AA Degree

AA Degree

The AA Degree, or Associate of Arts Degree, is an undergrad degree program that leads to a diploma after two years, though the individual student’s schedule determines how long the degree takes to complete. Even those students who don’t have the ability to go to school full time can still achieve an Associate’s Degree by attending school on a part time basis.

There are also different program types, like accelerated degrees, which allow students to finish an AA Degree in a much shorter timeframe. In some cases, an Associate Degree can be achieved in as little as a year.

Types of Associate Degrees

Just as Bachelors’ Degrees are divided into two main categories – arts and sciences – Associate Degrees are as well. Degrees are available in a wide range of academic disciplines, and most are geared toward preparing students to immediately enter a chosen career upon graduation.

An AA Degree requires a major, just like a Bachelor’s Degree program. Students select a major and take courses in that major, as well as core curriculum courses and electives, in order to complete the degree. Associate of Arts degrees are available in a variety of fields, though the most popular choices are fine arts, general studies, IT and English.

Though many students decide to pursue an Associate of Arts Degree in order to go straight into a career after graduating, many also choose to eventually go on to complete a Bachelor’s Degree eventually. They may take some time off between finishing an Associates and going for their Bachelor’s, but they enter an Associate program with intentions to one day transfer to a four year college or university.

Colleges for AA Degrees

AA Degree

The majority of AA Degrees are offered by community and junior colleges, though there are some state colleges and universities that offer both Associate and Bachelor Degree programs. Junior and community colleges generally focus on fast-tracking students into technical and trade careers.

Associate Degree programs help students obtain the minimum education required to be successful in the workforce on their chosen career path. Associate of Arts Degrees let people pursue a career they’ll love without spending four years in post-secondary education. They also cut down on the overall expense associated with obtaining a college degree.

Even if you don’t have the money to immediately go to a four year college, you can get a start on your Bachelor’s Degree by completing an AA Degree. Additionally, those students whose academic performance in high school wasn’t so great have the chance to prove themselves during an Associate of Arts Degree program. Strong performance in a community or junior college can make transferring to a four year college or university easier in the future.

Associate of Arts Degree Requirements

Every school that offers an AA Degree sets its own program requirements. That includes the requirements for admission as well as those for earning a degree in any particular major or academic discipline. To know exactly the courses required for earning an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science Degree in any specific field, you’ll need to consult the literature of admissions staff at the college you wish to attend. That being said, there are some general rules of thumb regarding the AA Degrees available. The typical program consists of the following, or a similar program.

  • General Education Courses – make up about 28 semester hours of the AA Degree.

Courses include:

  • English Composition – 2 semesters
  • Social Sciences – 1 semester
  • Natural Sciences – 1 semester
  • Cultural Studies – 2 semesters
  • Quantitative Reasoning – 1 semester
  • Fine Arts – 1 semester


  • Requirements for Your Major – encompass about 21 credit hours of the degree program. The courses required will vary based on the major you select. As an example, here are the courses required for completing a Fine or Performing Arts AA Degree. You would be required to complete 21 credit hours in the following academic disciplines.
  • Art
  • Theater
  • Music
  • Humanities
  • Comparative Arts


  • Elective Requirements – usually total at least 15 credit hours in any AA Degree program. In Associate Degree programs, students are usually encouraged to select electives that complement and enhance their chosen major. In other words, continuing with the example of a Fine or Performing Arts AA Degree, electives may include art, theater, music, or the humanities.

Choosing Electives Wisely

Students completing a Bachelor’s Degree have a number of electives to work with and therefore have the chance to learn many different subjects or take courses in a range of areas of interest to them personally. AA Degree students, on the other hand, must use their time and energy wisely in order to complete their degree within a specific timeframe.

Many students choose electives in the same manner regardless of what degree they are pursing. Electives give you the chance to learn something in an area not directly related to your major and can be the opportunity to further a personal interest.

The electives you select may also help you prepare for a more focused or targeted career trajectory, as well. For example, if you intend to work in theater set design and production, electives give you the chance to learn more about that area of theater which you can put to use in your career following graduation.

Career Prospects with an AA Degree

While certain professional careers require a minimum education of a Bachelor’s Degree, there are many jobs in the employment market that still ask for an Associate’s Degree as the minimum education requirement. In deciding if an AA Degree is right for you, you should consider what career you wish to pursue and learn about the education expectations for working in that field.

Most students who get an AA Degree do so because it serves their purposes and will open up the right career opportunities for them in the future. As previously mentioned, an Associate of Arts Degree can also be a stepping stone to eventually completing a Bachelor’s, as most, if not all, credits from the Associate’s will transfer to the Bachelor’s Degree program.

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