There are two types of associate degrees that Amarillo College offers, an A.S. which is designed to satisfy the first two years of a bachelor’s degree at a university, and an A.A.S or an applied associate degree, which is designed for students who plan to go directly into the workforce after graduation.
Many AC students are unsure of the difference between the degrees, and which one they’re seeking.
“An Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree prepares graduates to enter a career immediately after graduating from AC,” said Ernesto Olmos, senior director of advising and completion. “For example, students can complete a Dental Hygiene A.A.S. degree and then go to work once they complete the degree.”
“Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees are considered transfer degrees that provide students with an academic foundation that prepares them to enter a 4-year university to earn a bachelor’s and even a graduate degree,” Olmos said.
Students may pursue an A.S. degree in psychology at AC and then transfer to West Texas A&M University to complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology or social work, according to Olmos.
“I think the reason why students aren’t told is that when they come to talk to their adviser, their mindset is already ‘I want to transfer.’ I don’t want to say there’s no reason to tell them because I tell my high school students the difference because they’re brand new,” said Bryan Padilla, an AC enrollment adviser.
Knowing the difference is essential for students because they may have to take more classes if they end up transferring with an A.A.S. degree or their classes may not transfer the same way as an A.S. degree would have, according to Padilla.
“It’s important for students to know their desired career path and how much time they want to invest in their education. If students want to go to work after completing a degree at AC, then an A.A.S. is the best option,” Olmos, said.
AC has a variety of A.A.S. programs ranging from creative arts like photography or graphic design to nursing and other medical programs. A full list of programs AC offers is available at www.actx.edu/communities.
“There is an alternative path for students with an A.A.S. degree to earn a bachelor’s degree. This is called a bachelor of applied arts and sciences (B.A.A.S.) degree and most universities have this option,” Olmos said.