An associate of occupational studies is a general education degree that doesn't focus on a concentration that leads to a career after graduation.. An associate of applied science degree is a degree program where students can major in a specific subject, and they can transfer to a bachelor's degree program.

Types of Associate of Applied Science Degrees

Every college has its own curriculum for this program, but, in general, students pursuing this degree major in subjects that they can transfer to a bachelor's degree program. These include computer technology, hospitality management, accounting, criminal justice and graphic design.

Types of Associate of Occupational Studies Degrees

The associate of occupational studies degree is designed for students to learn workforce skills. However, most degrees in this program are geared toward basic entry-level jobs rather than professional jobs. The courses include cosmetology, welding, plumbing, culinary arts and carpentry.

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Time Frame

The average length of time to complete both degrees is about two years, although the time could be shorter depending on the school and the subject being studied.

Where To Get The Degrees

Most students obtain these degrees from community colleges or vocational schools, although there are some four-year colleges that offer associate's degrees. This is the not the norm.


Students can apply for these degree programs during their senior year in high school. This includes filling out an application, letters of recommendation and, for some schools, an entrance essay stating career goals and how the school will assist these goals.

About the Author

Thea Theresa English is a freelance writer who lives in New Orleans. She has written articles on career development, maintaining healthy relationships, politics and cultural issues. She is currently a graduate student at Tulane University where she will receive her Master of Liberal Arts degree.