Associate of Science vs. Associate of Arts Degree: What is the Difference?

Associate of Science vs. Associate of Arts Degree: What is the Difference?How to enter a university program and deciding what to study can be a bit daunting. Choosing to enroll in an associate’s degree program is an excellent way to test out a career, get a degree that will give you the credentials you need to start working at a higher salary and may even pave the way for a full bachelor’s degree. But what is the difference between an associate in Arts versus an associate in Science? Which one should you get?

As the title suggests, the Associate of Science (A.S.) will gear you towards math and science-related careers while the Arts pretty much encompasses all of the other fields. An Associates or Arts is a rather flexible degree, that while still can involve some level of science and math studies, it still won’t be as heavy as an A.S.

An A.S. will always require more math and science classes, which is why even a degree in accounting may be listed as an Associate of Arts program. For example, at Florida National University (FNU) we have two Accounting associate degrees: you can choose between either an Associate of Arts or an Associates of Science in Accounting.

The difference between our two Accounting programs being mostly in the electives. Whereas in the Associate of Arts (A.A.) the students are given more freedom in their electives, in the Associate of Science students are strongly recommended a specific set of computer-science and hardcore accounting classes, such as

  • computerized accounting
  • income tax accounting
  • managerial accounting

as well as business-related courses such as

  • principles of marketing
  • intro to international business

Is an Associate of Arts or Science More Appropriate For Me?

Ask yourself two questions:

  1. Are you good at science and math and if for some reason you are not, is it something you’ve always really wanted to learn and you think you’d enjoy it?
  2. Are you seriously considering furthering your studies in a math- or science-related industry?

The graph below might help you make a strategic decision:

Associate of Science vs. Associate of Arts Degree: What is the Difference?

Source: Table of the number of associates degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions in selected fields of study: from 2000-2016.

The chart shows the number of associates degrees that students earned from the year 2000 to 2016. In general, the numbers keep growing as the population grows and as more people realize the value of an associates degree.

Liberal Arts are, by a preponderance, the majority of the degrees awarded, followed by health-related associate degrees.

Positions in the healthcare industry currently occupy most of the 20 top paying slots in the U.S. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the U.S. population grows older and science makes advances in health, there is a continued prospective for major demands for healthcare workers. The chart shows that many students received degrees in health professions, but that from 2010 until 2016 that number declined. If biology, science, healthcare, are a passion you will definitely have a place in this future.

Technology is also booming, is also projected to continue growing, and techies occupied some of the very few non-healthcare posts in the top 20 highest-paying Bureau of Labor Statistics list. If by nature and deep curiosity you follow the updates on gadgets and technology, then the IT field seem to be a great world for you to step foot into.

Look into FNU’s Associate of Science (A.S.) in Computer Information Technology, Web Development, or Networking System Administration. FNU even has an A.S. that marries technology and healthcare; Radiologic Technology.

In the Health we have the traditional A.S. in Nursing, Physical Therapist Assistant, Dental Laboratory Technology, as well as more innovative programs such as Medical Laboratory Technology. See a list of all FNU’s A.A. and A.S. programs at the bottom.


Your Future

Note that Associates degrees can pave the way for your full Bachelor’s degree. So to answer question number 2. above, within FNU you can continue your studies and get your Bachelor of Arts or Science (B.A. or B.S., respectively) in the field you got your Associate’s degree in.

Take Classes Online Via Our Distance Learning Programs

Everyone has a full life nowadays. There is work, hobbies, family, friends, activities, and traffic. While the one-on-one with a professor and classmates is a great experience, sometimes we know it’s not possible in life. But it doesn’t mean you have to stop studying towards your future! We have full online courses that lead to A.S. and A.A. degrees.

Financial Aid

Check out our Financial Aid page for information on government scholarships and grants, as well as various scholarship programs specifically for FNU students. Ask about the federal work-study programs.


Florida National University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, bachelor, and master degrees. We are licensed by the Commission for Independent Education, Florida Department of Education. Regarding nursing, in particular, FNU holds four licenses: two for the Hialeah Campus (one for the BSN program and the other for the ADN program) issued by the Florida Board of Nursing.

List of Associate of Arts and Science programs at FNU:


Associate of Arts

Associate of Arts in Accounting

Associate of Arts in Business Administration

Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice

Associate of Arts in Education

Associate of Arts in Health Services Administration

Associate of Arts in Hospitality Management

Associate of Arts in Public Administration

Associate of Arts in Paralegal Studies


Associate of Science

Associate of Science in Business Administration

Associate of Science, Computer Developer

Associate of Science in Information Technology

Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene

Associate of Science in Dental Laboratory Technology

Associate of Science in Medical Sonographer Technology

Associate of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonographer Technology

Associate of Science in Medical Assisting Technology

Associate of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology

Associate of Science in Networking System Administration

Associate of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant

Associate of Science in Radiologic Technology

Associate of Science in Respiratory Therapy

Associate of Science, Web Developer

Chat With Us
Share This
FNU Blackboard FNU mail
Florida National University logo in white