associate degree is a college degree awarded after the completion of
about 20 courses. It either prepares students for a
graduation or allows them to transfer into a bachelor's degree program.
Associate degrees are available from public community colleges, private
2-year colleges, for-profit technical institutes, and many 4-year
colleges and universities. An associate degree program can prepare you for
many exciting careers in science, technology, engineering, and
healthcare. Compared with those whose highest level of educational
attainment was a high school diploma, those with an associate degree
earn much more -- especially over the course of a career.
the most recent U.S. Department of Education data,
between academic years 2003–04 and 2013–14, the total number of
postsecondary degrees awarded increased at all degree levels:
associate's degrees by 51 percent (from 665,000 to 1.0 million),
bachelor's degrees by 34 percent (from 1.4 million to 1.9 million),
master's degrees by 34 percent (from 564,000 to 754,000), and doctor's
degrees by 41 percent (from 126,000 to 178,000).
government-approved organizations evaluate and
accredit schools. The
approval of these organizations signals that a school meets basic
academic and financial standards. There are seven accrediting
organizations approved by the U.S. Department of Education, one for each
of seven regions.
Beyond broad school
accreditation, specific programs are also accredited.
Professional and industry associations or organizations -- such as ABET
for engineering, and the American
College of Veterinary Medicine for veterinary technicians -- also accredit
programs that train professionals for specific occupations.
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To be career-ready in 2 years, students need to choose an
occupational major early in their school career. And there are
plenty of options. Explore a wide range of careers that start with an associate degree.