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Associate Degree (AD) VS Bachelor’s Degree – Get Enrolled in 2024

How Long Does an Associate Degree Take to Complete? A Complete Guide on Associate Degrees

If you feel like spending 4 years earning a Bachelor’s degree is way too much of a commitment, or are unsure of which degree program to do your Bachelor’s in, then we suggest that you go for an associate degree (AD).

Don’t know what an Associate degree is? Fret not! Because in this article, all we are going to do is discuss the basics of an Associate degree, its benefits, and how long it takes to complete. So, if you want to know all this and more, stay tuned to this article till the last.

With that said, let’s not waste any more time and jump directly to the main topic.

What is an Associate degree (AD)?

An Associate degree (AD) program is the undergraduate level of qualification which lies in between a high school diploma or matriculation and a 4 years bachelor’s degree. The aim of an Associate degree is to impart basic technical and intellectual knowledge to the students which will help them in seeking employment or continuing their studies in their respective fields.

Associate degrees (AD) have been introduced in a number of countries like the USA, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, and Sweden. If you are a UK citizen, you may also find an associate degree program but by the name of a Foundation Degree.

While the above-mentioned countries both offer and revere an Associate degree, there are many other countries of the world that do provide Associate degrees but do not consider them worthwhile. Examples of such countries include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Italy, the Philippines, etc.

How long does an Associate degree (AD) take to complete?

An associate degree (AD) generally takes 2 years to complete. However, if a student is studying part-time, the same program may take around 3 years to complete.

Types of Associate degrees (ADs):-

Just like the Bachelor’s degrees which come in two types, Bachelor’s of Arts (BA) and Bachelor’s of Science (BSc.), Associate degrees can be classified into four distinct types. These are:

  • Associate of Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Science (AS)
  • Associate of Applied Arts (AAA)
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS).

What is the difference between simple Associate degrees and applied Associate degrees, you ask? While the ‘applied’ Associate degrees are suitable for people who wish to pursue their careers after earning their associate degrees because these degree programs focus on practical and vocational skills and technical education; the simple Associate degrees focus on the more intellectual aspects of degree programs and are suitable for students who wish to apply to a Bachelor’s degree program after earning their Associate degrees.

Reasons to Choose an Associate degree program:

Associate degree programs have a major significance over Bachelor’s degree programs. Here are some of the benefits of Associate degree programs that will help you in deciding whether to go for it or not:

  • Less time consumption:-

The foremost benefit of opting for an Associate degree (AD) is that Associate degrees take a lesser time to complete as compared to Bachelor’s degrees. So, if you are one of those people who want to earn a valuable degree without having to commit 4 years of their lives to it, an Associate degree is the perfect degree for you.

  • To learn valuable skills:

As mentioned above, Associate degrees (AD) focus on the practical aspects of degree programs. So, if you go for one, you are sure to waste no time in learning unimportant stuff related to your desired degree program.

  • A wide range of options:

A major advantage that Associate degree (AD) programs hold over Bachelor’s degrees is that there are a number of programs offered in Associate degrees than in Bachelor’s degrees. So, there are a number f career options available for students who opt for Associate degrees.

  • To develop an understanding of a course program:

If a student wants to develop their base of the degree program they wish to do a Bachelor’s in, then earning an Associate degree is a right tool to help them do so. 

  • Select the right path for the future:

If a student can’t seem to make up their mind as to which course program to apply to, to earn their Bachelor’s degree in, they can opt for an Associate degree to explore their field of interest.

  • Cost-effective:

Associate Degree cost much less than Bachelor’s degree programs. And the cost can be reduced even further by opting for virtual Associate Degree courses.

What are the Career Prospects after Earning an Associate Degree?

This is a common myth that students who hold an Associate’s Degree (AD) are mostly unemployed. Even though the case is valid for developing and underdeveloped countries, the more developed nations of the world understand the importance of skills over conventional learning. In fact, a survey conducted in 2017 showed the unemployment rate of people who hold an Associate Degree is merely 3.4%.

There are a number of high-paying career opportunities after getting an Associate Degree. Some of these include:

  • Graphics Designing
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Web developing
  • MRI technologists
  • Air conditioning technology
  • Solar technology
  • Dental hygienists
  • Nursing
  • Nuclear medicine technology 
  • Nuclear technicians
  • Air traffic controlling
  • Jewelry designing
  • Cosmetology.

Which is better– an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree?

When it comes to choosing between opting for either a Bachelor’s degree or an Associate’s Degree, we personally suggest that you go for an Associate’s Degree if you want to pursue a job after gaining professional skills, rather than spending your time on a 4-year degree program. Also, if you already have a side hustle going on and want to earn a degree just for the face of it, an Associate Degree is the way to go.

But if you plan to go for higher education such as a Master’s or Ph.D. Degree, a Bachelor’s degree is the one that will increase your chances of admission to your desired institutes.

If you are still confused as to which degree to go for, do a quick self-analysis and discover where you want to be in life. It will make it easy for you to decide whether an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree will complement your future goals.

Dr. Youasf Saeed

I am Dr. Engr. Yousaf Saeed, the creator of this Fully Funded Scholarship platform. My academic journey has been marked by securing three significant international scholarships for my undergraduate and postgraduate studies, including the esteemed Australia Awards, CSC, and HKPFS. I am an affiliate of IChemE and have lent my engineering skills to renowned companies such as Aramco and BYCO oil refinery. My scholarly work is published in leading SCI journals, a fact that underscores my academic excellence, visible on my Researchgate Profile. Motivated by my deep-seated passion for education and dedication to fostering emerging scholars, i established this website to serve as a guiding light for international students aspiring to pursue their education abroad. As a distinguished educationist and mentor, i am specialized in steering students through the complexities of research and the journey towards achieving patents. Through this platform, I offer invaluable insights and mentorship, shining a light on pathways to fully funded scholarships, exchange programs, internships, and rewarding research career trajectories. My mission is to help students navigate the vast educational opportunities abroad, ensuring they grasp the chances that will shape their promising futures. Whereas you can also choose to follow me on my social media: - Facebook - Linkedin - Youtube