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Should I consider earning an Associate of Arts Degree?

Majors Overview April 13, 2014

Upon completion of a 2-year General Studies or General Arts program, students will usually be awarded with an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree. No specific minor or major course of study is featured with these programs. Those whom graduate are given the choice to transfer their credits earned into a bachelor’s degree program.

Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree Programs

Interdisciplinary education is provided in mathematics, humanities, communications, and natural and social sciences, through General Arts associate’s degree programs. Concentrated electives are offered within many programs; these include social work, human psychology and business administration. Graduates usually need 60-90 credits to complete associate’s degree programs successfully. They are also required to complete prerequisite general education courses before they can go on to earn a bachelor’s degree.


Coursework in an Associate of Arts (A.A.) program includes targeted or general electives to augment core coursework. Coursework may include science, humanities, English and math classes, and may concentrate on rudimentary topic areas such as information technology, literature and writing. Elective courses offered can vary from school to school and may include:

•Philosophy and analytical thinking
•Creative, developmental, and technical writing
•Speaking publicly
•Art history
•Creative writing and poetry
•Interpersonal and oral communication
•Culture, civilization, and society
•American literature
•Business administration and accounting

Career Choices

Students enrolled in associate’s degree programs can explore different areas to help decide on academic or career choices. Recruiters usually prefer professional or skilled employees who have completed college education. General Arts associate degree graduates may choose from several career positions such as:

•Sales professional
•Public relations professional
•Management trainee
•Social worker
•Research Assistant
•Teacher’s assistant
•Graphic designer

Job and Wage Outlook

There is high variance in the salaries and job outlooks enjoyed by artists, given the various occupations related to the field of art. A slower-than-average job growth rate has been projected for craft and fine artists during the decade between 2010 and 2020 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). In 2012, fine artists, such as painters and illustrators, took home an average annual wage of $44,850, while craft artists averaged an annual wage of $29,600.

Continuing Education Choices

After successful completion of an associate’s degree program in General Arts, a graduate may opt for continued education by earning a baccalaureate degree. As they would have satisfied the general education requirements, it would be possible for bachelor’s students to complete the degree in less than four years. Students may choose between declaring a major and focusing studies on a specific field of study, enrolling in a professional degree program, such as a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) option, or earning a degree in General Arts and Sciences.

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