The Advantages of Having an Associate's Degree

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For those who aren't able to attend a four-year university, an associate's degree can be a very practical and highly valuable alternative. Typically taking only two years to complete, an associate's degree can provide more opportunities and higher pay in the job market.

Cost

  • An associate's degree costs considerably less than a four-year degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of an associate's degree is rising more slowly than the cost of a bachelor's degree.

Flexibility

  • An associate's degree can be earned at a two-year college, community college, or even some four-year universities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that at least 9 percent of associate's degrees are earned online.

Time

  • While a bachelor's degree typically takes four years to complete, an associate's usually only takes two years. This allows graduates to get into the job market and start earning sooner.

Earnings

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with an associate's degree earn around $6,500 more per year than those with only a high school diploma.

Options

  • Associate's degrees can stand on their own or be a stepping stone to a second degree. Associate's "Transfer Degrees" are designed specifically to have all the credits transfer towards a bachelor's degree at a four-year university.

Career Opportunities

  • An associate's degree can often lead to more opportunities to advance in a career field. Also, the unemployment rate for those with an associate's is lower than for those with only a high school education.

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