The Associate Degree is a certification of the student's satisfactory completion of a program of study with a specific major or area of specialization. The Associate Degree is normally completed in two years, compared with the Baccalaureate Degree, which is normally completed in four years. Associate Degrees are commonly conferred by community colleges and are referenced as "local degrees".
The Associate in Arts Degree (A.A.) is used primarily for transfer programs that lead to the bachelor of arts degree at a four-year college or university. It may be used for general liberal arts programs.
The Associate in Science Degree (A.S.) may be used for certain career-technical studies and for science or professionally-related programs that lead to transfer to a bachelor of science degree at a four-year college or university.
The Associate Degree for Transfer (AA-T or AS-T) is designed to provide a clear pathway to a California State University degree major. It allows students to complete an Associate’s degree while satisfying lower division general education and major requirements for transfer at the same time.
An Associate Degree leads to the completion of the first two years of a Bachelor Degree.
Ordinarily, Associate Degrees have one of two major purposes. Either the program of study prepares the individual for transfer to a four-year college or university or the program of study is intended to prepare the student for immediate employment.