The Abbreviation for Associate’s Degree: What Is It and How Is It Used?

Do you want to know the abbreviation for an associate’s degree? We’ll define associate’s degree and give the abbreviations for each type. We’ll also analyze how the abbreviation can be used in a sentence and provide examples. We’ll also look at instances where the abbreviation for associate’s degree cannot be used in a sentence.

What Types of Associate Degrees Are There?

AA |  Associate of Arts 

AS | Associate of Science 

AAA | Associate of Applied Arts

AAS | Associate of Applied Science

ABA | Associate of Business Administration

ABS | Associate of Business Science

AAB | Associate of Applied Business

AAT | Associate in Applied Technology

AIM | Associate in Management

AIT | Associate in Information Technology

Please keep in mind, many more associate’s degrees are available. The degrees listed above include some of the most common categories. 

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What Is an Associate’s Degree?

Associate’s degrees are awarded after a 2-3 year program of study. Typically, an associate’s degree would be awarded between a high school diploma and a bachelor’s degree. 

Charles holds an associate’s degree in health care.

If you know the type of degree that Charles holds, you can use the abbreviation. 

Charles holds an AA degree in health care. 

Charles holds an AS degree in health care. 

It’s correct to refer to the degree in two ways—as an associate degree or an associate’s degree. The plural would be associate degrees or associate’s degrees. 

You may choose to abbreviate a given degree by writing the letters together in all caps or by including a period after each capitalized letter. 

For example, an Associate of Applied Business can be abbreviated in two ways:



Degree programs vary, offering different courses of study. For instance, associate’s degrees with “applied” in the name tend to include more practical and job-oriented classes. An associate’s degree in the arts or sciences often prepares students for further education.

How to Use Associate’s Degree Abbreviations

The abbreviations for an associate’s degree can be used to replace the full degree title in a sentence. Although they can technically be used as a post-nominal title, most people only write advanced degrees (such as doctor of philosophy or doctor of medicine) in this format, unless they publish within academia. 

For instance, the sentences below are correct.

Peter earned his A.A.A. in a record 18 months.

The accounting office has advertised two positions for candidates with A.A. degrees.

The sentence below is correct, but uncommon: 

The director chose Agnes Tyler, AAB, for the project.

What Makes an Associate’s Degree Unique?

An associate program is an academic degree program that gives learners technical, transferable, and academic skills. It’s an undergraduate degree, offering the first yyears of study after one has obtained a high school diploma. After graduating, associates may seek employment or enroll in a bachelor’s degree program.

Cambridge Dictionary defines an associate’s degree as, “the qualification given to a student by a junior college after successfully finishing two years of study.”

In the US, some colleges and universities offer an associate’s degree, but most associate’s degrees come from community, technical, and junior colleges. Other parts of the world, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, have similar study programs. An associate’s degree requires at least two years to complete.

Both bachelor’s and associate’s degree programs allow students to enroll after completing high school; however, for a student to enroll in a master’s degree program, such as a Master of Business Administration or Master of Education, they must complete coursework in a bachelor’s program.

An associate’s degree typically takes two years to complete; whereas, a bachelor’s degree requires a four-year program (or the equivalent class credits). One may transfer from an associate’s program to a bachelor’s program, provided that credits transfer across the programs. For example, if a person graduates with an AA degree in fine arts, they may be able to transfer their credits towards a bachelor’s program. In this way, it’s possible to earn the credits for a bachelor’s degree by taking two years of community college courses and two years of additional undergraduate study. 

The Origin of Associate’s Degrees

According to Wikipedia, the first group of students to be awarded an associate’s degree was in the United Kingdom in 1873 and the United States in 1898. Other countries have followed suit and introduced associate’s degree programs to institutions around the world.

Synonyms for Associate’s Degree

Examples of the Word in Context

In the following examples, the abbreviation is not used because the exact degree title is unknown or unspecified. 

While the unemployment rate for Oregon residents ages 25 to 64 with less than a high school diploma averaged 9.6 percent from 2013 to 2017 according to American Community Survey, those with an associate’s degree or some college had an unemployment rate of 5.9 percent.” 

—State of Oregon Employment Department

“While many high-paying jobs require a bachelor’s degree or more, there are many positions that only require an associate degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.” 

—Business Insider

“This year, Helene Fuld College of Nursing, Pacific Union College, and Laboure College top the list of schools with the most financially rewarding associate degrees.” —PayScale’s 2019-20 College Salary Report

Examples of the Abbreviations in Context

  • The courses required for the AS degree in engineering technology are College Algebra, Physics I & II. These are necessary for students hoping to advance their studies with a master of engineering. The graduates will acquire the necessary skills for a career in mechanical engineering.
  • What jobs can I get with an AS degree? Is is better to get an associate in applied science?
  • An A.A. in liberal arts exposes learners to various subjects, such as fine art. Students enrolled in the program have gone on to pursue bachelor of arts degrees and master of arts degrees.
  • Only a handful of students enrolled for the AAT degree, compared to the AAB.
  • An A.S. degree opens doors for people hoping to study engineering at a four-year college.
  • Although he started coursework for an AA degree, it became clear that he was more interested in physical therapy than pursuing a bachelor of arts, social sciences, general studies, or general education degree. For that reason, he ended up pursuing an associate in science. 




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