Associate of Applied Science (AAS Degree) | CollegeAtlas (2023)

An Associate of Applied Science, AAS Degree, is a two-year undergraduate degree similar to the Associate of Arts (AA) and the Associate of Science (AS) degree. The AAS is an associate degree and is offered at most two-year community colleges, technical colleges, and vocational schools. It is also offered at some four-year colleges and universities.

What’s the difference between the AA, AS, and AAS degree?

The Associate of Applied Science is designed for students who intend to enter the workforce immediately following graduation from their program. Alternatively, the Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS) Degrees, are designed primarily as transfer degrees.

As most students go directly into their career field after graduating with their AAS, most schools that offer these programs require their students to choose an area of emphasis or specialty early on in the program. This allows the students to be adequately prepared for entry-level positions within their desired career field before graduation.

Earn Your Associate of Applied Science Degree Online. You May Qualify For $6,095 in Grants!

Are AAS credits transferable?

While some students who earn an associate degree may transfer to a four-year college or university to pursue a bachelor’s degree, it’s important to note that some AAS courses are not granted transfer equivalency credit, nor will they fulfill the general education requirements of a bachelor’s degree program. If a four-year college degree is in your future, it is more advantageous to earn an AA or AS degree from a regionally accredited community college or a community college that has established articulation agreements with four-year institutions.

Benefits of Earning an Associate of Applied Science Degree

Many of the benefits associated with earning an associate of applied science degree are the same as those for other associate degrees, but the biggest benefit of earning an AAS is that it is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways of preparing for a career.


Typically, a bachelor’s degree is the best preparation for entry-level career positions. However, when you take into account that an associate of applied science degree is far less expensive and that the programs teach real-world skills that are immediately applicable in the workplace, the argument could be made that an AAS is a better option in some situations. These degrees can be particularly valuable in fields like IT and computer science where employers are less concerned about your degree and more concerned about your skills set.

Popular AAS Fields of Study

  • Accounting
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Business Administration
  • Computer Support and Operations
  • Computer Information Systems and Network Technologies
  • Computerized Drafting and Design
  • Criminal Justice
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Digital Art
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Fashion Business
  • Fitness and Recreation Management
  • Human Services
  • Individualized Studies
  • Medical Administrative Assistant
  • Nursing
  • Paralegal Studies
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Polysomnographic Technology
  • Respiratory Care
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Theater Technology
  • Tourism and Hospitality Management
  • Veterinary Technology
  • Web Design

Popular Associate of Applied Science Jobs

You will have earned the degree minimum for these jobs if you earn your associate in applied science.

  • Registered Nurse (RN) – $67,480 per year
  • Physical Therapist Assistant – $42,980 per year
  • Certified Medical Assistant – $30,590 per year
  • Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) – $54,520 per year
  • Administrative Assistant – $36,500 per year
  • Dental Hygienist – $72,330 per year
  • Web Developer – $64,970 per year
  • Chemical Technician – $44,660 per year
  • Geological And Petroleum Technician – $55,610 per year
  • Architecture and Engineering Drafters – $52,720 per year

Earn Your Associate of Applied Science Degree Online. You May Qualify For $6,095 in Grants!

(Video) Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science? Which is right for you?

Associate of Applied Science Program and Degree Requirements

Many of the requirements for earning an AAS are the same as those required for an AA or AS. However because an AAS is intended to prepare students to go directly into the workforce, these programs typically require the completion of 60 to 80 credit hours instead of 48 to 60 credit hours. Additionally, a much greater emphasis is placed on technical and career training throughout the program. Most programs require students to complete coursework in general education, technical specialization, and general electives and are typically required to earn a minimum number of credits in each area. Most schools also require students to maintain an overall GPA of 2.0 or higher in order to graduate.

General Education Requirements

General education courses are designed to help students master basic skills that are important for both personal and professional development. General education courses will help students to develop critical thinking, problems solving, communication, and foundational computing skills, as well as the ability to efficiently process quantitative data. Areas of study typically include computer literacy, mathematics, communications (written and oral), and social sciences.

Technical Specialization

The technical specialization component of the AAS is designed to ensure students acquire the professional skills, knowledge, and experience required to become proficient and employable in their desired career field or discipline. Courses in the technical specialization are determined by a student career path, field of study and discipline. All technical courses specified in the selected program of study must be completed to graduate.

General Electives

The general electives component of an AAS program provides students with the opportunity to select courses of professional or personal interest. Unlike the general education and technical specialization components, students are typically at complete liberty to select any elective courses they want. However, smart students will sit down with a school guidance counselor to determine which elective courses will best support their desired career path.

Online Associate of Applied Science Degree Programs

Associate of Applied Science in Accounting

Given that much, if not all, of its course curriculum, can be hosted on the internet, the Associate of Applied Science in Accounting is one of the most popular of all available online degree programs. Not only is this program extremely flexible, it provides students a very useful and marketable skill set.

(Video) College Life | Associate Of Arts(AA) vs Associate of Science(AS)

Topics covered in the AAS in Accounting online degree program include basics of accounting, financial analysis, economics, and communication. All subject matter addressed in this program can easily be performed and tested via any Internet-enabled computer terminal. Also, if you earn your AAS in Accounting from a regionally accredited institution you’ll (1) be qualified for entry-level career positions and (2) be able to transfer to a 4-year university to pursue a bachelor’s degree if you choose.

Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration

This flexible degree program is ideally suited for aspiring business professionals and managers who are seeking to increase their skill set or are looking to position themselves for entry-level managerial, operations, finance, bookkeeping or other business-related positions.

Typical topics covered in this program include accounting, finance, human resources management, communication, product management, organizational management, small business entrepreneurship and business management.

Earn Your Associate of Applied Science Degree Online. You May Qualify For $6,095 in Grants!

Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice

This degree program is primarily designed for working adults and aspiring career professionals who want to advance their current career or transition into a career in law enforcement and criminal justice. The online AAS in Criminal Justice covers a large variety of topics including criminal interviewing and interrogations, criminal law, constitutional law, terrorism, criminal evidence and procedure, corrections, and several other related subject areas.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems

This is one of the most popular online associate degrees available. The AAS in Computer Information Systems (CIS) program is designed for working professionals and adults who are interested in acquiring the skills necessary to launch a career in information technology (IT) or positioning themselves for advancement opportunities in their current career.

(Video) Associate of Applied Science Degree

Common topics addressed in this program include wireless network systems installations, hardware troubleshooting, software analysis and basic programming, data management and web development.


Featured Schools that Offer Associate Degrees

Associate of Applied Science (AAS Degree) | CollegeAtlas (2)Request InfoSouthern New Hampshire University

You have goals. Southern New Hampshire University can help you get there. Whether you need a bachelor's degree to get into a career or want a master's degree to move up in your current career, SNHU has an online program for you. Find your degree from over 200 online programs. Learn More >


Is an Associate in applied science good? ›

Yes, as covered above, an AAS degree can be the key to many professional career paths. As a result, an AAS degree is worth plenty if your goal is to obtain the skills needed to enter one of those fields and get your career started.

What is the equivalent of an Associate degree? ›

An Associate in Arts degree should be equivalent to a minimum of 90 quarter or 60 semester credit hours towards a Bachelor of Arts degree. B. An Associate in Science degree should be equivalent to a minimum of 90 quarter or 60 semester credit hours towards particular Bachelor of Science degrees.

Is Associate of applied science the same as as? ›

An Associate of Science (AS) degree is a 2-year degree offered by most community colleges and some 4- year colleges. The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree prepares graduates to enter a career immediately after graduation and have been considered terminal degrees.

What do you need as AAS for? ›

For example, an AAS is primarily designed to prepare you to start your career after school immediately. At the same time, an Associate of Science degree (AS) is a type of transfer degree that prepares students for the Bachelor's degree program.

Which is better AAS or AS degree? ›

The difference between an A.S. and A.A.S. is the added liberal arts requirement of the A.S. degree. The A.A.S. is a more vocationally oriented program of study, so the credits are often less likely to transfer if you pursue a baccalaureate degree.

What is the difference between AA and AAS degree? ›

Associate of Arts (A.A.) is typically set up for completing foundational coursework necessary for a four-year (bachelor's degree) or transferring to another college or university. A.A.S. Associate of Applied Science degree(A.A.S.) is a two-year degree that meets requirements for specific skill sets in the workplace.

Is an associate degree enough? ›

If you're deciding between no higher education degree at all and an associate degree, the answer is, quite simply, “Yes; getting an associates degree is worth it!” If you are hoping to break into a professional field and want to raise your job prospects, getting an associate degree is going to serve you much better ...

Do associate degrees mean anything? ›

The benefits of earning an associate degree can include higher earning potential, better job security and opportunity, as well as advancement. If you're considering advancing your education, you might wonder what degree best matches your plans for the future. You have specific skills, career goals and interests.

Is an associate degree a real degree? ›

An associate degree is a two-year college degree that you can obtain from a community college, junior college, online university, or some four-year institutions in the US. In terms of education, an associate degree falls between a high school diploma and a bachelor's degree.

Is a AAS or AS or AA? ›

All acronyms represent different names for associate degrees. AA stands for Associate of Arts, AS stands for Associate of Science, and AAS stands for Associate of Applied Science. The difference between Herzing's associate degree options (AS, AAS) is in name only based on state requirements.

Is applied science a good degree? ›

An A.A.S. degree is one of the best associate degrees for students who would like to start their career directly out of college. This type of associate degree is also excellent for students who seek a non-routine, hands-on, professional occupation.

Which is better ADN or ASN? ›

Compared to ASN and AAS, an ADN degree is the best option for transiting to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Remember that every school is different regarding prerequisites and actual course material.

Which associate degree is best? ›

What Are the Highest-Paying Associate Degrees?
  • Electrical Engineering. ...
  • Aeronautics. ...
  • MRI Technology. ...
  • Radiology Technology. ...
  • Respiratory Therapy. ...
  • Occupational Therapy. ...
  • Mechanical Engineering. ...
  • Network Engineering. Network engineers design, administer, and maintain local and wide area network systems.

What is a 2 year degree called? ›

An associate degree is a two-year degree typically offered at community colleges, technical colleges, and career colleges. However, some four-year universities offer them as well. Examples of some associate degrees include Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS).

How do you write an AAS degree on a resume? ›

Don't use an apostrophe when you spell out your degree on a resume. Your resume education section should read e.g. Associate of Applied Science, not Associate's of Applied Science. If you're making your first resume, you may want to add some extra information, such as relevant coursework on a resume.

Should I get an AA or AS? ›

In essence, A.A. degrees are of a more general nature and can help students further their education or enter various occupational fields. A.S. degrees are more narrowly focused and may require students to take on additional courses when they wish to expand their studies.

Is associate degree is equal to Bachelor degree? ›

The Difference Between Bachelor's and Associate Degrees

Associate degrees are typically 2-year programs, while bachelor's degree programs are typically 4 years and delve more deeply into the area of study.

Which is better AAA or AAS degree? ›

An Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program is an occupational program similar to an AAA degree program, but the focus is usually on technical education. AAA degree programs are generally much rarer than AAS programs.

What is the most basic associate's degree? ›

Associate of Arts (A.A.)

This includes several credit hours of general education coursework and several credit hours of major coursework.

Is an Associate of Arts degree worth anything? ›

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), people with an associate's degree earn a median weekly income of $862 ($49,593), while people with a high school diploma earn a median weekly income of $730 ($41,998). The unemployment rate is also significantly lower for those with an associate's.

Does an associate's degree look good on a resume? ›

Associate degrees can be of great help to your resume. And hiring managers would definitely be happy to see one in your Education Section.

Can you be successful with an associate's degree? ›

You can build a prosperous career without pursuing higher education. But a degree certainly doesn't hurt your chances of landing a high-paying job—and that includes an associate's degree. An associate's degree can lay the foundation for a financially rewarding career.

Is an associate's degree a big deal? ›

With an associate degree, you'll have a better chance at finding plenty of job opportunities to choose from, no matter what the current unemployment rate is. Whether you plan on starting a new career or advancing in your current career, this kind of degree can open a lot of professional doors for you.

Can you skip associate's degree and go straight to bachelors? ›

An associate degree is not a prerequisite to earn a bachelor's degree, you can skip an associate degree and go straight to a bachelor's degree. However, one option you may want to consider is earning your associate degree at a community college prior to transferring to a four-year university.

How hard is an associate degree? ›

Earning an associate's degree is not hard, according to those who have earned the degree. They said its ease or otherwise depends on the seriousness and dedication with which you tackle your studies.

What is a 3 year degree called? ›

Associate's Degree - an award that normally requires at least 2 but less than 4 years of full-time equivalent college-level work. Bachelor's Degree - An award (baccalaureate) that normally requires at least 4 but not more than 5 years of full-time equivalent college-level work.

What does AAS stand for in school? ›

Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) A degree that provides students career-specific skills leading directly to employment. Students with this degree may also transfer to bachelor's degree-granting institutions.

What can I do after Applied Science? ›

The vast majority of Applied Science students gain careers in laboratory analysis, diagnostic radiography, chemistry, biomedical science, marine biology, physiotherapy, forensics, research, teaching or nursing.

Can you be a doctor with Applied Science? ›

Eventually, it would be possible, but you'd need to jump through significantly more hoops before being qualified. Most univeristies will required A-Levels, so that usually means going back to school, mostly to study chemistry, biology and maths. History is sometimes a requirement too.

What can you use an Applied Science degree for? ›

Below are the 12 highest-earning jobs you can get with an Associate in Applied Science degree from Rose State.
  1. Career Fields You Can Enter with an Associate Degree. ...
  2. Dental Hygienist. ...
  3. Registered Nurse. ...
  4. Web Developer. ...
  5. Database Administrator. ...
  6. Respiratory Therapist. ...
  7. Radiologic Technologist. ...
  8. Information Security Analyst.
18 Sept 2019

Can you take the NCLEX with an AAS? ›

Students who graduate from accredited ADN, ASN, or AASN programs qualify to take either of the National Council Licensure Examinations (NCLEX) offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

What is a nurse with an associate's degree called? ›

Associate in Nursing (ASN)

You can become a registered nurse (RN) in just two years with your associate degree in nursing (ASN). RNs are the first line of care in many healthcare settings, and they are in increasingly high demand as healthcare organizations strive to accommodate a growing patient population.

Can you take the NCLEX without going to nursing school? ›

Can you take the NCLEX without going to nursing school? You cannot take the NCLEX without going to nursing school. You either have to get an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN), or pass a diploma program.

What jobs make 6 figures with an associate's degree? ›

24 Highest Paying Associate Degree Jobs
  • Air Traffic Controller. Salary: $124,540. ...
  • Computer Programmer. Salary: $82,240. ...
  • Radiation Therapist. Salary: $80,570. ...
  • Nuclear Technician. Salary: $80,370. ...
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologist. Salary: $75,660. ...
  • Dental Hygienist. Salary: $74,070. ...
  • Registered Nurse. Salary: $70,000. ...
  • Web Developer.

What is the highest paid 2 year degree? ›

Highest Paying 2-Year Degrees
RankMajorDegree Type
Rank:1Computer Science (CS) & MathematicsDegree Type:Associates
2Nondestructive TestingDegree Type:Associates
3Radiation TherapyDegree Type:Associates
4Software EngineeringDegree Type:Associates
21 more rows

What is the easiest 2 year degree to get? ›

The easiest associate degree to get is an online Associate Degree in General Studies, Liberal Studies, or Education. Although these online associate degree programs have flexible curricula, how easy you find your coursework will depend on your learning abilities and style.

What is a 8 year degree called? ›

For some professional roles, it is required you earn a doctorate degree, such as practicing psychology or becoming a professor. A doctorate degree typically takes anywhere from four to six years to complete. On average, a Ph. D. is earned within eight years.

What is the highest paid degree? ›

Salaries for the 25 highest-paying majors
  1. Chemical Engineering. Median wage early career: $68,000.
  2. Computer Engineering. Median wage early career: $65,000. ...
  3. Electrical Engineering. Median wage early career: $65,000. ...
  4. Aerospace Engineering. ...
  5. Industrial Engineering. ...
  6. Mechanical Engineering. ...
  7. Computer Science. ...
  8. General Engineering. ...

How many units is an AAS degree? ›

The associate degree requires a minimum of 60 units of college work, of which 18 semester units must be in one of the nine areas of emphasis listed below.

Is associate degree equal to Bachelor's? ›

The Difference Between Bachelor's and Associate Degrees

Associate degrees are typically 2-year programs, while bachelor's degree programs are typically 4 years and delve more deeply into the area of study.

What are the 4 types of degrees? ›

There are generally four categories of college degrees: associate degree, bachelor's degree, graduate degree, and doctorate or professional degree. Each category comes with its own particular subcategories, and there are some subtle differences between a doctorate and a professional degree.

Is a diploma equivalent to an associate degree? ›

A diploma is any certificate indicating that you've completed an educational program. However, the term is primarily used when referring to a high school diploma. An associate degree provides additional education beyond high school, usually related to a profession.

Do two associate degrees equal a bachelors? ›

No, two associate degrees do not equal one bachelor's degree. However, after earning an associate degree, you can transfer to a four-year college for a bachelor's degree.

Can I get a decent job with an associate's degree? ›

There are many well-paying jobs you can get with an associate degree. The list below was composed using data from the BLS and features a range of jobs that not only offer higher annual incomes than the national average but also are projected to grow over the next decade.

Is it good to have 2 associate degrees? ›

Of course you can get multiple associates in similar fields, and I highly recommend it. By having two associates and a bachelors degree, you are automatically more qualified than a person with just a bachelors or an associates and bachelors, under the pressumption you have the same GPAs.

What is the lowest degree in college? ›

In terms of level of study, the college degree programs in order are:
  • Associate degree.
  • Bachelor's degree.
  • Master's degree.
  • Doctoral degree.
31 Mar 2022

What is the best degree to get? ›

Most In-Demand Degrees
  1. Pharmacology. For a lucrative career helping people, pharmacology is at the top of the list for in-demand degrees. ...
  2. Computer Science. ...
  3. Health Science. ...
  4. Information Technology. ...
  5. Engineering. ...
  6. Business Administration. ...
  7. Finance. ...
  8. Human Resources.

What is above an associate degree? ›

For a full-time student, an associate degree program lasts two years. A bachelor's degree program, on the other hand, lasts four years for a full-time student. Both types of programs can take longer if a student opts for part-time enrollment.

Is associate higher than certificate? ›

A certificate is generally obtained as an add-on to an associate degree, and usually requires some career or educational experience to be admitted to the program. An associate degree only requires a high school diploma or completion of the General Education Development (GED) test.

What are the 2 most common associate degrees called? ›

Most associate degrees earned in academic programs are Associate of Arts (AA) or Science (AS) degrees. Associate degrees earned in professional, technical or terminal programs are frequently called Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees, but will sometimes carry the name of the program of study in the title.

Is bachelors harder than associates? ›

Usually, the coursework load for bachelor students is more intensive than those of associate students. Ultimately, a bachelor's degree requires the completion of approximately 120 semester credits (40 classes), whereas an associate degree requires the completion of roughly 20 classes or 60 semester credits.

What are the easiest bachelor degrees? ›

The 16 Easiest College Majors – 2023 Rankings
  • Psychology.
  • Criminal Justice.
  • English.
  • Education.
  • Religious Studies.
  • Social Work.
  • Sociology.
  • Communications.
1 Nov 2022


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