As demand continues to grow in the healthcare and social assistance industries, there has been a rapid growth in associate of arts programs, especially nursing programs.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is expected to account for 846,800 out of the 1 million new jobs requiring an associate degree. An additional 526,800 new jobs are expected to be added in the nursing field alone.
There are also many other career paths you can take upon graduation from an associate of arts program. If a two-year degree is part of your education plan, read on to learn more about associate of arts programs.
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What Is an Associate Degree?
An associate degree is a two-year academic program taken at the undergraduate level. This degree ensures students acquire basic academic and technical knowledge to prepare them for employment or further studies.
Associate degrees are different than bachelor’s degrees in the sense that they require less time to complete and are also cheaper. However, they also offer many career opportunities upon graduation. Graduates of an associate of arts program can find jobs in industries ranging from government to healthcare to engineering or tech.
If you have completed your high school diploma or GED, and you are now exploring your next options of attending a college or university, an associate degree may be the right choice for you.
What Is an Associate of Arts Degree?
A two-year associate of arts program focuses on humanities-based courses. This degree includes wide-ranging classes, including art, history, business, music, writing, and communication. As a general rule, the curriculum of an associate of arts program does not involve subjects like math or science.
Most associate of arts programs require 60 credit hours to complete. However, you can also complete the degree part-time in two to six years. Many online associate of arts programs have flexible timelines for students who work part-time or full-time.
An associate of arts is also not the only type of associate degree you can ear. Read on to learn more about the different types of associate degrees you can pursue.
Types of Associate Degrees
Generally, there are four types of associate degrees as follows:
- Associate of science (AS)
- Associate of arts (AA)
- Associate of applied science (AAS)
- Associate of applied business (AAB)
The major difference between these degrees is that the applied ones focus on providing technical skills for jobs. They also tend to focus on a particular career path.
On the other hand, the AA and AS degrees prepare students for continued education, for instance, toward a bachelor’s degree. Also, the degrees are divided between two major areas: arts and science.
Associate of Arts vs Associate of Science
The main difference between associate of arts and associate of science degrees is that the latter is more focused on education in science, math, and technology subjects. The former, however, is more focused on art and humanities courses like liberal arts, music, history, and theatre.
Best Schools for Associate of Arts Programs
If you are planning to pursue an associate of arts, then you have come to the right place. Below we have listed some of the best schools where you can earn your associate of arts degree.
GateWay Community College in Phoenix, Arizona, offers an associate of arts through its Arts and Humanities Department. The program focuses on art, theater, philosophy, history, religion, and language.
In two years, students complete their coursework in subjects like drawing and composition,
introduction to cinema, acting, Renaissance through contemporary art, prehistoric through gothic art, ceramics, and sculpture. Students have access to an open studio and are encouraged to showcase their creative work each week.
Waldorf University, located in Forest City, Iowa offers most of its associate degrees online. There are 15 different degree programs to choose from, including business, communication, human resources, psychology, liberal arts, and healthcare management, among a dozen others. About 90 percent of Waldorf graduates are employed or continue their education within six months of their graduation.
Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia, has several online and on-campus associate degree programs. Some of the fields include film, visual communications, general business, financial technology, marketing, criminal justice, and political science. Students who graduate either find entry-level jobs or enroll in a bachelor’s degree program.
Raritan Valley Community College
Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg, New Jersey, offers an Associate of Arts in Communication. The program includes video production, journalism, and media communication. To add an experiential component to their studies, communication students are encouraged to participate in a co-op, internship, or service-learning projects.
Hawaii Tokai International College
The Hawaii Tokai International College offers an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts. Located in Kapolei, Hawaii, this liberal arts program allows students to study various fields, including social sciences, arts and humanities, languages, natural sciences, and mathematics.
Associate of Arts: Job and Salary Prospects
With an associate of arts, your employment opportunities are immense. As an AA degree holder, you can become a human resource assistant/manager, teacher, account executive, administrative assistant, customer service representative, and more. Let’s take a look at some possible careers with an associate of arts in more detail below.
Operation assistants work with the operation managers to ensure the smooth completion of administrative tasks. They also corroborate optimal results in sales performance. An operation assistant usually provides customer support, makes phone calls, identifies operational risks, and completes paperwork.
Glassdoor lists the national average salary for an operations assistant at $59,525, with a low of $34,000 and a high of $96,000 per year.
Paralegals work for law firms and government corporations. They assist lawyers with drafting, researching, and investigating legal documents and pleadings. A paralegal also manages files and documents for cases, including subpoenas, complaints, and contracts.
According to PayScale, the average paralegal salary is $48,648 per year. Glassdoor lists the average paralegal salary at $64,693 per year with a low of $49,000 and a high of $85,000. Paralegals who work in government sectors tend to earn more.
Human Resources Assistant
Human resources assistants ensure the organization they work for complies with local, state, and federal laws. An HR assistant carries out administrative and clerical duties such as answering telephone calls, payroll processing, and scheduling appointments.
Other tasks include assisting management with new hires, answering and facilitating employee problems and requests while maintaining confidentiality, and scheduling drug test appointments.
According to PayScale, the average hourly rate for a human resources assistant is $16.73. Glassdoor lists the national average salary for a human resources assistant at $38,937 with a low of $29,000 and a high of $51,000 per year.
In today’s digital world, the demand for graphic design is higher than ever. A graphic designer works for advertising and marketing firms and creates visual designs, reviews drafts of digital and print products, and helps with marketing campaigns for products. Graphic designers create and illustrate web pages, brochures, and logos. They also prepare annual reports and other publishing materials.
Glassdoor lists the national average salary for a graphic designer at $45,677 with a low of $33,000 and a high of $66,000 per year.
Account executives manage everyday affairs, from creating sales strategies to supporting existing clients and finding new ones. They also ensure customer satisfaction, and link existing clients to different agencies like advertising or financial services. In addition, they also create detailed business plans and follow goals and sales quotas required in each fiscal year.
Glassdoor lists the national average salary for an account executive at $60,260 with a low of $39,000 and a high of $95,000 per year.
FAQ: Should I Get an Associate of Arts?
Before enrolling in an associate of arts program, ask yourself the following questions.
Do I have enough money to enroll in an AA degree?
Pursuing an AA degree doesn’t cost as much as a bachelor’s degree and it also offers good career prospects. In fact, many students complete their associate degree and get hired at some of the best companies immediately.
Do I enjoy arts-related subjects?
If you are an avid writer, performer, singer, or history lover, then you will enjoy studying this field. However, if you are more inclined to science-related subjects, then you should go for an associate of science program instead.
Will I get a good job after I graduate?
As mentioned in this article, the job prospects for AA graduates are massive. As soon as you graduate, you can get paid around $40,000 to $50,000 per year. And once you work hard and make your way up, then the sky’s the limit.
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