An associate degree can have multiple acronyms, such as AA (Associate of Arts), AS (Associate of Science), ABA (Associate of Business Administration) and ABS (Associate of Business Science). The abbreviation differs based on the field of study.
An associate degree is a two-year college degree. This degree stands alone or can be followed up with a bachelor's degree or higher. If a specific bachelor's program is followed, an associate degree is not usually awarded in the process, though some schools award both.
As of 2010, there has been an increase in the number of students opting for an associate degree instead of a higher-level degree.