Best Online Associate in Liberal Arts Programs
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The associate in liberal arts is sometimes referred to as a general studies degree. It provides a foundation in the liberal arts, covering many of the general education requirements needed for a bachelor's degree. After earning their associate in liberal arts, these graduates may continue on to study at the bachelor's level or decide to enter the workforce.
Many community colleges offer associate degrees, which take about two years to complete. The average cost of tuition and required fees was around $3,560 in 2018-19 for two-year institutions, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
According to PayScale, graduates with an associate in liberal arts reported earning an average annual base salary of $55,000, as of October 2021. Common job titles for these graduates range from executive assistant to operations manager.
What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Liberal Arts Program?
A liberal arts education can help build the skills that employers look for in their employees. These include analytical, critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. They also include the ability to ask meaningful questions and manage time effectively.
An associate in liberal arts takes about two years to complete and requires around 60 credits. Your program may take more or less time, depending on whether you attend school year round and how many credits you take each term.
Before enrolling in an online associate in liberal arts program, check with an admissions officer to see if there are any in-person requirements. Some schools require students to attend orientation in person or to attend in-person labs or practicums. If there are in-person requirements, the location of the school will be important.
The associate in liberal arts degree is usually an associate of arts. This type of degree can help prepare the student for additional education at the bachelor's level.
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Popular Online Associate Degrees for Liberal Arts
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Liberal Arts Program?
Most programs require two courses in English composition. These courses can help students improve their writing skills, including grammar and punctuation. Students focus on writing, revision, and editing skills.
This course promotes an overall understanding of mathematics, including geometry, trigonometry, radical equations, and polynomial functions. Students may also learn about radical expressions, exponents, and linear relationships.
Students enrolled in this course study how people make decisions about real-world situations. The course introduces fundamental economic concepts such as incentives, trade-offs, supply and demand, and scarcity.
Perspectives in History
This course focuses on how historical records are created. It covers understanding primary sources, chronological thinking, and historical analysis. Students examine a variety of human pursuits, from scientific to political.
Applied Natural Sciences
In this class, students learn about natural phenomena, such as why leaves change color in the fall and whether the melting of an iceberg affects sea levels.
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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Liberal Arts Program?
In addition to filling out an application for admission and paying an application fee, you'll need to request your official high school transcripts. If you have a GED certificate, you'll need to provide proof. You may need to have a minimum GPA or a certain minimum score on a college entrance exam to be accepted.
Many schools require letters of recommendation. If you have recently graduated from high school, you can ask your favorite teachers to recommend you. If you have been out of school for a while, you can ask your work supervisor or human resources manager.
You may also need to write a college application essay. Some schools provide a few topics for you to choose from, while others let you choose the topic. These essays are typically 400-600 words.
If you have already entered the workforce, you may be able to earn college credit for life and work experience. This is especially true if the position you are in required a lot of training.
What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Liberal Arts Degree?
According to PayScale, the average annual base salary for someone with an associate of arts in liberal arts is $55,000, as of October 2021. This compares to an average salary of $56,000 for people with an associate degree in any area. Common job titles for people with an associate in liberal arts include office manager, customer service team leader, operations manager, administrative assistant, and executive assistant.
The job outlook for administrative assistants and customer service representatives doesn't look favorable. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment to decrease 7% from 2020-30 for secretaries and administrative assistants and 1% for customer service representatives.
People with associate degrees in liberal arts often work in healthcare, education, and the retail trade. They also work in professional, scientific, and technical services. These professionals may also pursue jobs in government, insurance, or business support services.
See where an associate in liberal arts can take you. Learn more about liberal arts careers.
Executive Secretary and Executive Administrative Assistant
These executive assistants work for director-level and executive management. They help plan the executive's schedule and itinerary. This includes scheduling travel and meetings. They perform office and clerical duties, such as screening phone calls, running errands, and writing letters. They are often promoted to the position of executive assistant from within the organization.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $63,110
Secretary and Administrative Assistant
Secretaries and administrative assistants perform routine office tasks, such as filing, scheduling appointments, and preparing documents. They answer phones, transfer calls, and take messages. They also set up staff meetings and prepare memos to send to staff members. They perform basic bookkeeping, such as data entry for accounts payable.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $40,990
Customer Service Team Leader
Customer service team leaders help their co-workers with customer service inquiries. They handle difficult calls, including those where the customer asks to speak to a supervisor. They are higher up the career ladder than a customer service representative, but lower than a team supervisor. Team leaders need to have good communication skills to be able to run team meetings.
Average Annual Salary (as of October 2021): $50,580
Operations managers oversee the manufacturing, warehousing, and purchasing departments. They make sure the company has the resources it needs to produce the products and services it sells. Operations managers ensure that everything runs smoothly, while following health and safety rules. They also make sure the company adheres to any environmental rules and regulations that apply to its operations.
Average Annual Salary (as of October 2021): $67,030
Office managers oversee the administrative and clerical activities that take place in an office. They should have good problem-solving, communication, and managerial skills. They often oversee multiple projects at once while working in fast-paced environments. Office managers work with executives to develop and implement new procedures and policies.
Average Annual Salary (as of October 2021): $49,400
Liberal Arts Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Many graduates with an associate in liberal arts continue on to pursue a bachelor's degree in liberal arts or another area of study. Some even go on to earn a master's degree in liberal arts.
Graduates with a bachelor's in liberal arts report earning an average base salary of $65,000 per year, as of October 2021. Those with a master's in liberal arts earn an average base salary of $72,000 per year, according to PayScale.
Those with an associate in liberal arts may decide to choose another field of study for their bachelor's degree. English, media communications, social science, and writing are popular choices.
Students who go back to school should consider what they want to do when choosing a bachelor's degree. Find out what the most common job titles are for the degrees that interest you. Make a choice based on which jobs sound most appealing.
How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Liberal Arts Program?
The average cost of tuition and required fees at a two-year college in 2018-2019 was about $3,560, according to NCES. However, that doesn't cover all the expenses. The true cost of an online program includes adding in the price of books, transportation, and living expenses. In-state tuition rates are usually much lower than out-of-state. However, some schools do offer in-state tuition to all online students.
Consider whether the program is synchronous or asynchronous. If the program is synchronous, you'll have to log in at specific times to listen to lectures. Asynchronous programs offer recordings that you can listen to on your own schedule. Also consider whether it's a full-time or part-time program and whether it is accelerated, which can allow you to finish faster.
Some online programs have in-person requirements. You may have to attend orientation, practicums, or labs on campus. Check with your school to find out if there are any in-person requirements. If not, you can attend school from anywhere. However, if you must attend some sessions in person, you'll want to choose a school that's close to you.
Regional accreditation by organizations that are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation is important. Credits granted by regionally accredited schools often transfer to other schools. This could be important if you decide partway through that you don't like your program and want to go to a different school.
Most schools offer student support services. These services can include mentorship programs, academic advising, career services, math and writing centers, internships, and tutoring. Many of these student services are offered online for remote students. Think about which services you might need and check to see if the school you're considering offers them.
Best Accredited Online Associate in Liberal Arts Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Liberal Arts Programs
Is a liberal arts associate degree worth it?
A degree can generally be worthwhile if it helps the graduate earn a higher salary without costing too much. In the case of an associate in liberal arts, let's assume you'll earn the average reported salary of $55,000 per year within a few years of graduation. If you earn $30,000 now, and it costs around $8,000 to get your degree, the degree could probably be worthwhile.
How fast can I get an associate in liberal arts degree online?
Although most associate degree programs take two years to complete, some schools offer accelerated programs that can be completed in less time. For example, MidAmerica Nazarene University offers an accelerated associate of arts degree in liberal arts that can be completed in 18-20 months.
Accelerated programs may require students to take more credits per semester or take classes during the summer.
Is an online associate degree in liberal arts credible?
An online associate in liberal arts is as credible as the school that offers it. A school with a solid reputation offers a solid degree that will be respected by employers. Look at the reviews for various schools online before deciding where to get your degree. Make sure the school you're attending has a good reputation.
In addition, make sure the school is regionally accredited. A degree from an unaccredited school will not hold as much weight as one from an accredited institution.
How much money can I make with an associate in liberal arts?
The average annual salary for an associate in liberal arts is $55,000, as of October 2021, according to PayScale. Some jobs pay more while others pay less. You may be able to get a job as an operations manager, which has an average annual salary of about $67,030. An assistant operations manager position provides easier entry into this field and comes with an average annual salary of about $52,310.
Another higher-paying job for liberal arts graduates is executive assistant, with a median annual salary of $63,110, as of May 2020. Executive assistants are often promoted from within, so a good way to position yourself for this career is by landing an administrative assistant role in a company that hires executive assistants.
Is an associate degree in liberal arts in demand?
The demand for administrative assistants and customer service representatives is projected to fall, according to the BLS. It's unclear what the future holds for other common positions held by liberal arts graduates. However, liberal arts is not usually the first degree employers look for.
For example, someone hiring an operations manager might hope to find a candidate with a bachelor's in business administration and several years of experience. However, they may consider someone with another degree, such as an associate in liberal arts, especially if the candidate has the experience.