Online Liberal Studies Associate Degree


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An associate degree can enhance career opportunities and prepare individuals for baccalaureate studies. And as an added bonus, the credential can increase overall lifetime earnings. Professionals with an associate degree earn nearly one-third more in their lifetime than those with just a high school diploma, according to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Since an online liberal studies associate degree allows students to take courses in many different subjects, it can be the ideal credential for students who are unsure about their career path and want to explore their options. Course work emphasizes critical thinking, writing, communication and analytical thinking skills.

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Course Work

Example courses
English composition
College algebra
American literature
General biology
U.S. government
Oral communications

Core course work in a liberal studies associate degree program includes courses in the humanities, social sciences, mathematics and natural sciences. The degree is very flexible and students are often allowed to pick which elective courses they would like to complete. Examples of electives include introduction to sociology, criminology and business computer applications.

Some programs allow students to focus their course work in a field of interest such as science, English, psychology and political science.

Job Outlook

Median salaries*
Preschool teacher $26,000
Social and human service assistant $28,000
Information clerk $30,000
Booking, accounting and auditing clerk $34,000
Secretary and administrative assistant $35,000
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor $38,000
Occupational health and safety technician $45,300
Advertising sales agent $45,400

*per the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook

Most graduates with a liberal studies associate degree move on to baccalaureate studies. Those who choose not to continue their schooling can earn a median lifetime salary of about $43,200 per year – about $10,000 more on average that those with only a high school diploma, according to the Georgetown University report.

Students with an online liberal studies associate degree can develop a wide skill set that includes communication, problem-solving, writing and critical thinking skills. These skills can be applied to a variety of occupations in industries such as business, social services and government.

Median salaries range from about $26,000 for a preschool teacher to about $45,400 for an advertising sales agent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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