A World-Class online associate degree is a convenient, cost-effective option for many of today’s college students. Most associate programs are designed to be completed in two years, allowing students to minimize their tuition costs and join the workforce as quickly as possible. Self-paced associate degree programs are also widely available for students who cannot commit to a full-time learning schedule.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that associate degree-holders have a 2.8% unemployment rate, only six percentage points higher than the unemployment rate for bachelor’s recipients. In addition, individuals with an associate degree earned roughly $500 more per month than high school graduates with no degree. In 2018, nearly 22.4 million people aged 25 or older in the U.S. had earned an associate degree — a major increase from the 16.7 million adults who held an associate in the previous 10 years.
Different types of associate degrees are available for today’s students. An associate of arts (AA) or associate of science (AS) degree is designed for students who plan to eventually transfer into a four-year undergraduate studies program; some schools also offer specialized two-year transfer degrees, such as an associate of fine arts and associate of elementary education. Other associate degrees prepare students to enter the workforce immediately after graduation. These include associate of applied science (AAS) programs, which feature a hands-on curriculum and are generally offered in nursing, industrial technology, criminal justice, and other vocational fields. In addition, many schools offer diplomas and certificates in core areas of study as a shorter, less expensive alternative to the associate degree.
In this guide, we examine the educational costs and professional benefits of pursuing an associate degree online in today’s competitive job market. We’ll also look at specific trends found in the country’s leading online associate degree programs. Our goal is to create a helpful, comprehensive resource for anyone interested in enhancing their career with an associate degree.
What Can You Do With an Online Associate Degree?
POPULAR CAREERS FOR ASSOCIATE DEGREE HOLDERS
An accredited online associate degree opens many career paths with strong earning potential, especially as you advance into the middle and later stages of your career. The table below details popular jobs you can qualify for with an associate degree, sorted in descending order by the number of available nationwide openings. These represent only a sample of the many different careers you can pursue with an associate degree. Note that while many of these careers require formal schooling from an online community college or university, they also place a premium on practical experience.
How Much Does an Online Associate Degree Cost?
The typical associate degree requires 60 semester credits or 90 quarter credits. In either case, this credit requirement amounts to an average of 20, three-credit courses completed over a two-year span. Students can determine the total cost of a degree by calculating the cost per credit at a particular institution. For example, students who attend a school that charges $100 per quarter credit should expect to pay $9,000 for their two-year program. In many cases, cost per credit will be higher for out-of-state students than for in-state students. Online associate degree programs generally carry the same cost per credit, although some schools offer web courses at a lower rate than brick-and-mortar courses.
In addition to tuition fees, students who pursue an associate degree will be required to pay other costs related to their program. We’ve broken down some of these specific expenses below, including expected costs per semester and strategies for reduced spending.