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Occupational Studies Degree Summaries by Specialization

Oct 14, 2019

Occupational studies degree programs quickly move a student from the classroom to the workplace, because students learn marketable skills. Usually resulting in a 2-year associate degree, concentrations in numerous occupations are possible.

Essential Information

2-year associate of occupational studies degrees aim at a specific skill and are designed for students who plan to go straight into the workforce. Few clearly defined undergraduate programs exist; however, the associate-level program may transfer to a bachelor's degree program. Degree titles differ from one school or occupation to the next, but Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) is one of the more common options. Common program specializations include culinary arts, facilities management technology, and medical assistance. Some jobs that AOS programs prepare students for may require additional certification or registration. Prerequisites often include a high school diploma or GED.


Associate of Occupational Studies

Students in occupational studies programs, whether they are recent high school graduates or people who currently work, will gain abilities and knowledge in the job or career of their choice. Many attend school during the evening or weekend while continuing to work in their present jobs. Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) degree programs often fall into such broad industry categories as agriculture, business, information technology, family and consumer sciences, and healthcare.

Local industries often collaborate with nearby educational institutions so that graduates form a pool of candidates with a predetermined level of knowledge and skill. One of the attributes of occupational studies programs is that non-credit courses, vocational training, and life experience may translate into usable credits for the degree. Familiar vocational degrees prepare graduates to be radiology assistants, legal assistants, mechanics, and administrative assistants.


Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Population increases and continued demand for convenience will lead to job growth in food preparation of about 8% from 2018-2028, the BLS predicted. Competition is expected to be keen at upscale restaurants that tend to pay higher wages. The median annual wage for this occupation was $23,730 as of May 2018.

An aging population, expanding healthcare industry and increased use of medical assistants are all factors that are contributing to the BLS's prediction that jobs for medical assistants will increase by 23% from 2018 to 2028. According to BLS projections, job prospects are best for those who are familiar with electronic health records computer software. The median wage for this occupation was $33,610 annually as of May 2018.

Prospective students in associate of occupational studies degree programs have a variety of options to choose from depending on their career goals. Graduation will prepare students to move straight into the workplace.

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