An associate degree is a post secondary education program that requires 60 units of a study in a chosen field. This degree is offered by junior and community colleges, but at the same time it is available in different colleges and universities.
An associate degree is divided into three parts: general education, major studies, and electives. Unlike in a bachelor’s degree in which students are required to complete eight semesters of study, an associate degree only has four to six semesters to complete. Most associate degrees concentrate on occupational fields, though courses in general arts, mathematics and sciences are also available through these degrees.
In order to qualify for an associate degree, one should:
- Have finished secondary education, such as graduating from high school or earning a GED.
- Have achieved a sufficient ACT or SAT score
There are also institution-specific requirements that have to be satisfied in order to enter an associate degree, and these include a C average in all major subjects, proficiency in English communication and satisfying grades in the fields of math and science.
Students who are planning to transfer from one community college to another are required to have at least completed 9-12 units of study, depending on the institution they wish to enter.
How To Apply For An Associate Degree
Applying for an associate degree is almost the same as applying for a bachelor’s degree. In essence, the student would have to scout for a college, submit the necessary requirements, and when accepted, pay the appropriate fees.
There are community and junior colleges which conduct a series of entrance examinations and screening procedures before accepting applicants, and these should likewise be prepared for. Applicants must visit the office of admissions of the institution they wish to attend in order to learn about the necessary screening processes.
Transferees may bypass the initial screening tests, but they usually undergo interviews in order to be accepted to an associate degree. They are also expected to provide satisfactory grades during the first two semesters to be able to continue with their studies in their chosen institution.
What Can I do With An Associate Degree
Most students nowadays chose to take up associate degrees because they are more affordable and have lesser time to complete. Since these courses attend to occupational fields, individuals with associate degrees are able to land on steady employment faster than expected.
An associate degree can also be used as a stepping stone towards a bachelor’s degree, especially for students who are struggling with their finances. Students who tend to be more practical take up an associate degree first in order to get a job, and after a few years they return to their studies and take up semester units in order to acquire a bachelor’s degree.
While an associate degree cannot be used to attain a master’s degree, it can be used to shorten the time of study in a bachelor’s degree. Students who want to have a bachelor’s degree in a certain field may begin with an associate degree first, as the units they have earned are also counted once they enter a new course of study.
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