What is the easiest associate’s degree to get?

An associate’s degree is a great way to get started in higher education without committing to a full four-year bachelor’s degree program. Associate’s degrees typically take about two years to complete as a full-time student. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer associate’s degree programs focused on preparing students for careers in fields like nursing, information technology, and criminal justice. When researching associate’s degree options, prospective students may wonder – what is the easiest associate’s degree to obtain?

Easiest Associate’s Degrees

The “easiest” associate’s degrees are those that require the fewest number of credits and have open admissions policies. Open admissions means there are no entrance exams or minimum GPA requirements. Typical “easy” associate’s degrees include:

  • Associate of Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Science (AS)
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
  • Associate of General Studies (AGS)

These broad degrees require students to complete 60 credits of foundational courses in English, math, sciences, humanities, and electives. The flexibility in these programs allows students to explore different subjects or focus on a particular interest area. Associate of Arts degrees are generally geared toward humanities and social sciences, while Associate of Science degrees focus more on math and natural sciences.

Some specific easy-to-obtain associate’s degrees include:

  • Liberal Arts
  • General Studies
  • Business Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Early Childhood Education

These programs have minimal admissions requirements, a broad curriculum, and offer flexible scheduling options like night and weekend classes or online learning. This accessibility makes them popular options for many students.

Why are these degrees considered easy?

There are several reasons these broad associate’s degrees are among the easiest options:

  • Open admissions policies – No SAT/ACT test scores or minimum GPA requirements for admission.
  • Broad curriculum – Flexibility in choosing elective courses based on interests and scheduling needs.
  • Short completion time – Can often be completed in as little as 18-24 months.
  • Convenient scheduling – Evening/weekend and online classes accommodate work schedules.
  • Wide availability – Offered at most 2-year colleges and vocational schools, often at low tuition rates.
  • Credits often transfer – General education credits transfer toward bachelor’s degree requirements.

The open admissions policies and flexible curriculum of these programs allow almost anyone who graduates high school or earns a GED certificate to enroll and work towards an associate’s degree. The short time commitment and scheduling options make it convenient for students who need to balance work and family responsibilities while attending school. Plus, earning an associate’s degree can serve as a stepping stone toward a bachelor’s degree down the road.

Things to Consider

While these broad degrees may be among the easiest to attain, students should consider a few things when choosing an associate’s degree program:

Career Goals

Those with a specific career field in mind may want to consider an Associate of Applied Science degree tailored to the profession like nursing, information technology, automotive repair, or paralegal studies. These specialized degrees are geared toward entry-level jobs in the field.


If your goal is to eventually use an associate’s degree to transfer into a bachelor’s program, check on transfer agreements with four-year schools and make sure your credits will transfer seamlessly. Look for degrees like Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, or Associate of Arts in Teaching that are designed for transfer.


Community college and vocational programs offer the most affordable options for earning an associate’s degree. Be sure to look into financial aid and scholarship opportunities which can drastically reduce the cost. Considering cost per credit and factoring in financial assistance you may receive can help narrow your options.

Time Commitment

While open admissions associate’s degrees may sound easy, keep in mind that full-time enrollment means committing 15+ hours per week to classes and homework for at least two years. Online and evening classes can help you work around other responsibilities. Realistically assess how much time you can dedicate before deciding on a program length.

Reputation & Accreditation

Even when looking for the easiest degree options, it’s important to ensure the school and program are reputable and accredited. Check that both the institution and specific degree program hold accreditation from an agency recognized by the Department of Education to ensure quality standards. Also look into grad employment rates.

Choosing the Right Program

As you consider which associate’s degree is the easiest path for you, think about both your career and academic goals. The right program should provide an accessible entry point to higher education while keeping you moving toward your goals. Here are some steps to selecting the best program:

  1. Research your interests – Make a list of fields or jobs that appeal to you and see what degree options align.
  2. Check admissions requirements – Compare program admission policies at nearby community colleges. Cross any off that require extensive tests or prerequisites you lack.
  3. Map out course plans – Look at degree plans and see which programs offer flexibility through elective credits and adaptable class schedules.
  4. Speak with advisors – Meet with admissions counselors or academic advisors who can walk you through options.
  5. Consider transferability – If you hope to eventually transfer and pursue a bachelor’s, make sure your credits can carry over seamlessly.
  6. Evaluate costs – Look at tuition rates and financial aid options. A program may be more affordable than it seems at first glance.

With the right research and planning, you can find an associate’s degree program that is both easily accessible and effective for helping you progress toward your dreams!

Top 5 Easiest Associate’s Degrees

Based on open admissions policies, flexible course requirements, transferability, and accessibility, here are 5 of the easiest associate’s degrees:

Degree Overview
Associate of Arts in General Studies Broad curriculum focusing on humanities and social sciences. Transfers well into liberal arts bachelor’s programs.
Associate of Science in General Studies Emphasizes math, sciences, and technology. Easily transfers into STEM-focused bachelor’s degrees.
Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts Humanities-based curriculum. Strong foundation for social sciences, communications, education, and liberal arts bachelor’s programs.
Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration Career-focused program providing overview of business operations, management, and accounting.
Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice Prepares for careers in law enforcement, corrections, security, and criminology.


What is the easiest 2 year degree?

The easiest 2 year degrees are Associate of Arts or Associate of Science in General Studies. With broad curriculum requirements and open admission policies, these 60-credit degrees can be completed in as little as 18-24 months as a full-time student.

What is the easiest associates degree to get online?

Some of the easiest online associate’s degrees are Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration, and Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice. These programs have flexible curriculum and courses available in online formats.

What is the fastest associate’s degree?

The fastest associate’s degrees take about 18-24 months to complete as a full-time student. Accelerated formats with courses in 5-8 week sessions allow students to complete credits quickly year-round. Prior college credits and study options like CLEP exams can also reduce time for degree completion.

Is an associate’s degree worth it?

An associate’s degree is worth it for the increased earning potential over a high school diploma alone. Associates degrees can lead directly to entry-level jobs in fields like healthcare, business, and technology. They also provide a solid stepping stone toward a bachelor’s degree to pursue broader career opportunities and higher salaries.

Is it hard to get an associate’s degree?

Earning an associate’s degree is very achievable, especially given the open admissions policies of community colleges and vocational schools offering these 2-year degrees. Staying organized, seeking academic support if needed, and persevering through challenges will help make an associate’s degree attainable.


When it comes to the easiest associate’s degrees, options like Associate of Arts or Associate of Science in General Studies provide accessible entry points to higher education. With their broad curriculum, flexible course options, and open admissions, students can start working towards career or transfer goals. Knowing what makes these degrees so attainable empowers prospective students to find the right fit as they take this important step forward.

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