What You Should Know About This Degree
If you’re not sure which associate degree program you want to pursue, it may help to consider the earning potential that is associated with each field. For example, some of the highest-earning associate-level occupations include air traffic controllers (median annual wage of $130,420), web developers ($77,200), and funeral home directors ($74,200).
Conversely, you should also consider avoiding the occupations with the lowest wages. These include dietetic technicians ($30,110) and human resources assistants ($43,250).
Another factor to consider is how many job openings are available for each occupation. You should have no problem finding a job as a preschool teacher (50,600 annual job openings projected over the next decade) or paralegal (37,600 annual job openings).
There are also associate degree-level occupations that are in rather low demand, such as nuclear technicians (500 annual job openings), embalmers (500 annual job openings), and broadcast technicians (3,400 annual job openings).
Once you’re ready to begin researching associate degree programs, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I eligible for this program? Most community college programs will only require you to have a high school diploma or GED to be eligible for admission.
- How long does it take to complete this degree? This will depend on several factors, such as your major and the number of courses you take per semester. Generally, full-time students can expect to complete an associate degree program in two years.
If you’re interested in a particular program, keep track of any application deadlines and materials that you’ll need to submit during the admissions process. This information can be found by reviewing the school’s website or consulting with a campus official.
You’ll also need to figure out how you will finance your degree. Scholarships, grants, federal loans, work-study programs, and other options may be available to help you pay for tuition and other education-related expenses.