How An Associates Degree Can Help Your Career

An online degree program can provide multiple benefits to graduates, from job prospects to salary, as well as the chance to earn a solid education. But for some students, earning a bachelor’s degree can be a lengthier process than they’d prefer, especially once they factor in time needed to maintain a full-time job. In cases like these, an associates degree is a great solution. An associates degree can be obtained after two years of schooling, compared with the four required to receive a bachelor’s degree. Although an associates degree is often a stepping stone on the road to getting a bachelor’s degree, it’s a valid diploma in its own right and still a helpful tool for marketing your education to potential employers.

There are several advantages to choosing an associates degree. First, an associates degree guarantees you a better-paying job than if your education stopped at high school equivalency. For that reason, it’s a good idea to consider an associates degree if you aren’t sure about the commitments required for a bachelor’s degree. According to a 2001 study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a person with an associates degree earned an average of $128 a week more than someone whose education topped out with a high school diploma. Additionally, the study found that unemployment rates tended to be lower for people with associates degrees than for people with just high school equivalency.

There’s also the issue of cost to consider when weighing an associates degree, which typically takes two years when in school full-time, against a bachelor’s degree, which takes four years to acquire for full-time students. By halving the time required to obtain the degree, you’re able to save potentially thousands of dollars and still wind up with a valuable education that will get you a good job. However, an associates degree program isn’t just cheaper because it’s a shorter duration than a bachelor’s degree program; many online institutions charge less for classes put toward an associates degree. For instance, one of the Texas campuses of Phoenix University charges a tuition of $345 per credit for an associates degree but $530 per credit for a bachelor’s degree. That means that an associates degree is less than half the cost of a bachelor’s.

Finally, it’s worth considering that the shorter time commitment of an associates degree will allow you to enter the credentialed workforce twice as soon as students just beginning their bachelor’s degree studies. Even if you’re already employed full-time or part-time, an associates degree can lead you to a better job, and sooner than you’d think.