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US college offers 6-month associate degree

The associate degree is a "fast-track program" for determined students. Source: NESA by Makers on Unsplash

Butler Community College, located in Kansas, United States, is offering an associate degree which will only take a quarter of its usual two-year duration.

This “fast-track program” is open to those seeking an associate degree in digital technology at the college, Kansas.com reported.

Darryl Runyan, Chair of Butler’s Interactive, Digital and 3D Department said: “It’s absolutely one-of-a-kind, and we think it will be incredibly popular.”

“For someone who has been laid off and wants to transition to another career, or someone who just graduated from high school and wants to be done with their degree quickly and move on to a paying job, we think this is going to be perfect for them,” explained Runya, who also developed the program.

In the US, an associate degree refers to a two-year or more undergraduate course of study at a community college, technical college, vocational school, and some public colleges, as well as at some universities.

Typically considered one level above a high school diploma, students generally spend one year of study at college-level General Education and the second on their area of discipline. Depending on the course and institution, associate degree credits can sometimes count towards a bachelor’s degree.

At Butler, the fast-track program will let students earn an associate of applied science degree in interactive, digital and 3-D technology. Launching next month, the program will require 60 credit hours as per a traditional two-year program.

For this program, these hours will be arranged into three eight-week blocks instead, during which students take classes from 8am to 6pm, Monday through Friday.

Runyan describes the program as designed for the “determined student” looking for skills required in careers in game design and developing, animation, virtual reality creation and similar fields. It could be applied in other fields such as medicine, aviation, film and automotive too.

“It’s for the person who knows that this is what they want to do, because the fast-track program will require a high level of dedication and commitment,” Runyan said.

He adds: “Companies need workers now, not in two years,” Runyan said. “So we recognize the need for faster educational delivery.”

The program will start with 10 students this year and will cost the same as the traditional associate degree.

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