Pursuing an associate degree can be a valuable step towards
immediate career placement in a specialized field, but may also
serve as the basis for a four-year undergraduate degree program. An
Associate Degree program typically requires a minimum of 60 semester
credit hours, and is comprised of general educational credits, major
requirements, and a few elective courses. If you prefer an
accelerated format instead, an online associate degree program may
be a better choice for your educational aspirations. Online
associate degree programs can offer you the freedom to work at your
own pace, while encouraging the use of the internet to complete
research and collaborate with classmates.
What Does an Online
Associate Degree Offer?
An online associate
degree offers the same curriculum as an on-campus associate degree
program, except there is no requirement to attend a formal
classroom. Online instruction is becoming an attractive option for
students of all ages and backgrounds, and is especially useful for
returning adult students, or those who are looking to start a new
Since almost all
work is completed and submitted online, students who pursue an
online associate degree can take advantage of online databases to
conduct research, learn key technical and communication skills as
they collaborate on projects, and learn how to work in a new
environment. Lectures, presentations, and assignments are all
delivered in electronic format; this gives students a chance to
download and learn course information at their own pace.
associates degree online presents an innovative learning opportunity
for tech-savvy students and independent learners. Since the
curriculum is designed to be in an accelerated format, students who
are working full- or part-time still have a chance to complete their
What Are Some
Advantages of an Online Associate Degree?
There are several
advantages of completing an online associate degree, and the various
degree programs can offer students a valuable education regardless
of their location. An online associate degree program makes it easy
to collaborate with students and professors from around the world;
any specialists or experts that are located in different states can
provide valuable information and communications for students, and
students can also take advantage of a variety of innovative learning
modules such as video, websites, and slideshows.
advantages of completing an associate degree online include:
internet research skills for various projects
expenses to commute back and forth to campus
Saving time for
study by working from home
communication skills via e-mail and teleconferencing
proficient with time management and handling multiple projects
learning atmosphere and self-paced study environment
What Types of Online
Associates Degree Programs Are Available?
Unlike bachelor degree programs that only offer two branches of
study, there are four types of associate degree programs available.
An Associate of Arts degree (A.A.) program is designed to transfer
into a four-year college or university, and the most common
disciplines include the liberal arts, humanities, education, and
An Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) program is designed for
immediate career placement after two years of study. In most cases,
this online associate degree program can also transfer into a
four-year college or university for continued
education. A.A.S. degrees
are commonly found in the areas of business, engineering,
technology, or the sciences.
An Associate of Science degree (A.S.) program is designed for
transfer into a four-year college or university, and the most common
disciplines are the sciences, mechanics, and technology. These
online associate degree programs are becoming increasingly popular
in the fields of engineering and computer science, and the advances
with the internet are making these even more applicable today.
An Occupational Degree is often regarded as a specialized associate
degree program, and is designed to allow students immediate
placement in the workface. While most are two years in length, some
are extended into three-year programs that allow for an internship
or work co-op program. In some cases, an online associate degree
program completed can lead to a transfer to a 4-year college.
How Do You Choose an
Associates Degree Online Program?
Choosing an appropriate online associate degree program will depend
on a variety of factors including:
Time available in your
Your ability to learn
Your web and internet
Deciding which discipline will be most appropriate will depend on
your educational strengths and backgrounds. It's a good idea to
outline what subjects you excelled at in high school, and review
various job descriptions to see which ones suit you best. Speaking
with a guidance counselor at an admissions office may also help you
determine your strengths and weaknesses, and define the appropriate
The next step is to choose an accredited school for your associate
degree online program. Accreditation has become increasingly
important for today's competitive job marketplace that requires
students are well-trained and up to speed on the latest curriculum
and technologies. Completing your online associate degree program
through an accredited school will allow prospective employers and
schools to acknowledge that you have received a quality education.
After reviewing your options for each type of associates degree
online, you will need to consider the tuition costs. Many associate
degrees online offer payment options where you can send in tuition
payments throughout the year on a schedule. Finding out about
scholarships and financial aid may also help you complete your
program of choice without having to make extra arrangements for
After selecting your school for the online associate degree program
of choice, you will need to apply for admission. In general, the
admission requirements of online associate degree programs is not as
strict as a bachelor's degree course of study, and you will need to
show proof of a high school diploma or GED, and possibly an ACT
Associates Degrees Online
A variety of
technical colleges, institutions, and online schools now offer
accredited associates degrees online, and it is important to review
the school's accreditation status and credentials before applying
Associates degrees online are available in
the following courses of study:
Business & Management
Law & Paralegal Studies
How Is an Associate
Degree Online Accredited?
Accreditation is a very important factor when choosing online
associates degree programs, as they prove credibility and value of
instruction to potential employers or other colleges. Not every
school is accredited by an appropriate accreditation board, and it
is best to find a school that has been approved by at least one of
the six regional accreditation boards as well as the Distance
Education Training Council (DETC).
The six regional accreditation boards for a valuable associate
degree online include:
New England Association
of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA)
Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA)
Southern Association of
Schools and Colleges (SACS)
Western Association of
Schools and Colleges (WASC)
of Schools and Colleges (NWCCU)
You can also search for a particular school by using the United
States Department of Education database. The majority of schools
that offer associate degrees online will publish their accreditation
status in their admissions handbooks.
A Few Facts About Getting
Your Associates Degree Online
Completing your online associate degree program will require
initiative, adapting to an independent learning format, and a high
level of self motivation. Since you will not be attending a campus
for assignments and feedback from your professor, it is especially
important to maintain consistent communication with other students
and your instructor on a regular basis. While obtaining an
associates degree online may seem easier than a traditional program,
it will still impose its own set of challenges. There are a few
things to keep in mind as you pursue an associate degree online.
First, it's important to stay ahead of course deadlines and
assignments by using an effective calendar tool. Associate degrees
online are usually fast-paced and require diligent study. Time
management is a skill that you can develop only with direct
application, and an independent learning environment offers you
ample opportunities to work on this. Learn how to manage multiple
projects and complete them ahead of due dates on a regular basis.
Secondly, learn how to work over the web. An online associate
degree program often involves working with other students, and for
group assignments, you will pick up key skills to collaborate
effectively with other students via e-mail and other forms of
correspondence on a regular basis. Keeping up with discussion groups
with forums and blogs is an excellent way to learn from other
students, and maintain open lines of communication about what you
are learning. Remember that this is the only interaction you will
ever have with your fellow classmates, so it's best to keep it as
productive and on-topic as possible.
Third, you will need to organize your daily schedule to balance
your work and study time. If you are enrolling as a part-time
student because of a job, it is important not to leave assignments
and projects until the last minute. Instead, make a daily plan that
allows you to work on different areas throughout the day so you're
not always catching up.
Finally, make sure to maintain consistent contact with your
instructor. Your instructor is an excellent resource for any
questions you may have for an assignment, and you must learn to ask
questions clearly and directly to avoid losing time. Since an online
associate degree program is usually in an accelerated format, you
will need to maximize your time as often as possible.
Tips for Students Interested in Online Associates Degree Programs
Completing an online associates degree program can be a very
rewarding experience, and can open up many opportunities for a
long-term career or furthering your education. Since many online
associates degree programs offer immediate job placement options, it
is even more important to make the most of the educational
experience each and every week. Some additional tips when completing
an associates degree online:
1. Keep up to date with
class news. Many professors post daily and weekly bulletins about new
assignments and even industry news. Make sure you are visiting the
class portal on a daily basis to stay up to date on any changes,
news, or updates
2. Get to know your
classmates. Although you won't be seeing most of your classmates in
person, it's a good idea to share friendly introductions at the
beginning of the study term and learn a little about each one.
3. Create a physical
(offline) folder of notes and printouts.
Even though most of your learning will take place on-screen, you
will need to refer to notes and handouts on a regular basis. Stay
organized with folders and other basic school supplies so you have
everything you need when you sit down in front of the computer.
4. Participate regularly
in discussion groups.
Discussion groups offer a very flexible format for communication,
and make it much easier to track a conversation or topic at any time
of day. Post timely and relevant responses, and become an active
participant. Many instructors also grade you on participation and
the number of postings you contribute each week, so keep this in
mind as you work through the semester.
5. Request feedback from
You may already have access to your online grade book, but learning
about your status or performance form your instructor can help you
improve at the right time during the semester.