Many international students may not be familiar with associate degrees because not all countries have them, and it is most commonly offered in the US. The countries that do offer include Canada, Hong Kong, and Australia. An associate degree is a two-year degree program offered at the tertiary level of schooling. This type of degree can be used by international and local students to pursue further education for a bachelor’s degree (students would have to take another two years for this) or to join the workforce as soon as they graduate from college. 

To help international students understand this type of educational degree, this article answers some common questions about associate degrees.

What are the types of associate degree?

There are four types of associate degrees that students can apply for: Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), Associate of Applied Arts (AAA), and Associate of Applied Science (AAS). 

Associate degrees with an “applied” feature focus on developing students’ skills in a particular field or career and have more focus on practical vocation skills. Meanwhile, associate degrees without an applied feature focuses on preparing students who want to continue studying for a bachelor’s degree. 

Is it possible to get a high-paying job with an associate degree? 

Yes. An associate degree, aside from its type, offers a lot of specialization that international students can pursue, and many of them can be used by students to apply for high-paying jobs. For example, in 2019, CNBC published a list of ten highest-paying jobs one can get after finishing an associate’s degree. Some of those jobs include air traffic controllers, radiation therapists, funeral service managers, nuclear technicians, nuclear machine technologists, and dental hygienists. These jobs’ median annual wage does not go lower than $74,000. 

What is an online associate degree program? 

Online associate degree programs are generally designed for students who want to finish a higher education degree but have a hard time committing to an on-campus study setup. Most of these are students who are working and cannot leave their jobs, students who already have families, and international students who want to get a US education but cannot go abroad due to varying reasons. In many cases, international students who are enrolled in subjects that require hands-on practice may be able to do their internship in their own country. 

Where can an associate degree take me? 

An associate degree holder has two choices on what they want to do with their degree. They can either continue it to get a bachelor’s degree or directly apply for a job and become employed as soon as they graduate. Getting an associate degree and finishing it can lead to a variety of careers from different industries such as tech and healthcare, and job roles such as customer service, administrative service. Some can even continue to become entrepreneurs. 

What are the benefits of taking an associate degree? 

There are plenty of benefits to an associate degree. It is affordable due to the length of study one needs to only take in these degrees. In fact, taking an associate degree, and then continuing to a bachelor’s degree can be cheaper than directly applying for a four-year bachelor’s degree. Another benefit to an associate degree is the chance of getting a high-paying job, especially in specializations related to technology, computers, and healthcare. 

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