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Ask an Advisor: Why Should I Get an Associate Degree?

student looking up at question marks. Text: Ask an Advisor: Why Should I Get an Associate Degree?

Ask an Advisor: Why Should I Get an Associate Degree?

What is an associate degree? How long does it take to earn an associate degree, and what is it good for? 

I pondered on these questions at the beginning of and during my college journey. Even when near the end of it, while I was still undecided on what type of career I wanted. 

I’m here to tell you there isn’t any one right way to go about your education, or a measurement of time in which you need to get it done. However, an associate degree can change your life and open new doors of opportunity. 

Do you have a goal in mind? We can help you see where an associate degree may fit into your plan or serve as a stepping stone toward additional education.

Pursuing a degree is a big decision. A lot of examination and re-examination of your career choices will likely happen. As you do your research and learn how an associate degree can benefit you, remember that while jobs are available for those with a high school diploma, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that obtaining an associate degree leads to higher earnings and lower unemployment. 

In 2020, individuals with associate degrees earned a median weekly salary of $938 compared to $781 for high school graduates. Only 7 percent of associate degree holders were unemployed in 2020 compared to high school graduates who had a 9 percent unemployment rate. 

Having options available with an associate degree means you will have a better chance of finding a career that is the right fit.

If you’re undecided on a major or feeling intimidated by the whole process of how or where to start, as I once felt and experienced, allow us to help you figure it out and prepare for that job you are considering. 

Rio Salado College’s Fields of Interest website provides an opportunity for you to explore your options within similar programs. Our advisors specialize in their fields to guide you toward the classes and programs that serve your goals. 

Would you like to do some further career exploration and discuss any fears or anxiety you may be having about returning to school? Connect with the Counseling and Career Services Department.

Nadia Ismael is an advisor for the Behavioral Sciences and Human Services Field of Interest at Rio Salado College. Nadia can be reached at

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