What Can You Do with an Associate Degree?

Earning an associate degree can be a great way to not only launch your education journey, but it can also be a useful step in your career. Whether you’re hoping to pursue an entry-level position in your field or are earning your associate degree as a steppingstone to your bachelor’s, it can be an excellent way to get on the path toward your goals.

If you're asking, "what can I do with an associate degree?" then you've come to the right place. To help you understand what you can do with an associate degree, we'll explore what an associate degree is, discuss whether places typically hire people with an associate degree and take a look at some areas of study you might earn an associate degree in throughout the following sections: 

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What is an Associate Degree?

An associate degree is a postsecondary degree that typically sits between an undergraduate certificate and a bachelor's degree in terms of academic level. Many associate degree programs are typically two-year degree programs, though the actual time it takes you to complete one may depend on a variety of factors.

Associate degrees sometimes serve as a starting point for an undergraduate education. In some cases, the credits you earn as part of an associate degree program may count toward a bachelor's degree, allowing you to earn a credential and put it to use before continuing your education.

Will Places Hire People with an Associate Degree?

There are many employers who hire people with associate degrees. However, keep in mind that while having an associate degree does not guarantee employment, degree-level may play a part or be one of many factors in a company’s hiring process. Ultimately, whether an employer will hire you with an associate degree depends on the company and the individual job description, so make sure that you fully understand the minimum requirements for any position you are aspiring toward.

Still, employment data shows that earning an associate degree may come with some advantages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who hold an associate degree typically experience lower rates of unemployment than those with only a high school diploma. They also indicate that those with an associate degree typically earn more on average than those with lower education levels.

What Can You Study While Earning an Associate Degree?

At DeVry, we offer a variety of associate degree programs in several industries, including:

  • Engineering technology: Our Associate Degree in Engineering Technology program gives you the opportunity to build foundational knowledge in the testing, measurement and implementation of secured digital systems and devices through hands-on learning experiences.

  • Information technology and networking: An Associate Degree in Information Technology and Networking can be an excellent way for tech enthusiasts to build their understanding of IT. During this program you'll have the opportunity to learn about Internet of Things (IoT) technology, operating systems, programming, hardware, connectivity, security and more.

  • Network systems administration: Our Associate Degree in Network Systems Administration can help you develop useful skills for a role within a company’s IT department. Some skills covered in this program include learning how to install and configure routers and switches, troubleshooting problems and monitoring network performance.

  • Business: An Associate Degree in Business could be the right choice for you if you're looking to work toward a career in the corporate world. This degree program provides you with opportunities to learn about foundational business concepts such as accounting, data analysis, marketing and human resources management.

  • Health information technology: Are you interested in working to support healthcare professionals? If so, an Associate Degree in Health Information Technology may be right for you. This program can help build skills related to coding and chart management software, health data content and structure, health services, information systems, insurance reimbursement procedures and medical coding.

How is an Associate Degree Different from a Bachelor's Degree?

An associate degree differs from a bachelor's degree in a few ways. The first is an associate degree typically requires fewer credits to earn than a bachelor's degree program, which can contribute to the length of time it takes to earn the degree. In many cases, an associate degree can be earned in two years or less, while many bachelor's degrees are designed to take around four years to complete. These timelines can change, however, depending on the number of qualifying transfer credits you bring with you and the intensity of your course load.

Aside from the time it takes to complete, these degrees also represent different milestones in your education journey. An associate degree can be earned as a standalone credential or be earned on the way toward a bachelor's. However, an associate degree usually doesn’t represent the completion of your undergraduate education in the same way a bachelor’s does. For many, a bachelor’s concludes undergraduate education, but it can also set the stage to pursue graduate-level degree programs such as a master's or doctorate.

Most importantly, perhaps, is that an associate degree often prepares students for entry-level roles, teaching the core skills you need to pursue specific jobs. Bachelor’s degrees tend to help students take their skills to the next level, by layering on courses in areas like management, leadership and niche categories within your chosen field.

Can You Earn an Associate Degree Online?

Yes! Earning your associate degree online can be a great way to maintain commitments such as a full-time job or family care while furthering your education. At DeVry, our online associate degree programs contain all the same information as our in-person programs and take the same amount of time to complete, but allow you the flexibility to study on your schedule. 

Start Your College Journey with an Associate Degree Program at DeVry

Now that you've explored what you can do with an associate degree, it's time to find the right program for you. Our helpful Admissions Representatives can answer your questions and help you get on the path toward earning your degree. Get in touch today!

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