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What Is an Associate Degree in Science?

by Fitzalan Gorman

An associate degree in science typically is a comprehensive two-year program with an emphasis in the sciences. This degree can serve as a springboard to a science-related bachelor’s program or an entry-level science-related job. You can receive an associate degree in science at some four-year colleges, community colleges and junior colleges. It differs from associate degree in arts degree, which includes a more general, broad-based program that focuses on arts and social sciences, including courses such as computer-based design, creative writing, English, geography, history, languages, legal studies, politics and public relations.

Basic Associate Degree in Science

Throughout your courses, you will acquire knowledge and skills related to basic computational, earth and life, physical or mathematical sciences. You will be introduced to the scientific method and the foundations of a range of science disciplines. This core knowledge and development of academic and scientific skills can help you acquire a job as a technician in a science-related field or allow you to advance your academic studies.

General Courses

At most colleges, you must take a set of general education classes in addition to your science coursework. These general education classes help make your college experience broader than simply learning about your chosen major. At the University of Alaska Fairbanks, students must take English, communication, humanities, social science, foreign language and mathematics classes in addition to their science courses. For the science portion, students must take courses in meteorology, biology, chemistry, geography or physics.

Job Options

An associate degree in science can provide you with numerous employment opportunities, mainly as a technician. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational options include agricultural and food science technicians, chemical technicians, environmental science and protection technicians, forest and conservation technicians, veterinary technicians, geological and petroleum technicians and nuclear technicians. The median pay for these positions ranges from $32,760 to $68,090.

Further Education Options

Many students obtain an associate degree in science if they plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, agriculture, mathematics, engineering or physics. Students who want to further their studies in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine can also benefit from an associate degree in science.

About the Author

Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.

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