Online learning has become more widely accepted over the recent years due to the increasing demand by students for alternatives to the time and financial investments required to complete traditional degrees. Earning a degree online can open up lots of different doors, including career advancement opportunities, employment in a new career, and so much more. Knowing exactly what an online associate degree is and in which ways it is different from a traditional degree can help you as you select the best school to meet your personal, financial, educational, and professional needs.

What An Associate Degree Is

An associate degree is a degree that is earned from two-year college for completing a specific program of study. Associate degrees generally take two years to complete, but in some cases, they can take longer if the student drops to or below half time status. The online aspect of an associate degree program means that the required courses are taken online rather than on a traditional campus. The student connects to his/her classes via an internet connection and receives assignments, completes work, and takes test all from the comfort of his/her own home.

Once the course of study is completed for the degree, the student is typically given the choice to either attend a traditional graduation or simply receive his/her diploma in the mail.

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The Differences Between Online Associate Degrees and Traditional Degrees

The online associate degree differs from traditional associate degrees in many ways. One of the most major ways is that courses can be accessed from almost anywhere that has an internet connection. This particular perk is perfect for students that don’t live anywhere near a traditional campus to attend school, if they frequently travel, or must maintain work or family responsibilities in addition to their studies.

Online associate degrees also allow students to truly work at their own pace as opposed to at traditional schools. A traditional student that attends school on campus might be required to sit in on a two hour long lecture, while the online student has the choice of listening to the lecture or not. If you find that you can complete the work without listening to the lecture, this is often times permissible in online classes.

Online associate degrees are also great for those who desperately need to balance work and school. Because they can be logged into at any time, they are perfect for the students that work even the most odd work shifts. For example, a person that works midnight work shifts has the same chance of passing a class at school that another student does who happens to work earlier, more traditional hours. Traditional universities/colleges require that students show up for class at certain times with no exceptions.

Lastly, online associate degrees do not commonly require that students take unrelated elective courses to their degrees. Online degree curricula are typically to the point and hinge closely to relevant subject matter. This means you only take classes that are pertinent to your field so that you can in and out more quickly, and you can enter the real world as a qualified professional ready to begin looking for work.