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Associate's Degrees in Applied Science: Program Overviews

Learn about associate's degree programs in applied science. Find out about program options along with educational prerequisites, coursework and popular career options.

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Essential Information

Applied science programs refer to fields wherein scientific knowledge is applied technically to solve problems. These 2-year applied science associate's degree programs are designed for students who want to prepare for a specific career, and candidates are taught how to apply their knowledge in the workplace. Most applied science degree programs are related to engineering, computers technology or medical technology.

Program Overview

Applied science degree programs generally place heavy emphasis on science and technical courses and are designed for students who have clearly defined career goals. For instance, graduates of Associate in Applied Science degree programs are prepared for specific technical roles in specialized fields that include radiology, engineering technology and medical care. Since Associate of Applied Science degree programs are often designed as terminal degrees that prepare graduates for immediate entry into the workforce, they may not transfer into bachelor's degree programs at 4-year schools. Common fields available as Associate of Applied Science programs include:

  • Business technology
  • Cosmetology
  • Engineering technology
  • Computer science
  • Graphic design
  • Welding technology
  • Automotive technology
  • Culinary arts

Educational Prerequisites

Because associate's degrees in applied science are offered mostly through community colleges or technical schools, there are typically few educational requirements for entrance. Often applicants are required to have high school diplomas or GEDs. Some institutions may require students to take entrance or placement exams or complete remedial courses to ensure they are prepared for the demands of the coursework. Stricter prerequisites may apply to high-demand programs such as nursing or radiologic technology.

Program Coursework

Courses in applied science associate's degree programs vary widely by field of study; for example, engineering and computer science programs have drastically different course requirements than a health care program. The following represents a mishmash of courses one may find in an applied science degree program:

  • Introductory information systems
  • Digital data communications
  • Physics and technology
  • Mechanical and electrical equipment
  • Medical terminology
  • Hospital maintenance and sanitation
  • Statistics
  • Material strength testing
  • Mechanics

Popular Career Options

Graduates should be well qualified to enter whichever field or fields they studied in the associate's degree program. Some applied science jobs include the following:

  • Blueprint drafter
  • Medical technician
  • Computer repair technician
  • Construction foreman
  • Systems engineer
  • Radiologic technologist
  • Registered nurse

Continuing Education Information

Those with associate's degrees in an applied science are typically prepared to immediately enter the workforce, however some students may wish to continue their education be pursuing bachelor's degrees. Students in the medical field, for instance, can earn bachelor's degrees in biomedical engineering or nursing, whereas students in the computer field may pursue bachelor's degrees in computer engineering or computer science. Your specific field should help narrow your choices.

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