In the US, a two year degree is more commonly known as an associate’s degree or an intermediate degree is an undergraduate degree awarded by community colleges or a junior college. A community college or a junior college is an institution providing higher education, granting certificates, diplomas, and associate’s degrees. After graduating from a community college, some students transfer to a four-year liberal arts college or university for two to three years to complete a bachelor’s degree. Around 50% of the credits can be transferred from an associate degree to a bachelor’s program.
To obtain an associate degree, one must earn 60 credit-hours, which, under normal circumstance, take about two years. An associate degree program generally consists of 3 parts:
The pathway of pursuing 2 years of associate degree from a community college, then transferring to a regular college/ university to study 2 more years and graduating with a bachelors degree is much more affordable that straightaway going for a 4 year degree. Why?
Because on an average, the cost of studying at community colleges is 1/3rd the cost of studying at 4 year colleges & universities!
An associate degree in Arts is known as an Associate of Arts or an A.A., while an associate degree in Science is known as an Associate of Science or an A.S.
You can join/ transfer to a 4 yr Graduate Degree program, after completing A.A. or A.S., whereas, degrees like an Associate of Applied Science degree (A.A.S.) or Associate of Applied Business (A.A.B.) are more vocational or career-oriented in nature.
Some common Associate Degrees offered in the USA:
One year tuition fee at most community colleges offering AA or AS degrees is between $ 1500 – $ 3000. The states of Chicago, Tennessee and Oregon offer free community college to meritorious students.
Here’s a look at the best community colleges in the USA on the basis of the success rate of their students (whether they graduate with an associate degree and then enroll in university for further studies), cost of education (fee of community colleges) and ROI (return on investment – i.e. starting salary of graduates.)