepare students to enter the workforce, most students build upon the knowledge gained by enrolling in a bachelor's degree program.
Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.)
Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs are professionally focused and prepare students for a particular job by focusing on certain skills. These degrees generally focus less on general education courses in the liberal arts and more on the particular skills that will allow students to successfully secure jobs upon graduation. Many healthcare-related programs, such as nursing and radiological technology, lead to Associate of Applied Science degrees. Other common A.A.S degree fields include computer science, HVAC, and web design.