What Is Required for an Associate’s Degree?

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When considering the benefits of getting an associate’s degree and how to earn one, it’s a good idea to look at both the requirements to begin a program and what it takes to complete the program.

What Is Required for an Associate’s Degree

Knowledge is power, and having this information can help prepare you for your academic journey.

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In this article, we’ll explore what to expect from your academic program. We’ll also show you how to find the best online associate’s degrees, as well as programs at brick-and-mortar colleges.

What Does It Take to Get into Community College?

students studying in a community college library

To get into a community college, you typically need to have a high school diploma or GED. Many colleges that offer associate’s degrees have open admissions policies, which means they’ll accept almost any high school graduate or GED-earner who completes an application.

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Some programs will require you to take placement tests before starting to determine which level your courses will start at.

Residency Requirements

To receive the best tuition rates, you may need to meet certain residency requirements, such as living in the school’s state or county. You can learn more about these requirements on the tuition page of a community college’s website.

If you’re struggling to pay for school out-of-pocket, you can apply for financial aid through the school, private lenders, or the federal government.

What Does It Take to Earn an Associate’s Degree?

college students taking an associates degree

You need to take certain courses and earn a specific number of credits from those courses to earn an associate degree. Some programs will require you to take specific courses, and others will allow you to choose from a wider range of classes in a certain category.

For example, a student majoring in biology may be required to take an introductory biology course, such as BIO 101, but when it comes to math classes, they may choose between algebra, statistics, or geometry.

Credits and GPA

Most associate’s degree programs require the completion of 60 credits (20 courses), but the exact amount required varies. It’s a good idea to meet regularly with your academic advisor to make sure you’re on track for your degree.

Typically, your program will require you to meet a minimum GPA requirement to qualify for your degree. Oftentimes, this is a 2.0 on a scale from 0.0 to 4.0. This GPA requirement may vary depending on your school and program. If you dip below the GPA required to pass, you may be dropped from your program.

Internships and Capstones

community college students getting associate’s degree program

As part of your associate’s degree program, you may have to complete an internship or capstone project. This may involve working with outside entities, like businesses, research groups, or professional associations.

Not all programs require this, so it’s important to verify your program’s requirements with your academic advisor.

Is a Certificate Necessary?

What about a certificate versus an associate’s degree? A certificate is typically more narrow in focus and requires fewer classes.

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Certificates may also require either on-the-job or educational experience to be admitted to a program that awards them. They may benefit you depending on your program and career path.

How Can I Prepare for My Associate’s Degree Program?

associates degree students studying in class

We recommend reviewing the degree completion requirements for the program you’re interested in. Often, schools will publish an outline of each degree program’s academic pathway with a course catalog for electives.

By researching your program’s resources, you will have a better understanding of what your options are and what you can expect. There may be different tracks or academic pathways you can take depending on what you want to specialize in, so you can weigh these options before applying.

It’s also important to consider how much time you’ll need to complete your program. To finish in 2 years, you’ll likely need to be enrolled in about 15 credit hours per semester. This may limit your ability to work full-time and balance other responsibilities.

Where Can I Find Associate’s Degree Programs?

student finding associate’s degree programs online

You can find online associate’s degree programs easily on MyCollegeGuide! With the “My Degree Finder” tool, you may narrow down your college choices and find your dream program.

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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.