An associates degree takes about two years to complete requires the completion of at least 60 credits.
This covers general education requirements, electives, and major courses. The degree is offered in community colleges and most universities.
There are several types of associate degrees. In fact, there are as many types of the degree as there are fields of study, although there will only be a few offered per college or university.
The general types would be Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Engineering, and several other specialized associate degree programs.
Graduates of the program often get hired in entry-level jobs and enjoy rewarding careers. Many pursue higher education, some after taking a short stint at entry jobs, and some right after completing the program.
How long does it take to get an associate’s degree?
It is common knowledge that associate degree programs can be completed within 2 years. However, it is really not as simple as that.
There’s the thing about studying fulltime versus part-time.
Students who need to work or attend to domestic concerns and can only study part-time take as long as six years.
Fulltime students who take summer loads or heavier loads per term naturally complete the course in much shorter time than 2 years.
Even for regular fulltime students, there are still factors to consider. There are basic skills courses that colleges and universities consider as prerequisites before admission to the program.
The student must obtain passing grades in any of the prerequisite courses. A test is usually given for grammar, reading comprehension, mathematics, and algebra.
Nursing and other science and medical-related associate degree programs may require biology and chemistry, along with other pre-req courses. This changes how long it takes to get a nursing degree from 2 years to closer to 3 years.
Students who don’t pass the prerequisites will be required to take development coursework in their areas of weakness and may take a whole academic year before they get admitted to the program.
Summing up, an associate degree is a 2-year 60-credit degree program.
A student who meets the minimum required score for the prerequisite courses get admitted to the 2-year program and, hopefully, completes the required coursework in that period.
Students, however, who don’t meet the minimum score for the prerequisites will have to take a remedial coursework, typically taking one academic year to prepare for the associate degree. Complying that step, a student may then proceed to admission.
Once admitted, students then take an average of 15 credits per term; thus, a student who commits time and effort to the program will complete the 60-or-so credits in 2 year, or 4 terms.
Students who will not be able to commit that much time for various reasons may complete a few credits per term. Depending on the time they put on their studies, they may take between 3 and 6 years to finish the whole coursework.
What are the requirements for an associates degree?
For admission, prerequisites will vary depending on the school, field of study, and state requirements. The following are usually presented to the school’s admission department:
School transcript, high school or GED diploma
High GPA in high school (minimum required depends on the admitting college/university)
Passing scores in the prerequisite courses
Letters of recommendation
Essay of goals
Nursing and other healthcare programs usually require a background check, drug screening test result, and CPR and Basic Life Support training certificates.
Which associate degrees are the most advantageous?
As mentioned earlier, associate degrees are of various kinds – AA, AS, AAS, and the more specific kinds, such as ADN, and the like.
They also run the gamut from Associate in Accounting to Associate in Web Graphics Design.
Which one you should choose solely depends on what industry you feel your aptitude, skills and interests are mostly suited. Here are some ideas to clarify some things for you:
If you feel that you need general education on a particular field, choose an AA or AS.
For instance, you want to learn about the basics of computer programming, earn a degree for it, and eventually transfer your credits to a BS degree on computer programming.
The best program would be an AS in computer programming. An AA or AS gives you the preparation you need for the 4-year coursework. Make sure that the credits you earn in the AS program you choose are transferable to the BS program.
If what you need is the more direct education and training for professional employment, take the AAS or Associate in Applied Science, or the specialized associate degree programs, such as Associate Degree in Nursing. An ADN is the minimum required education for becoming an RN. Other healthcare degrees can be done in two years too. See: How long does it take to be a medical coder at Different Medical Careers.
An AAS in Information Technology opens opportunities for employment as computer systems administrator, computer security specialist, or web application developer.
While studying in college is designed to be flexible, as these various associate degree programs are, don’t waste too much time, youth, resources, and opportunities. Start as early as now, there’s work ahead.
I hope this answers the questions. How many years is an associates degree? How long does it take to get an associate’s degree?