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Chris Ostrander

?Are Associate Degrees Worth It?

Are you are a high school graduate who is unemployed, underemployed or ready to move on to a new and different field with more potential for advancement? If so, chances are good that going back to school is a possibility you have been seriously considering. Chances are also good that spending the next four years in college studying for a bachelor's degree before you can begin a new career path is not a very practical option. However, spending two years earning an associate degree may be a much more workable alternative. So are associate degrees worth it? Are they enough to open doors to good career opportunities?

The answer to that question is yes, they can be. Good associate degrees, earned through an accredited college, university or trade school, can open the door to good career paths – especially if you pursue a degree that is relevant to an in-demand field. Although there are many to choose from (PDF), these are three winning options to consider:

Associate Degrees in Healthcare

Healthcare is a field that offers a number of good career opportunities with an associates degree, including clinical careers and administrative ones. Clinical positions you can qualify for with an associate degree, include nursing, medical assistant, an occupational or physical therapy assistant. An associate degree can also qualify you to work as a medical administrative assistant, a medical coding and reimbursement specialist or in health services administration. Vibrant job growth in the healthcare industry means that people qualified to fill these health-related positions are in high demand.

Associate Degrees in Technology

Technology is another in-demand field in which earning associate degrees can be the start of a solid career. Good associate degrees to target in this field include digital marketing, graphic design, networking technology and security technology degrees, among others. Examples of positions obtainable with an associate degree include web development, computer support specialists and network support specialists, all of which are in very high demand in this rapidly expanding industry.

Associate Degrees in Business and Finance

The financial sector is another field that has a number of opportunities to offer to candidates with associate degrees, especially degrees in accounting or financial support services. There are many good entry-level positions and an associate degree gets you in the door. Once you are employed, you can pursue more advanced degrees to further your career. That reduces dependence on student loans and makes your education more affordable.

Other good associate degrees to pursue in today's employment market include paralegal, criminal justice and human and social services degrees. If you're interested in exploring these possibilities and others, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers details on some of the positions we've mentioned here and many more that are obtainable with an associate degree, including what you can expect in terms of job responsibilities, employment growth and salary.

As illustrated here, earning an associate degree can provide the credentials you need to launch a new career that is more satisfying and lucrative than most positions available with a high school diploma. Good associate degrees can also be a stepping stone, paving the way for continued education to advance your new career, such as specialty certification courses for industry-specific credentials or bachelor and/or master-level degree courses. So associate degrees are indeed worth the time and money you'll spend earning them, whether they represent the end of the higher education road for you, or are just the beginning.

For more information on associates degrees offered at Bryant & Stratton College, check out our Associates Degree page or call the Admissions office at 1.888.273.2758.

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