An Associate's Degree, sometimes called an AA Degree is the first post-secondary degree. It is awarded by some higher education institutions in the US, Canada and a few other countries. Associate's Degrees are awarded by a variety of institutions, including community and junior colleges, technical and vocational colleges, and certain colleges and universities. These institutions also grant bachelor's degrees.
How long does it take to complete it?
The typical completion time for an AA Degree is two years. Sometimes an AA Degree is awarded after completion of two years in completion of a Bachelor's Degree. AA Degrees enjoy of popularity due to the fact that many technical careers that are in high demand in industrialized countries. This includes the US or Canada are good matches to be awarded in a 2-year technical or applied, skill-based degree.
There are various types of associate's degrees including the Associate of Sciences (AS), the Associate of Applied Arts (AAA), the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) and the Associate of Arts (AA). The more generic one is the Associate of Arts (AA), and the denomination of the degree depends on the number of applied courses taken that oriented to specific skills and specific career paths.
In fact, the demand for technical professionals, together with the fact that an AA degree typically takes 60 credit hours, as opposed to 120 credit hours required to complete a Bachelor's degree makes the AA option a valid option for many students. In fact, the total enrollment in associate degrees program in the US alone is close to 10 million students, according information provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation.
Why are Associate's Degree a Popular Option?
Another reason why associate degrees are very population is that tuition costs tend to be lower than those for bachelor degrees. Indeed, the differences could be dramatic as the cost of tuition for bachelor's degrees could be up to three times more than that for associates degrees. There are other costs that tend to be lower for associate's degrees. In fact, those students who go for AA degrees more typically do it at local community colleges, sparing the room and board costs, as opposed to those who go for a bachelor's degree, for whom is more likely to attend institutions father away from home, and thus, increasing the overall cost.
Yet another reason why AA degrees are popular is because they have less stringent entry requirements. Indeed, this allow students with a less than stellar performance in high school and standardized scores to get started with post-secondary education. Also, all the application procedure is simpler for AA degrees, when compared with that for Bachelor's degrees, which adds another enticing element for students. Furthermore, for those students with an AA degree it is typically possible to "upgrade" and go for a bachelor's degree to a possibly better university. This can happen without much of a fuss, especially with good performance and good recommendation letters, provided that the institution that awards the bachelor's degree accepts the coursework taken at the institution where the AA degree was granted.
Therefore, an AA degree path is perfectly valid end in itself for those seeking some technical skills that are in high demand. This includes computer technicians, health technicians and legal assistants, among others. It can also serve as a platform for academic advancement into higher degrees. Those degrees can includes a Bachelor's Degree, from that point anything is possible.
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