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Chemistry Associate Degrees: Best Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Kyo Zapanta - March 02, 2022


Do you enjoy science and working in a lab, but your day job prevents you from getting a bachelor’s degree? Then consider chemistry associate degrees . In just two years, you can start your career in Chemistry. These types of degrees allow you to earn program credits that will be useful throughout your career.

You don’t need to worry about finding work after completing your chemistry associate degree requirements. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a chemical technician with an associate degree in chemistry may earn $49,820 on average per year . Read on to learn more about the best colleges for chemistry.

What Is Chemistry?

Chemistry is a field that focuses on analyzing and understanding the behavior and properties of matter. It is the science that studies the composition, structure, properties, behavior, and changes in substances as they react with other substances.

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What Is a Chemistry Associate Degree?

An associate degree in chemistry could be in arts or science and is completed in two years. The course requirements are a total of at least 60 credit hours. You’ll gather foundational knowledge and credits that can count towards advanced coursework for a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry at a four-year institution. Later, you can proceed with a graduate degree.

An associate degree in chemistry can lead to any career in science. Three entry-level jobs you can pursue with an associate degree in chemistry are medical lab technicians, chemistry research associates, and laboratory assistants.

Chemistry Associate Degree Requirements

Admission to any associate degree program requires a high school diploma and school transcripts. Degree completion means you have met the curriculum requirements, including 60-71 credit units of coursework comprising core courses and elective courses.

Successful completion of the program requirements arms you with scientific inquiry, ethical behavior, and critical thinking skills on top of credit units. With this, you are all set to transfer to professional degrees like organic chemistry, chemical engineering, material science, and others.

How Much Does a Chemistry Associate Degree Cost?

In the school year 2019 to 2020, full-time students taking associate degrees paid an average of $3,621 in tuition and fees , according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Spending could reach $11,381 with board and room fees. Fees for laboratory classes would be added costs and may vary across institutions.

Chemistry Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Chemistry Degree

If you’re planning to continue with a bachelor’s degree, there are associate degree scholarships you can apply for. Otherwise, consider applying for a federal or private student loan, just like 76.9 percent of students from 2018 to 2019 did. The average financial aid awarded was $4,707, according to the NCES.

Best Chemistry Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
El Paso Community College AS in Chemistry Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Glendale Community College AS in Physical Science with emphasis on Chemistry Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
Green River College AS-T in Chemistry Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Los Angeles City College AS in Chemistry Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
MUST University AS in Chemistry Higher Learning Commission
Oxnard College AS in Chemistry Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Phoenix College AS with Emphasis in Chemistry Higher Learning Commission
Raritan Valley Community College AS in Science and Mathematics with emphasis on Chemistry Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Rose State College AS in Chemistry Higher Learning Commission
Truckee Meadows Community College AS with Emphasis in Chemistry Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Best Colleges for Chemistry: Top Chemistry Associate Degree Programs

Is your goal to get a job after graduation or transfer to a four-year college? Whatever it is, our list will help you decide where to start. We’ve done the school search for you. Below are the best colleges for chemistry majors at an associate degree level.

AS in Chemistry | El Paso Community College

El Paso Community College provides high-quality education to its students, with affordable programs that lead the way to various career pathways. Its AS degree in chemistry will set the groundwork for a bachelor’s degree while building critical thinking skills as you apply math and chemistry concepts in the laboratory.

AS in Physical Science with Emphasis on Chemistry | Glendale Community College

Glendale Community College has an ethnically diverse student body, with no single group dominating. It offers an AS in Physical Science with an emphasis in chemistry to strengthen your background in this area for when you move up to a bachelor’s degree.

AS-T in Chemistry | Green River College

Green River College adopts comprehensive education and support services, reflecting its diverse communities. The AS Transfer Track in Chemistry is a program for students to be ready for a major. You can tailor your course distribution to your educational goals and interests.

AS in Chemistry | Los Angeles City College

LACC offers over 100 vocational and professional programs, including degrees, transfer programs, and certificates. The AS in Chemistry program requirements include a minimum of 60 credit units completed with at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average.

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AS in Chemistry | MUST University

MUST University has campuses worldwide, and its Associate of Science in Chemistry can land you a job in over 80 countries. You’ll learn to apply the scientific method in lecture and chemistry laboratory classes, focusing on topics like inorganic and organic chemistry.

AS in Chemistry | Oxnard College

As a public community college, Oxnard College gives students access to two associate degrees in chemistry, the art associate and science associate. The major chemistry courses and general education requirements build towards a bachelor’s degree and high job prospects.

AS with Emphasis in Chemistry | Phoenix College

Phoenix College offers certificate programs to prepare students for transfer, career advancement, or lifelong learning. Such are the aims of the AS with an emphasis in Chemistry, which preps you for work or the study of more advanced chemistry courses at the university.

AS in Science and Mathematics with emphasis on Chemistry | Raritan Valley Community College

Raritan Valley Community College is a community college that offers associate degrees, including an AS in Science and Mathematics with an emphasis in Chemistry. Graduates are ready for work in environmental science, chemical engineering, and chemical sales.

AS in Chemistry | Rose State College

Rose State College, a public two-year institution, enrolls over 13,000 students annually. The AS in Chemistry arms you with a series of general college physics and organic chemistry courses that prepare you to transfer to four-year institutions for a bachelor’s degree.

AS with Emphasis in Chemistry | Truckee Meadows Community College

Truckee Meadows Community College offers programs that prepare students for careers in industries in Nevada. TMCC’s AS degree with a chemistry emphasis introduces you to various aspects of chemistry, preparing you for work and further studies.

Best Online Chemistry Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Allen Community College AS in Chemistry – Pre-Medicine (potential online option) Higher Learning Commission
Front Range Community College AS in Chemistry Higher Learning Commission
Ivy Tech AS in Chemistry Higher Learning Commission
Midlands Technical College AS in Chemistry Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Monroe Community College AS in Chemistry Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
MUST University AS in Chemistry International Accreditation Organization
Perimeter College (GSU) AS Chemistry Pathway Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Pikes Peak Community College AS in Chemistry Higher Learning Commission
Red Rocks Community College AS in Chemistry Higher Learning Commission
Seminole State College AA Chemistry Pathway Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Best Colleges for Chemistry: Top Online Chemistry Associate Degree Programs

Given the chemistry laboratory work needed, AS in Chemistry programs that are 100 percent  online are quite difficult to find. Still, if attending a private or public university for four years or even two years to study chemistry is difficult for you, below are some online schools that offer online courses for hybrid options.

AS in Chemistry – Pre-Medicine | Allen Community College

Allen Community College strives to meet students’ academic, occupational, and personal goals. As such, the Associate Degree in Chemistry – Pre-Medicine covers courses that meet the first two years’ requirement of most pre-medicine degrees at Kansas Board of Regents universities.

AS in Chemistry | Front Range Community College

FRCC helps students find a purpose and offers personalized plans to help them reach their goals. Their AS in Chemistry can count towards a degree in chemistry for students ready to take college physics, chemistry, calculus, or other higher-level science courses.

AS in Chemistry | Ivy Tech

Ivy Tech offers transfer programs, one of them being the AS in Chemistry. Among the major courses included in this program are organic atomic structure, physical chemistry, and quantitative chemical analysis. They are available in both online and in-person classes.

AS in Chemistry | Midlands Technical College

Midlands Technical College values real-world experiences and hands-on training. Their A.S. in Chemistry is designed to build your basic laboratory skills on top of the chemical concepts you’ll need to complete a four-year chemistry degree.

AS in Chemistry | Monroe Community College

MCC works with you whether you want to study full-time, part-time, online, or on-campus. To prepare students for a higher degree in chemistry, MCC offers the AS in Chemistry which covers general education courses that meet the first two years of four-year programs.

AS in Chemistry | MUST University

MUST University offers an online option for its AS in Chemistry program. With it, you can grow your knowledge in chemistry within a flexible schedule. The online AS in Chemistry is your stepping stone for further studies and better career options like its on-campus counterpart.

AS, Chemistry Pathway | Perimeter College (GSU)

Perimeter College is committed to creative teaching and helping students explore their passion for learning. Their AS with a chemistry pathway covers basic concepts that will help you define which chemistry path to take if you proceed with a higher degree.

AS in Chemistry | Pikes Peak Community College

PPCC understands how high costs prevent students from realizing their dreams, so they claim to set tuition rates that won’t break your bank, even with their AS in Chemistry. Chemistry students at PPCC learn to apply analytical and problem-solving skills in various situations.

AS in Chemistry | Red Rocks Community College

Red Rocks Community College focuses on career-enhancing programs, including their AS in Chemistry. Completing this program leads chemistry students to work as inorganic chemists, physical chemists, or analytical chemists, aside from other fields in the physical sciences.

AA, Chemistry Pathway | Seminole State College

Seminole State College offers programs with small class sizes to allow students to master their courses better. The Chemistry Pathway Associate in Arts is an option for students to excel in advanced science work and land entry-level employment in chemistry.

What’s the Average Chemistry Associate Degree Salary?

A chemistry major putting chemicals in a test tube with a dropper.
An associate degree in chemistry can lead to different career paths in forensic science, clinical laboratory, or even food science.

Chemistry associate degree graduates can earn more than the $55,870 average yearly salary that associate degree holders, according to the BLS. Listed below are some of the jobs you can land when you finish your AS in Chemistry.

Top Chemistry Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Chemistry Associate Degree Jobs Average Salary
Forensic Science Technicians $60,590 per year
Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians $54,180 per year
Chemical Technicians $49,820 per year
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians $46,850 per year
Dietetic Technicians $30,110 per year

Best Chemistry Associate Degree Jobs Explained

Forensic Science Technicians

  • Average Salary: $60,590 per year
  • Job Outlook: 16%
  • Number of Jobs: 17,200
  • Highest-Paying States: California, Illinois, Massachusetts

Forensic science technicians collect and analyze evidence. Some specialize in forensics or laboratory analysis, and over half work in local or state government, mostly involving law enforcement. They spend their days outdoors or in laboratories.

Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians

  • Average Salary: $54,180 per year
  • Job Outlook: 11%
  • Number of Jobs: 335,500
  • Highest-Paying States: Alaska, Connecticut, New York

Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians fulfill routine laboratory tasks such as collecting body fluids, tissue, and other substances, and analyzing them. Nearly half of them work in general medical and surgical hospitals.

Chemical Technicians

  • Average Salary: $49,820 per year
  • Job Outlook: 5%
  • Number of Jobs: 65,100
  • Highest-Paying States: District of Columbia, Alaska, Louisiana

Chemical technicians help chemists and chemical engineers to develop, produce, and test chemical goods and processes. They typically work in testing labs and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Health and safety risks are high but preventable with proper protocols.

Environmental Science and Protection Technicians

  • Average Salary: $46,850 per year
  • Job Outlook: 11%
  • Number of Jobs: 34,200
  • Highest-Paying States: Connecticut, Minnesota, Washington

Environmental science and protection technicians keep an eye on the environment, looking for pollutants that threaten public health. Most of them work for local government agencies or in management consulting and are either in laboratory, office, or field settings.

Dietetic Technicians

  • Average Salary: $30,110 per year
  • Job Outlook: 7%
  • Number of Jobs: 2,000 per year
  • Highest-Paying States: Oregon, Washington, Rhode Island

Dietetic technicians create nutritional plans to improve health, treat illness, or prevent diseases. Some dietetic technicians work in private practice, creating healthy menus for patients. Others are in the food service industry or work under registered dieticians in hospitals or homes.

Should You Get an Associate Degree in Chemistry?

Yes, you should consider an associate degree in chemistry to learn basic chemistry theory. Whether you want to join the professional arena immediately or prepare for transfer to a four-year institution, a two-year associate degree in chemistry prepares you for further education in chemistry or for the workforce.

There are so many jobs you can get with a background in chemistry . The study of chemistry can help you become a materials scientist, chemical engineer, or medical scientist. If personal obligations prevent you from continuing your education, you already have the foundation. A bachelor’s degree in chemistry or other sciences is waiting for you when you’re ready.

Chemistry Associate Degree FAQ

What do you study for an Associate Degree in Chemistry?

You’ll be attending fundamental chemistry classes along with other general education courses like liberal arts and electives such as physical science or materials science, covering broad topics such as organic chemistry principles. Expect laboratory classes as well. You’ll earn credit hours that count towards an advanced degree in the field.

What are the different types of chemistry degrees?

The different types of chemistry degrees by order of academic levels are the undergraduate degrees, which are the associate degree and bachelor’s degree, then the graduate programs, which are the master’s degree and doctorate degree. Be sure to discuss your options with your academic advisor so you can select the best college program.

What is an associate degree in science?

An associate degree in science is a degree program that you can finish in two years, as opposed to a bachelor’s degree in science, which takes two years. It includes courses planned to meet the first two years of bachelor’s degrees in any field of science, thus allowing students to transfer credits later.

What bachelor’s degree can I get with an Associate in Science?

With an Associate of Science degree, you can get into any scientific field of study. Some examples of programs with a four-year curriculum you can take are material science or molecular biology. You can even take allied health general chemistry or chemical engineering degrees.

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Kyo Zapanta

About the author: Kyo is a writer and educator. After teaching college research and communication for nearly a decade, she worked full-time as a writer and editor for various online news and academic sites before finally joining the Career Karma team. She also continues her volunteer work as a research instructor for senior high school distance learners.

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