This undergraduate academic degree is usually awarded after a two-year course of study (about 60 credits), most often at community colleges, junior colleges, technical colleges, and full-fledged colleges and universities that offer such programs. The degree is the equivalent to the first two years of a four-year college degree.
There are two kinds of associate degrees, including transfer degrees and vocational or professional degrees.. Transfer degrees enable students to complete the foundational parts of a chosen bachelor's degree at a two-year college before transferring to a full bachelor's degree program at the four-year college of choice.
Some students choose this strategy because it can be less expensive, more convenient, or more flexible, enabling them to remain at home and attend the local junior college while saving money or deciding on a major before heading for a larger university.
There are two types of transfer degrees: associate of arts (AA) and associate of science (AS). An associate of arts tends to focus more on the arts, humanities, and social sciences, while an associate of science leans toward the natural sciences, mathematics, and technology.
Vocational or professional associate degrees, on the other hand, prepare students for careers that don't typically require bachelor's degrees and the credits earned are not usually transferrable to a bachelor's program later. Such programs include criminal justice, paralegal studies, medical assisting, HVAC repair, massage therapy, and many others.
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