Associate Degrees: What are the differences between A.A., A.S., and A.A.S. degrees?

associates degrees

You need to earn an associated degree… But, what are the differences between A.A., A.S., and A.A.S degrees? If you are beginning your college journey, you will need to start earning your associate degree; however, which one will fit your needs the best? Perhaps the first consideration should be your end goal, such as your desired career.  

There are three main types of associate degrees to consider, all of which should take you about two years (or less) to complete. Let’s explore each one. 

The Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree program covers a wide array of liberal art topics, such as English, Sciences, Sociology, Humanities, Visual Arts, and the like. With this skill set, your credits may be able to be transferred into a bachelor’s degree program, if so desired. 

On the other hand, some A.A. programs will prepare you for immediate employment. There are many trade-type careers available to the owner of an Associate of Arts degree.

The Associate of Science (A.S.) degree program includes coursework designed to prepare you for employment immediately after graduation; however, additional skills learned by earning your bachelor’s degree may be recommended. Typically, you can easily transfer your credits.

With an A.S. program, you may be asked to choose a concentration. When your general requirement courses are finished, you can complete your electives, often focused on science-related fields, such as biology, engineering, computer science, and many more. 

The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program is often considered a terminal degree; therefore, transferring credits may not be applicable, depending on the school. The A.A.S. degree will prepare graduates for real-life work options immediately after completion and is often awarded upon completion of a vocational program. In this setting, the general education requirements are very flexible.

If you think that earning a bachelor’s degree is in your future, don’t consider the A.A.S. program. You may need to spend extra time taking qualifying classes first if you decide to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program later.

It is crucial to find out the particulars of your degree program before signing on, therefore, asking about future credit transfers, accreditation, and the specific coursework needed for your chosen desired field to maximize your educational needs!

Are you ready to begin your college career? Take a look at this: The Top 20 Most Valuable Associate Degrees Online

Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor