What Can You Do With an Associate Degree?

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Discover the Benefits of Associate Degrees

Today there is a general consensus that to obtain a good job and find security in a long career, the question isn’t whether to go to college, but where to go to college. But too often people assume that means they need to pursue a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree.

Hold on! An associate degree, which can be earned in two years or less, is a solid degree and a pathway to many well-paying jobs and lucrative careers. It can also be a less expensive step toward a bachelor’s or an advanced degree. Let’s take a moment to examine whether an associate degree would be a good choice for you in starting a post-high school educational journey.

Advantages of an Associate Degree

There are three main reasons to strongly consider an associate degree:

  • Employers will likely hire applicants with an associate degree over applicants with only a high school diploma.
  • An associate degree can be earned in two years, sometimes less if you have earned college credits while still in high school. This allows you to get started earning money sooner and saves the costs of two additional years of college.
  • Tuition costs are lower at two-year colleges that offer associate degrees.

There are other advantages as well, such as the possibility of transferring credits and continuing your education.

Career Pathways

Whether an associate degree is right for you depends on your personal career and educational aspirations. If your goal is a professional-level degree, such as a doctor, lawyer or clinical psychologist, you need to plan on earning an advanced degree. But in many cases, an associate degree will provide you with the skills you need to get started in a good career and even compete with those who have bachelor’s degrees. Let’s take a look at some possibilities:

Skilled trades

Demand is extremely high for people in skilled trades – jobs that usually involve working with your hands, but requiring specialized knowledge and skills. This includes many manufacturing careers, such as welding, industrial maintenance, mechanics, automation, machining, construction, and much more. People who install and maintain home heating, cooling and ventilation systems or maintain electrical and natural gas lines are involved in skilled trades. These are well-paying jobs that provide a lifetime of opportunities for those who know how to do them.


Many jobs in the healthcare field require only an associate degree. Occupational and physical therapy assistants, medical assistants, dental hygienists, respiratory therapists, radiology technicians, and surgical technologists often have associate degrees. Have an interest in being a registered nurse? You can become an RN with an associate degree and if your employer requires it, take classes to complete you bachelor’s degree.

Information Technology

People who repair your home computer when it’s on the fritz, or come to the assistance of office workers having technology problems often have associate degrees. The people who set up and maintain office computer networks are often hired upon completing an associate degree. So are software developers, computer programmers and troubleshooters working at the help desk. There are many opportunities available!


Businesses of all sizes hire people with associate degrees for entry level positions in management, accounting, marketing and other roles. Once you have a foot in the door, your performance will mean more than your degree in how far and how fast you advance.


Earning an associate degree in an agriculture-related field can help you learn how to run your own farm or agri-businesses. But most people with associate degrees in agriculture are taking jobs with farms, cooperatives, implement dealers, greenhouses, horticulture services, agriculture consulting firms and other agriculture-related companies. There are many opportunities available and demand is high!


For positions as classroom teachers in K-12 school systems, a bachelor’s degree is generally required, but there are opportunities in education for people with associate degrees. Teacher assistants, some library workers and other support staff may have associate degrees. An associate degree in early childhood education opens opportunities for positions teaching young children in daycare settings.

As you can see, earning an associate degree is an excellent option for those looking to save on tuition, earn a quality education, and get out into the workforce quickly. We encourage you to explore our programs and find the perfect fit for you!

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