What Are the Top Online Associate Degree Programs?

While there are many online associate degree options, several of the online colleges report that the majority of students are pursuing the same five areas. Read on to learn more about each of these popular choices.

Top Online Associate Degrees

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that people with an associate degree earn more annually than those with only a high school diploma (www.bls.gov). Generally, an associate's degree requires a minimum of 60 semester units. The most popular disciplines for online associate degrees are information technology, business, healthcare, education and criminal justice.

Important Facts About Online Associate Degree Programs

Common Courses Humanities, natural sciences, arts, social sciences, mathematics
Certificate Levels Undergraduate certificates are also available, offering shorter program durations
Prerequisites High school diploma or its equivalent
Continuing Education Some careers may required licensure or certification; for example, respiratory therapists are required to be licensed in all states, except Alaska

Information Technology

An associate degree in engineering and computers is one of the top online associate programs. These programs provide students with hands-on experience, and the technical knowledge to achieve success using modern technologies. Group projects are not uncommon is this degree field, which thoroughly prepares you for an everyday work environment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), web developers earned a median annual salary of $69,430 as of May 2018.

Business Management

Students of business management will prepare for a potentially lucrative career by developing an ability to communicate and think critically. Most online degree programs offer business and management degrees with emphases on criminal justice, healthcare or information systems. An associate degree in business can be a launch pad for pursuing a bachelor's or even a master's degree in the field. Food service managers, as of May 2018, had a median annual salary of $54,240 per the BLS.

Healthcare

The field of healthcare is growing almost daily in terms of employment, and an associate degree is a cost-effective way to qualify for a job as a technician or administrative assistant in a medical setting. Students working toward an associate degree in one of the healthcare majors will most likely take courses in topics such as accounting, anatomy, insurance processing and medical terminology among others. The opportunities for finding a career for those who graduate with an associate in a health care major are many. Some of these careers include:

  • Health services managers
  • Case workers
  • Home health care aides
  • Patient records administrator
  • Hospital or physician aide
  • Lab technician

The BLS reported that dental hygienists had a median salary of $74,820, as of May 2018. Diagnostic medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including vascular technologists, made $67,080.

Education

Education students who are training for an education degree can expect to take classes that focus on the humanities, as well as the arts. Classes in the sciences and social sciences are also required. Students can choose to specialize in early childhood education, elementary school, high school or special education classrooms. Some of the career paths for students graduating with an associate degree in education include elementary school paraprofessional, teaching head start or teacher's assistant. Preschool teachers earned a median annual salary of $29,780, according to the BLS as of May 2018.

Criminal Justice

Students taking an associate degree program in criminal justice through an online school will learn about procedures associated with corrections, criminal investigations, forensics, judicial process and law enforcement. Some of the entry-level positions for graduates with an associate degree in criminal justice can be found in:

  • Court administration
  • Corrections
  • Police force
  • Paralegal services
  • Victim services

Many students use the associate degree in criminal justice as the first step that will lead to a bachelor degree program, law school, or graduate programs. Police and detectives earned a median salary of $63,380, as of May 2018, according to the BLS.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Associate Programs
      • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Trident University

    Trident University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Trident University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Davenport University

    Davenport University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Davenport University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Baker College

    Baker College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Baker College:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • New England College

    New England College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at New England College:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

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