Accredited Online Associate Degree Programs
An associate degree is typically a two-year program, which includes introductory topics and foundational courses often covered in the first half of a bachelor’s degree program. Associate degrees are available in a wide variety of areas, including business, liberal arts, health care, and vocational or technical trades.
Depending on the field you are interested in and the desired education in that area, graduates of an accredited associate program may still find a number of promising job opportunities, while spending less than they would have in a traditional four-year degree program. Working adults and non-traditional students can also find a number of flexible online associate degree programs that allow them to complete their course work whenever and wherever their schedule permits.
Seize Your Career
Associate degrees are available in many areas, such as business administration, accounting, criminal justice, paralegal studies, medical coding, and environmental science to name a few. Training programs for pharmacy technicians, radiologic technologists, veterinary technicians, and other technical trades often award associate degrees as well. In some fields, it can be beneficial to build an educational foundation through an associate degree program, but then move more quickly (when compared with a bachelor’s degree) into the field to gain the real-world experience they will need to become skilled at their trades.
Students interested in earning an associate degree have a variety of options, from public community colleges to private institutions. Also, working adults or students who do not live close to a college campus have a number of choices for completing some or all of their course work online. This provides them the opportunity to complete their work at their own pace from wherever they can access the Internet.
Associate degree students will typically complete several general education courses in areas such as writing, psychology, and college algebra, followed by courses in their chosen area of study. Please note, however, the types of foundational courses required may depend on the school and specific program.
As with all degree programs, students interested in earning an associate degree should verify that their school is properly accredited by a nationally recognized agency. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation both offer databases which are very useful when researching potential schools. In addition, if you are interested in a vocational or technical program, it is also advisable to research whether or not certification is necessary to be considered for the best jobs in the field. If so, you should choose a program that has received the required or recommended specialized accreditation as outlined by the certification agency.
To enroll in an associate degree program, all that is usually needed is a high school diploma or equivalent. Some, but not all, programs may also require entrance exam scores. For specific requirements, it is best to contact the school you are interested in directly.
Continue Your Personal Growth
If you are just looking to pursue further education for your own personal growth, an associate degree program can be a much more manageable and affordable option when compared to a bachelor’s degree. In addition, the large number of online options makes it an ideal choice for the casual learner who may not have the time to take away from work or family at regular class times. The flexibility to complete course work whenever and wherever they are able to is often a crucial deciding factor in being able to pursue further schooling.
Programs are available in areas such as photography, English, business, psychology, history, and music. While those who are simply interested in enriching their lives through additional learning opportunities do not need to worry as much about certification requirements and specialized accreditations, it is still a good idea to research a school thoroughly before enrolling.
Anytime you pay for a service, education included, you want to make sure you are getting the best value. Therefore, ensuring a school is accredited by a nationally recognized agency is still a good idea. In addition, if you have any concerns about the legitimacy of a school, your state attorney general’s office or the Better Business Bureau can usually tell you if any legal complaints have been filed against an institution.