students working in class

Associate in a year

Your College. Your Way.

Earn your associate in art degree in one year! Choose to take classes in person, online, or hybrid; it’s up to you! Enroll each year in the spring or fall.

The Associate in Arts in a Year Program is an affordable, customized, and efficient opportunity to earn your AA degree in one year. The price of the program is normally capped at $1,500 for NC residents ($500 per semester). Financial support may be available through the Financial Aid office.

All materials are online. Classes are pre-selected and offer a flexible schedule that meets the needs of people from all different backgrounds, from students fresh out of high school to full-time professionals.

Classes in AA in a Year are paired to highlight common themes and ideas between subjects. Collaboration between the faculty offer creative and extraordinary learning experiences that enforce engagement and reveal surprising lessons. For example, you can learn about America’s Hispanic heritage while taking American Literature alongside Elementary Spanish I.

AA in a Year is also a learning community. Students in the program take a year of classes together, which allows them to support each other and form meaningful bonds. Group members lift each other up, and thereby lift themselves up. The community model in AA in a Year embodies the famous quote from Booker T. Washington: “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”

The Associate in Arts in a Year Program offers an accessible, unique, and enriching college experience that gets you on the fast-track to achieving your future goals and dreams.

View the program advisor on the Charlotte Today Show:

Miranda_AAYI chose the AAY program because I knew it was an incredible new program that would help me achieve my future goals. Even though at the time, I wasn’t sure what those goals were. I was in a place where I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and my educational career and current career plan were put on hold.

I knew I didn’t want to give up on my goals, but I also knew I didn’t want to be stagnant. When I heard about the opportunity to earn an Associate in Arts degree in just a year, I was very intrigued. I figured I would give it a shot. Perhaps I could earn this degree and transfer it to get a 4-year degree in a totally different field than I had anticipated. If nothing else, it would add to my educational repertoire.

I didn’t know if I would be able to manage this program, but I am so glad I made the decision to continue my educational path! I’m not sure where this program will take me, but I am glad that I am taking advantage of it. Not only is this an incredible opportunity time wise, but financially this program is unlike any other. This program has really helped me develop my time management skills, and I feel so accomplished every time I finish an accelerated course. I am very excited knowing I am getting closer and closer to earning my Associates degree. I know this program is opening many doors for my future!



Deadline: June 1, 2023
Deadline for early consideration: April 15, 2023

Get on the fast track

Finish your AA in one year!

Affordable Tuition

This year, we are offering financial support for your tuition through our financial aid office.

Online or seated

Choose the way you learn!

AAY Handbook

Find details about the AA in a Year accelerated degree program here.

about the Courses

  • Blended delivery, online and seated
  • Class meeting times are T, Th 6-8:50pm and Saturday 9-11:50am
  • Most courses are 5 weeks long
  • Students take no more than two courses at a time
  • Only experienced professors invited to teach courses (Keep scrolling to read about them)
  • Learn more about transfer opportunities


The program is open to recent high school graduates, as well as adult learners, who meet certain academic requirements:

  • Earned a minimum 3.0 unweighted high school grade point average (GPA). Students who have a high school equivalency should inquire for eligibility requirements
  • Have not earned an associate degree or higher. Students may apply a maximum of 45 college credits towards the degree
  • Students applying for the program will be required to complete a virtual interview with the Director of AA in a Year

How to Apply

  1. Apply to SPCC. Select “AA” as the program of study.  Enrollment is open.
  2. Submit official high school and previous college transcripts. See our admission page for submission information.
  3. Apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  4. Complete the interest form below on this site.
  5. Submit a 250-word essay explaining how an accelerated degree would help you achieve your educational and career goals. Submit completed essay to Dr. Diane Paige, Dean of Arts and Sciences (dpaige@spcc.edu)
Contact Us

Taught by experienced professors

Carl BishopCarl Bishop is an experienced teacher who puts students first.

Throughout his career, Carl has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in speech, intercultural communication, the rhetoric of war, political communication, research methods, journalism, public relations, corporate governance, and assessment in higher education.

In a 24 year teaching career, Carl directed speech programs and has written speech communication textbooks and supplements that have been used at colleges and universities across the country.

According to Carl, “Public speaking is a real fear for most people. I love helping students find their voices. We all have important things to say.  I am proud to help folks find ways to say them.”

Ryan BrownRyan Brown is originally from Chicago, Illinois, but he has lived in North Carolina for the past twenty-seven years. He is a former student of South Piedmont Community College. He graduated with his Associates in Arts degree from South Piedmont in 2008. He then went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, which he earned in 2011. Ryan continued his education at UNCC and earned a master’s degree in English in 2013. After graduating, he started teaching at SPCC in Fall 2013. In addition to teaching, he serves as an advisor to the Poetry Club, Film Club, and Gaming Club. Ryan is also the director of the First Year Experience program.

William DickWilliam K. Dick  is a native of Albemarle, NC, and a graduate of Pfeiffer University (Class of 1983);  he also has an M.A. from UNC Greensboro.  He has taught at SPCC for twenty-seven years; he has also served as an adjunct at Pfeiffer University, Wingate University, Randolph Community College, and Montgomery Community College.  While his primary teaching duties are in American History and World Civilization “survey” courses, he has also taught courses in African-American History, North Carolina History, and The Second World War.    In his spare time, he sings with the Anson Singers in Wadesboro, and he also enjoys reading history books from his extensive personal library.  His areas of interest include military history, aviation history, naval history, and music history.  As the senior faculty member at SPCC, he serves as the Grand Marshal at the college’s  graduation ceremonies.  He has also served in the United States Coast Guard.

Tammy FraillyTammy Frailly graduated from Mitchell Community College in 1990 with an Associate in Arts degree. At Mitchell, she realized that she wanted to teach college writing and literature.

 In 1992, she earned a B.A. in English at UNC Charlotte and started a Master’s degree. While at UNCC, she worked as a graduate assistant in the English Department by tutoring in their Writing Center and teaching composition. After completing an M.A. in English, she taught composition and literature for UNCC, Mitchell Community College, Rowan Cabarrus Community College, Central Piedmont Community College, Wake Technical Community College, and in 2000, South Piedmont Community College, where she has worked as full-time English instructor, Program Coordinator for the Associate in Arts program, English Department Chair, Director of the Communication Center, and Director of Academic Enrichment Programs including ePortfolio, Honors, Global Scholars of Distinction, and Service Learning.

She has taught freshman composition, creative writing, technical writing, American, British, and World Literature, developmental English, English labs, college transfer success, and humanities courses.

As a member of the High Impact Educational Practices team, she works with Dr. Diane Paige, Ryan Brown, and Stephen Silvoy to provide our students with access to engaging learning experiences that prepare them for the future.

Her mission as an educator is to connect with students and create experiences that challenge them as thinkers and learners.

Jim McAlhaneyOriginally from Charleston, South Carolina, Jim presently lives in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Jim earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Montreat College in Montreat, NC. Since then, he has earned an M.S. degree in Guidance & Counseling (with additional graduate studies in Psychology) from the University of West Alabama and a M.A. in Religion from Reformed Theological Seminary. Jim worked in higher education as a guidance/admissions counselor for over 13 years and has been with SPCC since 2008 (full time since 2014). Prior to teaching with SPCC full time, Jim taught Psychology and Religion with the University of Phoenix for over 10 years and Psychology at Montreat College in Charlotte for a year. He is a current member of the North Carolina Community College Sociology and Psychology Association. In addition to teaching Psychology and Religion at SPCC, Jim has also served as a Master Advisor and each year leads Mindfulness Meditation seminars and a weekly meditation meeting on campus. Jim has also written on the subject of Mindfulness Meditation for the Positive Psychology Program online. Interestingly, his wife, Kristen is a teacher in the COMPASS Ed program at SPCC and his 28 year old daughter, Molly Olson is an adjunct Psychology instructor with SPCC. Teaching at South Piedmont is definitely a family affair for Jim.

Diane PageDr. Diane Paige’s primary musical training was as a trumpeter and she earned a bachelor’s degree in music education.  After college, she performed semi-professionally but soon realized that her true passion lay in the classroom, not on the stage.   As a doctoral student in musicology, she specialized in the music of the Czech lands and lived abroad in the Czech Republic working on her dissertation, a study that focused the operas of the composer Leoš Janáček.  After graduate school, Dr. Paige moved to upstate New York, where she taught music history and world music for 20 years to both music majors and non-majors.  She recently joined South Piedmont in January 2020.

Dr. Paige believes that students learn best by doing and, to that end, she led music courses abroad to Ghana, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Anguilla – British West Indies.  In order to engage students in the course material, she uses play in the form of role-playing, historical simulations, and games. Despite what they tell you, music history is anything but boring!      

She currently serves as the Dean of Arts & Sciences, the school under which the AA in a Year program is housed. 

steven smithOriginally from Chicago, IL, Steven Smith earned a Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University in Health Studies, a Master’s degree from DePaul University in Public Administration, and a Master’s Degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a concentration in sociology and sports studies, he is currently working on an Ed.D. at UNCC with a concentration in Education. While pursuing his degrees, he has worked as a personal fitness trainer, semi-professional basketball coach, manager, and as an instructor at the community college and university levels where he has taught online and in traditional class settings.

His research interests and expertise lie within the realm of education administration, political economy and policy, and sports. In his spare time, he likes to attend academic conferences that focus on social sciences or health issues, traveling to all fifty states (38 down – many to go), and exercising. His main goal is to get my students to be able to apply the things they learn in sociology courses to their jobs or majors in a way where it can enhance their workplace performance and personal lives.

For 12 years, Smith has been married to Anjella Tabor-Smith, who is also an instructor at SPCC; together they have a cute baby girl.

Anjella Tabor-SmithAnjella Tabor-Smith has taught Spanish at South Piedmont Community College since 2013. During that time she has advised, mentored and helped many students deepen their understanding and interest in the Spanish language and its cultures. For many years, she has spearheaded our campus’ multicultural events. She also lead our students on the College’s first study abroad trip to Spain and France in 2017. Students praise Tabor-Smith for her engaging activities that promote not only a love of language, but a love of service. Many of her courses include a service learning component that has allowed students to author and create children’s books in Spanish for local elementary schools, to participate in bilingual story time, or create their own Spanish magazine. According to Tabor-Smith, she desires to instill a “healthy curiosity” in her students and encourage them to use what they’ve learned in class to be of service to others. Tabor-Smith first began taking Spanish courses through the continuing education department at Wilbur Wright Community College, while her mother worked on her associate’s degree. She was eight years old. She earned her bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and her master’s from the University of Knoxville.
Morganne Van VoorhisMorganne currently lives in Charlotte with her husband, cat, and two chickens. She received her BFA from UNC-Greensboro and her MFA from Washington State University. She loves painting, cooking, traveling, and spending time with friends. As an artist, she primarily works in painting, drawing, and printmaking. She loves creating portraits that explore ideas of human connection. She has been working as an adjunct at SPCC since 2018. In January 2022, she accepted the position of Visual Arts Program Lead and full-time Visual Arts instructor.​

Dr. Diane Paige
Dean of Arts and Sciences

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