When it comes to college options, either in person or online, associate degrees are growing in popularity. Over the past decade, the number of college students who earned associate degrees grew by more than 20 percent[i]. Today over one million students a year will earn an associate degree, many of which get them from online schools.
Why are associate degrees making such a strong statement? The current job market is one influential factor. With the new economy now forcing employers to focus on specialization rather than a job candidate’s broader education, we’re learning that not everyone needs four years or more of college to get a great job.
In fact, some associate degree programs allow graduates to earn good salaries without ever needing to commit to a four-year degree program.
In healthcare, for example, an associate degree is often the entry-level requirement for registered nurses.[iii] Many dental hygienists,[iv] radiologic technologists,[v] occupational therapy assistants,[vi] and diagnostic medical sonographers[vii] are also graduates of associate degree programs. All of these careers are growing faster than the average job and tend to pay a very good salary.
In the business world, many associate degree graduates go on to claim high-level support roles in administration, human resources, payroll, or accounting. Information technology teams may rely on associate degree graduates, just as many law firms rely on associate-grad paralegals.
Childcare centers and public schools may also turn to qualified paraprofessionals and aides with associate degrees in education. You see, there’s an almost unlimited number of fields you could enter with an associate degree.
Now, if you’re not 100 percent certain about your career plans, you might want to explore online associate degrees in general studies or liberal arts, rather than a career focused education. These “academic” associate degrees incorporate a broad background of literature, science, history, and philosophy into the coursework.
Some associate degree grads use their general studies degrees to transfer into bachelor’s degree programs. If you’re planning to go this route, you should ask enrollment advisors about credit transfer considerations.
Finally, associate degrees are often valued for being student friendly. Associate degree programs typically involve half the number of courses (usually about 20[viii]) that are required for bachelor’s degree programs. Fewer credit requirements mean associate degrees may be more manageable from both an academic standpoint and a financial one…
And once you graduate, the salary you earn can be just as good as what you could earn with a four-year degree.
For example, an associate degree in Radiation Therapy can earn you a median salary of $85,560. An associate degree in Nuclear Technology means you could earn about $82,080 a year, while an associate degree in Web Development could allow for a very robust $73,760 per year salary.
So, research your options in online associate degrees and be sure to use School Match Pro to find the school that best fits both your educational and financial requirements.
Whether you choose a career-oriented program or a general study option, School Match Pro helps you join the thousands of Americans who are finishing college, beginning a career education or learning a trade on their own terms!