Advantages of an Associate Degree

If you’re looking for a fast, flexible way to broaden your education in a particular field and open the door to more job opportunities, you might consider earning an associate degree. Whatever your interests or the type of career you wish to pursue, an associate degree is an excellent segue into achieving your long-term goals.

What are the benefits of getting an associate degree? Read on to find out!

Why Get an Associate Degree?

If the question “should I get an associate degree?” has been on your mind recently, know that there are several advantages to doing so. Below are a few pros to consider if you’re on the fence about pursuing an associate degree.

1. Flexible

An associate degree program offers flexibility in multiple ways. Trying to juggle a college education while maintaining a job or family can be difficult, but earning your associate degree at a community college offers you the flexibility of attending part-time or full-time, and offers courses in the evenings and online, without sacrificing the quality of your education.

With an associate degree program, you can easily continue working part-time or full-time depending on your needs.

You can pursue an associate degree at a two-year college, a career college or even a four-year university. There are also multiple types of associate degrees you can pursue depending on your interests, such as:

  • Associate of Science (A.S.): This degree pertains to those interested in science-related fields like math, engineering and medicine.
  • Associate of Arts (A.A.): This degree is a great choice for those interested in an art-related career such as music, communication, history, art and literature.

Additionally, many associate degrees can be earned online, which can be an appealing option for working adults and those with demanding schedules. The flexibility to work while pursuing a college degree also means you can pay off college expenses as you go, which is far more ideal than leaving these costs for when you graduate.

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2. Cost-Effective

Because it takes less time to complete an associate degree than a bachelor’s degree, it typically costs less. Completing your associate degree at a community college can save you thousands of dollars compared to the first two years of a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution.

Since an associate degree is a more short-term commitment, you’ll likely find it easier to pay off student debt if you begin earning a salary earlier. Many people find this cost-effectiveness especially useful when trying to determine the right type of academic program and how they’d like to further their education.

3. Less Time-Consuming

Another benefit of an associate degree is that it’s less of a time commitment compared to other degree programs, like bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In most cases, it only takes two years to complete an associate degree.

In comparison, most bachelor’s degrees require four years — or six or more years with the addition of a master’s degree. Getting an associate degree means you don’t have to set aside several years for higher education. Rather, you can start making plans to build your career within a couple of years.

If you want to earn a college degree and jumpstart your career as soon as possible, an associate degree may be the right course of action for you. The less time it takes to complete your degree, the sooner you can enter the workforce and start earning.

4. Job Opportunities

When you have an associate degree compared to only having a high school diploma, you can expect to find many career opportunities. Your continued education shows prospective employers that you have the drive, discipline and motivation necessary to earn a college degree.

Many associate degree programs will prepare you for the workforce instead of focusing exclusively on academic courses. You’ll gain valuable real-world experience that can benefit you in various types of jobs while developing specific skills relevant to your field of study.

Here are some different types of associate degrees and the potential career opportunities they provide:

  • Business Administration: Earning an associate degree in Business Administration is an excellent choice if you’re looking to pursue a career in accounting, human resources, financial analysis, event planning or market research.
  • Computer Information Systems: Getting an associate degree in Computer Information Systems prepares you for an IT support specialist career. You’ll learn valuable skills like website design and administration, network resource management and data evaluation while working with the most current networks, applications and web servers.
  • Criminal Justice: An associate degree in Criminal Justice is a great stepping stone to becoming a judge, law enforcement officer or social worker.
  • Media Arts and Technology: With an associate degree in Media Arts and Technology, you can pursue various career paths such as an audio engineer, video and film producer, photographer, TV broadcast producer or sound technician.
  • Natural Resources: An associate degree in Natural Resources opens you up to entry-level positions in landscaping, agriculture, forestry and more. Many graduates go on to become environmental educators, wildlife conservation officers and land-use planners.

5. More Education Options

If you wish to further your education, an associate degree can serve as a stepping stone to more advanced degrees. For instance, you’ll likely be able to transfer some of the credits earned from your associate degree program to a bachelor’s degree program.

While you’ll still find various entry-level job options with an associate degree, transferring credits to a bachelor’s program provides additional educational experience under your belt, thus strengthening your resume. This qualifies you for a wider range of job opportunities, putting you at a more competitive advantage from a potential employer’s perspective.

6. Higher Earning Potential

You may be wondering — does having an associate degree help you earn more money? In addition to increasing your chances of getting employed, your salary is also likely to rise with post-secondary credentials on your resume.

On average, employees with associate degrees earn an additional $150 or more weekly than those who only have a high school diploma. This can add up to earning thousands more each year and over a lifetime, another benefit that makes earning an associate degree worth the time and effort.

Learn More About Our Associate Degree Programs at MWCC

So, does an associate degree matter in the long run? When you consider the above benefits, the answer is a resounding yes. If you’re looking to broaden your education and advance your career with an associate degree, we have a variety of programs to choose from at Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC).

Enrolling in one of our associate degree programs allows you to explore your academic passions without the hefty price tag of a four-year college. Whether you’re interested in a career in art, business, science, media or human services, we have a program for every student to thrive and excel.

Find your niche at MWCC and let us help you pave the way to a brighter future. Request more information about our associate degree programs today!