Front Range Community College Blog

A.A. vs. A.S vs. A.A.S: Which Associate Degree Is Best for Me?

If you’ve been thinking about starting your college journey at a community college, first of all, congratulations! They are a fantastic place to begin your studies, whether you’re seeking a bachelor’s degree eventually or prefer to get a two-year degree and start your career. Now the big question: Which degree is best for you? Here are your options:

Associate of Arts (A.A.)

The A.A. is a two-year degree that’s designed to transfer to a four-year school. The A.A. is best for those planning to pursue four-year majors that fall under Liberal Arts (such as art, art history, psychology, history, English, philosophy, and theater).

Associate of Science (A.S.)

Like the A.A., the A.S. is a transfer degree. It is best to choose the A.S. if you plan to major in something like math or astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics, or other science.

  • You take a standard set of classes that satisfy the general education requirements at any four-year college in Colorado and are guaranteed to transfer.
  • You get your core courses done (English, math, science, etc.).
  • You will transfer to a four-year university as a junior and have only two years left (typically 60 credits) to complete your degree.

If Transfer is Your Goal…

One final note about transferring. It’s important to remember that the college to which you transfer has the final say on accepting transfer credits. Your best bet is to talk with an academic advisor every semester to help you stay on track, whatever your plans are.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.)

Want to get to work as soon as possible? The A.A.S. is the degree for you. This is a career degree that prepares you to enter skilled occupations, such as nursing, accounting, machining, computer networking, welding, etc.

  • It’s not intended to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program, but some classes might be accepted if you later decide to transfer.
  • At FRCC, we offer A.A.S. degrees in fields such as architectural engineering and construction, early childhood education, forestry and natural resources, interpreter preparation, nursing, and many, many more fields.

Associate of General Studies (A.G.S.)

Another degree for those who wish to get trained and working in two years, the A.G.S. is customizable to match your goals, whether you have your eyes on entrepreneurship in a particular field or want to make sure you hone those communication skills.

Those are the associate degrees at FRCC, but what about certificates?

Career Certificates

Certificates are great if you’re looking to brush up on some skills or learn something new but you don’t want to be in school for two or more years. Certificates can range from 2½ weeks to 1½ years, and FRCC offers more than 100 options. Whether you’re interested in a certificate in interior design, machining technology, pharmacy technician, or welding technology, we have something for just about everyone.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michaele Charles is the founder of Voice Communications and writes frequently for higher education institutions, small businesses, corporate clients, and others. She also is a fledgling children’s writer. In her pre-writing life, she worked in accounting and finance.