What is an associate's degree?
An associate's degree is an undergraduate college degree which is awarded by community, junior or technical colleges after the completion of at least 60 semester credit hours, or approximately 20 classes. Courses include career training, general education and elective classes. Associate's degrees generally prepare students for a professional career; however, they also prepare students for further college education, like a bachelor's degree. Many community or junior colleges offer a general associate's degree, or transfer program, that has the highest chances of transferring to another four-year institution or university. In the United States and some areas of Canada, an associate's degree is often equivalent to the first two years of a four-year college or university degree. An associate's degree should take approximately two years to complete if classes are taken as a full-time student.
Still confused? Learn more about the associate's degree:
- What is the Difference Between an Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate Degrees?
- See a detailed list of degree types
- College Transfer: From Community College to Four-Year School
- Get up to 70 credits toward a completed Associate's of Science in Health Science with your prior military training
- Learn how you can get college credit for your life experiences
- Ask a question!
View the entire Glossary of College & Education Terms
Updated: January 2014