Learn about Community Colleges and Associate Degree programs
These are college-level programs at local community colleges or city colleges. These colleges provide discounted tuition and benefits for students who live in the community (or city) where the college is located. Course offerings include 2-year (60 credit hours) Associate’s Degree programs; or, 1-year or less (30 credit hours or less) Certification programs and training.
Over four million students enroll in 2-year community college programs each year. Here are some potential benefits to these programs:
At the end of a two-year program, students earn an Associate’s degree. There are a lot of career paths that start with just an Associate’s degree, so it is possible to step right into the workforce after graduating from a two-year program. Or, some students choose to transfer to a Bachelor’s degree program to further their education.
There are several types of programs which fall under the umbrella of a “two-year program”, even though they can often take much less (or sometimes more) than two-years. Check out the different types and examples of each in this chart:
Common Career Paths
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
Emergency Medical Technician
Solar Panel Installation
Programs can range from as short as 30 days to up to 12-months in length.
$600 – $2,000 depending on certification
Most Associate Degree programs take 18-36 Months to complete
$20,000-$35,000 depending on the program type and length
$49,000 – $64,000
Licensed Journeyman (trades)
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Licensing programs can take up to 1 year to complete after an Associate’s Degree
Licensing programs can run from $2,000 to $20,000
Now that you have learned what two-year programs are, here are some reflection questions to help you think through this option:
Living at home and going to college can make it hard to balance time between family responsibilities, a job and coursework. Having a clear plan will increase your likelihood of success.
Is your plan to save money, earn college credits and then transfer after completing your Associate’s Degree?
Is your plan to complete your two-year Associate’s Degree and go right into the world of work?
Is your plan to complete a certification program in a year or less?
Knowing the answers to these questions before you start is a great way to ensure you are on the right path from the get go. And being on the right path often leads to the finish line!