Best Online Associate Degrees in Business

There are several different degree options for online associate degree programs in business and some of the best programs provide students with hands-on training in the field. Here we discuss the degree in-depth, as well as a few career options for graduates. Schools offering Business degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Best Online Associate's Degree Programs in Business

Online associate's degree programs in business are quite common and generally help prepare students for transferring their degree to a 4-year institution. Some of these top programs are the best because of their transfer policies, low costs, available concentrations, or other unique learning experiences. Examine some of the top online associate's degree programs in business below.

1. City Vision University

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Kansas City, MO$5,600100%

City Vision University offers an online associate's degree in business for nonprofit management and social entrepreneurship that emphasizes Christian ministry; 7 out of 10 graduates from the program have worked in a nonprofit or ministry after graduation. The program totals 60 credits, takes 2 years to complete, and allows students to transfer in credit and/or receive credit for life experience. The cost of the program is $7,500 per year. The curriculum has a nonprofit focus and students receive hands-on training through project-based coursework.

2. Southern Arkansas University Tech

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Camden, AR$4,97785%

Southern Arkansas University Tech has an online Associate of Science (AS) in Business Administration that can be completed fully online. The program is designed for students planning on furthering their education with a bachelor's degree in the field of business, and applicable credits from the degree are guaranteed to transfer to other public colleges and universities in Arkansas. The program totals 62 credits, can be completed in 4 semesters, and provides students with developmental coursework in English and math if needed.

3. Foothill College

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Los Altos Hills, CA$1,56340%

Foothill College provides an online Associate of Arts (AA) in Business Administration and an online AS in Business Administration for Transfer. Both programs require 90 units and help prepare students for transferring to a 4-year school to complete their bachelor's degree, but the AS program helps students complete the general education requirements and other coursework specifically needed to transfer to California State University (CSU) schools in the state. Students in the AA program can choose from general education courses for Foothill College, CSU schools, or the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC), and must then complete core courses and support courses in management, accounting and finance, business law and ethics, and marketing and technology.

4. Northwest Iowa Community College

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Sheldon, IA$6,12085%

Northwest Iowa Community College has an AA in Business that can be completed in 4 semesters. Students do the program in a hybrid format, with some courses taken on-campus and some taken online. The program uniquely offers concentration areas in financial/insurance services or management and includes courses with lectures, presentations, case studies, and discussions. The online program totals a little over $16,500.

5. Bismarck State College

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Bismarck, ND$3,99283%

Bismarck State College offers an online AA in Business Administration that can be completed in 2 years. The program requires 60 to 61 credits and includes coursework in areas like business law, economics, and real estate. The faculty for the program helps develop innovative thinking in their students, and many students may use this well-rounded degree to begin their career and/or pursue a bachelor's degree. The school even has cooperative agreements with a couple of state universities that allow students to stay on campus and earn their bachelor's degree.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
6Northeast Community CollegeNorfolk, NE$3,48089%
7Davenport UniversityGrand Rapids, MI$18,41497%
8Southwest Wisconsin Technical CollegeFennimore, WI$4,40484%
9Alexandria Technical & Community CollegeAlexandria, MN$5,41688%
10Morgan Community CollegeFort Morgan, CO$3,76587%
11Southeast Technical InstituteSioux Falls, SD$6,24088%
12Ohio University-Main CampusAthens, OH$12,19294%
13Seminole State College of FloridaSanford, FL$3,13174%
14Mountain Empire Community CollegeBig Stone Gap, VA$4,71096%
15Community Care CollegeTulsa, OKN/A89%
16Warner Pacific University Professional and Graduate StudiesPortland, OR$6,00060%
17Northland Community and Technical CollegeThief River Falls, MN$5,54987%
18Franciscan University of SteubenvilleSteubenville, OH$27,63099%
19Purdue University GlobalMason City, IA$14,343N/A
20Gavilan CollegeGilroy, CA$1,16663%
21University of Massachusetts-LowellLowell, MA$15,18091%
22Iowa Lakes Community CollegeEstherville, IA$6,46086%
23Allen County Community CollegeIola, KS$3,80886%
24Western Texas CollegeSnyder, TX$4,02086%
25East Mississippi Community CollegeScooba, MS$3,44096%
26University of Northwestern OhioLima, OH$11,35094%
27Fox Valley Technical CollegeAppleton, WI$4,56568%
28Georgia Piedmont Technical CollegeClarkston, GA$2,92490%
29White Mountains Community CollegeBerlin, NH$7,97085%
30Herzing University-MinneapolisSt. Louis Park, MN$14,00097%
31Miami Dade CollegeMiami, FL$2,83884%
32Stanly Community CollegeAlbemarle, NC$2,67353%
33Keiser University-Ft LauderdaleFort Lauderdale, FL$20,20888%
34Mid-Plains Community CollegeNorth Platte, NE$3,21095%
35Pennsylvania Institute of TechnologyMedia, PA$13,36587%
36Eastern Florida State CollegeCocoa, FL$2,49666%
37Shoreline Community CollegeShoreline, WA$3,87365%
38Southwestern Community CollegeCreston, IA$5,88894%
39College of the AlbemarleElizabeth City, NC$2,23963%
40Southeastern Baptist CollegeLaurel, MS$6,025100%
41Rio Hondo CollegeWhittier, CA$1,36084%
42Saint Johns River State CollegePalatka, FL$2,83067%
43Endicott CollegeBeverly, MA$33,05095%
44Nicolet Area Technical CollegeRhinelander, WI$4,40486%
45Bethel College-IndianaMishawaka, IN$28,590100%
46Dakota County Technical CollegeRosemount, MN$5,71375%
47Ocean County CollegeToms River, NJ$5,09557%
48Kansas City Kansas Community CollegeKansas City, KS$3,30073%
49Lackawanna CollegeScranton, PA$15,66093%
50Copiah-Lincoln Community CollegeWesson, MS$3,18092%

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Degree Program Overview for Online Associate's in Business

Online associate's degree programs in business are offered as AA, AS, or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees. These programs are commonly offered in areas like business, business management, or business administration and typically require around 60 to 62 credits. Some programs may offer different areas of concentration, such as management or financial services, but many programs include coursework from various areas of business, like accounting, management, economics, marketing, and business law. Many schools that offer these online associate's degree programs have agreements with various 4-year schools in the area that makes it easier for students to apply the credit they earned with their associate's degree to a bachelor's degree program in business.

Some of these online associate's degree programs can be taken full- or part-time and many can be completed fully online, but some programs may offer a hybrid option. Depending on the program, students may have access to material 24/7 and/or be able to complete the program at their own pace. Some programs offer 8-week courses and/or multiple start dates for flexibility. Explore aspects of these associate's degree programs in more detail here.

Length of Program

Most online associate's degree programs in business or business administration can be completed in 2 years, or 4 semesters. However, there are some programs that are self-paced and may allow students to finish in as little as 6 months. There are also programs that may accept transfer credit, which could potentially decrease the time to degree completion for some students. Some programs may allow students to transfer in up to as much as 75% of their degree credits.

Common Courses

Students in online associate's degree programs usually take general education courses along with courses in the business major. Some programs may have additional electives and/or courses in concentration areas, while others may require core business courses in various areas of the field. A few examples of common courses for these degree programs include:

  • Business Law- Business law courses generally explore the American legal system and the legal aspects of business. Students may look at topics like contracts, bankruptcy, sales, cyber law, and criminal law. These courses may also cover topics in business ethics.
  • Accounting- Students may take one or more courses in accounting at advancing levels. Some programs may even include courses in specific types of accounting, such as managerial accounting or financial accounting. Accounting courses cover a wide range of topics, including financial statements, the accounting cycle, cash receivables, liabilities, and cash flows.
  • Marketing- Introductory courses in marketing explore how organizations communicate with their customers while creating, pricing, and distributing goods. Students in these courses may learn about marketing research, branding, buyer behavior, promotion, and target market selection. Some courses may dive into different types of marketing, such as international marketing and digital marketing.
  • Business Communication- Courses in business communication explore business writing in-depth. Students learn how to properly write business reports, memos, and letters to better communicate both within and without the organization.
  • Human Resources- Human resources and/or human relations courses focus on the management and supervision of other workers. These courses are designed to help students develop their managerial skills, including leadership and communication. Specific course topics may include group dynamics, time management, development and training, strategic planning, and performance standards.

Cost of the Program

The cost of online associate's degree programs in business varies by institution, but some programs may cost between about $1,100 to about $4,400 per semester. Students should be sure to investigate whether tuition rates include fees and/or other additional costs, such as books. Some schools may also offer various ways to cut the cost of a program, including discounts for military service members, charging in-state tuition rates for all online students, and/or accepting various forms of financial aid.

Accreditation

Schools and/or programs that are accredited have met academic standards set by various organizations to ensure that students are receiving a quality education. Many schools that offer online associate's degree programs are accredited by organizations such as the Distance Education Accrediting Commission or the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). In addition to institution accreditation, many business programs, including some online associate's degree programs in business, are specifically accredited by business-related accreditation bodies, like the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

Associate of Applied Science vs. Associate of Science in Business

Both an AAS and an AS degree generally require around 60 credits and may take the typical 2 years to complete. Both of these programs typically require fewer general education courses than an AA degree, but one big difference is that an AAS generally does not require math courses that are as intensive as those in AS degree programs. Another big difference is that an AAS degree is designed for students who intend to begin working right after graduation, while an AS degree is a transfer degree intended for students who plan to transfer to a 4-year institution for their bachelor's degree. Oftentimes, the general education courses for an AS degree align with requirements for these 4-year institutions.

Job Options for Graduates with an Associate's in Business

Some graduates of an associate's degree program in business may go on to earn their bachelor's degree, which may increase the amount of business-related careers they qualify for. However, there are many entry-level positions in business available to those with an associate's degree. Some industries for graduates of associate's degree programs in business include:

  • Banks
  • Industrial firms
  • Insurance companies
  • Advertising
  • Retail
  • Entry-level management

Financial Clerks

Financial clerks can take on several different job titles, like brokerage clerks, payroll clerks, procurement clerks, billing clerks, and loan interviewers. Most of these clerks only need a high school diploma, but some employers may prefer some of these positions, such as brokerage clerks, to have college coursework and/or an associate's or bachelor's degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial clerks made a median salary of $39,570 in 2018 and jobs in the field are expected to increase by 5% from 2018 to 2028. The job duties for these clerks vary by position, but in general, financial clerks maintain financial records, perform financial transactions, and help customers as needed.

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

Most bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks need to have at least some college coursework, but others may only need a high school diploma. These clerks made a median salary of $40,240 in 2018, but jobs in these positions are projected to decline 4% from 2018 to 2028, per the BLS. This decline in positions may be due to advanced technology in the field allowing for fewer workers. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are responsible for using software to record financial transactions, monitor cash and checks, and create various financial reports, like income statements.

Tellers

Tellers are typically required to have a high school diploma, but some benefit from college coursework. These professionals usually work in banks and made a median annual salary of $29,450 in 2018, according to the BLS. The BLS also reported a 12% decline in tellers from 2018 to 2028, which could be due in part to the declining number of bank branches and the popularity of online banking. Tellers perform various transactions at banks and must ensure these transactions are accurate. They cash checks, order checks for customers, count money, exchange money, and more.

Advertising Sales Agents

Advertising sales agents need to have at least a high school diploma, but some employers may prefer those with a college degree. The BLS reported that advertising sales agents made a median salary of $51,740 in 2018, but predicted a decline of 2% in jobs from 2018 to 2028. This decline may be because industries that employ these agents, like newspapers, are also declining. However, digital advertising is growing. Advertising sales agents have to connect with potential clients, explain advertising services, and then help create the right type of advertisement for their client. They may also help maintain clients' accounts, prepare sales contracts, and monitor the work of competitors.

Insurance Sales Agents

Insurance sales agents must have at least a high school diploma, but having an undergraduate degree is becoming more prevalent in the field. These agents must also have state licensure for the various types of insurance they sell. According to the BLS, insurance sales agents made a median salary of $50,600 in 2018 and had a job outlook of 10% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than average. Insurance sales agents are responsible for finding potential customers, explaining the various insurance options available, and managing customer's programs and renewals. There are many different kinds of insurance sales agents, including those who sell life insurance, health and long-term care insurance, and property and casualty insurance.

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:

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