How long does it take to get a degree? (2023)


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How long does it take to get a degree?

Written by Coursera • Updated on

An associate degree is often referred to as a "two-year degree" and can take more or less time to complete depending on the school, goals, and progression.

How long does it take to get a degree? (1)

SomeBachelor of ScienceIt is often referred to as a "two-year degree" because it usually lastsabout two yearsto deserve. Degree options are offered at a variety of post-secondary institutions, including vocational schools, community colleges, and traditional colleges and universities.

With a diploma you can enter the labor market after graduation or earn money from itBachelor's degree. If you have yourcreditsAn associate degree typically meets the requirements for the first two years of a four-year bachelor's degree.

To determine if a degree is right for you, learn more about the potential time investment and benefits.

Typical degree timeline

The most important factor in how long it will take you to complete your degree is whether you choose a full-time or part-time school. Schedules may also vary by program and school.

Program for a full-time Associate Degree

As a full-time student, you can complete your degree faster than as a part-time student. The average time required is about two years. However, if your school offers an accelerated schedule, you can earn your degree in 12 to 18 months.

Benefits of the full-time study mode

The biggest advantage of going to school full-time is that you graduate sooner. If you take 15 credits per semester (also known as a full course load), you can complete your requirements in four semesters. Other benefits of studying full-time include:

  • More scholarship opportunities:Many scholarships require applicants to be enrolled full-time to be eligible[1]

  • Higher completion rates:According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average graduation rate for full-time students is 76.1%, a significant increase from the 46.5% for part-time students.2]

  • More reliable campus environment:Many schools only allow you to live on campus as a full-time student. Living on campus may give you better access to other study options and activities.

Part-time Associate degree schedule

If you have family responsibilities or a job, you can choose to enroll in a second course of study as part of your part-time study. If you study part-time, it can take 48 to 72 months to complete your degree.

Benefits of part-time study

One of the biggest benefits of working part-time is greater flexibility. Because you take fewer courses each semester, you have more free time, which can be a good option if you have a job or family responsibilities. In addition to this flexibility, there are other benefits of part-time schools:

  • Income during study period:Part-time work gives you the freedom to work while continuing to study.

  • Lower tuition fees:The more courses you take per semester, the more you spend. By opting for part-time work, however, you have fewer financial burdens at any time and you can spread the costs over a longer period.

Other factors that influence the length of time

While different schools may have different requirements, most do60 to 68 points requiredGraduated with an engineering degree. Here are some other factors that can do thisExtended timetable:

  • If your school requires more credits, it may take longer to complete the course.

  • If you change majors or transfer to another school, some credits you have earned may not transfer to the new school or program.

  • If you miss class, you have a reduced number of credit hours for a given semester.

Accelerated Associate Degree Program

If you are motivated and have the time, you may be able to pick up the pace. Here are some steps that can help youGet your diploma faster:

  • Earn more credits per semester, or attend an educational institution whose semester schedule allows you to earn more credits per year.

  • The high school credit allows you to apply for an associate degree program.

  • Take summer courses to complete the course faster.

Benefits of an Associate Degree

If you're not sure about the value of a degree, consider a Harvard Business School study that shows employers are more likely to consider you job-ready if you have a degree.3] According to data from Statista, the demand for graduate degrees continues to grow. 1.07 million U.S. students are expected to graduate in the 2029-2030 school year, compared to 1.04 million in the 2018-2019 school year.4]

Here are some other reasons students choose to pursue an associate degree program:

  • flexibility:Degrees provide flexibility in several ways. First, it takes less time than a bachelor's degree (two years instead of four). Most of these programs are also good for working on a schedule if you have other commitments. You can also choose from various educational institutions – both permanent and online.

  • Financial Savings:An associate degree program requires fewer credit hours and is therefore generally less expensive than a four-year associate's degree or master's degree. This saves you money and you can get started faster.

  • Higher Profit Potential:You can earn more money with a degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), high school graduates earn an average of $40,620. But if you have a degree, the amount adds up to $48,776 [5]

  • Greater career prospects:According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average unemployment rate for those with a high school diploma is about 9%.5] If you have a degree, the same statistic drops to 7.1%.

  • options:This degree can stand on its own. However, it can also be used as a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree, as many of the credits earned while earning an associate degree are transferable.

learn more: 10 high paying jobs you can get with a degree

Alternatives to an Associate degree

Getting a degree is not the only way. Many students decide to take a gap year to work, travel or discover their passions. Others are looking for vocational training opportunities that allow them to learn and gain work experience. Other options include taking an online course or obtaining a certificate.

online courses

By taking online courses you can improve your personal skills or deepen your interests. This option often gives you more flexibility in how you organize your time while providing access to a wide variety of topics. For example, you can learnmachine learningtake it every now and thenIntroductory psychology courseFollowing.


Including certificates on your resume confirms that you have completed coursework in a particular subject. Through these programs, you will develop technical skills relevant to any subject. earn egGoogle Project Management: Professional CertificationDevelop organizational culture, change management and project planning skills.

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Related articles

  • What is a Diploma? requirements, costs, etc.

  • How to get a bachelor's degree

  • How many credits are needed to graduate?

  • 10 high paying jobs you can get with a degree

Article bridge

1. Academic Raptors. "Part-time and full-time student hours: what's the difference?, "Accessed December 29, 2021.

2. National Center for Education Statistics. "Graduation and Continuation Rates: What is the Part-Time Enrollment Rate in Post-Secondary Education?, "Accessed December 29, 2021.

3. Harvard Business School. „Exemption per degree, "Accessed December 28, 2021.

4. Politicians. "2030 US Associate Degree Graduates,”, accessed 28 December 2021.

5. United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. "education pays off, "Accessed December 29, 2021.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content is for informational purposes only. Students are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that their coursework and other qualifications meet their personal, professional and financial goals.


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