Those looking to change careers, make a higher salary, or gain a promotion should consider earning an AA degree. It’s also valuable for those who think they might want to eventually earn a bachelor’s degree. An Associate of Arts degree, or associates of arts degree online, can prepare students for a host of meaningful and in-demand careers.
Those best suited for success in the job market can think critically and creatively, communicate well, and adapt quickly. And it’s these very skills that an associate of arts degree online can provide to enhance your career opportunities.
Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about an AA degree. And find out if pursuing one might be the best next step for you.
What type of work can someone do with an AA degree?
The great thing about a degree like this is that it’s incredibly versatile. You can study a number of disciplines in the liberal arts, business, and social sciences. Below are some of the skills, opportunities, and types of knowledge you can gain by earning an associate of arts degree online.
- Strong communication skills (written and oral) for professional settings
- The honing of critical thinking, logic, deductive, and inductive reasoning skills
- Interpersonal development through collaborative work with student peers and faculty
- Familiarity with a number of disciplines, including history, literature, the arts, the social sciences, business, the sciences, and more
- An opportunity to explore your various interests to determine what area (or areas) are most fascinating to you
- Readiness to continue with your higher education and earn a bachelor’s degree (and more)
- The opportunity to engage diverse viewpoints and expand your understanding of various phenomena
- The experience of learning with other like-minded peers and accomplished faculty in a setting committed to the pursuit of knowledge, intellectual growth, and personal development
As a result of the skills and knowledge acquired in an associate of arts online degree, these careers become available:
- Preschool Teacher
- Engineering Technician
- Accounting Clerk
- Administrative Assistant
- Air Traffic Controller
- Radiation Therapist
- Dental Hygienist
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
This is only a sample of the many careers you can pursue with an associate of arts online degree. Again, it also serves as a next step for earning a bachelor’s degree, which enables even more career opportunities. Ultimately, an AA degree is valuable because it provides the opportunity to make more money and pursue more careers.
If you are looking for more job security and mobility, a higher salary and better health benefits, consider earning your Associate of Arts degree online at Central Christian College of Kansas.
What are the requirements to enter an AA degree program?
To enroll in an associate of arts online degree you need a high school diploma or a GED. Additionally, you will need to fill out an application, which may include some or all of the following:
- Basic applicant info (name, address, country of residence, etc.)
- Personal essay (or essays) responding to one or more prompts
- An application fee (some schools may waive this)
- Letters of recommendation from teachers, managers, or others who can speak about your experience and potential
The exact requirements will vary from program to program. Therefore, it’s important to read all the requirements closely. And once you’re enrolled, you’ll need to complete 60 credit hours in order to graduate with an associate of arts online.
Will an AA degree program allow me to focus on a specific area?
In an associate of arts online, you have the option to take a wide range of courses. This is ideal if you don’t have a focus and would like to familiarize yourself with several disciplines. However, some programs do let you focus on a specific area or discipline.
If you’re an office clerk, then you might want to focus on accounting or business management. If you’re an administrative assistant at a hospital, then you might want to focus on healthcare management. Programs will have slightly different track offerings depending on their specialties.
For example, Central Christian College of Kansas offers a number of tracks with its AA online degree program. These include:
- Healthcare Management
- Business Management
How can I know if an AA degree program is a good fit for me?
It’s important to have a good sense of your professional and career goals. If you want to earn a bachelor’s degree eventually, then an associate of arts online can help you do that.
It’s also important to be aware of other factors when researching programs. Below are factors to keep in mind:
- Is there a certain track or area of study that you want to focus on?
- Does the school seem like a good cultural fit?
- Do you have your high school diploma or GED?
- How much does the program cost?
- How do you plan to pay for it?
- What type of program would work best for you (e.g. traditional, online, hybrid, etc.)?
- Will you be working part-time or full-time as you attend the program?
- Would it be better to earn an AS or an AA degree?
What is the difference between an AS and an AA degree?
Both an AS and AA degree are very similar. They offer you a chance to take a range of courses in the liberal arts, social sciences, and sciences. They also both can serve as a stepping stone to obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
The major difference has to do with the types of courses you’ll take. An associate of arts online has a stronger focus on the humanities and arts. An AS (associate of science) degree, on the other hand, has a stronger focus on the sciences and mathematics.
Do you enjoy reading about literature and history? Would you like to develop stronger writing and oral communication skills? Are you interested in education, marketing, or the creative arts?
If so, then an AA degree might be a better fit for you.
Do you enjoy solving math and logic problems and studying biology, chemistry, or physics? Do you like working with numbers and analyzing data? Are you interested in economics, scientific research, or engineering?
If so, then an AS degree might be a better fit for you.
Remember you can still enter fields in the sciences or the arts regardless of your degree (AA or AS). It’s just a matter of preference. Both prepare you for a number of careers and for continued education within a bachelor’s program.
What different program formats are available to earn an AA degree?
Full-Time Face-to-Face/Hybrid Programs
Many students opt to earn their online associate of arts degree in a full-time program, which usually takes about two years. These programs can be completed face-to-face, meaning students attend campus for all of their coursework. Or, they can be completed through both face-to-face and online courses (a “hybrid” program).
Part-Time Face-to-Face/Hybrid Programs
These are similar to both face-to-face and hybrid programs but they require less class time per week. Since they require less class time, they can take longer than two years to complete. The length of the program will depend on how “part-time” you choose to take it (three-fourths times, half-time, etc.).
This is a good option for students working part-time or full-time jobs since a full-time program can be demanding. It’s also a good option for those busy with family and other personal obligations.
Online associate of arts degree programs offer coursework that can be done completely online. Because of the convenience and flexibility, they can allow students to earn an associate’s degree online fast. Similar to part-time programs, this can be an excellent option for those who need flexibility due to work and/or family commitments.
Central Christian College of Kansas, for example, offers an online AA degree program. It allows students to take one course at a time and enroll at different times throughout the year. These two features make it a convenient and flexible option for students working and/or taking care of a family.
What is the job outlook for those with an AA degree?
The job outlook will vary depending on the exact career you’re interested in pursuing with an associates in arts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that job opportunities for those with an associate's degree in arts will grow by 17.6% through 2022 (Source). Each listing includes a projected job growth rate between 2018 and 2028:
- Preschool Teacher: 7 percent - Faster than average (Source)
- Mechanical Engineering Technician: 3 percent - Slower than average (Source)
- Accounting Clerk: -4 Percent - Decline (Source)
- Paralegal: 12 percent - Much faster than average (Source)
- Administrative Assistant: -7 percent - Decline (Source)
- Woodworker: -1 percent - Little or no change (Source)
- Air Traffic Controllers: 1 percent - Little or no change (Source)
- Radiation Therapist: 9 percent - Faster than average (Source)
- Dental Hygienist: 11 percent - Much faster than average (Source)
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographer: 14 percent - Much faster than average (Source)
Some careers, especially those in the medical fields, have very strong outlooks. For instance, radiation therapists, dental hygienists, and diagnostics medical sonographers each have exceptionally strong growth rates. Paralegals do as well.
However, even those with slower growth rates, such as accounting clerks and administrative assistants, still present career paths. They may not offer the same kind of long-term growth that others do. But companies and organizations are still very much hiring employees in these areas.
Further, an associates in arts prepares you to transfer into a four-year institution should you decide to pursue a bachelor’s. This means you’ll be half-way to earning a bachelor’s degree, which opens up countless other career paths. And many career paths available to those with a bachelor’s degree have very strong job outlooks.
Ultimately an associate's degree in arts prepares you for some career paths with very strong job outlooks as well as puts you in a position to earn a bachelor’s degree later on.
What do some jobs entail that I could pursue if I earn an AA degree?
There are many career paths available to those with an associates in arts. Below are brief descriptions for a handful of potential career paths.
Paralegals assist lawyers and those at law firms by doing a number of activities. They may help conduct client interviews, do extensive case research, or handle other administrative tasks. It’s a great opportunity for those passionate about the justice system and in making a difference for society.
Preschool teachers instruct children of pre-kindergarten age (usually four or younger). They can find roles at private and public pre-schools where they work with children and apply early development practices. They help children develop early thinking and communication skills as well as form relationships with their peers.
Dental Hygienists assist dentists with various dental activities. They may clean patients’ teeth, aid dentists during surgery, and provide overall medical staff support. Not only do dental hygienists enjoy a strong job outlook, but they make very good salaries as well.
Woodworkers craft a variety of wood furniture and products, including cabinets, tables, chairs, and more. In addition to working with wood, they handle veneers and laminates in order to help construct various products (Source). Woodworking can be a rewarding career for those who are both creative and enjoy working in hands-on environments.
Administrative assistants work in office settings and “assist” with a variety of activities. They may help schedule meetings, respond to emails, screen calls, organize office gatherings, and more. They may work for a specific individual (an executive), a certain department (marketing), or in a general office capacity.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers work in hospitals and other medical environments using special imaging technology and equipment to reveal images of the body. They may use such technology to capture images of a heart or an unborn child. These images allow sonographers, doctors, and other medical professionals to track and manage the health of their patients.
Air Traffic Controllers
Air Traffic Controllers Work in control towers using computer technology to make sure aircrafts take off and land safely. They ensure the safety of captains, flight attendants, and passengers aboard aircrafts and those in the area on ground. While controllers only need an AA degree, they usually need specialized training from the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program (Source).
Mechanical Engineering Technicians
Mechanical engineering technicians assist engineers as they design, develop, and test products and devices. They usually work in factors, where they are able to help test equipment before it is manufactured (Source). Mechanical engineering technicians enjoy a hands-on role that involves working with hardware and technology.
What kind of salary can someone with an AA degree expect?
Because the careers available to someone with an associate's degree in arts can vary quite a bit, so do salaries. According to Payscale, salaries for those with the degree range from $30,000 to $100,000 or more (Source). Further, it’s estimated that people with an associate of arts degree online can earn $325,000 more than those with only a high school diploma over a lifetime (Source).
Below are some of the most popular jobs available to those with an online associate's of arts degree and their median salaries:
- Preschool Teacher: $29,780 per year (Source)
- Mechanical Engineering Technician: $56,250 per year (Source)
- Accounting Clerk: $40,240 per year (Source)
- Paralegal: $50,940 per year (Source)
- Administrative Assistant: $38,880 per year (Source)
- Woodworker: $31,550 per year (Source rel="nofollow" target="_blank")
- Air Traffic Controllers: $124,540 per year (Source)
- Radiation Therapist: $82,330 per year (Source)
- Dental Hygienist: $74,820 per year (Source)
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographer: $67,080 per year (Source)
Of course, the above list is just a small sampling. There are many other careers available to those with an associate of arts degree online, some of which offer very high-paying salaries (Source).
What can I do next if I want to earn an AA degree?
Are you ready to earn an online associate's of arts degree? If so, check out Central Christian College of Kansas' online AA degree program. You can also connect with an advisor to learn more about earning an associate of arts degree.
- What jobs can you get with an associate of arts degree?
- What's the difference between an Associate of Arts degree and Associate of Science degree?
- What can I do with an associate of arts degree?
- What are the top 10 jobs I can get with an associate of arts degree?
- How can a associate of arts degree help me become an accountant?
- Why should I earn my associates degree?
Air Traffic Controllers: Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2019, December 11). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/air-traffic-controllers.htm.
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"Current Issues in Economics and Finance (PDF), Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Retrieved from https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/current_issues/ci20-3.pdf.
Dental Hygienists: Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2019, December 6). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Dental-hygienists.htm.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists: Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2019, September 4). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/diagnostic-medical-sonographers.htm.
Mechanical Engineering Technicians: Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2019, September 4). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/mechanical-engineering-technicians.htm.
Occupational employment projections to 2022: Monthly Labor Review. (2013, December 1). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2013/article/occupational-employment-projections-to-2022.htm.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants: Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2019, September 4). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm.
Preschool Teachers: Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2019, September 19). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm.
Radiation Therapists: Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2019, September 4). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/radiation-therapists.htm.
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants : Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2019, September 4). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/secretaries-and-administrative-assistants.htm.
Simmons, J. (n.d.). 10 high-paying associate degree jobs. Retrieved from https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/high-paying-jobs-associates-degree.
Woodworkers: Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2019, September 4). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/woodworkers.htm.