Earning an Associate's degree a smart career move
By Debbie Banks, Assistant Professor of English, SKYCTC

Posted on August 13, 2019 11:45 AM


Students spend what seems like their whole lives in school and then, finally, they graduate from high school. Many immediately go on to community colleges or four year colleges, but others take time off or go to work.

For those who take time off or go to work, the idea of college if often one that is later to be made once some money is made, after a break from school or once a real plan is determined and a direction is found. Life gets in the way, people get married, have children, need to work to pay bills, and the reality of college seems a long shot. It does not have to be.

Community colleges are designed to help those who aren’t sure what to study or how to begin the journey to find the right path. Getting started on an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science allows any student to get a degree started and time to find a path. Also, getting an Associate’s degree shows employers that students are serious and can complete tasks to better their lives. The benefits of getting an Associate’s degree far outweigh the alternative of only wishing to pursue dreams, so go for it.

One reason pursuing an Associate’s degree is beneficial is that it leads to being prepared for transferring to a four--year college for a Bachelor’s degree. Most community colleges are cheaper and have smaller classrooms with more personal interaction with other students and staff. Often the professors who teach there have also worked at four-year universities and are familiar with the information needed to teach the basics needed for being successful at the four-year level. A personal touch makes going back to school much smoother.

A second benefit of pursuing a degree at a community college is that they are often geared to help students have options for when classes meet so that students can learn how to balance life, work and personal commitments. Classes are offered during the day, in the evening, online, part-time (hybrid – part online and part in class). There are options for full or part-time, summer, and bi-term, and some technical programs also offer two days a week and work with companies that want to further the education of their employees. No matter the situation, there are many options available.

The economy fluctuates and jobs are plentiful or scarce as trends change, but having an Associate’s degree often helps students find employment when others cannot. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “specifically, according to data from 2018, unemployment is at 2.8% for those with an Associate’s degree, while those with a high school diploma face 4.1% unemployment.” Clearly, having an Associate’s degree is a financial advantage for those who have one.

A fourth advantage of earning a two-year degree is that while students are trying to figure out what they want to pursue as a future four-year degree, the two-year degree is designed to allow students to complete all the general education requirements for all degrees.

Many students are also worried that math or English are going to be too hard, and community colleges focus on those core classes and are in a unique position to guide students through those courses. Tutors are often available and are open late hours to accommodate student schedules.

A final benefit of getting an Associate’s degree is that you are taking the initiative to actively “invest in your professional and academic future” (American Intercontinental University). Instead of wishing for college, taking the leap is a sure way to secure the future that may seem out of reach. Starting is the key and taking the initiative to get moving will show employers and friends and family that it is within reach.

Whether you have graduated from high school only a few months ago or many years ago or anywhere in between, it is never too late to pursue the dreams you have. Community college is a great starting point and finding your spot is as easy as going online and applying. So, stop wishing things were different and make them happen. Good luck and start today!



“Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat07.htm (Visited 08/08/2019).

American InterContinental University. “What is an Associate Degree?” August 8, 2019.

Retrieved from https://www.aiuniv.edu/degrees/business/articles/what-is-an-associate-degree


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