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Earning an Applied Associate Degree – A Ticket to a Greater Future

In recent years there has been increased focus on encouraging Americans to get a college degree…and for good reason. A postsecondary degree can mean the difference between poverty and a living wage. It can mean the difference between sustainable employment and unemployment. In a speech earlier this year, President Obama stated that a college degree is “the surest ticket to the middle class” and that more Americans needed to get college educated in order for the United States to fully compete in the global economy.

According to, those with an associate’s degree can earn a starting median salary of almost $40,000 and build to a median salary of more than $60,000 a year.  This is substantially more than someone with a high school diploma. The chart above shows the median salary difference in several states in 2010 for 24-65 year olds with an associate’s degree compared to those with only a high school diploma.

As shown in the chart, the difference in salary is between $10-$14,000 a year. Over a 30-year period, this can equate to a $300,000-$400,000 difference in earnings.

And those with an occupational or technical degree can earn even more. According to, students with an occupational or technical associate’s degree earn thousands more per year compared to students with a non-occupational associate’s degree.

These occupational or technical degrees are often applied associate degrees and differ from regular associate degrees. Associate degrees are primarily designed for students to transfer and further their education and not for students who seek to enter the workforce immediately. Associate degrees are also mostly filled with a general education curriculum and have very few specialized courses. In contrast, students who pursue an applied associate’s degree can expect to begin learning the skills necessary to enter the workforce from day one. Students work toward becoming trained in their area of emphasis and become adequately prepared for a career upon graduation.

Some reports have also shown that graduates with applied associate degrees can earn more than those with bachelor degrees, especially in the first few years after graduation. Based on findings from a report by, technical associate’s degree graduates in Texas earned on average $11,000 more than bachelor’s degree graduates in their first year.

Asher College offers students the opportunity to earn an accredited and specialized applied associate degree in Health, Business or Information Technology in a flexible, supportive environment. At Asher College, students who pursue an applied associate’s degree will not only receive specialized technical skills in their chosen emphasis, but also essential business management skills necessary for today’s workforce. Students will acquire skills in business communications, management and critical thinking, among others, and have the opportunity to achieve gainful employment or advance in their chosen career.

Visit one of Asher College’s convenient locations to begin your journey to a greater future.