Online Associate Degree

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Best Online Associates Degree Programs

Enrolling in an online associate degree program can help students earn their degree at a distance while gaining the credits to enter an occupation or transfer to a four-year institution after graduation. To help college-bound students determine which school is best for them, we have analyzed every online associate degree program in the country and found the top schools based on criteria such as financial aid provided by the school, number of online programs available and cost. Find the best online associate degree programs for 2016-2017 below.

Rank University Location ScoreTuition# of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher Ratio Grad Rate Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Goodwin College East Hartford, CT 99.76$19,40020 91% 10:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
2 Great Basin College Elko, NV 98.90$2,70014 40% 17:1 14% Yes Yes Yes
3 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL 98.71$16,93612 77% 12:1 60% Yes Yes Yes
4 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 98.28$6,46610 43% 14:1 33% Yes Yes Yes
5 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI 97.33$15,0729 89% 14:1 40% Yes Yes Yes
6 Bismarck State College Bismarck, ND 97.21$3,52012 25% 14:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
7 Hawaii Pacific University Honolulu, HI 96.96$21,13010 78% 13:1 40% Yes Yes Yes
8 Vincennes University Vincennes, IN 96.82$5,17418 18% 17:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
9 Bethel University McKenzie, TN 96.62$10,7508 51% 12:1 29% Yes Yes Yes
10 Baker College Flint, MI 96.45$8,28013 85% 25:1 14% Yes Yes Yes
11 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA 96.18$21,00011 78% 18:1 46% Yes Yes Yes
12 College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV 96.15$2,70017 20% 24:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
13 St Petersburg College Clearwater, FL 96.15$3,34714 23% 22:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
14 Tiffin University Tiffin, OH 95.81$21,5359 92% 18:1 33% Yes Yes Yes
15 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, TX 95.47$19,45010 73% 16:1 38% Yes Yes Yes
16 University of Northwestern Ohio Lima, OH 94.86$9,86813 33% 26:1 30% No Yes Yes
17 Northwood University-Michigan Midland, MI 94.78$23,1327 95% 16:1 54% Yes Yes Yes
18 Indiana Wesleyan University Marion, IN 94.63$24,1029 50% 16:1 70% Yes Yes Yes
19 Colorado Christian University Lakewood, CO 94.56$20,9356 97% 14:1 40% Yes Yes Yes
20 Peninsula College Port Angeles, WA 94.44$4,1918 23% 15:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
21 Presentation College Aberdeen, SD 93.94$17,8757 99% 10:1 44% Yes No Yes
22 Colorado Mountain College Glenwood, CO 93.84$3,9306 36% 13:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
23 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY 93.46$9,1407 37% 18:1 50% No Yes Yes
24 SUNY Empire State College Saratoga Springs, NY 93.44$6,66511 75% 15:1 17% Yes No Yes
25 University of Alaska Southeast Juneau, AK 93.35$6,6696 48% 15:1 10% No Yes Yes
26 Miami Dade College Miami, FL 93.22$3,4868 24% 23:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
27 South Texas College McAllen, TX 93.02$3,59013 1% 27:1 N/A No Yes Yes
28 Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City Oklahoma City, OK 93.00$2,8599 10% 19:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
29 Peirce College Philadelphia, PA 92.93$13,8006 83% 12:1 56% Yes No Yes
30 Columbia College Columbia, MO 92.84$6,5827 24% 34:1 42% Yes Yes Yes
31 University of Maine at Augusta Augusta, ME 92.77$7,4487 26% 17:1 13% Yes Yes Yes
32 National University La Jolla, CA 92.71$12,38418 1% 20:1 23% Yes No Yes
33 Drury University Springfield, MO 92.61$23,8857 76% 19:1 48% No Yes Yes
34 Hodges University Naples, FL 92.43$13,2208 37% 15:1 18% No Yes Yes
35 Daytona State College Daytona Beach, FL 92.15$3,3067 24% 18:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
36 Lewis-Clark State College Lewiston, ID 92.07$8,6245 62% 16:1 26% Yes Yes Yes
37 Broward College Fort Lauderdale, FL 91.21$2,5427 23% 27:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
38 Ohio Christian University Circleville, OH 90.86$17,7205 53% 10:1 36% Yes No Yes
39 Northwestern Michigan College Traverse City, MI 90.46$5,5556 24% 18:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
40 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Daytona Beach, FL 90.28$8,0405 14% 12:1 48% Yes Yes Yes
41 Seminole State College of Florida Sanford, FL 90.17$3,1317 18% 29:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
42 Granite State College Concord, NH 90.05$7,0655 N/A 12:1 50% Yes Yes Yes
43 Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL 89.97$2,6095 15% 22:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
44 Humphreys College-Stockton and Modesto Campuses Stockton, CA 89.72$12,4565 19% 18:1 51% Yes Yes Yes
45 Darton State College Albany, GA 89.37$3,5027 9% 22:1 N/A Yes No Yes
46 Clarion University of Pennsylvania Clarion, PA 88.72$9,7885 11% 19:1 48% Yes Yes Yes
47 Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ 88.23$5,8719 N/A 15:1 N/A Yes No Yes
48 Indiana Institute of Technology Fort Wayne, IN 86.31$24,8605 63% 36:1 31% Yes No Yes

Best 2-Year Online Associates Degree Programs

Rank University Location ScoreTuition# of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher Ratio Grad Rate Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 East Mississippi Community College Scooba, MS 99.81$2,60062 78% 12:1 27% Yes Yes Yes
2 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, WY 98.51$2,40022 39% 16:1 53% Yes Yes Yes
3 Holmes Community College Goodman, MS 97.54$2,28841 37% 18:1 25% No Yes Yes
4 Kansas City Kansas Community College Kansas City, KS 97.05$2,64015 22% 13:1 20% Yes Yes Yes
5 Tulsa Community College Tulsa, OK 96.58$2,82015 39% 17:1 14% Yes Yes Yes
6 Northwest Mississippi Community College Senatobia, MS 96.30$2,55017 26% 23:1 18% Yes Yes Yes
7 State Fair Community College Sedalia, MO 95.68$3,28817 14% 17:1 21% Yes Yes Yes
8 Allen County Community College Iola, KS 95.42$2,78453 68% 20:1 23% No No Yes
9 Pamlico Community College Grantsboro, NC 95.41$2,34713 11% 9:1 67% Yes Yes Yes
10 Central Texas College Killeen, TX 95.33$2,79020 13% 18:1 14% Yes Yes Yes
11 Odessa College Odessa, TX 95.32$3,90015 32% 17:1 20% No Yes Yes
12 St Philip's College San Antonio, TX 95.19$5,55063 15% 15:1 4% No Yes Yes
13 Northeast Community College Norfolk, NE 94.70$3,03013 38% 17:1 43% Yes Yes Yes
14 Rio Salado College Tempe, AZ 94.63$2,04616 4% 20:1 17% No Yes Yes
15 Tyler Junior College Tyler, TX 94.54$3,76217 17% 21:1 15% No Yes Yes
16 Pitt Community College Winterville, NC 94.45$1,97912 11% 17:1 13% Yes Yes Yes
17 Three Rivers Community College Poplar Bluff, MO 94.24$4,96818 17% 24:1 17% No Yes Yes
18 Stanly Community College Albemarle, NC 94.18$2,52312 15% 15:1 25% Yes Yes Yes
19 Palo Alto College San Antonio, TX 94.04$5,55035 20% 20:1 13% No Yes Yes
20 Amarillo College Amarillo, TX 93.71$2,89816 17% 22:1 15% No Yes Yes
21 Fayetteville Technical Community College Fayetteville, NC 93.61$2,39417 1% 20:1 7% Yes Yes Yes
22 Metropolitan Community College Omaha, NE 93.58$2,61010 20% 14:1 12% Yes Yes Yes
23 Diablo Valley College Pleasant Hill, CA 93.54$1,29817 N/A 27:1 39% No Yes Yes
24 College of Southern Idaho Twin Falls, ID 93.49$3,76012 46% 21:1 18% No Yes Yes
25 Bluegrass Community and Technical College Lexington, KY 93.48$3,70414 2% 16:1 18% Yes Yes Yes
26 Gateway Community and Technical College Florence, KY 93.40$3,70413 9% 12:1 34% Yes Yes Yes
27 Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown, NC 93.32$2,20113 5% 20:1 10% Yes Yes Yes
28 San Antonio College San Antonio, TX 93.27$5,55055 9% 19:1 7% No Yes Yes
29 Madisonville Community College Madisonville, KY 93.24$3,62411 22% 14:1 30% No Yes Yes
30 Mitchell Community College Statesville, NC 93.09$2,40414 9% 21:1 19% No Yes Yes
31 Truckee Meadows Community College Reno, NV 93.08$2,70011 22% 19:1 21% Yes Yes Yes
32 Crowder College Neosho, MO 93.05$3,04810 18% 15:1 22% Yes Yes Yes
33 North Central Missouri College Trenton, MO 92.88$3,87020 21% 19:1 30% Yes No Yes
34 Maysville Community and Technical College Maysville, KY 92.82$3,62410 9% 11:1 30% Yes Yes Yes
35 Northwest Vista College San Antonio, TX 92.55$5,55028 9% 22:1 11% No Yes Yes
36 Laramie County Community College Cheyenne, WY 92.48$2,83210 31% 15:1 14% No No Yes
37 Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins, GA 92.16$2,56814 N/A 15:1 31% Yes Yes Yes
38 Columbus State Community College Columbus, OH 92.05$3,80811 20% 19:1 8% Yes Yes Yes
39 West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah, KY 92.01$3,62411 1% 14:1 38% No Yes Yes
40 Forsyth Technical Community College Winston Salem, NC 91.94$2,05611 N/A 13:1 14% No Yes Yes
41 Somerset Community College Somerset, KY 91.89$3,62411 8% 18:1 25% Yes Yes Yes
42 Mohave Community College Kingman, AZ 91.76$2,61012 9% 14:1 18% No No Yes
43 Westmoreland County Community College Youngwood, PA 91.75$6,99016 4% 18:1 12% Yes Yes Yes
44 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN 91.56$5,33816 5% 21:1 32% Yes Yes Yes
45 Owensboro Community and Technical College Owensboro, KY 91.17$3,62410 4% 13:1 30% Yes Yes Yes
46 Foothill College Los Altos Hills, CA 91.10$1,55111 6% 27:1 62% No Yes Yes
47 Cuyahoga Community College Cleveland, OH 91.08$3,95315 2% 21:1 4% Yes Yes Yes
48 Georgia Piedmont Technical College Clarkston, GA 91.04$2,83413 N/A 17:1 20% Yes Yes Yes
49 Bucks County Community College Newtown, PA 91.00$7,39413 10% 15:1 12% Yes Yes Yes
50 Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, NC 90.89$2,64011 2% 18:1 16% Yes Yes Yes

Guide to Online Associate Degrees

Online associate degree programs allow both entry-level students and working professionals to earn a two-year credential in a flexible learning environment. They are convenient and cost-effective ways to gain introductory or targeted knowledge and skills to prepare for a 4-year program or work toward a specific career. The following page offers three ways to either find the right online associate degree for you, or to learn more about what they are and how they really work. The search tool at left provides an easy way to identify program options quickly. The list of the colleges with the most associate degrees shows which institutions offer students the greatest breadth of two-year programs online. And finally, the in-depth guide walks readers through online associate degree programs from start to finish.

Top Colleges for Online Associate Degree Programs

Rank College ACO Score Academic / Career Counseling Student Teacher Ratio State More info
1 Adelphi University 95.84 Yes 13:1 New York

Adelphi University offers a fully online associate of science degree in emergency services administration. This program investigates the latest techniques in emergency services and builds a foundation for future studies. Possible course subjects include disaster preparedness and organizational behavior. Out of the required 64 credit hours, at least 30 must be earned from Adelphi. Prior learning, such as professional training, could contribute up to 30 credits. Classes are taught by the same faculty that teaches traditional classes, and there are no on-campus requirements for this degree.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts
  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts - Pre-Nursing Concentration
  • Associate of Science in Emergency Services Administration
2 Troy University 94.87 Yes 17:1 Alabama

An A.S. in general education or general education – aviation operations are two online associate degrees offered by Troy University. The associate degree in general education – aviation operations offers three concentrations for specific interests: airplane flight training, helicopter flight training, and unmanned aerial systems. These options, however, are only available in Hawaii and Alabama, as the program requires in-class laboratory experience that cannot be replaced through online means. Both associate degree options require 60 minimum credit hours and utilize Blackboard as the online learning system.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Science in Computer Science
  • Associate of Science in General Education - Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Associate of Science in General Education - Aviation Operations - Fixed Wing Training
See Programs
3 Drury University 94.63 Yes 19:1 Missouri

Drury University offers eight online associate degree options through its College of Continuing Professional Studies. Degrees include business administration, law enforcement, general studies, organizational studies, psychology, English, criminal justice, and paralegal studies. Drury University’s online courses launched in 1999 and focus on personal interaction between the student and all the university’s resources: the instructor, support systems, and peers. A required new student orientation provides distance learners with more about online classes so they are prepared to take full advantage of the learning mode. Students access coursework through Blackboard and have access to, an online tutoring service that offers assistance in a range of subject areas.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration
  • Associate of Science in Law Enforcement
  • Associate of Science in General Studies
See Programs
4 Franklin Pierce University 94.46 Yes 12:1 New Hampshire

At Franklin Pierce University, online students can pursue an online degree in a range of academic areas. Four online associate of arts degrees are available to adult learners. Students can earn a degree in business, criminal justice, general studies, or human services — completely online. These programs are fully accredited, comprehensive degrees, so students benefit from the same education they would receive in a traditional classroom but with the convenience of an asynchronous and flexible format. Programs begin six times throughout the year and credits can be transferred to a four-year degree program if the student wishes to further his or her education.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts in Business
  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Arts in General Studies
See Programs
5 Shorter University 94.27 Yes 12:1 Georgia

Shorter University offers online programs for the following four associate degrees: business, criminal justice, general studies and sport management. Students can take advantage of self-paced learning in courses that last eight weeks, with terms starting six times a year.

Graduation requires 60 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 2.0 in all coursework. Additionally, all degrees require a grade of “C” or better in Freshman English I and II. Most of these programs require incoming students with less than 27 transfer credits to have at least a 2.25 high school GPA, while applicants with more than 27 transfer credits need a GPA of not less than 2.0 in transfer credit classes.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Science in Sport Management
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Science in General Studies
See Programs
6 The New School 94.12 Yes 10:1 New York

Online associate degrees are available from The New School in either fashion marketing or graphic design, both of which are offered through the Parsons division. These programs consist of at least 65 semester credit hours, with a maximum of 31 transfer credits accepted. Students who wish to complete all course work online need to have earned 21 credit hours in the liberal arts and humanities, including six credits of English.

The New School requires a 2.0 cumulative GPA in all courses in pursuit of the degree. While not mandatory for admission, it is strongly recommended that students submit a creative assignment with their online application.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Applied Science in Fashion Marketing
  • Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design
7 Dallas Baptist University 93.92 Yes 14:1 Texas

Dallas Baptist University (DBU) offers three online associate degrees for students who want to earn a degree in a flexible format. The associate of arts is a 62-credit program that emphasizes a strong liberal arts education, while the associate of biblical studies and associate of business administration range from 63 to 69 credits, depending on the electives students choose. Though the degrees are self-guided and asynchronous, students must interact with the instructor and online peers several times throughout the week. Classes are divided into “”sessions” that each has unique requirements. For example, some classes will require group work or projects and many have timed exams and quizzes. Online courses are administered via Blackboard and are taught by the same experienced faculty who teach campus-based classes to ensure consistency in academic standards.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts
  • Associate of Biblical Studies
  • Associate of Business Administration
8 Grace Bible College 93.86 Yes 11:1 Michigan

Grace Bible College’s Adult & Online Degree Programs focus on three primary benefits: lower cost, smaller class sizes, and a Christ-centered education. Currently, the college offers three fully-accredited online associate degrees in leadership and ministry, business, and human services. These programs are delivered in small cohort groups of 10 to 18 students to allow for interaction and growth. Grace Bible’s online programs are also accelerated, which means students can earn their degrees faster than in a traditional format. Students learn through a blend of active learning and theory as they engage in real-life situations, all while still balancing life outside the virtual classroom.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts in Leadership and Ministry
  • Associate of Arts in Human Services
  • Associate of Arts in Business
9 Missouri Valley College 93.72 Yes 14:1 Missouri

Missouri Valley College is home to an online associate degree program in health information systems, which requires at least 64 semester credit hours. Studies include the general education core, as well as computer technology courses such as programming and database management. The program features courses in accounting, medical insurance and billing, statistics and ethics, with the opportunity to gain work experience through an internship. Students can begin classes during the spring or fall semesters, as with traditional educational formats. Distance education courses through MVCOnline use the Moodle platform for submitting assignments and other activities, and technical support is available.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Systems
10 Campbell University 93.69 Yes 16:1 North Carolina

Active-duty military personnel and individuals who have been out of high school for at least four semesters qualify for one of Campbell University’s four online associate degrees. Students can choose an associate of art degree in general education, business, information technology management or information technology security. These are degree options are designed specifically for first-time adult students who are looking for additional education for a specific career. Students access materials through the Blackboard Learning Management System, which is where they also interact with instructors and other students, download and submit assignments, and access class grades. Courses are asynchronous, allowing students to access materials at any time of the day or night.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Art - General Education Concentration
  • Associate of Art - Business Concentration
  • Associate of Art - Information Technology Management
See Programs
11 Brescia University 93.66 Yes 14:1 Kentucky

Students who wish to earn an associate degree online have five options from which to choose at Brescia University. The university’s online associate programs are accelerated, which means that students follow an eight-week schedule and can potentially earn their degree in as little as 18 months. Currently, online learners can pursue an associate degree in one of the following disciplines: business, addictions counseling, graphic design, liberal arts, and human services. Once they’ve completed the program, students can transfer their credits to one of the university’s many bachelor’s programs.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts in Human Services
  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts
  • Associate of Science in Business
See Programs
12 Brigham Young University-Idaho 93.6 Yes 24:1 Idaho

Six associate degrees are available for online students at Brigham Young University – Idaho. Students can earn an associate of science in administrative assistant, web design and development, computer programming, family history research, business management, and general studies. Online programs follow the same format and learning objectives as traditional on-campus programs. Students interact with peers and instructors through online chat programs and email. All students must take an online orientation course prior to starting the program to help put them on the path to success and graduation.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming
  • Associate of Applied Science in Family History Research
  • Associate of Science in General Studies
See Programs
13 Weber State University 93.53 Yes 20:1 Utah

Weber State University offers over 16 online degrees, including four associate degrees in general studies, medical laboratory technician, health information technology, and computer science. Online programs are semester-based or self-paced. Students who choose a self-paced format have up to 6 months to complete a course and can start any time during the academic semester. The computer science online associate degree requires a minimum overall GPA of 2.70 in all required courses, with no grade being lower than a “C” (2.0) in all required computer science courses. However, some support courses required to complete the program may not be available online. In such a case, students can take the course at another institution or opt to take it at the campus. Weber State University’s online associate degree programs are not available in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, or Minnesota.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Science in General Studies
  • Associate of Applied Science - Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
See Programs
14 Baker College 93.06 Yes 16:1 Michigan

Baker College has a range of associate degrees in a variety of fields that students can earn completely online. Programs include accounting with concentrations in computer information systems or management, general business, human resource management, emergency services management, marketing and more. Among the computer-related programs are information technology support, programming and web development. In general, online courses are six weeks long, and students are able to complete coursework when it is convenient for them — as long as assignments are completed by the due date. Online students can participate in discussions and interact with peers and professors.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Business in Accounting
  • Associate of Business in Accounting/Computer Information Systems
  • Associate of Business in Accounting/Management
See Programs
15 University of Alaska Southeast 93.02 Yes 9:1 Alaska

The University of Alaska Southeast offers a wide selection of online associate degrees, all of which require a minimum of 60 credit hours, except law enforcement, which requires 64 credit hours. In some cases, the associate degree may require a portion of the minimum credit hours to be obtained through an internship or residency requirement, and some programs mandate a minimum grade of a “C” in all courses or major-related courses. Most associate of arts degrees at University of Alaska Southeast are designed so that graduates can transfer credits to a bachelor’s degree program.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Science
  • Associate of General Education
  • Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration
See Programs
16 Campbellsville University 93 Yes 13:1 Kentucky

Students looking for a convenient and quality degree from Campbellsville University can choose one of four online associate degrees. Associate of science programs are available in business administration, general studies, criminal justice, and Christian ministries. These degree programs are fully online with no on-campus requirements. Students access courses through Moodle, Campbellsville’s online course management system. They also have access to the same resources as traditional students, including the school library, professional center, and academic advising.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration
  • Associate of Science in General Studies
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
See Programs
17 Azusa Pacific University 92.93 Yes 14:1 California

Online degree programs ​from University College at Azusa Pacific University include the associate of arts​ and the associate of science in health sciences. The first option can give students a background in the liberal arts and humanities. In contrast, the second of these degrees focuses on the natural and social sciences, with courses such as statistics, anatomy and microbiology. The health sciences degree is available with a nursing emphasis, which requires 10 additional credit hours. These programs encourage a Christian worldview and can also satisfy diverse general education requirements for bachelor’s degrees. Students have access to resources including online writing skills support and 24/7 tutoring.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Science in Health Sciences
  • Associate of Arts
18 Chaminade University of Honolulu 92.92 Yes 11:1 Hawaii

Nearly all of Chaminade University of Honolulu’s undergraduate programs can be completed entirely online, including its four associate degrees. Students can earn an associate of arts in business administration or liberal arts or an associate of science in criminology and criminal justice and early childhood education. Degrees are part of Chaminade’s Office of Professional and Continuing Education, and are designed for professionals and adults who wish to further their careers. Classes are taught in 10-week accelerated terms that start four times during the year so students can earn their degrees faster.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts
  • Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education
See Programs
19 University of Delaware 92.65 Yes 15:1 Delaware

The University of Delaware’s online distance learning program offers several online degree programs. While most options are at the graduate degree level, UD does have an associate in arts degree. This online program requires a minimum of 60 credits, although previous college credit may be transferrable. However, more than half of the required 60 credits must be taken through the University of Delaware in order for a student to graduate from the institution. Additionally, a student must be formally admitted to the University of Delaware before completing 75 credit hours (including transferable credit) and earn at least 12 credits after being admitted to the university.

Programs Offered
  • Associate in Arts
20 Maranatha Baptist Bible College 92.53 Yes 14:1 Wisconsin

This Christ-centered college offers five associate degrees that can be completed entirely online. Programs in health science, digital media, Christian ministry, and business management can be completed within 18 months and then transferred to the bachelor’s degree program, or can be a stand-alone associate degree. The degree in applied science offers students the opportunity to design their own concentration. Courses in the concentration can be transferred from another school or taken at Maranatha. Online courses are administered in an 8-week cycle with regular deadlines to keep students progressing through the material. Most seasoned students choose to take up to three classes per session.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Applied Science
  • Associate of Arts in Christian Ministry
  • Associate of Science in Business Management
See Programs
21 Belhaven University 92.48 Yes 12:1 Mississippi

Belhaven University offers three online associate degrees in the arts, biblical studies and business. These programs provide a foundation in the field of study and satisfy some general education requirements needed for a bachelor’s degree. Students who wish to pursue a future in the ministry can consider Belhaven’s program in biblical studies.

These online programs typically require 62 credit hours and offer courses in an eight-week format. Students can complete coursework at their convenience, as long as they meet specific deadlines. They are required to post to the class discussion board throughout the week to meet participation expectations.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts
  • Associate of Arts in Biblical Studies
  • Associate of Arts in Business
22 Gulf Coast State College 92.28 Yes 18:1 Florida

Online students at Gulf Coast State College have a wide range of choices when choosing an online associate degree, from accounting to teacher education to recreation. Twenty-three associate degree options can be completed online, but students should note that some elective courses for philosophy, social work, and sociology may be campus-only. Additionally, students will be required to come to campus to take a human anatomy and physiology lab for the Associate in Arts in Recreation – Therapeutic Emphasis degree. Students who want to transfer their credits to a four-year degree at a college outside of Florida should talk to an admissions office beforehand to make sure classes will transfer successfully. Prospective online students should also review the college’s “Getting Started” checklist and complete the online questionnaire to determine whether distance learning is the right path.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts in Accounting
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • Associate of Arts in Economics
See Programs
23 SUNY College of Technology at Alfred 92.26 Yes 17:1 New York

SUNY College’s Alfred State Technology campus offers two online associate degree programs: health information technology and court and real-time reporting. Alfred State’s online programs constantly evolve to meet current employer and industry demands, ensuring that students graduate with the necessary skills to succeed. Both degrees are fully online, although the health information technology program requires 160 hours of non-paid professional practice experience in the health information department of an acute care facility during the student’s last semester of study. In addition to tuition costs and fees, students seeking their court and real-time reporting degree should factor in the cost of a computerized shorthand machine and software (totaling approximately $2,000) in order to practice real-time writing outside of class.

Programs Offered
  • Associates in Court and Realtime Reporting
  • Associates in Health Information Technology
24 Granite State College 91.85 Yes 11:1 New Hampshire

Granite State College has six online associate degree programs for students looking for a flexible learning environment. A.A. and A.S. degrees are available in behavioral sciences, early childhood education, communication sciences and disorders, and business. Students may also choose an online associate of arts degree in general studies or the same degree, but with an educational concentration. All of Granite State’s associate degrees are 60-credit programs and most or all of these credits may transfer to one of the college’s bachelor’s degree programs. Online students can work at their own pace, as long as they meet assignment deadlines.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts in General Studies
  • Associate of Arts in General Studies - Education Concentration
  • Associate of Science in Behavioral Science
See Programs
25 Minot State University 91.82 Yes 13:1 North Dakota

Offered through an entirely online format, Minot State University’s associate degree in human services is focused on intellectual and developmental disabilities. This 65-credit program is designed for working professionals, who can apply to transfer general education credits from other accredited colleges or universities. The curriculum includes 27 semester hours in the major, with topics such as health care, human development and behavioral support as well as a field experience component. While admittance to the university follows the typical semester schedule, required subjects may be offered every other year. Applicants can inquire about the availability of Minot State University’s online programs in their state.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Science in Human Services - Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
26 Concordia University-Saint Paul 91.8 Yes 16:1 Minnesota

Students can earn one of two associate degrees from Concordia University – St. Paul completely online. The associate of arts degree in early childhood education is a 76-credit degree program that gives students the necessary background and experience required to teach children from birth to grade 3. Additionally, it meets the training requirements of the Child Development Associate (CDA) National Credentialing Program and degree credits are transferrable to a bachelor’s program in education. The other option, an associate of arts degree, is also a fully online program that consists of 64 credits covering general education and a range of disciplines for a well-rounded academic foundation. This online associate degree prepares students to go on to earn a Bachelor of Arts.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education
27 Gods Bible School and College 91.38 Yes 12:1 Ohio

Through the Aldersgate Distance Education Program, God’s Bible School and College offers four online degree programs. Students interested in an associate degree have the options of bible and theology or ministerial education. The college prides itself on offering flexibility and convenience to busy students who want to further their faith-based education. The school’s online learning management system lets students download entire courses, which means online learners only need to connect to the Internet a minimum of once per week to keep on target with classes. This affords them the flexibility to travel, stay active in the military, or simply maintain their busy lifestyle while earning a degree. Course lectures are recordings of on-campus lectures so students receive the same information as their traditional counterparts.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts in Bible and Theory
  • Associate of Applied Science in Ministerial Education
28 Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis 90.77 Yes 18:1 Indiana

Students of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis have access to a variety of online courses and programs, with 24/7 technical support by phone and options for web-administered or proctored exams. The associate degree in labor studies, offered by IUPUI, emphasizes workplace issues, labor unions and the like. Online courses are available in the full-semester or accelerated format. Of the 60 credit hours required, 33 come from general education and 12 are in the major. IU Online’s associate degree in histotechnology focuses on cellular structure and tissue anatomy of plants and animals. The program is built for practicing professionals or students certified in the field.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Science in Histotechnology
  • Associate of Science in Labor Studies
29 Northwest University 90.77 Yes 13:1 Washington

Online associate degrees in general studies and ministry leadership are available from Northwest University. The degrees are designed to provide the groundwork for students who desire a bachelor’s degree in the future, with general education courses in subjects such as social sciences and speech communication. Both programs require 60 credit hours for completion, including at least one ministry practicum. For admission to Northwest University, students need a minimum GPA of 2.3 — or 2.0 if admitted on academic probation — and the SAT or ACT. Students may be accepted without standardized test scores if they can transfer applicable courses or complete a placement exam.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts in General Studies
  • Associate in Ministry Leadership
30 Welch College 90.55 Yes 10:1 Tennessee

Students pursuing online higher education from Welch College Online may earn an associate’s degree in business or ministry, or obtain an online associate of the arts. All three of these degree options require a minimum 2.0 GPA in order to graduate. The associate of the arts degree is designed for students with a desire to pursue a college major not offered at Welch College or who wish to increase their overall biblical knowledge. Students interested in applying to the college must be at least 23 years of age and submit two references, one of which must be pastoral.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts
  • Associate of Science in Ministry
  • Associate of Science in Business
31 Morehead State University 90.39 Yes 18:1 Kentucky

Morehead State University’s online associate degree in university studies allows students to choose courses to suit their interests and goals. The program requires a minimum of 60 semester hours, including 15 credits from general education courses such as math, speech and writing. To graduate, students need a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. At least 16 semester hours must be earned from Morehead State University, including one semester of classes preceding graduation. Students entering the program with less than 24 college credits take a first-year seminar. MSU distance education programs feature the Blackboard learning management system, with interactive capabilities such as video conferencing and chats.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of University Studies
32 Arkansas Tech University 90.15 Yes 20:1 Arkansas

Arkansas Tech University offers two online associate degrees, one in early childhood education (ECE) and the other in general studies. The ECE program includes subjects such as child development, nutrition and pre-kindergarten instruction. For the general studies program, more than half of the 62 credit hours are earned in general education courses, which correspond to the state’s minimum core requirements. The purpose of the core curriculum is to encourage mathematical reasoning, critical thinking, clear communication and ethical perspectives. Both degrees are 100 percent online, and the school’s eTech courses use technology like the Blackboard platform and the Tegrity tool for lecture capture.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts in General Studies
  • Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education (Pre-K)
33 Western New Mexico University 90.03 Yes 14:1 New Mexico

At Western New Mexico University, distance learners can choose from two online associate degree programs: criminal justice or liberal studies, the latter of which is specially tailored for students who wish to transfer to a four-year postsecondary institution. A minimum of 64 credit hours is required for the liberal studies option. For the most part, courses can be accessed anytime, anywhere; however, a small number of courses require participation at set times, such as labs or scheduled meetings. Online students in certain states can take advantage of special tuition discounts and all students have access to support services such as 24/7 tech support, online tutors, and online advisors.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies
34 Montana State University-Northern 89.58 Yes 16:1 Montana

Students seeking a fully online academic program from Montana State University-Northern can obtain an associate degree in general education or business. The general education program includes courses in health, technology and cultural awareness, while the business major explores subjects like statistics and management. These degrees are designed to stand on their own or serve as a base for bachelor’s degree studies. Graduation requires a minimum of 60 semester credits and a GPA that meets university standards. Distance learners use the Desire2Learn system and applications like Wiggio for sharing ideas and collaborating on content.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of Arts in General Education
  • Associate of Science in Business
35 Louisiana Tech University 89.04 Yes 23:1 Louisiana

The associate degree in general studies available through Louisiana Tech University and Barksdale Air Force Base blends online courses with on-campus studies. Students complete 60 credit hours and can choose from concentrations such as business administration, humanities, computer applications, psychology and social sciences. Courses are offered in 12-week quarters. Graduation requires a 2.5 GPA in major courses and a 2.0 GPA overall, with no more than 15 credits from business subjects. Students must spend 15 hours in residency on campus during the second half of the program.

Programs Offered
  • Associate of General Studies

Online Associate Degree Programs: How They Work

Earning an online associate degree appeals to students who cannot commute or relocate to a two-year college. Online schools typically offer the same range of occupational or college-transfer degrees as do their brick and mortar counterparts, often more. Many courses are self-paced, in some cases allowing students to complete their degree in less time than the standard two years. Students may also opt for online associate degree programs that offer expertise and training in a field not represented by their local colleges. Occupational degree programs in fields like healthcare and technology that require laboratory work often make arrangements so the student can complete the sections locally. Colleges offering the degree are public or private. Unlike public schools where tuition is supported by taxes, for-profit private schools may charge higher tuition to support their programs.

Some online courses are delivered in a synchronous format, granting students 24/7 access to their degree programs. Classes include a combination of educational methods, incorporating live presentations with streaming multimedia lectures, virtual class discussions, chat rooms, conference calls and message boards. Students with basic skills in sending email, attaching files, and researching on the Web can adjust to the online interface with ease. Some schools require students to take a self-paced introduction to online education before beginning classes. Depending on the institution, students may also be issued their own laptops for the school year or beyond.

Visiting Campus

Although online associate programs occur almost completely via the web, some of the more collaborative disciplines may require the occasional campus visit. For example, early childhood education or childcare programs may ask students to spend time working in an on-site facility. These periodic visits can be vital to acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to transition from degree program to career.

Other In-Person Requirements

Some online programs may not require campus visits, but they may require work at some sort of local facility, whether a school or a medical center. Medical-related programs with a clinical focus necessitate interaction with patients. Therefore, online departments will coordinate with hospitals and other medical offices to make sure students get the hands-on training they need.

The Online Associate Degree Timeline

Regardless of the reason for attending, it’s important to understand how associate-level education works from start to finish. In addition to diving into the reasons to earn an associate degree, this section walks you through this two-year credential from admission to graduation (or transfer).

Application and Admission

Most two-year colleges and schools have open admissions. They may not require students to take an SAT or ACT qualification exam, but those with good scores may use their test results to challenge some college requirements in the arts or sciences. Prospective students must send the school a formal application, proof of high school (or GED) diploma and, if required for admission to an occupational degree program, a statement of career goals. Students seeking financial assistance must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).

Year 1

  • During their first year at an associate degree program, students complete their core general education requirements. They also become acclimated to higher education, developing consistent study habits and communication skills as they explore their academic goals. For those with plans to transfer to four-year institutions, it’s time to ensure all classes and credits are transferable.

Year 2

  • Courses in the second year introduce students to their area of academic interest, preparing them to move into employment or transfer. In their second year, students should begin to tally their credits and ensure that they’re meeting college graduation requirements as well as the specific requirements in their chosen degree. Students who plan to enter their professions at the end of the second year should begin researching workplace opportunities, starting at the career services office. Students on this track may use the second year to accept work study or internships required by the major.

For transfer students, it’s time to start checking off “to-dos” for university admission. By now students should have an accurate appraisal of how many credits will transfer. Those with borderline grade-point averages should dedicate themselves to raising them. Here’s a list of items to complete:

  • Take any required SAT or ACT tests required by the target college
  • Write an admission essay
  • Round up letters of recommendation
  • Send all FASA reports to the new school

Online Learning Q&A

Are online associate classes easy?

Absolutely not. Not only are online classes academic rigorous equals to their brick and mortar counterparts, they can be more challenging if the student fails to develop regular study habits. Even at the associate level, students need to study hard and focus on academics while balancing other responsibilities.

Who typically earns an online associate degree?

Online students at the associate level usually fall into two distinct categories. First, those who need the flexibility of online education AND the chance to earn an entry-level degree in a more cost-effective way. Second, students or young professionals who need a specific degree to advance their careers, but need to earn it while working.

Can an online associate degree advance my career?

The quick answer is “yes”. Students should choose online programs that are accredited by a respected organization to ensure acceptance of the degree. In addition to building specific job-related skills, an online education helps students take responsibility for their education as well as master digital communication skills used throughout working America.

Is the faculty really available?

Online faculty members set regular hours for student meetings as well as participate daily in student interactions via email, telephone or messaging.

Isn’t online learning isolating?

Online classes are by nature collaborative. Students can log in at any time, meaning they can network virtually with their peers whenever an idea strikes or they’re stuck moving forward. Graduates often report that they forge friendships with like-minded peers.

Online Associate Degree Accreditation

Regional accreditation remains the gold standard in higher education. Six regional agencies, each endorsed by the Department of Education, vet colleges and universities in their respective territories. In some regions, accreditation of community and junior colleges, which offer online programs at the two-year level, falls under the same regional agencies as their 4-year counterparts. In the western region, however, the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) examines two-year schools to make sure both their campus and their online programs have the curriculum, faculty and resources to provide quality higher education. A third accrediting option occurs on a national level. National accreditation is usually reserved for non-standard schools, including vocational schools, career schools and fully online for-profit schools. All of these education and training options, especially the latter, offer distance-learning programs. When dealing with national accreditation, it’s important to vet the college and the program carefully, to make sure potential employers will accept it.