Both the associate of arts degree (A.A.) and the associate of science degree (A.S.) signify that a student has completed coursework comparable to the first few years of a bachelor's degree.
Both degrees require roughly the same number of credit hours, and both degrees are transferable to a four-year college or university to earn a bachelor's degree.
A.A. and A.S. degrees are also both equally effective at adequately preparing students for the next step in their education. They are both primarily transfer degrees, with neither requiring specific technical training.
However, a few key differences exist as to the considerations a student should take into account when deciding on which postsecondary education to further pursue.
Associate of Arts Degrees
An A.A. degree typically includes a liberal arts and science background, with greater importance placed on the humanities. It shows that a student learned about:
- Social sciences
- Performing arts
- Fine arts in general
A student seeking a bachelor's degree in any of those fields should seek an A.A.
An associate of arts degree is the most general postsecondary degree. Therefore, it is also the most easily transferable.
Associate of Science Degrees
Similarly, an A.S. degree also includes a liberal arts and science background, but it places a larger emphasis on the fields of math and science. Most students who earn an associate of science degree go on to pursue a B.S. in a science-related field.
Compared to an A.A., an A.S. usually has fewer general education requirements.
For further reading, check out Everything You Need to Know About an Associate of Arts Degree.