The benefits of an associate’s degree in computer science

PIT-AssociateDegree_IMAGE-0421Article Written by: Magaly Olivero

Earning an associate’s degree in computer science can provide the foundation for expanding your educational credentials and landing a dream job.

An associate’s degree program allows you to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to join the workforce or pursue a more advanced educational degree. Earning an associate’s degree is a great way to jumpstart your career and improve your earning potential over a lifetime. Associate’s degrees are awarded at junior colleges, community colleges, vocational schools and technical colleges.

Consider these four reasons to purse an associate’s degree in computer science.

Explore career options
If you’re not ready to make a commitment to a four-year bachelor’s degree program or haven’t settled on a specific career path, then pursuing an associate’s degree might be an ideal way to explore your options. Working toward an associate’s degree may also allow you to complete your general educational requirements while you consider the direction you want your career to take. You’ll be able to explore career options with faculty who are knowledgeable about their industries.

Stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree
With an associate’s degree, you have the flexibility to transfer the credits you earned to a four-year bachelor’s degree program, either right after graduation or later on in your career. Many associate’s degree programs include the general educational requirements needed in a bachelor’s degree program. Most associate’s degree programs involve 60 credits and can be completed in two years of full-time study. Tuition for an associate’s degree typically cost less than a four-year degree.

Enter the workforce
An associate’s degree prepares you for immediate career opportunities in the field of your choice right after graduation. Many associate’s degree programs offer a combination of coursework and hands-on experience so you can develop the skills, knowledge and confidence required to enter the workforce. Once you’ve landed a job, you may consider whether you want to pursue a bachelor’s degree part-time.

Earning power
Graduates of associate’s degree programs typically earn more than those who hold lower degree certifications or high school diplomas. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people holding an associate’s degree in 2014 had a median weekly salary of $761 – that’s $93 more than a high school graduate and $273 more than someone who didn’t graduate from high school. Those wages can add up to a significant amount of money during the course of a professional career.