On average, earning a bachelor’s degree will set you back more than $50,000 at a private university and a little more than half that figure at a public institution. Earning that type of degree takes most students about four years to complete. The cost and time required to earn a bachelor’s degree have led many students to seek an alternative.
Enter associate degrees, which are a more affordable, accessible alternative for recent high school graduates, anyone looking to make a career change, or those who want to advance their career. But before you hit the books, you first have to choose a degree type.
If you’re thinking about earning an associate degree, here are some top areas of study:
1. Information Technology
Information technology is one of the fastest-growing degree fields today. With so many careers to choose from after graduation, earning an associate’s degree in IT can be a great way to break into a competitive market or advance your career.
Web development, one of the key areas of study you can pursue with such a degree, is expected to grow by a whopping 8 percent between 2019 and 2029, a rate much faster compared to most other careers. Other areas of study include programming, hardware, connectivity, and web security. An associate’s degree in technology can also be a great stepping stone toward earning an advanced degree down the line.
IT isn’t the only technology-focused degree from which to choose. Other related fields of study include electronics and computer technology and network systems administration.
Another popular field of study is business. No matter the industry you’re hoping to break into, an associate’s degree in business can help you get there. During your studies, you’ll choose an area of focus that can range from management and retail to budgeting to a general concentration. But no matter your focus, you’ll develop skills in leadership, teamwork, marketing, and resource management that can help you get ahead in any career field.
One of the best things about an associate’s degree in business is that, with the right program, you can earn your degree while working in your field of choice. By earning an associate degree online, you’ll be getting ahead, making connections, and advancing your career before you graduate.
3. Healthcare Information Technology
Even before the spread of COVID-19, the health care industry as a whole had been seeing tremendous growth and demand for skilled workers. An associate’s degree in healthcare information technology is a great way to start a rewarding career or to get your foot in the door in the industry. You’ll learn how to use popular industry software, as well as how to handle medical records, medical coding, and more.
Choosing the Right Degree Program
With so many options from which to choose, picking the right degree program is important. While you can earn an associate’s degree in a fraction of the time it takes to earn a bachelor’s, it’s still a big financial and time commitment. Take your time to consider your interests and goals to make sure you’re making the right decision for your future.