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Q&A - English Associates Degrees

Can I work while studying for my associates degree in English?

Working while you pursue an associates degree, whether at a traditional school or in pursuit of an online associates degree in English, is possible and may help your career prospects. Admission to an English associates degree program requires only a high school diploma. Students who intend to pursue more education or a career in English would do well to work in a position that concurrently strengthens their degree program, though it is not required.

Many school districts offer teaching assistant jobs that only require a high school education. Teaching assistants give individual instruction to students in grades K-12 and ensure a smooth classroom experience. They often work part-time. Writers, editors and proofreaders can enjoy the freedom of telecommuting and define their own hours while pursing a degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects a growing number of jobs for anyone who is bilingual, so on-campus jobs like translating for a professor or working in the international center may be good choices if you speak a second language.

Pursuing an online associates degree in English offers flexibility in choosing how much to work, allowing you a more convenient schedule. Students who work full time can take classes in the evenings or during off hours. Most community colleges offer associates degree programs designed to be taken by employed students.

What are common assumptions about students who choose to get an associates degree in English?

Although many programs that offer an associate degree in English are designed for students to move on to bachelors degrees, it may not be common knowledge that an associates can be earned as a standalone degree. While many bachelors programs accept the associates degree as prerequisite credit, an associates is not a requirement for application to a bachelors program. Students may pursue an associates in English and end their education there by choosing to enter the workforce.

Some might assume that English associate degree students always pursue a career path in English. However, the critical thinking skills and excellent writing abilities emphasized in these associate programs are useful in almost every field. A survey of job postings in May 2012 revealed numerous jobs that required an associates in English but were unrelated to literature or creative writing.

It may appear that if you complete an associates degree program and enter the workforce, your education ends there. Yet graduates can use their degrees to gain entrance to a company, and once there, many employers will pay for continuing education, allowing students to earn a bachelors degree. Some employers may even fund an online associates degree in English for full-time workers.

What is the hardest part of the application to an on-campus or online English associates program?

Admission to these programs is not difficult, whether for an English associates online or at a more traditional community college or university. Proof of high school graduation is required in the form of an official transcript, and some schools will accept a GED equivalent. Most programs will require that students submit an ACT or SAT score, though minimum score requirements are as low as 21 on the ACT and 1070 on the SAT.

Some schools, whether online colleges for English or traditional schools, will request a writing sample. Competitive schools often use this writing sample as a method of weighing how serious applicants are about studying in their program. Consequently, this is the most important component of an application and should be written carefully. Applicants who are in the process of finishing high school may benefit from an English teacher’s review.

Online English programs rarely differ from brick-and-mortar schools in their entrance requirements. Once admitted to a program, it’s not uncommon for English majors to take a placement test, especially in 2-year programs. These test results will determine which classes students should enroll in once school starts.

Are there any brick-and-mortar colleges that offer an online English associates degree program?

Fortunately, finding an online English program is easy. Many coexist within the framework of traditional post-secondary schools, and some offer both models of study:

  • Sinclair Community College, located in Dayton, Ohio, offers 2 associates degrees in English that may also be taken on campus. The associate of arts degree in creative writing focuses on the writing of poetry and fiction, and the associate of arts in English emphasizes the study of literature. Sinclair boasts the lowest tuition rate in the state of Ohio.
  • Empire State College, affiliated with the State University of New York (SUNY), offers an English associates online and on-campus. The associate of arts in cultural studies is oriented toward writing and literature. Empire State targets its offerings directly to working adults, with 35 campuses and online course offerings.
  • Utah Valley University, 45 minutes south of Salt Lake City, offers an online associates in English as an associate of arts with a pre-major in English. This program is designed primarily for students who choose to transfer credits to a 4-year bachelors program. The curriculum accentuates written and spoken language and reading comprehension. The campus location is known for its wealth of outdoor activities.