Is an Associate’s Degree in Business Worth it?

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If you’re pondering what your next step should be after earning your high school diploma, you might be wondering if it would be worthwhile to earn an associate’s degree in business. What career opportunities would be open to you if you hold this degree? Would your earning potential increase substantially? Read on for a discussion of how a two-year degree in business would position you in the future job market.

What Jobs Can You Qualify for With an Associate’s Degree in Business?

Bookkeeper, Accountant or Auditing Clerk — In this role, you would help businesses keep their financial records up-to-date. If you decide to pursue a business degree, be sure to load up on accounting, math and computer classes to help you qualify for an entry-level bookkeeping or accounting job after graduation. You’ll want to have outstanding math skills as well as a mastery of spreadsheets. Median annual pay for this occupation was $38,390 as of 2016.

Information Clerk — Many industries, including the hospitality, healthcare, travel, transportation and legal industries employ information clerks. In this role, you’d be doing routine office work that’s specific to your hiring organization’s industry — perhaps collecting data, filing or maintaining record books. The median annual salary for this occupation was $32,920 as of 2016.

Office Manager — If you load up on business management courses and as part of your business degree, you might qualify for a job as office manager after graduation. Glassdoor.com reports that office managers holding associate’s degrees earn average annual pay of $56,000.

Higher Levels of Education Lead to Decreased Chances of Unemployment

In general, unemployment levels shrink as education levels rise. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2016, high school graduates had an unemployment rate of 5 percent. In contrast, associate’s degree graduates had slimmer unemployment rates, at only 3.6 percent. Bachelor’s degree graduates were even less likely to be unemployed; their unemployment rates were a mere 2.7 percent. These statistics make it evident that hiring managers in the workforce value education.

If you’re wondering whether it would be worthwhile to earn a business degree, the answer is undoubtedly yes. The real question is whether you can be competitive for the job you want most if you only have an associate’s degree in hand; after all, you’ll be in competition for jobs with many other candidates who hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees. This is a question that only you can answer.

If you are satisfied to seek work in one of the occupations mentioned above, and you would be happy with the earnings that are typical for those positions, an associate’s degree is likely to be worthwhile for you. If you really want a better job title or higher earnings, you’re likely to be disappointed with your return on investment from an associate’s degree. In that case, you would be better off pursuing a bachelor’s degree or an MBA to better qualify for the positions and salary you desire.

We hope these statistics and insights are helpful to you as you decide how to proceed with educating yourself. Clearly, an associate’s degree is worthwhile. A bachelor’s degree is even more beneficial, and an MBA even more so. It’s your individual circumstances that will determine whether the associate’s degree in business is the best way for you to go when considering all three of these academic options.