Online Associate Degrees
Second, the associates degree can be used by the student as a transfer degree. Students that choose this option will be able to seek additional education (typically a Bachelors Degree) from a four-year college or university. Most associates degrees are awarded though community colleges and attainment of an associates degree requires the student to complete 60 hours of coursework, or approximately 20 classes. Associates degrees can also be acquired from private two-year colleges, technical institutes that focus on specific career skills and many four-year colleges and universities. Individuals seeking to advance their career may want to consider an online associates degree.
Benefits of an Online Associates Degree
Overall, the benefits of an associates degree are dependent upon the way in which the degree is used by the student following graduation. Students using their associates degree as a means to acquire career specific training for employment will find that this level of education provides financial benefits without considerable costs. Associates degrees earned from community colleges typically cost less than those from four-year colleges and universities. This means that students will be able to save money on their education by pursuing a two-year degree. Further, data indicates that, on average, individuals with an associates degree can earn, on average, 15 percent more annually when compared with a high school graduate. Thus, earning an associates degree will provide a definitive financial benefit. Additionally, acquisition of an associates degree will provide the student with access to a number of career options; many of which are in-demand fields that need trained professionals. For students using their associates degree as means to transfer to a four year institution, the degree will provide savings on the total costs of a four-year education. These savings will enable the student to graduate with a four-year degree owing less money, creating a significant financial gain for the student.
Types of Online Associates Degrees
The types of associates degrees include occupational degrees and transfer degrees. Occupational degrees train students for specific careers for employment immediately following graduation. Classes taken for the occupational degree include general education classes such as English and math. In addition, students take classes that are specific to the career field into which they are seeking entry. Students seeking a career in massage therapy, for instance, would be required to take classes on human anatomy and physiology in order to complete their degrees. Students seeking employment as a pharmacy technician would be required to take classes such as chemistry and pharmacokinetics.
The other type of associates degree is the transfer degree. This degree is considered to be the first step toward the achievement of a Bachelors Degree. Credits earned toward an associates degree are essentially transferred to the four-year institution. With planning and support, the student should be able to transfer all of the credits earned in the two-year degree program. In addition to completing general education courses such as English and math, transfer students will also complete additional courses in liberal arts including religion and philosophy. Students will also be required to complete course that will enable them to select a major in their Bachelors Degree program. Students seeking a career in medicine may, for instance, complete biology and chemistry courses.
The types of careers that are available for students with an associates degree will also be contingent upon the specific type of degree earned, e.g., occupational or transfer. Students working to complete an occupational associates degree will need to select a career early on to ensure that they are able to obtain an appropriate amount of training and education. Occupational associates degrees can be acquired in a broad range of fields including: computer technician, engineering technician, paralegal, pharmacy technician and medical assistant. Many of these professions are growing and demand for educated and degreed professionals is high. Individuals that enter into these careers can seek additional training and education to advance in their careers and increase their employment opportunities.
For individuals that choose a transfer associates degree, careers available are quite extensive. Individuals that complete a Bachelors Degree as a result of their transfer can seek employment in science, teaching, law, humanities and healthcare. Additionally, the completion of a Bachelors Degree will enable the student to pursue an advanced degree either through graduate school (e.g., Masters Degree or PhD) or through professional schools (e.g., law or medicine). The transfer associate degree offers a number of additional options for the student when compared with the occupational associates degree.