Associate degrees Online continue to open doors for millions of Americans in search of careers or advanced academic study. Here are some of the options.
ASSOCIATE DEGREE: TWO YEARS TO A CAREER OR A JUMP START TO A BACHELOR’S DEGREE
In 2 years, you can train for some of the fastest growing jobs in the economy, increase your earnings, and pave the way for further education.
How? Earn an associate degree. An associate degree is a college degree awarded after the completion of about 20 classes. It either prepares students for a career following graduation or allows them to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program. Compared with the workers whose highest level of educational attainment was a high school diploma, workers with an associate degree averaged an extra $128 a week in 2001, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
People with associate degrees also are more likely to find jobs: the unemployment rate in 2001 was more than 30 percent lower for associate degree holders compared with high school graduates. And, according to several academic studies, advantages in the job market might be even greater for those just starting their careers and for those who work in a career related to their degree.
But for most people, the best part about earning an associate degree is the opportunity to enter interesting professions. Training is available for those with nearly any interest, from technical fields like electronics and health care in liberal arts areas, such as design and social work. And according to BLS, occupations in which workers often are required to have an associate degree are growing faster than occupations that require other types of training.
The hallmark of associate degrees is flexibility, both in what to study and how to study it. Degrees are available from public community colleges, private 2-year colleges, for-profit technical institutes, and many 4-year colleges and universities.