An A.S. degree stands for Associate of Science degree. This is a 2-year undergraduate degree offered by business schools, most community colleges and some 4-year colleges. Many online programs are now also offering A.S. degrees as well, which can be a great option for adult learners who are looking for flexible and affordable learning options.

If you think an A.S. degree may be just the right first step to take on your higher education path, keep reading, because we’re going to cover everything you’ll need to know including some ways you can potentially lower the cost of earning your degree.

How Do You Earn an A.S. Degree?

To get started toward earning your degree, you will have had to have first obtained your high school diploma or GED. Once enrolled in the college or online program of your choice, you will need to complete 60 credit hours, which comes out to 20 courses, to earn an A.S. degree.

When it comes to coursework, much of what you’ll focus on will be general education requirements. This will include courses in math, humanities, social science and English composition. And there’s a good reason for this: If a student were to focus solely on their major, let’s take human resources as an example, they may find themselves limited in their career if they were to lack knowledge around other topics that are complimentary to their specific skillset (writing, etc.) By obtaining a foundation of general knowledge along with specific knowledge pertaining to your major, you will be more well-rounded and prepared to handle any career path you choose.

Once you have completed the general education courses, you will begin to focus on your concentration or take electives in your preferred area of study. Depending on your areas of interest and your career goals, you may choose between computer science, physics, biology, engineering, chemistry, health sciences and more.

You may also find your college or online program offer programs that are specialized such as dental hygiene, emergency medical services and nursing. In many colleges, these concentrations will be offered as Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees. These will typically take a bit longer to complete but your credits can then be transferred and applied to a bachelor’s of science (B.S.) degree.

It’s worth mentioning that the number of required courses does typically vary between schools, so it’s a good idea to speak with an advisor at your preferred school to determine exact requirements.

What Can You Do with Your Associate of Science Degree?

There is so much a student can do with their A.S. degree!

To begin, you’re A.S. degree acts like the first two years of a four-year program. This means, should you eventually decide you want to earn a Bachelor’s Degree, you can transfer you’re A.S. credits and apply them toward your 4-year degree. This makes it super fast and super easy for students because they can bypass courses they’ve already taken and jump right into upper-level courses.

Something else you could benefit from with an A.S. degree is earning more! The higher the education you possess, the higher your salary could be. Taking that first step and obtaining an A.S. degree should pay off, literally!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for someone with “some college or associate degree” was $825 per week in the second quarter of 2018. If we crunch some numbers we can determine that someone with an A.S. degree could earn as much as $42,900 per year, assuming they work 52 weeks out of the year. Of course, some may earn less, and some may earn more.

Also, by obtaining an A.S. degree, you will enhance the skills you already possess in your current field. If many of your coworkers have not obtained a secondary degree, you will stand out and have a major advantage when it comes time for a raise or promotion.

What Kind of Job Can You Get with an A.S. Degree?

Once you earn you’re A.S. degree, you will be able to land an excellent job in a variety of exciting industries. Here are just some of the opportunities that await you:


If you’ve got a head for numbers and an eye for details, then you may be interested in pursuing a career in accounting. An associate in Science in Accounting technology offers a solid foundation in all aspects of best accounting practices that you may use in a range of organizational settings.

Once you’ve earned your A.S. degree, you can choose to begin your career as a bookkeeper, auditor, payroll or credit coordinator or pursue other related accounting jobs. If you so choose, you may also continue your education and obtain a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Financial Services, or Supervision and Management for even greater professional opportunities and earning potential!

Architectural Design and Construction Technology

Were you one of those kids that spent hours building elaborate things out of Legos? Have you always had a passion for construction? By obtaining an A.S. degree in Architectural Design and Construction Technology, you will prepare yourself for entry-level positions in architecture, computer-aided-design or construction management. Building & construction industries are predicted to see tremendous growth in the coming years as much of the country’s infrastructure is in dire need of updates.


Nothing is more important in business, and in life, than clear communication. Interpreters play a big role in clear communication, and if you’ve always had an interest in language and other cultures, then a career as an interpreter may be just what’s for you. Whether you help important business transactions, medical interpreting, work at a courthouse, or provide sign language at live music concerts, this career can be incredibly rewarding and fun.

Automotive Service Management Technology


At some point in every car’s life, it will require diagnosing, servicing and repair. Your degree can lead you to a job as a service technician in the automotive service industry. If you like the idea of helping people while servicing all the fascinating electrical and computerized systems of a car, then this might be just the career for you!

Aviation Maintenance Management

Have you ever wondered just what keeps those giant airplanes in the air? Well, beyond aerodynamics, the aviation maintenance crews play a big role in keeping commercial and private planes flying. Not only will your A.S. degree give you the necessary skills to land this job, but it will also give you a competitive advantage for promotion as a lead or a supervisor.

Business Administration

Whether you want to land a job in sales or start your own company one day, an A.S. degree will give you a strong foundation in all aspects of business. After earning your A.S. degree in Business Administration, you can enter the job market immediately, or pursue your bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Supervision and Management or Financial Services for even MORE employment and earning opportunities.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of jobs that await you once you earn your degree, but it gives you an idea of the career possibilities that await you.

How Many Credits Do I Need to Earn My A.S. Degree?

As mentioned in the beginning of this article, an A.S. degree typically requires 60 credit hours, which translates into 20 courses. Also, most A.S. courses are designed to be completed in two years by taking a full-time course load from the fall semester through the spring semester for both years.

Not everyone will be able to earn their A.S. degree in two years, however. Many students that work toward earning an A.S. degree are usually adult learners who have other work/life responsibilities. And unfortunately, many community and business colleges don’t always offer flexible enough programs for these busy adults.

Can you relate? If so, keep reading: we’re about to share some ways you could earn your A.S. degree faster and more affordably.

Typical Courses and Concentrations

To earn an A.S. degree, much of your coursework will focus on fulfilling general education requirements. These classes will include math, English composition, social science and humanities courses. Once you’ve completed your general education courses, you can either take electives in your preferred area of study or work toward fulfilling your concentration.

And speaking of concentrations – it’s not required that you select one when going for you’re A.S., but it often leads to an easier time finding a job upon graduation as well as an easier time transferring to a bachelor’s program. Common A.S. concentrations are computer science, physics, biology, engineering, chemistry, health sciences and more.

How You Can Save Time & Money on Your A.S. Degree

Choose Online Associates Programs

Online programs can help you save as they are more flexible with work schedules and other life commitments. Rather than having to leave work in the middle of the day and miss out on important pay, you can take online courses in the evening or on your free time. Could Help

It’s not right that adult learners should have less opportunities at obtaining an Associate’s in Science and bettering their life because of cost and scheduling conflicts. This is exactly why was born. I wanted to make college affordable and accessible for everyone.

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We’ve gone ahead and built relationships with universities around the country that can give you credit for the free courses you’ve completed. Not only does this give you the ability to save thousands on your degree, it also allows you to potentially earn your degree much, much sooner.  We’ve worked hard to make our courses super interesting, and the ability for those to apply as requirements toward your general education, elective, or degree-specific courses.

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Here are some other ways you can save money toward your AS degree:

Ask About Life Credits

Adult students have usually been out in the workforce for a little while, and because of this, they have already obtained valuable real-world experience. A lot of colleges and universities will recognize this valuable experience and may award credits for it.

Do You Have Military Training?

If you’ve spent any time in any of the armed services, you may also be eligible to receive credits. Speak with a representative at the school to find out.

CLEP Exams

CLEP stands for College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). This program helps students earn college credit for what they already know. By taking their exam, you can show your mastery of college-level information and potentially earn credits.

If you’d like to learn about even more ways to save money, be sure to check out our article on how to Pay Less for College.

Associate of Science Degree vs. Bachelor’s of Science Degree

Some people wonder which is better, an Associate of Science Degree or a Bachelor’s of Science Degree. While at first glance, some would assume the 4-year degree. But the truth is, an A.S. degree has some advantages over a B.S. degree.

  • Cut down on costs – An education from a community college, business school or online program will cost far less than a traditional 4-year college.
  • More personalized attention – One of the biggest differences between a community or online class versus a 4-year school’s class is the size. You will be able to get more individual attention online or at a community college, which can ultimately help you succeed.
  • Better chances of acceptance – Getting into a good 4-year school can be very challenging and competition is fierce. A two-year degree builds your academic success and betters your chances of acceptance into a 4-year school.

Your Path to Higher Education Starts Here

No matter whether you go to school for two years or four, education is an important foundation from which to launch a successful career and life. You’ll earn more and have larger opportunities to advance.

Check out our article on Why Go To College? The Top 13 Benefits to see all of the reasons why.

We’re Here to Help You Reach Your Goals

Our mission is to help adult students afford college. We know that a majority of adult learners often run into roadblocks when it comes to earning their degree through a traditional learning environment. That’s why we created our platform.

Whether you decide to earn an A.S. degree, A.A. degree, certification and/or eventually a bachelors, could help you reach your goals.

Register today. It takes less than 60 seconds and you can be on your way to earning your degree and living the life of your dreams!


About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.