Earning Your Associate Degree Online

Distance learning programs offer online associate degree programs to people who want to further their education. In fact, over half of all degrees earned online are associate degrees. But is an associate degree as valuable as a bachelor degree? And what are the advantages of earning an associate degree online?

What is an Associate Degree?

Associate degrees are generally 2-year degrees similar to those conferred by community colleges. An associate degree covers a broad base in general education with a concentration on a particular occupation (such as Electronics) or liberal arts. Associate degrees can also be used towards earning a bachelor degree or for entrance into a particular profession.
Online associate degrees are available in the following occupations:

  • Accounting
  • Arts & Humanities
  • Business & Management
  • Criminal Justice
  • Design
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Graphic Design
  • Fire Science
  • Health Sciences
  • Hospitality Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Law & Paralegal
  • Marketing
  • Social Sciences
  • Telecommunications
  • Technology

Earning Potential

There’s no doubt that having a bachelor degree will help you earn more in your profession. On average, workers who have an associate degree earn between $6,000-$8,000 more a year than workers with a high school education. With an associate degree, you are also only one step away from getting a bachelor degree and increasing your salary and job opportunities further.

Is an Associate Degree Right for You?

Getting an online associate degree is a great way to start a new career quickly. Unlike a bachelor degree, you can usually get an associate degree in just two years. An added advantage is that your associate degree will give you a jumpstart in an online bachelor degree program later.
An online associate degree might be right for you if:

  • You don’t have a lot of time to spend in school
  • You want to get into a field like Nursing or Internet Technology where an associate degree is enough to get you in the door
  • You want to get a degree as soon as possible even though your ultimate goal is to get a bachelor degree

Choosing an Online Associate Degree Program

Although you can earn an online associate degree relatively quickly, you should take your time to choose the online program that is best for you.

First, make sure that the online associate degree program will give you the skills and training you need for your profession, especially if it is a technical career. Some jobs only require certifications which can be obtained without getting an associate degree.

Next, you’ll want to make sure that you are choosing an online program which is fully accredited. Accrediting organizations regularly review online programs to make sure they meet their standards of quality. Many employers will want to make sure your degree has been approved by one of these organizations.

Finally, make sure that you are prepared to work in a distance learning situation. Online learning is very reading intensive and requires a lot of self-motivation and self discipline. If you are not sure you can handle it, you may want to look into other options.

To learn more about earning your associate degree online, read: How to Get Financial Aid for Online Education and Earning Your Bachelor Degree Online.