5 Reasons to Earn an Associate Degree

Colleen Barrett May 7, 2020
E-learning man using a laptop

Returning to school to earn a degree is a major decision. What will you study? Where will you go? How will you fit your studies into your already busy life? How will you pay for it? What is the long term benefit? Maybe you’re not ready for the commitment of earning a bachelor’s degree, yet many of the benefits experienced by bachelor’s degree holders are also true with an associate degree. Associate degrees are often more affordable and more accessible than bachelor’s degrees. What can earning an associate degree do for you? Here are five reasons to earn an associate degree. 

1. Higher Earning Potential

Can you get a good job without a degree? Yes, but having a degree can increase your earning potential. According to a special report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017, earning an associate degree can provide a salary boost. An associate degree holder’s—aged 25 or older and working full time—median weekly salary is 7.4 percent more than those with some college credit and 14.9 percent more than those with only a high school diploma. 

2. Path to a Higher Degree

An associate degree is often a less expensive stepping stone to earning a bachelor’s degree. Earning it online is also a convenient way to satisfy general education credits before transferring to a bachelor’s degree program—online or on campus. (If you choose this route, it’s important to check to see if the courses you are taking will transfer to the institution where you plan to complete your bachelor’s degree. In addition, if you know what area you want to earn your bachelor’s degree in, check to see which courses you can take to satisfy requirements or prerequisites.)

3. Career Advancement Opportunities

Having an associate degree can make a difference in getting promoted. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, earning an associate degree can open up opportunities in management. Looking at full-time workers aged 25 or older, nearly 38 percent of associate degree holders work in management positions, compared to 29 percent of those with some college credit but no degree. Only 16.2 percent of those with a high school diploma alone hold management positions.

4. Finish What You Started

After high school you enrolled in college like many of your friends and completed a semester or two, possibly more. Or you started a degree program but life got in the way, and you stopped to work full time. You may be able to use college credits you’ve already completed to help you earn your degree. Check with the admission office at the school where you want to earn your associate degree. They can review all of your credits and see how many can be used toward the associate degree. 

5. Accomplish Your Goal 

You set a goal to complete your associate degree, but between personal and professional commitments, you haven’t completed it yet. Now it’s easier than ever to accomplish that goal through the 100 percent online University of Wisconsin Associate of Arts and Sciences degree. This 60-credit program features a broad based liberal arts and sciences curriculum. You’ll be able to access your classroom anytime, anywhere, and from nearly any device, which helps you fit learning into your busy life. A simple web interface makes it easy to access your courses, connect with instructors and classmates, check your grades, and get support when you need it, helping you to crush your goal! 

Ready to earn your associate degree? Contact an enrollment adviser Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT; or by appointment. Call 608-800-6762 (1-877-895-3276) or send an email to

Programs: Associate of Arts