Is an Associate’s Degree an Undergraduate Degree?

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If you are a high school student looking to continue your education after graduation, you have probably heard of bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and PhDs, but you may not know much about associate’s degrees.

Is an Associate’s Degree an Undergraduate Degree

An associate degree can be earned after completing a 2 year undergraduate college program.

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Understanding Associate’s Degrees

An associate’s degree is an undergraduate degree. An associate degree program typically aims to equip students with academic know-how and technical skills in their chosen field so they can pursue careers in that area.

It typically takes 2 years as a full-time student to complete an associate’s degree. After completing it, you may transfer the credits to a bachelor’s degree program or seek employment that only requires an associate’s degree.

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When it comes to enrolling in the best online associate’s degree programs, you can do so by applying to a community college, an online university, a junior college, or an affiliated university.

The admission requirements are usually quite straightforward. Typically, you need to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent accreditation.

Understanding Undergraduate Degrees

undergraduate degree students in library

An undergraduate degree is a credential that people pursue after completing their high school education. There are two types of undergraduate degrees: associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees. These are typically offered by liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and universities.

Comparing Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degrees

If you are struggling to choose between the two types of undergraduate courses of study, knowing their differences can help you make a decision that will serve your best interest.

Time Commitment

An associate’s degree can typically be completed in 2 years, whereas a bachelor’s degree is usually earned in 4 years, depending on the specialization, the major, and the institution.

Cost of Education

student taking an associate degree

In most cases, a bachelor’s degree costs more than an associate’s degree. Still, it must be noted that a bachelor’s degree usually reaps more returns than an associate’s degree.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduates with a bachelor’s have median weekly earnings that are $427 higher than associate degree graduates. This is because an associate’s degree usually offers preparation for entry-level roles, while a bachelor’s degree might land you a more specialized, higher-paying role.


Typically, the coursework for bachelor’s students is far greater than that for associate students. A bachelor’s degree usually requires 120 credits, while an associate’s degree typically requires the completion of 60 credits.

Choosing the Path That Is Right for You

university students talking in a classroom

There is no one right decision when it comes to choosing what type of education to pursue. That said, here are a few factors that are important to take into account when you are making your pick:

Career Goals and Aspirations

If you want to quickly enter the workforce in a technical or vocational role, an associate’s degree might be the better option. It is often ideal for skilled trades and fields, such as nursing.


It’s a good idea to think about how flexible you want your educational journey to be. If you are unsure of your long-term goals, you might want to start with an associate’s degree because it can be a safe stepping stone. If you are confident about your chosen path, a bachelor’s degree might be a better long-term investment.

Personal Commitments

If you are juggling family, work, or other commitments, a bachelor’s degree might not be manageable at this point in your life. In this case, you might want to take the simpler route that an associate degree offers.

Get Started!

students getting an undergraduate program

An associate’s degree is an undergraduate degree, but it is not the same as a bachelor’s degree. Normally, an associate’s degree is earned in a 2 year undergraduate program and a bachelor’s degree is earned in a 4 year undergraduate program.

Both qualifications have their pros and cons, and there is no one-fits-all approach to education. Choosing between the two undergraduate degrees depends on your personal circumstances.

Are you looking to learn about the benefits of an associate degree versus a diploma or whether you can teach with an associate’s degree? We’ve got you covered in the linked posts!

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Isaac Scott
WRITTEN BY Isaac Scott

Isaac has a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. His primary focus is accredited schools offering degrees online or in a hybrid format.