Why Pursue an Online Associate of Arts Degree?

Why Pursue an Online Associate of Arts Degree?

Associate of Arts Degree student
Associate of Arts Degree student

Many working professionals want to obtain an associate degree, earn credits toward a bachelor’s degree, further their education and enter Associate of Arts degree jobs in a variety of specializations. However, inflexible course schedules, overloaded curriculums and the need to continue working full-time are often a deterrent. 

Schools now offer Associate of Arts degrees 100% online that allow motivated individuals to work full-time and complete their education one course at a time. The multi-faceted nature of the online Associate of Arts degree opens doors to a variety of Associate of Arts degree jobs.

Associate of Arts degree jobs can range from positions as industrial designers to preschool teachers due to the highly diversified elective tracks. Students can explore their interests in various courses like psychology, business and leadership, to gauge their passion and skills in each subject.

Professionals pursue Associate of Arts degree jobs after they complete an Associate of Arts program that allows them to kickstart their post-secondary education, build foundational skills, then often earn an advanced Bachelor’s degree while working full-time. All of this is possible with the right Associate of Arts degree program.  

What is an Associate of Arts Degree?

An Associate of Arts (AA) degree is an undergraduate academic degree that provides graduates with a liberal arts education in a variety of subjects including mathematics, psychology, history and life sciences. This degree can be earned in as little as two years as a college program. 

This comprehensive degree is often used as a stepping stone toward a specialized bachelor’s degree. Most schools permit students the option to use the credits from an Associate of Arts degree toward a bachelor's degree through an articulation agreement.

The typical two-year AA program offers an interdisciplinary curriculum that allows students to gain core skills such as writing, communication, leadership and research skills before pursuing a bachelor’s degree or transitioning into the workforce.

smiling man at laptop

How Do You Complete An Associate of Arts Degree Online?

An Associate of Arts degree can be accomplished 100% online within approximately one to three years. Busy students can complete the AA degree one course at a time and maintain a full-time job and personal responsibilities in the process.

The balance allowed by the flexible course structure is attractive for students hoping to change careers into one of the many available Associate of Arts degree jobs or earn a promotion by advancing their education in their free time. 

There are many benefits to completing an Associate of Arts degree online, including the following:

  • Complete coursework 100% online
  • Boost employability while working toward a Bachelor’s degree
  • Work full-time or part-time while earning a degree
  • Enjoy remote learning and flexibility
  • Engage in skill-building in a variety of subjects from the comfort of home

Why Pursue an Associate of Arts Degree?

The Associate of Arts degree is perfect for students that desire diversified coursework to determine their interests and dexterity in each subject. Unlike other specialized bachelor’s degrees, enrolling in an Associate of Arts degree allows students to dip their toe into a variety of subjects and learn foundational skills in each area before committing to a four-year concentration.

An AA degree is a smart way to build skills while working full-time, increase job opportunities long-term, earn a higher salary and embark on an educational path to achieve a bachelor’s degree. 

1. Complete Your AA Degree in Just Two Years

The Associate of Arts degree can be completed in as little as two years which allows students the flexibility to balance completing an education with personal obligations and work schedules. The AA degree can be completed in several formats, including:

  • Full-time face-to-face programs: These AA programs can be completed in two years and require students to attend courses on campus.
  • Part-time face-to-face: A part-time AA degree may take longer than two years to complete. This format allows busy students to balance their education with other personal obligations.
  • Hybrid programs: A hybrid AA program allows students to complete their degree partially face-to-face and partially online.   
  • Online programs: An online AA program allows students the flexibility to complete their degree 100% online.

Online learning is a popular choice for AA degree students because it allows students to access coursework anywhere, at any time. This format also allows students to customize their schedule and complete an AA degree in just two years while maintaining commitments at home and work. 

man and woman shaking hands

2. Increase Employability and Job Opportunities

Graduates from an AA program acquire skills that may increase their employability and salary. Showcasing an associate degree on your resume could be a key differentiator between you and the applicants with a high school education and no additional degree.  

A paper from the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment at the Community College Research Center found that American women with an associate degree earned $7,200 more than women who have some college but no degree (an increase of 26%). The same report found that American men with an associate degree earned approximately $4,600 more than their counterpart (an increase of 18%). 

Students completing their AA degree can also select an elective track that aligns with their desired career path to increase their relevant skills and employability. According to CNBC, graduates who work a job related to their program report higher median earnings (between $40,001 and $50,000) than those who are not (between $20,001 and $30,000).

Completing an associate degree shows employers that you have a set of foundational skills and completing a degree with a specific elective track is an even more attractive sell for employers seeking relevant skills.

3. Earn Credits Toward a Bachelor’s Program

Many students use the credits they earn from an AA degree as a stepping stone toward a bachelor’s degree. An AA curriculum is usually designed around the general education requirements needed to earn a bachelor's degree. 

Graduates who have completed their AA degree are nearly halfway to earning their bachelor’s degree, which opens the door to other career paths and higher salaries. According to a study by the NSC Research Center, students that earned an associate degree before transferring were more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution.

Another study found that approximately 73% of students with a transfer degree from an AA program were more likely to complete their bachelor degree within four years. 

If you want to kickstart the journey to earning your bachelor’s degree, completing an AA degree can help you build foundational skills and credits needed to excel in a bachelor’s program in the future. 

4. Work Full-time While Completing Your AA Degree Online

An online AA degree program is an excellent option for students working full-time. Central Christian College of Kansas, for example, offers an online AA degree program that allows students to take one course at a time and enroll at different times throughout the year.

Flexible course scheduling creates a pressure-free learning environment that allows students to complete their degree at a comfortable pace. Students with full-time jobs or responsibilities as parents can also eliminate unnecessary travel time allotted to a full-time face-to-face or hybrid program when they obtain an AA degree online. 

5. Gain Financial Savings and Financial Aid Options 

Obtaining an AA degree online is an affordable option for students that can result in a return on investment (ROI) in the form of a salary raise. As stated above, professionals with an associate degree can earn $4,600-$7,200 more than professionals with a high school education in similar roles. This is a worthwhile ROI that continues to pay out long-term as professionals move up in their career.

Many schools offer affordable tuition and financial aid programs for students. For example, Central Christian College of Kansas offers tuition for as low as $425 per credit hour or $5,300 per term, and give students access to financial aid options, including:

  • Federal student loans
  • Scholarships
  • Grants 
  • Military benefits   

teacher and children

Jobs You Can Get With an Associate of Arts Degree Jobs

Students that pursue an Associate of Arts degree are granted access to multi-disciplinary knowledge in areas such as the humanities, business and social sciences, which opens doors to a plethora of Associate of Arts degree jobs.  

Each elective track teaches skills in a variety of courses that align with jobs in the workforce, from a preschool teacher to a radiology technician. Students can also earn credits in an AA degree that prepare them for careers that require higher educational credentials. For example, a student in the psychology elective track could transfer credits to pursue a bachelor’s in psychology and eventually a master’s in psychology to qualify to become a psychologist. 

Associate of Arts Degree Elective Tracks

Students entering Associate of Arts degree jobs after graduation benefit from selecting an elective track and earning credits toward a distinct concentration. Exploring different course options is beneficial in the beginning to determine which subjects are of interest; however, students should begin to narrow their focus to a specific area of study over time.

Once an AA student has chosen an elective track and earned credits toward this area, they can easily transfer their credits to fulfill a bachelor’s degree and qualify for relevant Associate of Arts degree jobs. The following illustrates various elective tracks open to AA students.

Psychology

Students pursuing a psychology concentration explore the science of the human mind and behavior through engaging psychology courses like “Human Growth and Development”, “Abnormal Psychology”, “Social Psychology” or “Introduction to Life Coaching”.

Students involved in the psychology elective track can elect to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology and even a master’s or Ph.D. succeeding graduation. Motivated psychology students that pursue higher education enter the workforce in positions as counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists to help improve and enhance the well-being of individuals and communities.   

Examples of psychology jobs you can get with an AA degree:

  • Social and Human Service Assistants: $35,060 per year
  • Preschool Teachers: $30,520 per year
  • Life Coach: $59,630 per year

(The salaries above fluctuate frequently. The most up-to-date numbers are found on the provided link.)

Healthcare Management

The area of healthcare management is constantly seeking educated professionals as the aging baby-boom population requires medical care. Students that decide to use their AA degree as a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree in healthcare management will have a positive job outlook long-term. The demand for healthcare management professionals also drives up the salary and results in a median pay of $100,980 per year for medical and health services managers, as well as a positive job outlook of 18%, a growth rate that is much faster than average in the United States.  

Graduates can attain Associate of Arts degree jobs in the healthcare industry by taking healthcare management courses such as “U.S. Healthcare Systems” and “Leadership and Change in Healthcare” to gain the skills needed to plan, direct and coordinate the business activities at a healthcare facility. 

Healthcare jobs you can get with an AA degree:

  • Medical assistant: $33,610 per year
  • Phlebotomist: $34,480 per year
  • Surgical technologist: $47,300 per year
  • Occupational therapy assistant: $60,220 per year
  • Radiology technician: $59,520 per year
  • Respiratory therapist: $60,280 per year

(The salaries above fluctuate frequently. The most up-to-date numbers are found on the provided link.)

woman reading to children

Business Management

The business management elective track is an intelligent choice for working professionals interested in justifying a promotion from a team member position to a team leader position. This elective focus offers business management courses such as “Conflict Resolution”, “Professional Ethics” and “Principles of Management” that teach students how to effectively manage people and business activities.

Associate of Arts degree jobs in business include positions such as advertising and marketing managers, sales managers, and human resources managers. Students that continue their education and use the credits gained in the AA program to pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s in business management can move into executive roles in the future. 

The Associate of Arts degree with a concentration in business management is the necessary bridge that teaches future managers how to effectively run a profitable, ethical and sustainable business.

Business management jobs you can get with an AA degree:

  • Administrative Assistant: $39,850 per year
  • Project Coordinator: $67,280 per year
  • Business Officer Manager: $73,788 per year
  • Payroll and Benefits Administrator:  $49,865 per year

(The salaries above fluctuate frequently. The most up-to-date numbers are found on the provided link.)

Business

The Associate of Arts degree with a business elective track is an option for students with interest in economics, business law and computer application. Passionate self-motivated individuals that aspire to own and run their own business could benefit greatly from an AA degree. 

Business courses such as “Computer Application in Business”, “Microeconomics”, “Macroeconomics” and “Business Law” teach students entering Associate of Arts degree jobs in business how to make strategic decisions in a modern business setting. 

Graduates could pursue some of the best jobs in business and start working as a corporate controller, purchasing manager or self-made entrepreneur after completing their degree. 

Business jobs you can get with an AA degree:

(The salaries above fluctuate frequently. The most up-to-date numbers are found on the provided link.)

Leadership

Leadership skills are a requirement in almost all Associate of Arts degree jobs if students seek career mobility and opportunities for a pay raise. The benefit of taking a leadership concentration within an AA degree is that it can be applied to various industries like schools, corporations, healthcare facilities, hospitality and more. 

Students in a leadership concentration can learn from leadership courses like “Effective Personal and Organizational Communication” and “Conflict Resolution and Negotiation”. Not only are the skills cultivated in these courses beneficial for landing Associate of Arts degree jobs, but they also support personal relationships and interactions. 

Leadership jobs you can get with an AA degree:

(The salaries above fluctuate frequently. The most up-to-date numbers are found on the provided link.)

Accounting

The final common elective concentration offered in the Associate of Arts degree program is the accounting track. Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks are responsible for producing financial records for organizations and checking financial records for accuracy. 

However, other Associate of Arts degree jobs in accounting include positions as financial planners, financial analysts, and investor relations associates. These careers tend to be profitable; for example, a personal financial advisor in the United States earns a median pay of $87,850 per year. 

Accounting courses such as “Financial Accounting”, “Managerial Accounting”, “Individual Income Tax” and “Cost Accounting” allow graduates to create an impressive portfolio of accounting knowledge. 

Accounting jobs you can get with an AA degree:

(The salaries above fluctuate frequently. The most up-to-date numbers are found on the provided link.)

silhouette of a man at sunset

Discover Faith-Based Learning at Central Christian College of Kansas

Although many schools offer AA degrees that lead to Associate of Arts degree jobs, Central Christian College of Kansas (CCCK) is recognized as an outstanding choice due to its faith-based learning structure, supportive faculty and generous financial aid support programs. 

A former student, Wayne McElheney, reflected on his experience studying at CCCK and said, 

“The most significant aspect of the CCC program is the support of the faculty. Each professor has gone beyond what I was expecting, and I believe that has helped me be more successful during my time in school.

The application process to start my college career was simple and painless. Especially during the financial aid portion. My financial aid administrator was very patient and spent as much time as needed to help make sure I got the aid needed to start my journey.”

At CCCK, we believe that your work, family, home and other life commitments don't need to stop you from advancing your career, which is why we offer the following features to prospective students:

  • 100% online  and asynchronous, meaning you can log on and attend class around your work and personal schedules
  • Affordable tuition and transfer-friendly credits
  • Financial and military aid for those who qualify
  • Christian worldview as a foundation for learning and character development

Are you ready to join a supportive community of like-minded peers and enter stable, high-potential jobs with an Associate of Arts degree? Pursuing an AA degree accelerates your path to completing a bachelor’s degree, boosts your salary and job prospects in the short term, and grows your career long-term. We’re here to help make your career aspirations a reality with a faith-based Associate of Arts Degree.

Accelerate Your Career with an Online Associate of Arts from Central Christian College of Kansas.

About Central Christian Online

With a remarkable history that dates back to 1884, Central Christian College of Kansas offers education focused on professional development and character, for students of all faith backgrounds. Through our global online learning environment, Central Christian College of Kansas is dedicated to providing a world-class education that equips you to serve with distinction. Students from around the country benefit from our top-ranked and accredited 100% online programs, enjoying the flexibility to balance their professional and personal lives. To get curriculum details and download a free program guide, visit: myonline.centralchristian.edu.