Degrees are becoming more and more common. The value of a college education is being debated more now than ever before. More and more people get degrees every day – what is the prospect for a relatively minor degree like an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree?
An Associate of Applied Science degree, also known as an AAS degree, is a two-year undergraduate degree. The main difference between an AAS and a traditional four-year college degree is that the former is focused on vocational training while the latter emphasizes liberal arts and general education.
The AAS degree is designed to prepare students for a specific career. It generally takes two years to complete, although some programs may be shorter or longer. The coursework is vocational in nature, and focuses on preparing the student for a job rather than furthering their education.
So, is an AAS degree worth anything? The answer may depend on your specific situation and what you hope to gain from your education. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, then you’re going to need at least a four-year degree. However, if you’re looking for a career in a more vocational field, such as nursing, cosmetology, or automotive repair, then an AAS degree may be all you need.
In this article, you are going to learn about the difference between an AAS and a traditional four-year degree. Also, you will learn about the pros and cons of an AAS degree, and whether or not an AAS degree is worth getting in the current job market.
What Is an AAS Degree?
An Associate of Applied Science degree, also known as an AAS degree, is a two-year undergraduate degree. AAS degrees are designed to prepare students for specific careers, rather than furthering their education. The coursework is vocational in nature, and focuses on preparing the student for a job.
Due to their shorter nature, they don’t teach much about the theoretical side of the student’s chosen field. However, they do provide the student with valuable hands-on experience that can be beneficial in their future career. So, if you were looking for a broader education, an AAS degree is not for you.
An advantage to going for an AAS degree over picking a 4-years degree right off the bat is its flexibility. You can always choose to transfer your credits from an AAS degree towards a more advanced degree later on. So, for example, you could get an AAS degree at a low cost, start working in the field of your degree, build up some savings, and then use those savings to complete your degree of choice.
The average cost of an AAS degree is around $15,000. This number will obviously depend on the specific school and program you choose. But in general, an AAS degree will cost you a fraction of what a four-year degree will.
AAS Degree Pros
Now that you know what an AAS degree is, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of getting one, starting with the pros.
- An AAS degree can lead to a well-paying job—As we mentioned before, an AAS degree is focused on preparing you for a specific career. This means that, if you choose the right program, you should be able to get a well-paying job in your field after graduation. For example, the median annual salary for electricians is $60,040. The median annual salary for plumbers is $59,880. And the median annual salary for welders is $47,010. As you can see, there are many well-paying jobs out there that only require an AAS degree. And considering how little an AAS degree costs in terms of time and money, it is definitely alluring. You can always go back to school later after you’ve earned some money.
- An AAS degree can lead to a job with good benefits—In addition to the potential for a high salary, many jobs that only require an AAS degree also offer good benefits. For example, electricians, plumbers, and welders often have access to health insurance and retirement plans. And since these are union jobs, the wages and benefits are often better than they would be for non-union jobs.
- An AAS degree can lead to job security—Another advantage of an AAS degree is that it can lead to a more secure job. For example, electricians, plumbers, and welders are always going to be in demand. And since these are skilled trades, there is always going to be a need for them. This means that, even in tough economic times, these jobs are less likely to be outsourced or automated. Also, not many people are willing to perform these jobs anymore, which means employers are often willing to pay more for these skills.
- An AAS degree can lead to a promotion—Finally, an AAS degree can also lead to a promotion. If you start out in an entry-level position and prove yourself to be a valuable employee, then you may have the opportunity to move up the ladder. And as you move up, you will likely see a corresponding increase in salary and benefits.
While all of the above sounds alluring, there are cons to AAS degrees.
AAS Degree Cons
Now that we’ve looked at the pros of an AAS degree, let’s take a look at the cons.
- An AAS degree can limit your career options—While an AAS degree can lead to a well-paying job, it can also limit your career options. For example, if you get an AAS degree in welding, you will likely only be able to find a job as a welder. And while there is nothing wrong with being a welder, you may find that you want to do something else with your life. But if you only have an AAS degree, then your options will be limited.
- An AAS degree can make it difficult to transfer credits—Another disadvantage of an AAS degree is that it can make it difficult to transfer credits. This is because most four-year colleges and universities do not accept credits from two-year colleges. So if you decide that you want to go back to school later, you may have to start from scratch.
- An AAS degree does not always lead to a well-paying job—Even though an AAS degree can lead to a well-paying job, this is not always the case. For example, the median annual salary for dental hygienists is $77,810. But the median annual salary for medical assistants is only $37,190. As you can see, there is a big difference in salaries for these two jobs. And while both of these jobs only require an AAS degree, one is definitely better than the other in terms of pay.
- An AAS degree does not always lead to a job with good benefits—Just because an AAS degree can lead to a job with good benefits does not mean that it always will. For example, many jobs that only require an AAS degree do not offer health insurance or retirement plans. And while some of these jobs may offer other benefits, such as paid vacation days or tuition reimbursement, they are not always as good as the benefits offered by jobs that require a four-year degree.
In conclusion, there are pros and cons to getting an AAS degree. Most of these are economical – of course a 2 years degree isn’t as respected as a four years degree. And, indeed, it doesn’t prepare you as well. But an AAS degree can get you into a good job with good benefits, and sometimes that’s all you need. It’s up to you to decide whether an AAS degree is right for you.
The Highest Paying Jobs You Can Get With an AAS Degree
We already mentioned some jobs you could perform with an AAS degree, and some of them look very remunerative. But what are the highest paying jobs you could get with this type of degree?
Here is the list:
- Dental hygienist—A dental hygienist is a professional who helps to keep teeth healthy by providing preventive care, such as teeth cleanings and oral exams. They may also provide treatment for gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental problems. The median annual salary for dental hygienists is $77,810.
- Diagnostic medical sonographer—A diagnostic medical sonographer is a professional who uses ultrasound technology to create images of the body. These images are used by physicians to diagnose and treat medical conditions. The median annual salary for diagnostic medical sonographers is $75,380.
- Nuclear medicine technologist—A nuclear medicine technologist is a professional who uses radioactive materials to diagnosis and treat disease. They may also provide treatments to relieve pain and improve the quality of life for patients with terminal illnesses. The median annual salary for nuclear medicine technologists is $78,760.
- Radiation therapist—A radiation therapist is a professional who uses radiation to treat cancer and other diseases. They work closely with physicians to develop treatment plans and deliver care to patients. The median annual salary for radiation therapists is $82,790.
Warning: While an associate degree should be enough, many employers would rather see you with a bachelor’s degree if you want to become a radiation therapist.
- Respiratory therapist—A respiratory therapist is a professional who helps patients with breathing problems, such as asthma and emphysema. They may also provide treatments to relieve pain and improve the quality of life for patients with terminal illnesses. The median annual salary for respiratory therapists is $61,830.
- Surgical technologist—A surgical technologist is a professional who assists surgeons in the operating room. They may also help to prepare patients for surgery and care for them afterwards. The median annual salary for surgical technologists is $48,530.
As you can see, there are some pretty good paying jobs on this list. So, if you were wondering whether or not an AAS degree is worth anything, the answer is a resounding yes!
While an AAS degree may not be as respected as a four-year degree, it can still lead to a good job with good benefits. It’s up to you to decide whether an AAS degree is right for you.
AS vs. AAS Degree: Which is Better?
The biggest difference between an Applied Science (AS) degree and an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree is in their focus. An AAS degree is 100% focused on giving you hands-on training in a specific field so you can enter the workforce as soon as possible.
An AS degree, on the other hand, is focused on giving you a broad education that will prepare you for further study at a four-year college or university.
So, which is better? That depends on your goals. If you want to enter the workforce as soon as possible, then an AAS degree is the way to go. But if you want to further your education, then an AS degree may be a better choice.
An AS degree gives you a strong educational background to pursue further education in most fields. An AAS degree is mostly about teaching you a job.
It really all comes down to what you want to do with your life. If you know that you want to work in a specific field, then an AAS degree can help you get there. But if you’re not sure what you want to do with your life, then an AS degree may be a better choice.
We’ve learned that an AAS degree can lead to a good job with good benefits. We’ve also learned that an AS degree may be a better choice if you want to further your education. It really all comes down to what you want to do with your life.
If you know that you want to work in a specific field, then an AAS degree can help you get there. But if you’re not sure what you want to do with your life, then an AS degree may be a better choice.
What matters is knowing what you want to do with your life. An AS might be better if you’re still undecided, as you still have time to figure things out. But if you’re set on a particular career, an AAS will give you the training you need to get started.
So there you have it! Now that you know the pros and cons of each type of degree, it’s up to you to decide which is right for you. Good luck!