Many students do not want to commit to four or five years of schooling. For them, an associate’s degree is a great choice. Associate’s degrees are available at community colleges, online schools, technical schools, and career colleges.
An associate’s degree comes in two different iterations: general or career-focused. A general associate’s degree is a stand-alone degree, and generally used by students who are planning to transfer to a four-year institution. A career related associate’s degree trains students for a specific career field such as nursing, computer science, or accounting.
The prerequisite for an associate’s degree is a high school diploma, so it is a low-barrier of entry degree. This makes them a great option for students who may have not performed well in high school or standardized tests.
Students who want to pursue an associate’s degree should consider the following associate degree paths:
Associate of Applied Science Forensic Science
This is a fairly new degree. Graduates will not be full-fledged forensic scientists; rather, they will be eligible for forensic science technician positions. Forensic science technicians assist forensic scientists in analyzing crime scene evidence.
The degree is rather rigorous with a lot of math and science. Sample courses include chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, statistics, and calculus. The average forensic science technician earns over $50,000 a year.
Associate of Applied Science Paralegal
The majority of paralegals work for private law firms. Their main duties include legal research, client interaction, case management, case strategy, office management, and legal writing. They do much of the same duties as attorneys, but are not allowed to bill for their services or give out legal advice.
Associate of Applied Science Accounting
Graduates of these programs become accounting assistants, accounting technicians or bookkeepers. They keep track of all financial transactions including purchases, sales, income and payments. The average accounting technician earns $33,000 a year.
Teaching assistants work directly with teachers in the classroom. They are also referred to as paraprofessionals. They typically do not work with the entire class, but work with small groups or individuals. They work with kids on single subjects such as reading, math, science, etc. Most teaching assistants are employed by public schools. They earn an average salary of $23,000 a year.
Associate of Applied Science Nursing
This degree leads to a career as a registered nurse. It should be noted that registered nursing degrees are two years in length, but often have a year’s worth of prerequisite courses to complete. Nursing programs are academically rigorous and require several hours of outside study time. Students also spend several hundred hours in the field observing and performing nursing duties.