Associate degree programs’ admission requirements typically include a
high school or GED diploma. Some specialized programs may impose additional requirements, including a criminal background check or drug screen.
Professionals with an associate degree make significantly more than their peers with only a high school diploma. A college education often makes professionals eligible for promotion, as many companies restrict management-level positions to employees with a college degree.
Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.
Getting an Associate Degree
Q. How many years does it take to get an associate degree?
The average associate degree takes two years of full-time study to complete.
Q. What job can you get with an associate degree?
Graduates with an associate degree can pursue entry-level roles in fields like accounting, criminal justice, computer science, and early childhood education.
Q. Can I get an associate degree online?
Many colleges and universities offer fully online associate degrees, while others may offer partially online associate degrees.
Q. How much is an online associate degree?
Tuition varies by school. Students interested in affordable associate degrees should research in-state public colleges and universities.
What Are the Goals of an Associate Degree?
Some students earn an associate degree before transferring to a bachelor’s degree-completion program at a four-year college or university. Other learners immediately enter the workforce after earning an associate degree.
Some associate programs allow students to specialize in a certain area, preparing them for a specific career path. Degree-seekers unsure about their career goals can pursue a major like general or interdisciplinary studies to explore various fields.
Why Get an Associate Degree?
An online associate degree benefits graduates in many ways. The following list outlines several benefits of earning an online associate degree.
Online students often pay less in tuition than their on-campus peers. Online learners may also save money by not paying for on-campus housing, a meal plan, and certain fees.
Online learning often gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.
Employers typically prefer college graduates over high school graduates, since a degree indicates that candidates possess transferable skills and job-specific knowledge.
College graduates often earn more than their peers with only a high school diploma, making an online associate degree a worthwhile investment.
Graduates with an associate degree can often seamlessly transfer to a bachelor’s program.
What Are the Requirements for an Associate Degree?
Admission requirements vary by school. However, prospective students typically need a high school or GED diploma. Transfer degree-seekers should submit official college transcripts for evaluation, as transfer credit often reduces the time needed to graduate. Associate degree programs may also require SAT, ACT, or ACCUPLACER scores. College counselors use these results to place degree-seekers in appropriate first-year courses.
Graduation requirements differ by program, but they may include a minimum GPA and certain general education and major courses. Some programs require degree-seekers to take a capstone course, an experience wherein students create an academic portfolio or complete a similar summative assignment.
Scholarships for Associate Degree Students
Even affordable associate degrees require a financial investment. Students can take advantage of scholarship opportunities to help offset the cost of the degree. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for online associate degree students.
American Association for Women in Community Colleges Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Women enrolled in an associate program can apply for this competitive award. Application requirements include a 250-word essay, a brief statement describing financial need, and a short biography.
Horatio Alger Association Career and Technical Scholarships
Who Can Apply: The Horatio Alger Endowment Fund provides funding to degree-seekers enrolled in a career or technical program at a two-year community or junior college. Applicants must possess U.S. citizenship, hold a high school or GED diploma, and demonstrate financial need by submitting FAFSA results.
Who Can Apply: Associate degree students planning to transfer to a four-year college or university can apply to the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Hites Transfer Scholarship. Applicants need PTK membership and a minimum 3.5 undergraduate GPA. Recipients can apply the scholarship toward tuition at their four-year school.
Based in Wesson, Mississippi, Co-Lin offers 33 online associate degrees. Most programs do not require any on-campus or face-to-face requirements.
Students can choose from several areas to begin their studies, such as business, education, health science, or social studies. Notable associate degrees include paralegal studies, speech pathology, healthcare data technology, and entrepreneurship. Students take general core and electives along with focus-specific courses. Most programs require students to complete around 60 credits of coursework. The program also features agreements for transfer to several four-year programs.
Applicants ideally hold a high school diploma or GED to qualify for admission. Applicants can send ACT or SAT scores or take one of the school's placement exams to satisfy general education requirements. Students must also check with each program to verify additional requirements.
Co-Lin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Located in Paducah, WKCTC offers nine online associate degrees. The school offers both pre-baccalaureate programs and standalone associate degree programs.
Students may choose from a variety of fields, including areas that unlock employment with only an associate degree. Choices include programs in business administration, medical information technology, and computer information technology. Students can also pursue an associate degree in general studies in both the arts and sciences. The school also offers a marine technology associate degree, featuring coast-guard-approved skills for working in waterways.
Applicants must submit high school or GED transcripts to begin the application process, as well as any college transcripts. If students took the SAT or ACT, they must send scores. Otherwise, the school requires in-house placement exams.
WKCTC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Located in Thomasville, Georgia, SRTC offers five online associate degreesdesigned for students who need a flexible education.
Students can choose from four business focus areas: marketing, general business, business administration, or accounting. The school also offers an introduction to social work with their associate of applied science. SRTC also offers more than 19 online certification options designed to enhance or complement the associate degree programs.
Military students and families can take advantage of online tutoring courses at any time. The school also offers workshops during the year to teach students helpful study skills.
Applicants ideally hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent to begin the admissions process. Students must also provide SAT or ACT scores if available. For students without standardized test scores, the school offers placement exams. SRTC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College.
Located in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, HCC offers five different online associate degrees for students who need flexibility in training and scheduling. Hopkinsville students sign up through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System's online course hub to gain access to courses and degree programs.
Students can begin their studies in business information systems, computer information systems, or information technology, allowing career seekers to gain vital skills without delaying employment. Students can choose criminal justice to begin careers in law enforcement or corrections. Students may also begin logistics and operations management. The school also offers career services, military-friendly services, and tutoring.
Students need a high school diploma or the GED equivalent to begin the admissions process. The school uses ACT or SAT scores or a placement exam to find the right courses for students. HCC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Based in Trenton, NCMC offers online associate degrees in several different fields with all general education core requirements also available online. The school provides flexible scheduling with no residency requirements. The school offers online tutoring services, career services, and accessibility services to all online students.
Students can choose from seven different majors and one general studies option. Notable choices include programs in accounting, business and technology, criminal justice, and early childhood education. Learners can also pursue an associate of applied science in behavioral health support and a practical nursing to associate degree in nursing program. Students can also pursue online certificates in complementary fields like financial management and business management to focus their degree on certain in-demand tracks.
Applicants must submit official high school transcripts or a GED certificate. Students must also send in SAT or ACT scores. Adult learners can also take placement exams to satisfy standardized test requirements. NCMC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Located in Monroe, ULM offers an online associate degree in general studies. The 63-credit program includes an online general education core as well as focused courses with no residency requirements. Students can also take advantage of the university's networking, tutoring, and career services.
Students can take advantage of the associate to jumpstart learning in a variety of fields — transferring their associate to a bachelor's degree in multiple disciplines online at ULM. The curriculum includes mathematics core, English, communications, and other required general education options, as well as nine elective credits.
Applicants must possess a minimum high school GPA of 2.35 or the GED equivalent to begin the admissions process. The school also requires a minimum ACT score of 18 English or 19 math or the SAT equivalent. ULM is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Based in Albany, Georgia, Albany Tech offers over ten options for online associate degrees, providing students with a flexible and convenient education on their own schedules.
Associate degree options include programs in health information technology, cybersecurity, and e-commerce. Students can also choose programs in business management; marketing; or hotel, restaurant, and tourism management. Courses occur solely online, including all general education courses, with no on-campus requirements. The school also provides technical certificates in complementary fields so that students can take advantage of advanced skills training.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent and submit SAT, ACT, or ACCUPLACER scores to begin the admissions process. The school offers standardized test waivers to students for competitive performance in high school English or math. Albany Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College.
Based in San Antonio, Texas, PAC offers online associate degrees through a five-college consortium called the Alamo Colleges District. Students can take advantage of over 30 fully online associate degree options and sign up through the consortium's website.
Associate degree options include programs in business, computer technology, safety, and education. Notable choices include business management and operations, cyber defense and operations, network administration, and marketing. Students can also pursue over 30 certificate choices designed to complement the associate degree programs.
The school offers online support services, career services, and military benefits, and online students pay the same rate no matter their residency. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. The school does not require students to submit SAT or ACT scores. Instead, the school offers in-house placement exams.
PAC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Located in Torrington, EWC offers five online associate degrees with no on-campus requirements. Online students can take advantage of the school's online library, tutoring services, and academic services, as well as an online student outreach program designed to improve graduation rates.
Associate degree options include an associate of applied science in business administration, an associate of arts in criminal justice, an associate of arts in early childhood education, and an associate of arts in elementary education. The school also offers either an associate of arts or science in interdisciplinary studies, which includes coursework that transfers well to bachelor's programs at four-year institutions.
Applicants must send high school transcripts or the GED equivalent to begin the application process. The school does not require students to send SAT or ACT scores to qualify for admission, but students may need to take in-house placement exams. EWC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Based in Clovis, New Mexico, CCC offers six focused online associate degrees, as well as a general studies option for undecided students.
Students can jumpstart their careers by choosing associate degrees in criminal justice or paralegal studies — two choices that provide opportunities for employment without the need for further degrees. Students can also choose programs in behavioral science, computer information systems, or liberal arts. The general studies option allows learners to complete core foundation classes in preparation for transfer to a four-year institution.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma from an accredited high school or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students must also submit SAT or ACT scores to begin the admission process. Learners without current SAT or ACT scores may take the ACCUPLACER instead to determine appropriate courses.
CCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Based in Zanesville, Ohio, ZSC offers seven fully online associate degrees for students seeking flexibility and convenience for their studies. Programs also include online general education and elective requirements, and most require students to complete around 60 credits to receive the degree.
Students can choose from programs in entrepreneurship, business management, or marketing management. The school also offers training in healthcare management for non-medical students seeking employment in the in-demand field of health services. Learners can also opt for programs in human resource management or choose to pursue an online real estate certificate to pair with one of the business degree choices.
Applicants ideally hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. The school offers the ACCUPLACER exam to determine the best placement for students beginning their studies.
ZSC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Based in Richmond, EKU offers four online associate degrees in service-based industries with employment opportunities after graduation. Students receive an orientation to online learning and may take advantage of online tutoring and career and library services.
Students can choose associate degree programs in paralegal studies, paramedic studies, or police studies to pursue work in these vital service industries. In each case, students develop the necessary skills training and foundational knowledge needed, as well as complete general education courses required for further education. Students can also choose a general studies program to cover the required general education core before transferring to a four-year school.
Applicants must possess a minimum high school GPA of 2.0 to begin the admission process. Students do not need to send test scores but may do so to strengthen an application and waive placement exams. EKU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Located in Williston, North Dakota, WSC offers four fully online associate degrees designed to prepare students to meet career goals and pursue future education. Students can take advantage of support services for online learners, such as counseling and tutoring programs.
Students can choose from two general degree options: an associate in arts or an associate in science. Students pursuing either program can easily transfer credits to a four-year institution. The school also offers an associate in applied science in accounting and an associate in applied science in business management — two standalone degrees that offer opportunities for entry-level employment right after graduation.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent to begin the admissions process. The school offers placement exams to help students find the right courses to begin general education requirements. The school offers a generous prior learning credit transfer system as well.
WSC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Based in Valdosta, Wiregrass offersonline associate degreesin five different fields as part of the Georgia Virtual Technical Connection.
Business students may choose programs in accounting, business management, and business technology. Students can also choose an associate of applied science in fire science technology program to work in the field of fire prevention or begin careers in wildlife management. Criminal justice majors may graduate and find employment in police work or corrections — or take further courses from a four-year institution for administration careers. The school also offers a number of certificates designed to complement associate degrees.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent to begin the admissions process. The school requires ACCUPLACER scores for placement exams, but students may also submit other standardized test scores instead.
Wiregrass is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Based in Sylvia, North Carolina, SCC offers online associate degrees in nine different areas. The school also offers several certificates that pair well with associate degrees to further students' career goals.
Students looking to transfer to a four-year institution can begin with an associate of arts in general studies, allowing them to transfer core general education requirements to their degree of choice. Other options include associate degrees in accounting and finance, as well as programs in several business administration topics, information technology topics, and medical office administration. Each choice provides foundational training for students looking to advance their careers.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students must also submit SAT or ACT scores, or scores from an equivalent placement exam, to apply.
SCC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Thomas Broderick is a freelance writer and the owner of Broderick Writer LLC. He creates study guides, informational websites, and blog posts for clients in the education field. Thomas is also a published author of over 20 short stories and a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.
August 4, 2021 | ACO rankings team with contributions from Genevieve Carlton
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