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Can an Associate’s Degree Have a Minor?

You finally graduated from high school and can’t wait to get your undergraduate degree. For most students, minors and majors are powerful weapons that help break into the job market. However, not all undergraduate degrees have the freedom to specialize in a particular field of study.

An associate’s degree does not have a minor simply because it teaches the most basic aspects in a field of study, e.g., introduction to computers, math 101, basic science, and other basics of the degree. Besides, associate degrees are mostly offered by community colleges, which do not offer minors.

In this article, I’ll explain why an associate’s degree does not have a minor and how you can get an associate’s degree and a minor. Learn about the differences between both academic qualifications and how they can contribute to your future career.

Can an Associate’s Degree Have a Minor?

Can You Have a Minor With an Associates Degree?

Let’s face it. Hunting for institutions that offer a minor in an associate degree will only lead you to a dead end. There aren’t any – yet. An associate’s degree does not have a minor because:

  • Both academic qualifications are separate and distinct.
  • The purpose of an associate’s degree and a minor is far too diversified for a student to earn both in the same academic period. 

You can only get a minor with an associate’s degree if you pursue both qualifications separately. Start with a transfer associate’s degree, which gets you into a four-year bachelor’s degree program after studying for a minimum of 2 years. Next, pursue a minor in your bachelor’s degree program.

Associate’s degrees can also be awarded as technical trade degrees. Technical trade degrees tell potential employers that you have the specific skills your industry needs. That is why many technical trade degree holders join the workforce when they’re done with college.

What Exactly Is an Associate Degree?

Graduating from high school is a great achievement in every student’s life. What follows is a life-changing decision between two years in an associate’s degree and four years of a bachelor’s degree.

Despite the many undergraduate programs out there, choosing whether to pursue an associate’s degree or stick to a bachelor’s degree may sometimes be overwhelming (source). 

The American Intercontinental University describes an associate’s degree as the first undergraduate program for high school graduates. It falls below a bachelor’s degree and above a high school diploma. National University adds that you don’t need an associate degree to get your bachelor’s degree.

Should I Enroll in an Associate’s Degree?

An associate’s degree equips students with the most rudimentary college skills such as communication, foreign languages, and other skills relevant to a particular discipline.

You should consider enrolling in an associate’s degree because it can open gateways to highly paid employment. They take less time to complete, and in as little as 15 months, you can join the workforce. Associate’s degrees can also give you an edge over people with only a high school diploma.

Source: Fremont College

If you’re in a highly competitive field, an associate’s degree could set you apart from your rivals. Employers have a special recognition for students with this undergraduate qualification.

What Is a Minor?

When pursuing your bachelor’s degree, you’ll come across majors and minors.

These are two academic qualifications closely related to one another. If you’re new to university terms, the difference might not be clear.

According to the University of Waterloo, a minor is an extra subject on top of your main course. It’s a supplement for your degree. Don’t mix up minors with majors. Most coursework in majors revolves around your main specialization. Minors have fewer courses and can be unrelated to your main field.

Minors are like smaller specializations in your field of study.

Take an example of a student pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. This student majors in Business Administration. Most of the coursework throughout the program will be about business administration. However, the student can spice up his career by taking minors in English, math, or other unrelated fields.

Associate’s Degrees vs. Minors: Why They Don’t Go Together

As mentioned earlier, associate’s degrees are completely different from minors.

For starters, minors are mostly awarded by four-year institutions, like universities. On the other hand, associate’s degrees are awarded by junior, technical, vocational, and community colleges.

Below is a table that shows a few key differences between minors and associate’s degrees. 

Associate’s DegreeMinor
Duration2 years3 years
PurposeBridge to a bachelor’s degreeComplements the bachelor’s degree
LevelSeparate undergraduate degreeTied to a bachelor’s degree
ContentsFundamental college workFurther specializations in new, related, or unrelated fields.

Source: Southern New Hampshire University

Under normal circumstances, an associate’s degree should take about two years to complete. Factors such as the difficulty of the degree you’re pursuing and how much time you allocate to your studies could further increase or shorten the entire duration (source). 

If you do manage to keep your associate’s degree under two years, note that one year will be spent on general college knowledge while the remaining year goes into your area of specialization.

Associate’s Degree and Minor Programs Examples

Some students opt not to pursue an associate’s degree to save time and money. But did you know that associate’s degrees can significantly cut the cost of a four-year program? At the same time, associate’s degrees provide invaluable skills that minors and bachelor’s programs may not cover adequately.

Graduating with an associate’s degree is completing a high-level academic qualification. Should you consider dropping out of school in the middle of your four-year program, you will still have enough skills and another degree to join the working class. Some of the most popular associate’s degree programs include: 

  • Web development
  • Computer science
  • Instrumentation & control
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Business administration
  • Arts

Minors can spice up your course with skills related to or unrelated to your field of study. Some of the most popular minors include: 

  • Business
  • History
  • Math
  • Technology
  • Writing
  • Foreign languages

Final Thoughts

There’s nothing wrong with choosing an associate’s degree or a minor if you’re thinking about your future in academics. Both qualifications provide an excellent shot at success in the job market. 

But if you feel the urge to finish school and start working early, an associate’s degree is what you need. On the other hand, a minor will go hand in hand with your bachelor’s degree and expand your knowledge in your major academic discipline.

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