How Many Credits Is An Associates Degree?

If you are planning to apply in any of those US universities or anywhere in Canada, chances are that you would have come across the word “associate’s degree”. Now, a very frequently asked question on this is – how many credits is an associates degree? If you are looking forward for the right answer, you are at the right spot. But before explaining you about it, we will start with a quick introduction.

How Many Credits Is An Associates Degree

What Is An Associates Degree?

An associate degree is an undergraduate academic program or a 2-year education program, taken at the initial stage after your secondary school. The main goal of this educational course is to give students some essential academic, technical knowledge and other transferable skills that are required before they precede their further studies or employment in the selected field. It takes 2 years for a student to earn this degree. Once the student gets the associates degree, he or she must have completed his or her sophomore and freshman years of college.

Associate degrees are commonly offered in United States. However, you will also find them in few parts of Australia, Netherlands, Hong Kong and Canada. Other countries also have programs similar to associates but might have a different name. Now, if you are about to take this educational course, a common question you will have in mind is – how many credits for an associates degree and how to get it? Read further to know.

How Many Credits Is An Associates Degree?

For few students, an associate degree is a preparation for their bachelors whereas for others, it is just a qualification to improve their employment prospects. Whatever the reason is, a student requires certain amount of credits to earn it and this is when they wonder how many credits is an associates degree? Well, this depends on:

  • The major you choose and
  • The school you enter

However, the minimum credits for an associate degree is 60 (or 90-quarter credits) but majority of degrees need 70 and few might even need 120. In most cases, a student is eligible to graduate an associate’s degree after earning 60. But, all these credits aren’t created equal. Hence, to earn an associate degree in a specific major, he or she has to fulfill some course requirements apart from the minimum credit requirement. Most associate degrees will require some core courses in subjects like mathematics or writing.

How Long Will It Take To Complete Your Associates Degree?

Though the standard period is 2 years, few students might take long to complete their associate’s degree. It depends on 4 things:

  • The course chosen
  • Number of hours taken to work outside the school
  • Number of credits taken per term
  • Whether the standard prerequisites for the education course has been met or not

Say for instance, if your associate degree program requires 90 credits, then to complete the degree in 2 years, you need to take at least 45 credits a year / 15 credits a term (around 4 courses), excluding the summer term. All the 90 credits should be in the 100 to 200 level courses. On the other hand, if you are also to take courses below level 100 (math or writing), the duration to complete your associate’s degree will be little longer.

Where Are Associate Degrees Offered?

In United States, associate degrees are available at:

  • Public Community colleges
  • Private colleges
  • Technical colleges
  • Junior colleges
  • Affiliated colleges
  • University institutes

Most students prefer either public colleges or private colleges to complete their associate’s degree. The reason why associate degrees are more popular is that they are less expensive, faster and a great way to change the traditional 4-year degree. Also, you will be interested in knowing the fact that a lot of 4-year colleges these days have been offering an option to earn your associate’s degree “en route”, after your complete your initial 2 years of a 4-year bachelor program. These educational courses are often termed as “2 + 2 programs”.

Job Opportunities For People With Associates Degree

Many decent-paying trade and technical careers like logistics, nursing, medical records, electronics, surveying, healthcare technology and technical writing accept associate degrees. Hence, you might never need that bachelor’s degree for some hot paying jobs.

What Are The Types Of Associate Degree?

An associate degree is of 4 types:

  1. AS (or Associate of science)
  2. AAS (Associate of Applied Science)
  3. AA (Associate of Arts)
  4. AAA (Associate of Applied Arts)

The “applied courses (see above numbers: 2 and 4)” focus in teaching a specific career in depth whereas the ones that aren’t applied (no: 1 and 3) target in preparing the students for their higher academic study.

Difference Between An Associate’s Degree And A Bachelor’s Degree

Both associate and bachelor degrees are labeled under “undergraduate” programs, which means that they are open to students, once they complete their secondary-level education. But the question is how to decide if you should apply for a bachelor’s or an associate? Well, here are some key differences that will help you decide better:

1. Time Requirements

Whether you wish to get a associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree, you have to complete the required course credits or study hours. However, this might vary depending on the location and the institution you study in. However, an associate degree requires 60 credits and 2 years to complete (on a full-time basis) whereas a bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours and 4 years to complete (on a full-time basis). Many associate degree students study part-time, which obviously means that it is going to take longer time for them to complete this course. But, there is something called “fast-track course”, which helps you finish the degree in a short time.

2. Tuition Fees

The tuition charges for an associate degree tend to be much lower and it take less time to complete when compared to bachelor’s degree. The cost between both the degree courses vary depending on the institute but one thing is for sure: a person can expect to pay 2 to 3 times less for an associate degree. Also, he or she will spend less time in finishing the course.

3. Enrolling Requirements

The entry requirements for an associate degree are less competitive when compared to bachelor’s degree. In fact, the admission deadlines are later. Hence, it could be an amazing alternative for people, who do not meet the bachelor’s degree entry requirements.

Why To Choose An Associate Degree?

Students prefer an associate degree for many reasons. Some of them include:

  • To get employed more quickly
  • Cost effective or low fees
  • Wish to study a bachelor’s degree but might not have good grades

The best way to decide, if you should to take an associate degree or not is to consider the field you wish to get in. It may be worth to check the latest job listings and the country you desire to work in. Research more about the qualifications, skills-in-demand and other possible terms associated to the field.

Career Opportunities For An Associate Degree

Believe it or not, there are lots of highly skilled professions and high-paying jobs that can be got with an associate’s degree. Some examples include:

  • Construction management
  • Operations technician
  • Legal assistant
  • Dental hygienist
  • Engineering
  • Physical therapist
  • Air traffic controller

Though an associate degree is good, studying a bachelor’s can open up many career opportunities for you. But you cannot deny the fact that many skilled roles just need only an associate level qualification.

Names Of Various Associate Degrees

An associate degree’s data is often dis-aggregated by the curriculum, which can be either vocational or non-vocational. HEGIS (Higher Education General Information Survey) counts the non-vocational degrees under “General Programs or Arts & Sciences” whereas the vocational programs fall under 6 categories, which are:

  1. Data processing technology
  2. Business and commerce technology
  3. Natural science technology
  4. Paramedical / health services technology
  5. Engineering / mechanical technology
  6. Public service technology
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