Finding the right degree for your career path requires knowing your options. Here are the top factors to consider when choosing associate's degrees.
Career & Education

Top Factors to Consider When Choosing Associate’s Degrees

Are you a high school student about to graduate? Or maybe you want to join the 6.6 million adults who return to college each year.

Either way, have you considered the benefits of associate’s degrees? An associate degree program is shorter and less intensive than a bachelor’s degree program, which could make it the perfect choice for you.

With so many options out there, choosing associate’s degrees can be the tricky part. Here are three important factors that will help you narrow in on the best choice.

1. Understand Your Opportunities & Limitations

Many students choose an associate degree program because they can complete it in less time (and a lower cost of tuition) than a traditional bachelor’s degree. This can prepare them for a variety of exciting entry-level career opportunities.

Keep in mind, though, that many fields still require prospects to have a four-year bachelor’s degree or even more advanced education. If you have your heart set on a certain career path, make sure that an associate’s degree will be enough to open those doors for you.

2. Consider Your Interests & Strengths

Maybe you were lucky enough to be one of those kids who knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up. For most of us, though, we have to give careful thought as to what type of career we would enjoy.

Think about the things you enjoy most. Are you passionate about health, numbers, computers, or art? Are you interested in law, education, finance, or business?

There’s no shortage of associate’s degrees to choose from. You’ll find offerings from dental hygiene to hospitality management and everything in between. These days you can even get a cyber security associate’s degree and enter the exciting field of network security.

3. Career Outlook & Expected Pay

Next, consider how much you can expect to earn with your degree. A high salary alone won’t be enough to make you happy. Very few people enjoy working a job they dislike, even if they earn a big paycheck.

Ideally, the field you want to enter is something you enjoy that will also provide for a comfortable lifestyle — or, at the very least, cover your necessary expenses. To get an idea of average salaries around the country, check the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest wage data.

It’s also a good idea to research the expected growth and demand within the industry. Most healthcare and tech-related fields are growing fast, while other fields such as print binding and administrative assisting are on the decline. Be sure to choose a degree that will remain in high demand in the years to come.

Need More Help Choosing Associate’s Degrees?

The benefits of associate’s degrees are clear. The hard part is choosing associate’s degrees that will lead you to the best career path for you. 

Bookmark this list and refer back to it as you research different degree programs and narrow your choices.

Interested in more options for degrees? Looking for advice about how to be a better student and prepare for your new career? Keep browsing our site for other informative articles!

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