An associate degree is an entry-level undergraduate degree that can offer a great way to enhance your education and career. Usually provided by community colleges, universities that serve working adults and some other colleges and schools, associate degrees can provide higher levels of academic achievement than a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) test.

Associate degrees teach many foundational skills for a range of career paths often in as little as two years. An associate degree can also help you get started on your educational journey by providing credits that are transferable to a more advanced bachelor’s degree.

Here’s an overview of the benefits of an associate degree, what you can do with one and how studying with University of Phoenix can give you access to a flexible online education and multiple benefits.

Benefits of an Associate Degree

Associate degrees can help prepare you for many occupations or act as a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree. There are various reasons why you might consider earning an associate degree. Some of the benefits include affordability, flexibility, transferability, personal investment,. We’ll explore those here.


An associate degree typically costs less than a bachelor’s degree as it requires fewer credits to complete. 2021 data from the National Center for Education Statistics reveals that the average annual cost of an associate degree is less than half that of a bachelor’s.


Depending on the university’s teaching provisions, students may be able to earn their associate degree in a traditional classroom setting or online. As most associate degreescan  take two years to complete, students can often prepare to enter the workforce in a shorter space of time than with a bachelor’s degree program.


One major benefit of an associate degree is that credits earned while studying can often be put toward a bachelor’s degree. Students gain an associate degree credential but, should they decide to continue their studies at a later date, they can potentially transfer those credits, saving time and money on further education.

University of Phoenix offers a transfer pathway that allows students at participating community colleges to earn both their associate degree and bachelor’s degree in four years, with most courses completed at their community college rate.

Career Options

Completing a college degree can give individuals an edge in today’s competitive job market. While many employers that require some level of higher education require applicants to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, some employers ask for an associate degree as a minimum entry requirement.

Some potential career paths pursuable with an associate degree could include computer network support specialist, information security analyst, security officer, corrections officer and administrative or office assistants.

Personal Investment

As well as providing the skills for a variety of career pathways, gaining an associate degree demonstrates your resilience, adaptability and diligence, all qualities that could signal reliability in an employee. The dedication required when earning a qualification shows employers that you are willing to invest in yourself, your work and your future.

Higher Pay

An associate degree may result in a job with a higher starting salary than jobs that require only a high school diploma or a GED diploma.

Is an Associate Degree Right for You?

While there are many positives to undertaking an associate degree, you should take some time to determine whether this kind of degree is the right option for you. You could start by considering these three questions.

  1. What kind of career would you like to pursue? While an associate degree may be a prerequisite for some jobs, it won’t be necessary for others. A bachelor’s degree may be the minimum entry requirement for some occupations. Understanding the education level required for your chosen career path will help you decide which kind of degree program to pursue.
  2. What is your budget? An associate degree program is often a more affordable option than a bachelor’s degree program.
  3. How much time can you commit to your education? It’s important to be realistic about your schedule. If you have commitments outside of education, such as work, childcare or caring for a family member or if you feel that you can’t devote four years to a degree, an online associate degree program may be the better option.

Associate Degrees at University of Phoenix

Once you’ve determined that an associate degree is right for you, the next step is to find the school or program that meets your needs. When making this decision, you might consider a college’s accreditation and reputation, the curriculum of the program in question and the financial aid on offer. Many schools offer financial assistance, such as scholarship opportunities from University of Phoenix, which allow every new, qualifying student to gain up to $3,000 in funding support.

There are many more reasons why University of Phoenix could be the ideal place to pursue your associate degree. As one of the first online universities and among the largest, University of Phoenix offers multiple benefits such as a faculty with an average of over 28 years of professional experience, locked-in tuition rates for your program, and up to  17 opportunities throughout the year to start the degree program when it suits you. The University offers associate degree programs in business, technology and criminal justice and security including:

  • Associate of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Associate of Arts with a Concentration in Business Fundamentals
  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice

An associate degree could be the right step to help you take your education and career goals to the next level.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is committed to aiding students in navigating the career options and degree programs that are right for them and to helping adult and nontraditional learners achieve their educational goals. The University’s degree programs help prepare students for futures in hundreds of high-demand career paths including in cybersecurity, criminal justice and business. As a leader in online education, the University provides flexible start dates, virtual classes and numerous scholarship opportunities, making it possible for anyone to earn the degree they need. University of Phoenix’s Career Services for Life® commitment to active students and graduates provides the resources needed to be prepared when entering the workforce for no additional charge. Among the services included are resume and interview support, career guidance and networking opportunities. For details, visit