What is an Associate of Specialized Technology Degree?

An Associate of Specialized Technology Degree (AST) is an applied academic program that focuses on training students for hands-on careers. These degree programs focus on a specific occupation, so the majority of classes are geared toward practical training.

Medical Assistant Technician

The two-year degree program for medical assistant technicians will provide participants with the skills and knowledge needed to assist health care professionals with clerical, clinical and administrative duties. Students learn about laboratory tests, insurance practices, medical procedures, patient communication and decision making procedures. These programs usually include an internship in a local health care organization, so the student can gain experience through working under direct supervision of a health care professional. The curriculum for medical assistant technician degree programs include classes in kinesiology, insurance coding, medical accounting, diagnostic documentation and patient confidentiality.

Medical Diagnostic Technician

A medical diagnostic technician will study either basic radiology or sonography. They will be trained in how to perform various diagnostic exams for departments like obstetrics and gynecology. They will learn how to operate X-ray machines and ultrasound equipment. Students will become skilled in accessing, processing and updating patient records and diagnostic reports. They will learn about electronic health record (EHR) information management systems. Students are trained how to transport patients and assisting health care providers in ultrasound procedures. Common coursework covers physics, instrumentation, imaging principles, medical terminology and cross-sectional anatomy.

Visual Communications

Associate of specialized technology degrees also includes technical subjects like web design, computer programming and visual communications. The latter program teaches the concepts and techniques needed to create various digital products for businesses, like media publishers and business websites. Students will learn how to use creative software to plan, analyze and deliver innovative solutions. Most programs include externship or internship opportunities for students to can gain hands-on experience by applying their newly learned skills and knowledge. Common coursework includes animation, typography, composition, advertising production, instructional design and interactive communication. Students will learn how to produce everything from posters to brochures to package design.

Culinary Arts

Culinary arts degrees help students start their journey to become professional chefs. Students receive training from professional chefs who teach foundational techniques in order for students to build their confidence and develop their own creative styles. Students will be trained in the culinary arts of food operations, kitchen management, dish preparation and general safety and sanitation. Culinary degree programs generally work with off-campus restaurants to provide students with opportunities to practice their skills. Students learn about culinary artistry, food identification and the industry standard techniques for food preparation. Students will learn basic kitchen management skills, such as procurement, inventory management and internal operations.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Culinary Schools in Pennsylvania

Hospitality Management

A hospitality management degree provides specialized training in the business aspects of hotel and restaurant management. These programs focus on helping students gain industry training and a broad knowledge base of the commercial side of the hospitality profession. Programs introduce students to practical management approaches and organizational techniques. Students take classes in supervision, customer service, hospitality business law and food and beverage management. Students gain front-of-the-house administrative skills that will help them manage domestic and international hospitality chains.

An Associate of Specialized Technology degree will help students quickly and successfully enter their respective careers.