With associate degrees offered by technical schools, online schools, community colleges, and some public and private
universities, finding the right associate degree program can be a challenge. It is important to do your research and
have an understanding of your goals before deciding on a school.
Associate Degree Overview
An Associate degree is usually obtained in two years and is less expensive per semester than a bachelor's degree.
Associate degrees allow you to enter the workforce sooner but usually with a lower starting salary than people holding
a bachelor's degree or higher level of education.
Most associate degree programs require applicants to have a high school diploma or equivalent, and some will require
test scores from college entrance exams like the ACT and/or SAT. Each school has its own specific requirements,
making it important to explore each school's requirements.
Career Opportunities After Earning An Associate Degree
With an associate degree in hand, graduates can pursue a career in whatever field their studies were focused on, or
decide to continue their education in pursuit of a bachelor's degree.
Post Graduate Salary Information
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations that typically require workers to have an associate’s
degree for entry had a median annual wage of $52,830 in 2017. By comparison, workers in high-school education
level occupations had a $36,100 median salary in 2017.
Note that the average salary varies widely not only depending on career chosen, but on geographical
location and what industry the job is in. Those working for non-profits can expect a lower salary than those working
for prestigious institutions or large corporations.
- Elka Torpey, "Employment outlook for occupations requiring an associate’s degree,
certificate, or some college," Career Outlook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2018.
(visited May 21, 2020)