Parent Question: Does the Associate in Applied Science lead to a 4 year Bachelor degree?

This is a great question and one that is really important to learn about when your teen is considering an associate degree.

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) is considered a terminal degree with an intent of direct employment. That said, there is nothing “wrong” with the credit, rather the contents of the AAS almost never include the classes you need for a bachelor’s degree.

For instance, if you earn an AAS in culinary arts, of the 20 total classes in that degree (60 college credits), 45 are culinary arts classes and 5 are general education classes (English, math, history, art, etc.).

Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts (5 general education, 15 culinary arts)

If you send that AAS degree to a university for a degree in <any subject> we can look at the contents of your AAS and see how they will fill the requirements of a potential bachelor’s degree. The standard bachelor’s degree requires 20 general education courses and 20 courses in the major.

Bachelors of Science Degree
(20 general education, 20 in the major & upper level requirements)

Your AAS degree in culinary arts can successfully use the 5 general education courses from the AAS, but this degree is unable to fill any of the other requirements.

Bachelors of Science Degree
(5 gen ed. classes transfer, 20 remain)

When you use an AAS towards a bachelor’s of any type, you’re putting a square peg in a round hole- you’re using the degree differently than the way it was intended. That said, if the AAS is the right degree for the occupation you want, then the AAS is the right degree to earn! For some occupations, the bachelor’s degree is an unnecessary and expensive distraction away from the best degree for that career.

Learn more about all types of associate degrees, the exceptions to the rule, and how to decide if your teen should earn one in this HS4CC Associate Degree video session.

Associate Degrees


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit