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An Associate of Arts (AA) degree comprises 60 credit hours of instruction. 36 of those credit hours must come from the general education requirements from the six “ways of knowing” outlined by the state of Idaho. The remaining 24 credit hours will be chosen from the pathway of a student’s choice. In the AA degree, of those 24 credit hours, a greater emphasis will be put on social sciences and humanities. An advisor will help the student pick those 24 credits so he/she will complete the classes most beneficial for his/her chosen field. These 24 credit hours will also ensure that if students choose to go on for their bachelor’s degree, they will arrive at the university or college of their choice as "True Juniors".
An Associate of Science (AS) degree, like the AA degree, comprises 60 credit hours of instruction. 36 of those credit hours must come from the general education requirements from the six "ways of knowing" outlined by the state of Idaho. The remaining 24 credit hours will be chosen from the pathway of a student’s choice. In the AS degree, of those 24 credit hours, a greater emphasis will be put on math and science. An advisor will help the student pick those 24 credits so he/she will complete the classes most beneficial for his/her chosen field. These 24 credit hours will also ensure that if students choose to go on for a bachelor’s degree, they will arrive at the university or college of their choice as "True Juniors".
An Associate degree is rich in general education courses that results in students having a very well-rounded education. Studies include coursework in the humanities, social sciences, sciences, oral communications, written communications and mathematics. While the associate degree helps students gain useful career skills, it is typically designed as a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree program. For students seeking a two-year technical or career-oriented degree, consideration should be given to earning an Associates of Applied Science (AAS) degree.
How long it takes to complete the degree depends on how many credits a student takes per semester. The general rule is that if students want to finish in two years, they need to take at least 15 credits per semester. It is okay to take longer than two years to finish and it is recommended that students only take as many credits as they can juggle with other factors in their lives.
In Idaho, students who complete the requirements for an associate degree at CEI will be considered as satisfying the general education requirement, as defined by the State Board of Education. Upon transfer to a public university or college, the student will not be required to complete any additional general education requirements and all of their credits transfer to any Idaho public university or college. If a student has completed a GEM course(s) but has not completed the entire General Education Framework of an AA or AS, those GEM courses will be applied towards the associated GEM competency requirements at the receiving Idaho institution.
Earning an associate degree has several benefits. An associate degree is an excellent stepping stone into a bachelor's degree program at a four-year institution or college. If you didn't do well in high school, earning an associate degree is a great way to prove that you have the academic acumen to succeed in higher education. Also, the credits earned in an associate degree at CEI are far less expensive than the same credits earned at a four-year institution or college.
An AAS degree is a two-year undergraduate degree similar to the AA and the AS degree. CEI offers the AAS degree as part of its comprehensive curriculum. The AAS degree is designed for students intending to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation, as opposed to continuing on to a four-year institution or college. The AAS degree program at CEI requires students to choose an area of emphasis early in the program so they are readily prepared for entry-level career positions within a specific field after graduation. Students take the bulk of their classes in this detailed program along with 15 prescribed credit hours from GEM general education classes.
CEI General Education
(208) 524-3000 ext. 4