Why Your Associate Degree is an important step towards earning your Bachelor’s Degree

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

Returning to school after achieving an associate degree may be a practical choice – because your associate degree can build the foundation for earning your bachelor's degree. You've worked hard to put the infrastructure in place by attaining your first degree. Therefore, now may be the time to take the next step forward and pursue your bachelor's degree.

Why Go Back to School After Earning an Associate Degree?

If you’re unsure whether or not pursuing your bachelor’s degree is the right path for you, then consider the following information regarding why it may make sense to return to school to pursue your bachelor’s after achieving your associate degree.

How long does it take to earn an associate degree at AIU?

An associate degree can be completed in as little as 18 months at AIU*. However, this timing can vary depending on your course load, specialization, and any eligible transfer credits or prior learning credits.

Do I need to complete an associate degree before I can earn a bachelor's degree?

You may not necessarily need an associate degree; however, earning this degree may provide you with an opportunity you to complete many of the foundational courses that may be required for your bachelor’s degree out of the way.

Why would I want to continue my education after earning an associate degree?

Again, since you had the opportunity to complete many of the general education requirements for a bachelor's degree while earning your associate degree, you may now be able to focus on courses centered on areas that interest you most. A bachelor's program is designed to provide you with the opportunity to take classes geared toward your specialization or major.

How much does it cost to get an associate degree and a bachelor's degree?

This common question has several answers. Financial aid packages, scholarships, choice of school, and how quickly you pursue your degree all factor in to how much it costs to earn a degree. However, it is important to remember that earning your degree is an investment – an investment in yourself, in your future, and in your family’s well-being.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with both an associate and bachelor's degree earn more each week than those with a high school diploma alone. Furthermore, in 2017, people with a bachelor’s degree had a lower unemployment rate and higher median weekly earnings than those with just an associate degree.1

I just finished my associate degree. Can I take a break?

While pursuing your associate degree, you likely developed strong study skills, figured out how to carve time into your life for school, and developed relationships with professors and other students. Earning your bachelor’s degree may help you prepare to pursue your career path. In May 2016, jobs that required a bachelor’s degree accounted for almost 37% of all employment, and that figure is projected to keep rising.2

Earning Your Bachelor’s Degree May be the Next Step toward Achieving Your Goals

Now it's your turn to answer a question: Why would you want to stop the forward momentum? Continue on and finish what you started. Begin working toward your bachelor's degree today.

If you are thinking about returning to school but don't want to start from scratch, then view our transfer credit guide to find out how you may be able to get credit with previous college, military, or work experience.


1. “Employment Projections.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm (Visited 04/29/18).
2. “37 Percent of May 2016 Employment in Occupations Typically Requiring Postsecondary Education.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/37-percent-of-may-2016-employment-in-occupations-typically-requiring-postsecondary-education.htm (Visited 04/29/18).

*As an associate degree program, this program is designed as a 24 month program; however; many factors will impact time to completion, including course loads, proficiency and/or transfer credits and breaks.
AIU cannot guarantee employment or salary. For important information about the educational debt, earnings and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures.
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