How Long Does It Take To Get An Associate Degree?

For one to want to know how long it takes to get an associate degree, it means the person must have learned what an associate degree is but doesn’t have an idea how long it was going to last before it can finally be acquired.

If you already understand and know what an associate degree is then, we agree. You will understand faster what I’m about telling you.

But if you do not have a prior idea of what an associate degree is, you need not worry, I’ll sure add flesh to these and I’ll help you understand all you need to know about an associate degree.

Kindly go through the table of contents below to have an overview of what this article contains.

What Is An Associate Degree?

A typical associate’s or affiliate degree is a two-year post-secondary degree a student takes after they leave high school.

This degree becomes an option if the student doesn’t have a bunch of bucks to take a full-time four-year bachelor’s degree program.

Also, it is also considered if the student is engaged in some kind of stuff, probably working or some pieces of stuff and may not really have all the time for a full bachelor’s degree program.

A student is most likely to finish an associate degree in two years. However, a good deal of them go at their own pace.

In a nutshell, an associate degree is a two-year course taken by high school leavers before taking a full-time bachelor’s program.

So, if you are considering adding up some more degrees to the ones you already have and advance your prospects in your career space or you just left high school and are considering which degree program would be fair and less expensive to gain, then you should take up an associate degree.

How Long Does It Really Take To Earn An Associate Degree?

When we explained to you what an affiliate degree is, we in a way gave you the answer to this question if you noticed.

But we are going to add more flesh to that.

We told you that a typical associate or affiliate degree program lasts for about two years.

So think of it this way: a typical associate degree program is two years half of the full-time bachelor’s degree.

Be it as it may, different courses may have different duration they offer their own associate degrees.

So, an associate degree program may have a duration longer or shorter from other ones depending on the program.

In this article, we will show you how long it will take to get an affiliate degree in various degree programs you may want to take.

How Long Does it Take To Get An Associates Degree In Accounting?

Many students wonder how long it takes to get an associate degree in accounting, especially if they are already working full-time or are making a switch to a second career.

Technology has changed a lot of things and has really changed the conventional way of doing things.

Institutions of higher learning now prefer to offer what we call Accelerated degrees which shorten the duration of study from the conventional way.

Accelerated degrees are becoming more popular than the regular or traditional degrees.

The duration of studying an associate degree may differ depending on the option you subscribed. Online students often take on their degree through virtual means and the time they spend before graduation may be longer.

This is because it allows them the freedom to choose how and when they study. But traditional schools will always require their students to enter full-time.

Basically, a typical traditional associate degree in accounting should last the conventional duration of two years or a few months more.

Some might even last 18 months instead of normal 24 months. But an online associate’s degree in accounting may last students around three to five years to complete their study for graduation.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Associates Degree In Business?

Like every other person who intends to go for an associate degree, the business students also have this question of ‘how long does it take to get an associate degree in business’ bothering them.

Just like we told you about accounting, several factors may really affect a students year of graduation if they are trying to gain an associate degree in business.

Most associate degrees in business require 60-semester credits or 90 quarter credit hours for graduation.

Traditionally, this may amount to two years spent in school. But because many online programs offer various options in terms of time and duration, a student can take over five years or even less than a year to complete the requirements for the degree.

This mostly depends on how proactive a student is.

In fact, the average time a student spends in school earning their associate’s degree in business works out to a year and a half for both online and traditional students.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Affiliate Degree In Nursing?

The job growth for nurses is expected to grow over the next few years. Earning an ADN can get your foot in the door of this in-demand profession and potentially lead to greater opportunities in the future.

An associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) will give you a solid career foundation in the health care field.

This program is usually popular among registered nurses (RNs), the ADN provides opportunities to work in entry-level nursing positions.

Considering gaining an affiliate degree in nursing, an ADN can be earned over two-to-three years.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Associate Degree In Psychology?

An affiliate degree in psychology is an undergraduate-level degree that usually takes two years to complete. The associate degree option is often offered at community colleges and many students then transfer to a state university to complete a bachelor’s degree.

To be honest, there aren’t many jobs available at the associate level. Most entry-level psychology professions require a bachelor’s degree at the very minimum.

An associate degree is commonly used as a stepping stone toward earning a bachelor’s and is a great way to gain a solid background in psychology before moving on to more advanced studies.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Affiliate Degree In Computer Science?

An associate degree program in computer science is non-exceptional. It doesn’t have an additional number of years for one to gain an affiliate degree. Just like the other disciplines, an associate degree in computer science would also last for an average of 2 years.

It is certain that it takes an average of two years to gain an associate degree certificate.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Online Affiliate Degree?

The number of months or years it would take you to complete an online affiliate degree would solely depend on you.

Normally, getting an affiliate degree should not be for over two years. But it takes several years extra if you are hooked up with some other pieces of stuff you are doing. Sometimes, it might take three years and sometimes it might up to five years.

But some other times, it takes just a year and a half to complete. It all depends on your engagements and schedule.

However, it would also interest let you know how much you are likely going to spend if you are going to take an associate degree, eventually. This will help you plan of time so you don’t run into debts or get stranded in the long run.

How Much Does It Cost To Get An Associate Degree?

Associate’s degrees cost an average of $3,570 per year at public institutions. While it will cost $14,587 for the entire period of the program in private schools. The costs are significantly higher in private schools than it is in public schools.

The cost of acquiring an associate degree from a public-owned school is usually half of what it costs to acquire the same from a private school.

How Much Does It Cost To Get An Online Affiliate Degree?

While tuition rates may vary from school to school, you can typically find the cheapest online associate degree programs at two-year public institutions.

But on average, it would cost about $3,000 to get an associate degree online.

Associates Degree Programs You Can Do

Depending on your personal and career interests, there so many associate degree programs you can gain. Below are some of them you could consider:

  • Associate’s Degree in Business Administration
  • Associate of Arts in Psychology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science
  • Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems or Information Technology
  • Associate of Science in Health Sciences
  • Associate’s in Nursing
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting
  • Associate of Applied Science in Medical Office Management
  • Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education
  • Associate’s in Human Resources
  •  Associate of Arts in Graphic Design
  • Human Services Associate’s Degree
  • Associate of Arts in Accounting
  • Associate of Arts in Healthcare Management
  • Associate of Science in Marketing
  • Associate of Science in Web Programming

Online or On-campus Associate Degrees? Which Should I Enroll For?

On-campus programs can give you real-life experiences and expose you to actual people you can connect with.

But it comes with a lot of hurdles like shuttling back-and-forth school. Most times, students who do online programs have a lot of flexibility.

They can easily find cheap associate’s degree online programs that allow them to receive the same educational experience as their on-campus counterparts at a lower cost too.

Not only are tuition rates typically lower for online students, but there are also savings in the form of reduced costs for childcare, commuting, and purchasing books.

However, some schools require online students to pay a technology fee as part of their enrollment costs.

So the choice is yours to make. If you have all the time, you consider an on-campus program. But if you are already engaged in some kind of work stuff, then I would advise you to take an online program.

How To Get An Associate Degree

Conduct research on careers that require an associate

First, take your time and really conduct research around the various courses and careers that may require just an affiliate degree to be saleable.

Determine if what you want to do can be achieved with an associate’s degree. There is no simple way to know what to do with your life.

Talk to people who already work in the industry to determine what options are available.

Look for traditional campuses with online programs

Many traditional universities now offer professional online courses. These have a better reputation than most online colleges and are cheaper with better financial options than “for-profit” universities.

As they are online, you can attend most of them remotely, but some also allow you to access campus resources.

  • Examples of successful online programs include the University of Illinois at Springfield, Fayetteville State University, Liberty University, Marylhurst University, Washington University in St. Louis, Hodges University, Missouri Valley College, Northeastern University, Belhaven University, and the University of Louisville. [6]

Search databases for online colleges

Aside from taking the course in a traditional college, you can as well do the course in an online institution. There are now a variety of search engines designed to associate potential students with an online college.

Be careful though; all colleges on these lists will not be considered. Some online colleges are scams with exorbitant fees and low academic credibility.

Databases that help you find the right programs for your interests include, online, and

 Also, Use the Institute of Educational Sciences’ College Navigator to check credentials. This tool has important statistics that can help you determine if a college is credible. 

Always ask questions concerning the schools you are considering

Do not take a college at its word when it claims to be accredited. Many colleges are “accredited” by ungenuine organizations. Use the College Navigator to verify the claim that the college is accredited.

Also, be aware of what type of accreditation the college has. “Regional” accrediting organizations are considered more reputable than “national” accrediting organizations.

Visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to determine your school of accreditation.

Compare how frequently students from the college you are interested in graduate. If students default frequently, this means that they need to get their degree too high, to get their jobs after graduating, or to experience some combination of these two problems.

Similarly, check to see how frequently graduate students. Low graduation rate could mean your prospective school is hostile to its students.

Consider a variety of colleges and choose the best

Once you’ve found some reputable colleges, figure out which ones would be best for you. Use the College Navigator as we instructed before to determine which colleges will be the most affordable for you.

Research whether the college specializes in what you want to study and if that program is strong.

Don’t completely base your decisions entirely off tuition, because some colleges can provide more financial aid than others. The College Navigator allows you to really ascertain the average net cost of tuition at universities.

Think about the resources available at each school. Is the school nearby, so you can visit the campus if you need help with anything?

Does the school offer job placement services upon graduation?

Typically associate’s degrees give students hands-on experience with their occupation, which can be hard to do online.

This is one advantage of on-campus programs over online programs. Ask what resources the program has and whether it provides internship opportunities.

Also, see what current and former students say. You can find reviews written by students who have experience with the colleges you are considering at websites such as Student Review and College Prowler.

Review the website for the department you are applying to join and see who teaches what there. Have the professors published academic works?

Do they have impressive professional experience? Compare the faculty at the respective universities you are interested in getting a sense for how well their programs are.

Starting out your program

Apply to your schools of choice

Recently quite a lot of colleges have accepted online applications. You can find these by visiting the school’s website.

Locate your school’s online application, complete the application and submit. Also, endeavour to print a hard copy.

Apply to multiple universities and compare the financial aid packages that they offer.

Fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“FAFSA”)

If you would need a student loan, then you could fill out your FASFA. Filling it out every year is the first step for obtaining financial aid. You can complete the FAFSA online or download a printable version.

After completing the FAFSA, you will receive a report describing what types of federal financial aid are available to you. You may then accept or reject each loan or grant offered individually.

But I don’t advise you to go for a student loan. It usually leaves a ton of debts on you. You could rather go for a scholarship or if you are working, you could ask your employer to help foot your bills through school while you work for him.

Wait for your acceptance letter

Once you are accepted at a school, you will receive an acceptance letter in the mail and possibly via e-mail. Follow any instructions included in the letter or any informational packet.

Choose your classes

When choosing classes, be sure to consult with your guidance counsellor and check your degree programs listing of required classes. Review the department website to see what professors are the most experienced.

You can also visit to see what past students have thought of your professor.

Acquiring Your Associate Degree

Begin classes

Make adequate time in your schedule to devote to class and schoolwork. If done properly, getting an associate degree should be a quick process.

Don’t get distracted with a lot of other pieces of stuff. You really need to give some quality time to your school.

Be intentional and Stay disciplined

Online programs often allow you to progress at your own pace. In such situations, it might be easy to get distracted. Try to treat your online education like you would a traditional education.

  • You should try to allow a certain amount of time per day to your education. Plan to finish your courses by a particular date and draw up a schedule that will allow you to meet your goal.
  • The good news is that, while popular opinion suggests that a disproportionate number of online students do not complete their programs, evidence shows that this is not true. Online students graduate at a rate similar to that of community college students. However, online students take longer to graduate.

Breaks are unnecessary now

If you are less than a half-time student for over six months, your federal student loans might go into repayment. This might mean that you will need to work more to support yourself, leaving you with even less time to complete your education.

This spiral can extend your education indefinitely and prevent you from graduating.

  • Contact your lender if your loan goes go into repayment. If you are unemployed, you might claim a deferment. In special circumstances, you can also get temporary forbearance, during which you won’t be required to pay, but the loan will accumulate interest.

The Highest Paying Associate Degrees

Earning an online associate degree can open the door to a wide variety of high-paying careers.
In fact, it is most profitable in some career paths to earn an associate degree instead of a bachelor’s degree.

Here is a list of the top 10 highest-paying positions for individuals who hold an online associate degree.

This list should provide you with a starting point as you research online associate degree options.

Computer Engineering$41,000$77,300
Management Information Systems$43,600$76,400
Construction Management$44,500$73,400
Electrical Engineering$42,200$70,800
Electronics & Communications Engineering$43,100$70,700
Dental Hygiene$62,100$69,100
Computer Programming$42,900$68,100
Occupational Health and Safety$52,700$68,700


Devoting time to finishing your associate degree might mean that you need to take some time off work.

Remember though, you will earn more once you are finished. The quicker you graduate, the quicker you’ll be able to claim a larger paycheck.


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