Associate of Applied Science (AAS Degree) | CollegeAtlas (2022)

An Associate of Applied Science, AAS Degree, is a two-year undergraduate degree similar to the Associate of Arts (AA) and the Associate of Science (AS) degree. The AAS is an associate degree and is offered at most two-year community colleges, technical colleges, and vocational schools. It is also offered at some four-year colleges and universities.

What’s the difference between the AA, AS, and AAS degree?

The Associate of Applied Science is designed for students who intend to enter the workforce immediately following graduation from their program. Alternatively, the Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS) Degrees, are designed primarily as transfer degrees.

As most students go directly into their career field after graduating with their AAS, most schools that offer these programs require their students to choose an area of emphasis or specialty early on in the program. This allows the students to be adequately prepared for entry-level positions within their desired career field before graduation.

Earn Your Associate of Applied Science Degree Online. You May Qualify For $6,095 in Grants!

Are AAS credits transferable?

While some students who earn an associate degree may transfer to a four-year college or university to pursue a bachelor’s degree, it’s important to note that some AAS courses are not granted transfer equivalency credit, nor will they fulfill the general education requirements of a bachelor’s degree program. If a four-year college degree is in your future, it is more advantageous to earn an AA or AS degree from a regionally accredited community college or a community college that has established articulation agreements with four-year institutions.

Benefits of Earning an Associate of Applied Science Degree

Many of the benefits associated with earning an associate of applied science degree are the same as those for other associate degrees, but the biggest benefit of earning an AAS is that it is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways of preparing for a career.

(Video) Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science? Which is right for you?

Typically, a bachelor’s degree is the best preparation for entry-level career positions. However, when you take into account that an associate of applied science degree is far less expensive and that the programs teach real-world skills that are immediately applicable in the workplace, the argument could be made that an AAS is a better option in some situations. These degrees can be particularly valuable in fields like IT and computer science where employers are less concerned about your degree and more concerned about your skills set.

Popular AAS Fields of Study

  • Accounting
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Business Administration
  • Computer Support and Operations
  • Computer Information Systems and Network Technologies
  • Computerized Drafting and Design
  • Criminal Justice
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Digital Art
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Fashion Business
  • Fitness and Recreation Management
  • Human Services
  • Individualized Studies
  • Medical Administrative Assistant
  • Nursing
  • Paralegal Studies
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Polysomnographic Technology
  • Respiratory Care
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Theater Technology
  • Tourism and Hospitality Management
  • Veterinary Technology
  • Web Design

Popular Associate of Applied Science Jobs

You will have earned the degree minimum for these jobs if you earn your associate in applied science.

  • Registered Nurse (RN) – $67,480 per year
  • Physical Therapist Assistant – $42,980 per year
  • Certified Medical Assistant – $30,590 per year
  • Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) – $54,520 per year
  • Administrative Assistant – $36,500 per year
  • Dental Hygienist – $72,330 per year
  • Web Developer – $64,970 per year
  • Chemical Technician – $44,660 per year
  • Geological And Petroleum Technician – $55,610 per year
  • Architecture and Engineering Drafters – $52,720 per year

Earn Your Associate of Applied Science Degree Online. You May Qualify For $6,095 in Grants!

(Video) Associate in Applied Science Pathways

Associate of Applied Science Program and Degree Requirements

Many of the requirements for earning an AAS are the same as those required for an AA or AS. However because an AAS is intended to prepare students to go directly into the workforce, these programs typically require the completion of 60 to 80 credit hours instead of 48 to 60 credit hours. Additionally, a much greater emphasis is placed on technical and career training throughout the program. Most programs require students to complete coursework in general education, technical specialization, and general electives and are typically required to earn a minimum number of credits in each area. Most schools also require students to maintain an overall GPA of 2.0 or higher in order to graduate.

General Education Requirements

General education courses are designed to help students master basic skills that are important for both personal and professional development. General education courses will help students to develop critical thinking, problems solving, communication, and foundational computing skills, as well as the ability to efficiently process quantitative data. Areas of study typically include computer literacy, mathematics, communications (written and oral), and social sciences.

Technical Specialization

The technical specialization component of the AAS is designed to ensure students acquire the professional skills, knowledge, and experience required to become proficient and employable in their desired career field or discipline. Courses in the technical specialization are determined by a student career path, field of study and discipline. All technical courses specified in the selected program of study must be completed to graduate.

General Electives

The general electives component of an AAS program provides students with the opportunity to select courses of professional or personal interest. Unlike the general education and technical specialization components, students are typically at complete liberty to select any elective courses they want. However, smart students will sit down with a school guidance counselor to determine which elective courses will best support their desired career path.

Online Associate of Applied Science Degree Programs

Associate of Applied Science in Accounting

Given that much, if not all, of its course curriculum, can be hosted on the internet, the Associate of Applied Science in Accounting is one of the most popular of all available online degree programs. Not only is this program extremely flexible, it provides students a very useful and marketable skill set.

(Video) College Life | Associate Of Arts(AA) vs Associate of Science(AS)

Topics covered in the AAS in Accounting online degree program include basics of accounting, financial analysis, economics, and communication. All subject matter addressed in this program can easily be performed and tested via any Internet-enabled computer terminal. Also, if you earn your AAS in Accounting from a regionally accredited institution you’ll (1) be qualified for entry-level career positions and (2) be able to transfer to a 4-year university to pursue a bachelor’s degree if you choose.

Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration

This flexible degree program is ideally suited for aspiring business professionals and managers who are seeking to increase their skill set or are looking to position themselves for entry-level managerial, operations, finance, bookkeeping or other business-related positions.

Typical topics covered in this program include accounting, finance, human resources management, communication, product management, organizational management, small business entrepreneurship and business management.

Earn Your Associate of Applied Science Degree Online. You May Qualify For $6,095 in Grants!

Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice

This degree program is primarily designed for working adults and aspiring career professionals who want to advance their current career or transition into a career in law enforcement and criminal justice. The online AAS in Criminal Justice covers a large variety of topics including criminal interviewing and interrogations, criminal law, constitutional law, terrorism, criminal evidence and procedure, corrections, and several other related subject areas.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems

This is one of the most popular online associate degrees available. The AAS in Computer Information Systems (CIS) program is designed for working professionals and adults who are interested in acquiring the skills necessary to launch a career in information technology (IT) or positioning themselves for advancement opportunities in their current career.

(Video) Associate of Applied Science Degree

Common topics addressed in this program include wireless network systems installations, hardware troubleshooting, software analysis and basic programming, data management and web development.


Featured Schools that Offer Associate Degrees

Associate of Applied Science (AAS Degree) | CollegeAtlas (2)Request InfoSouthern New Hampshire University

You have goals. Southern New Hampshire University can help you get there. Whether you need a bachelor's degree to get into a career or want a master's degree to move up in your current career, SNHU has an online program for you. Find your degree from over 200 online programs. Learn More >

(Video) Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Allied Health


Is an Associate's of Applied Science worth it? ›

Benefits of Earning an Associate of Applied Science Degree

Many students appreciate that they can move into the workforce quickly rather than spend four, six or even more years pursuing a higher-level degree. Second, with a larger pool of institutions offering them, these degrees tend to be easier to access.

Is Applied Science a good degree? ›

An A.A.S. degree is one of the best associate degrees for students who would like to start their career directly out of college. This type of associate degree is also excellent for students who seek a non-routine, hands-on, professional occupation.

What is better Associate of Applied Science or associate of science? ›

An Associate of Science (AS) degree is a 2-year degree offered by most community colleges and some 4- year colleges. The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree prepares graduates to enter a career immediately after graduation and have been considered terminal degrees.

Is an associate degree enough? ›

While most fields have jobs for those with associate degree, some fields offer fairly well-paying jobs with just an associate degree. For example, students who earn an associate degree in radiation technology and medical imaging have many job opportunities.

Will an associate's degree get me a job? ›

While it's true that many jobs require a bachelor's or master's degree, the reality is that associate degrees can open many job opportunities, too.

What can I do with applied science? ›

The vast majority of Applied Science students gain careers in laboratory analysis, diagnostic radiography, chemistry, biomedical science, marine biology, physiotherapy, forensics, research, teaching or nursing.

What does a degree in applied science mean? ›

The applied sciences are a general classification for the real-world application of scientific knowledge and research. It's a broad term that encompasses many fields of study, ranging from biology to engineering. Applied sciences are mostly used to solve problems and make systems and technology more efficient.

What are 2 year degrees called? ›

An associate degree is a two-year degree typically offered at community colleges, technical colleges, and career colleges. However, some four-year universities offer them as well. Examples of some associate degrees include Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS).

What is the best Associate's degree? ›

Highest Paying 2-Year Degrees
RankMajorDegree Type
Rank:1Computer Science (CS) & MathematicsDegree Type:Associates
2Nondestructive TestingDegree Type:Associates
3Radiation TherapyDegree Type:Associates
4Software EngineeringDegree Type:Associates
21 more rows

Is an Associate's degree better than nothing? ›

Are Associates Degrees Worth Anything? Yes, an associates degree is worth it and may be a wise investment for many students. According to the Center on Education and the Workforce survey, associate degree graduates earn on average around $400,000 more during their careers than those with just a high school diploma.

What is the difference between an AA and an AS? ›

Main Differences Between A.A. and A.S.

Associate in Arts (A.A) provides a wide range of liberal arts courses to equip students with skills needed for many careers, while Associate in Science (A.S.) is the natural sciences and mathematics-oriented degree that prepares them for graduate school.

Should you put associate's degree on resume? ›

You should only list your associate degree if it is relevant, otherwise it wouldn't work in your favor. Including it relevant associate degree on your resume shows your potential employer that you are really interested in that particular field of study.

What are the disadvantages of an associate's degree? ›

  • You may be competing with people with bachelor's degrees for the same jobs. ...
  • Your earnings may be lower than that for people with a bachelor's degree.
  • Getting into managerial or supervisory positions may be difficult without a higher degree.

What is better a associate or bachelor degree? ›

It pays to advance from an associate degree to a bachelor's degree because a bachelor's degree is more desirable, and often required, by many employers. That reality is reflected in a lower unemployment rate and higher average wages for those with a 4-year degree, compared to those with an associate degree.

Which associate's degree pays most? ›

What Are the Highest-Paying Associate Degrees?
  1. Radiation Therapy. ...
  2. Nuclear Technology. ...
  3. Nuclear Medicine. ...
  4. Dental Hygiene. ...
  5. Web Development. ...
  6. Diagnostic Medical Sonography. ...
  7. Aerospace Engineering. ...
  8. Electrical Engineering.

What is the easiest associates degree to get? ›

Easiest Online Associate Degrees
  • Associate in Liberal Arts or General Education.
  • Associate in Accounting.
  • Associate in Healthcare Management.
  • Associate in Marketing.
  • Associate in Business Administration.
  • Associate in Fashion Merchandising.
  • Associate in Family and Child Therapy.
  • Associate in Computer Programming.
28 Aug 2022

Can I be successful with an associate's degree? ›

You can build a prosperous career without pursuing higher education. But a degree certainly doesn't hurt your chances of landing a high-paying job—and that includes an associate's degree. An associate's degree can lay the foundation for a financially rewarding career.

What is applied science example? ›

Medical sciences such as medical microbiology are examples of applied sciences. These sciences apply biology toward medical knowledge and inventions, although not necessarily medical technology, which is developed more specifically through biomedicine or biomedical engineering.

What's the difference between applied science and science degree? ›

Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degrees focus on providing hands-on experiences and incorporating job-related skills into the classroom, whereas B.A. or B.S. degrees may have a more theoretical focus.

What skills do you gain from applied science? ›

the ability to solve problems. the skills of project-based research, development and presentation. the ability to apply mathematical and ICT skills. the ability to apply learning in vocational contexts.

What does an associate in applied science mean? ›

Definitions of Associate in Applied Science. an associate degree in applied science. synonyms: AAS. type of: associate, associate degree. a degree granted by a two-year college on successful completion of the undergraduates course of studies.

What is an associate of science degree good for? ›

Why Pursue an Associate Degree in Science? An associate degree in science can prepare you for a career in the growing and exciting fields of cybersecurity, data analytics and information technology. Perhaps you want to start your career as an accountant or business professional.

What does AAS stand for? ›

All acronyms represent different names for associate degrees. AA stands for Associate of Arts, AS stands for Associate of Science, and AAS stands for Associate of Applied Science.

What is the lowest degree in college? ›

An associate degree is designed to take two years for a full-time student to complete, requiring 60 credit hours or more, depending on the program. Associate degrees are typically offered at community colleges and some universities.

What is a 4 year degree called? ›

Designed to be completed in 4 years, bachelor's degree programs provide in-depth knowledge and skills across a wide variety of career paths to help you stand out in today's competitive job market. Bachelor's degrees are in high demand.

What is a 8 year degree called? ›

A doctorate degree typically takes anywhere from four to six years to complete. On average, a Ph. D. is earned within eight years. The length of time it takes to earn your doctorate is based on numerous factors.

What jobs make 6 figures with an associate's degree? ›

24 Highest Paying Associate Degree Jobs
  • Air Traffic Controller. Salary: $124,540. ...
  • Computer Programmer. Salary: $82,240. ...
  • Radiation Therapist. Salary: $80,570. ...
  • Nuclear Technician. Salary: $80,370. ...
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologist. Salary: $75,660. ...
  • Dental Hygienist. Salary: $74,070. ...
  • Registered Nurse. Salary: $70,000. ...
  • Web Developer.

What are the easiest degrees to get? ›

The 16 Easiest College Majors – 2022 Rankings
  • Psychology.
  • Criminal Justice.
  • English.
  • Education.
  • Religious Studies.
  • Social Work.
  • Sociology.
  • Communications.
11 Sept 2022

Can you make 100k with an associate's degree? ›

An associate's degree lets individuals work in a hospital setting or a cancer-treatment center where they monitor the equipment, record a patient's reaction and provide documentation for the treatment session. pay can be up to around $100,000.

Is an associate's degree a big deal? ›

Earning your associate's degree can make a significant impact on your life, but it doesn't have to take a significant amount of time. Most associate's degree programs can be completed in two years or less. This option has the ability to save you time and money compared to a four-year bachelor's program.

Is getting a associate degree hard? ›

But for a poor student, getting an associate's degree can be hard, especially for high school graduates unprepared for college and need to take developmental or remedial courses before becoming eligible to take college-level courses.

Does an associate's degree count as undergraduate? ›

Both bachelor's degrees and associate's degrees are categorized as “undergraduate” degrees, meaning that they are both open to students as soon as they complete secondary level education.

How many years is an associate degree? ›

An associate degree is often referred to as a “two-year degree,” because it typically takes about two years to earn one. You'll find associate degree options at a variety of post-secondary institutions, including vocational colleges, community colleges, and traditional colleges and universities.

What is the difference between AA as and AAA AAS degrees? ›

In addition to an applied science associate, students can also pursue an AAA. An AAA degree means applied associate of arts. An associate of applied arts is similar to an applied science associate. However, this degree usually leads to an entry-level job in an arts and humanities field.

What is the correct way to write Associate's degree? ›

Academic degrees: Either say "bachelor of arts" or "master of arts" (no apostrophes), or bachelor's degree or master's degree (not bachelor's or master's of arts). Associate degree has no apostrophe or "s"

What is an associate of science degree good for? ›

Why Pursue an Associate Degree in Science? An associate degree in science can prepare you for a career in the growing and exciting fields of cybersecurity, data analytics and information technology. Perhaps you want to start your career as an accountant or business professional.

What is the usual purpose of an Associate's of applied science degree quizlet? ›

An Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees enable students to transfer to baccalaureate colleges and universities, Associate of Applied Science degree's prepare students to go right into the workforce in a professional/technical field.

What is the best Associate's degree to get? ›

What Are the Highest-Paying Associate Degrees?
  • Electrical Engineering. ...
  • Aeronautics. ...
  • MRI Technology. ...
  • Radiology Technology. ...
  • Respiratory Therapy. ...
  • Occupational Therapy. ...
  • Mechanical Engineering. ...
  • Network Engineering. Network engineers design, administer, and maintain local and wide area network systems.

Whats the difference between an AS and AAS? ›

While a student in an AS or AA degree program will get all their general curriculum classes “out of the way” before they enter their bachelor's degree program, the typical AAA or AAS student will earn a degree with a narrower range of classes that directly support their major.

Does an Associate's degree matter? ›

According to the BLS, people with associate degrees have better prospects for employment and earnings than those who have taken some college courses but haven't received a degree. If you didn't do quite as well in high school as you now realize you could have, an associate degree program is a great starting point.

What is the minimum number of units needed to obtain an Associate's degree? ›

Minimum Standards

In accordance with commonly held standards, the minimum requirement for an associate degree is 60 semester or 90 quarter credits. It is understood that institutions may use other terms (e.g., hours, courses) to express equivalent student accomplishment.

What is the first step in choosing a major? ›

Five Steps to Selecting a Major
  1. Step 1: Assess Yourself. Your first step is to do some self-assessment. ...
  2. Step 2: Gather Information and Explore Options. Examine the majors available at universities. ...
  3. Step 3: Evaluate and Make Your Major Decision. ...
  4. Step 4: Take Action. ...
  5. Step 5: Go For It!

What is the immediate purpose of degree programs which allow students to earn degrees? ›

What is the immediate purpose of degree programs which allow students to earn degrees like the Associate of Applied Science degree? they track data that keeps the healthcare industry abreast of which cancers are most prevalent across a variety of demographics.


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