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A Beginner’s Guide to Associate’s Degrees: Everything to Know

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

We all know that the job hunt can be rough, especially when you’re trying to break into a new career. You may not be able to put years of related experience on your resume right off the bat. However,  you can make yourself a more competitive candidate by receiving an associate’s degree!

In fact, getting an associate’s degree is a very wise career move. Between 2008 and 2018, the number of associate’s degrees received in the US went up by 9%

If you’re curious about associate’s degrees, you’ve come to the right place. InterCoast Colleges offer both associate’s programs and certification training that can expand your knowledge and broaden your job opportunities. 

Read on to learn more about associate’s degrees, how to get one, and what they can do for you!

What Is an Associate’s Degree?

Associate’s degree programs are part of the undergraduate post-secondary education programs offered in the US. They provide you with specific skills and knowledge that falls between the high school or GED level and the bachelor’s degree level. 

One of the most immediately useful types of associate’s degrees is the AAS, or associate’s of applied science. These programs are designed to give students a theoretical or working knowledge of a subject. In addition, they also provide students with the technical, hands-on skills needed to begin applying to a new field. 

So, what do you need to do to receive your associate’s degree?

How to Receive Your Associate’s Degree

Associate’s degrees require the completion of roughly 60 credits, which can take students between one and three years. A one-year program is considered accelerated and requires a higher course load each semester. A three-year program is considered part-time.

Choosing Your Field of Education

The first thing to do is to determine your field of interest. At InterCoast Colleges, we find that substance abuse counseling, business administration, and cybersecurity are constantly expanding fields. Because there are so many opportunities in these areas and plenty of room for growth, we center our associate’s degree programs around them.

Choosing Your Program

The next step is to decide whether in-person schooling or online is better for your lifestyle. More and more students have gained access to post-secondary education through online programs. They don’t require relocation, can fit any schedule, and are available to anyone with access to the internet!

Note that one is not superior to the other. We work hard to provide a rigorous curriculum both online and off. We also ensure that all resources, including Student Services and Financial Assistance, are available to students enrolled in our online programs.

Completing Your Program

Enrollment is simple. We understand that everyone deserves a shot at post-secondary education. We don’t require our students to come in with a sky-high high school GPA or a long list of accomplishments under their belt. 

Instead, all we ask is that you come with a desire to learn and the drive to expand your own opportunities! Perseverance, curiosity, and dedication are all you need to start off on the right foot.

You’ll be asked to complete a variety of interesting and useful coursework over the course of a few semesters before receiving your associate’s degree. This will include assignments, reading materials, and the occasional test. As long as you commit to these assignments, you’ll receive your associate’s degree with ease!

Benefits of Associate’s Degrees

Now that you know how simple it is to get your associate’s degree, you may be wondering why you would want one. Let’s look at some of the ways that an associate’s degree can benefit you. 

Job Security

A recent study found that 9 out of 10 jobs were filled by degree-holding workers. In the years after the 2008-2009 recession, it was found that education levels played a large role in employment recovery rates.

For workers holding an associate’s degree or higher, employment rates continued to bounce back. For those holding a high school diploma, the employment rate actually continued to fall.

A lot of this has to do with competition. The younger generations are entering the workforce as older generations are staying in their positions longer. It may be impossible to compete with the experience older generations have already gotten, but many employers consider an associate’s degree and an acceptable substitute for work experience.

Higher Pay

Not only does an associate’s degree open the door to more job opportunities but it opens the door to higher-paying opportunities. 

In 2018, the Bureau of Labor examined median pay for workers based on their education levels. The difference between high school diploma holders and associate’s degree holders was an estimated $124 per week. This comes out to roughly $6,000 more per year, which can make a big difference if you’re trying to build your savings or pay off loans!

Plus, these wages represent the median pay rates for employees holding associate’s degrees. As we mentioned earlier, the fields we cover in our programs offer plenty of room for growth. Your degree will give you the opportunity to apply for a wider variety of entry-level positions and within a matter of years or even months, you’ll find room for advancement.

Start Your Associate’s Program Today

If you’re ready to experience the opportunities created by associate’s degrees, why wait another minute?

You can find the InterCoast application online and fill it out right away. We don’t expect you to jump through hoops to begin your enrollment process. Instead, provide us with some basic information about yourself, including your educational background and current employment status, and we’ll be in touch soon!

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