What’s an associate degree?

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Although underestimated, an associate degree leads to middle-class. 

By Jennifer Luna


Community colleges are the “gateways” to higher education and can help create a stronger middle class for Americans.

According to thewhitehouse.gov the Obama Administration invested $8 million in community colleges to partner with businesses to train employers in high demand and high growth areas.

On cityinfo.com, the economy for this city is based on government jobs, tourism, health care jobs, financial service jobs and manufacturing jobs.

According to mynextmove.org in this city, a student with an associate degree can automatically be in the middle class starting at a salary of about $47,300 a year, which is $22.72 hourly, working as a registered nurse. This job usually asks for an associate or bachelor’s degree.

On mynextmove.org there are three categories on the site, “I want to be a…” for people who know what they want to be, “I’ll know when I see it,” for people who have an idea of what they want to be, and “I’m not really sure,” for people who do not know what they want to be.

There is a personality quiz in the “I’m not really sure,” category, there is a list of occupations in the “I’ll know when I see it,” category and there is a search box for the “I want to be a …” category.

Using the search box and typing in the jobs that support this city’s economy, was the starting point of the data collected.

My next move website was designed to assist people who are seeking careers.

For each occupation provided, there is a list of expectations and criteria someone would need to follow. There is also a section providing the kind of education someone would need for each career choice. The career options range from waiters to company CEOs.

There is a section that shows whether the job has growth in each of the 50 states.

A career choice that is labeled as a bright outlook, means that career has growth, a career choice with an average outlook, means a career has fair growth, and a career choice with a low outlook means there are not many opportunities for that field. The outlook that is provided on the site is national outlooks and can vary by state.

There is also an approximate salary rate per year for each career choice.

Manufacturing engineering pays an average of about $102,850 a year, 42.26 hourly in this state. To be in this field, an associate or a bachelor’s degree is required. This field has an average outlook in Texas. No information was provided for the average salary paid in the city.

Property real estate and community associate managers acquire some college or associate degree.

In this city, the occupation pays approximately $46,000 a year, which is $22.11 an hour and has an average outlook.

Career and technical education teachers for a middle school acquire between some college and a bachelors degree, this job has an average outlook of opportunities.

In this city, this job pays approximately $54,500 an hourly wage was not provided.

Val Calvert, department chair for business administration, said 100 percent of the students who graduate get a job in their field of study or transfer to four-year universities.

Calvert said business administration is the second largest department on this campus. She said there are close to 300 graduates this semester in the department.

The students getting jobs in the field varies, students can find jobs

with USAA, government and local businesses.

Calvert said there are attorneys and judges who look for students from this college to fill jobs and internships.

Calvert said with an associate degree, a student earns at least $25,000 a year in the career field.

The average local income for court reporters is $60,000 she said. Out of San Antonio, a student can earn up to $100,000.

Calvert said each company varies, but on average a student with an associate degree in business can earn $30,000-$40,000.

John Bailey, program coordinator for emergency medical technician, said there will be 15 students graduating with an associate degree, 14 students will receive a Level 1 paramedic certificate and five students received a Level 1 EMT basic certificate.

Bailey said with an associate degree, these students are able to work at a hospital, EMS services and Eagle Ford Shale, an oil field 50 miles south of San Antonio.

Bailey said the starting rate for an associate degree in this field is at least $18 an hour, which is roughly $34,500 a year.

Counselor Rosa Maria Gonzalez said earning an associate degree makes the student more competitive, she said it looks better to show on a résumé there is a completed degree rather than some college experience.

Gonzalez said, “For most students, it’s a milestone.

“For some of the students they will be the first in their family to graduate from a college,” she said.


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