An associate degree program is offered by a junior college or a community college. These degrees are awarded when you complete an academic course of study that is typically designed to last two years. An associate degree may also be awarded by a business college and sometimes even by universities and colleges that typically offer four-year degrees.
There are many abbreviations used in the context of associate degrees that are also used to refer to the specific courses. The following is a list of abbreviations you should know:
AA - Associate of Arts
ABS - Associate of Baccalaureate Studies
AFA - Associate of Fine Arts
AF - Associate of Forestry
AE - Associate of Engineering
ASPT-APT - Associate of Physical Therapy
AN - Associate Nursing
ADN - Associate Diploma Nursing
In the United States, an associate degree roughly equals the first two years of college work of a four-year academic course from a college or a university. At some schools of higher learning, the associate degree is designed to be a stepping stone towards getting a more advanced degree. There are also some programs in the US that are offer only an associate degree.
There are many benefits to advancing your educational level beyond that of high school. An associate degree opens the doors to jobs that are inaccessible without further training. People with an associate degree will make more money than someone who only has a high school diploma. An associate degree only requires two years and is much more affordable than a bachelor degree.
Since associate degrees are earned at junior or community colleges and these schools have a lower tuition fee, the overall expense incurred by a student is less, compared to other universities and four-year colleges. Students, therefore, often elect to attend a community college and then transfer to a university or four-year college. Even though the cost is less, the coursework is not compromised.
Community colleges also offer classes that are designed with part-time students in mind. Evening and Saturday classes, distance learning, and web-based courses are more frequently available through community colleges.
Costs of an associated degree course varies depending on various factors. Students should check with their local community college for the tuition fees. The students can refer to the community college catalog, which will have information about the tuition fee and any other necessary class supplies that may be required.
At many of the public community colleges in the US, an associate degree will cost you less than $8,000 in total. Tuition fees will amount to $5,000, but you may have to pay extra for your books.
There are many universities and colleges that offer associate degree programs in a range of disciplines. You can find many accredited universities that offer courses tailor-made to your requirements. Few of them include the University of Phoenix, Pratt Institute, and DeVry University.
Testing & Preparation
Students will find it easier to gain admission into a community college. Lower grade point averages (GPA) are usually more acceptable here as compared to a four-year college or any other major university. Some of the junior or community colleges do not require the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Test (ACT); instead, they have their own placement or online equivalency test. If you are an international applicant, then a few colleges may require your Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score.
The accredited schools that offer an associate degree usually have a provision for financial aid. The financial aid may be in the form of loans, grants, or scholarships. Loans have to be repaid, grants need not be repaid, and scholarships are given to deserving students who meet certain criteria like excellent grades, volunteerism, or any other as decided by the institution offering them. The Department of Education provides a number of grants to deserving students like the Federal Pell Grant program and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program. You may also opt for the Federal Work-Study which is a need-based part-time or hourly employment to help your higher secondary education expenses and the pay is regulated by the federal minimum wage law.