People who have bachelor's degrees earn an associate's degree for several reasons. Earning an associate's degree can be a valuable asset to you if you are changing careers, need to get additional training for a job promotion or want to enhance an existing degree. With careful planning and some research, you may find that your four-year degree can help you get an associate's degree more quickly.

Choose your course of study then contact the admissions department of the college you want to attend. Write a list of relevant questions beforehand so you won't neglect pertinent information. If you earned your bachelor's degree more than 10 years ago, you may have to go through the registration process as a new student instead of a transfer. Ask about specific college guidelines regarding this issue as it can affect how quickly you are accepted.

Meet with an academic adviser once you have a transcript of all courses taken for your bachelor's degree. If you want to earn an associate's degree in a similar field of study, some of your classes may be used toward this second degree. Even if your new course of study is completely unrelated to your bachelor's degree, the college may waive requirements for core courses like English, history and algebra.

Plan financial arrangements for your education. You may not be eligible for certain grants or loans if you received them while earning your four-year degree. If you are currently employed, your company may help you pay for college courses, especially if additional study can positively impact your job performance.

Register and begin classes. Community colleges as well as online distance institutions usually have special classifications for working students and allow them to take classes around their workday schedule.

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