Best Online Associate Degrees (2022)

Overview of Online Associate Degrees

Can You Earn an Associate Degree Online?

Yes, you can earn an associate degree online at 197 accredited institutions, which includes both two-year community colleges and four-year universities. Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degree programs provide students with a broad education in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, as well as specific courses related to their chosen major and specialization.

You can earn an associate degree online at 197 accredited institutions.

There are also Associate of Applied Science and Associate of Applied Business programs. These are often more vocational in nature, still providing a broad educational foundation but with a heavier emphasis on skill development.

Any of these degrees can be considered terminal degrees that prepare students to move into the workplace, or they can be the foundation for further higher education, such as a bachelor's degree.

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Associate Degree?

Associate degrees typically require the completion of 60 credits. At many colleges and universities, students fulfill these requirements over the course of two years of full-time study. However, a few of the predominantly or exclusively online schools offer accelerated programs involving condensed courses taught in shorter, 6- to 10-week terms. Depending on the subject you want to study and the amount of time you have, you may be able to earn an associate degree in as little as 12 months.

(Video) Top 10 Associate Degrees (2022)

Accreditation

Accreditation is the process used to independently evaluate a college or university. By attending an accredited institution, you help ensure that you are getting a quality education at a school that meets high standards. It is also required if you intend to apply for financial aid or to transfer to another college in the future.

Two-year colleges will most likely be accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). Four-year universities will most likely be accredited by one of six regional agencies or by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). To determine if a school is accredited, use the search tools on the U.S. Department of Education website or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website.

Cost of an Online Associate Degree

The average cost per credit hour for an online associate degree is $353.83, and the average annual tuition for each year of a two-year program is $11,921.93, according to data we've collected from 687 schools offering online associate programs. Another important factor is the cost of books and supplies, which averages $1,460 per year.

Average cost per credit: $353.83

Average annual tuition: $11,921.93

Average cost of books and supplies, per year: $1,460

(Video) Top 10 Highest Paying Associates Degrees (2022)

The remaining items that contribute to the overall cost of a college degree, such as housing, food, and other living expenses, can vary depending on your personal circumstances. If you're attending school online, you may not have any transportation expenses. However, if the online program you're enrolled in involves in-person training—such as a nursing practicum—you may have to allow for transportation expenses in your budget.

Financial Aid for Online Students

According to government data, 86% of all students receive some form of financial aid. Whether they're studying online or on-campus, students can apply for aid by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. By applying, you'll discover if you're eligible for some of the $242 billion given out in financial aid each year, which could include grants and scholarships that do not have to be paid back. You may also be offered a student loan, but keep in mind that loans must be repaid with interest.

Because so many associate degree programs are designed to prepare students for specific vocations, which leads to a skilled workforce, a number of state and local governments provide additional financial support for these programs.

Online students who are eligible for some federal, state, or school-sponsored aid may also qualify for a state or local "promise" scholarship that covers any remaining tuition costs not covered by other forms of aid.

Examples of Promise Programs for Associate Degree Students

(Video) Top 10 Associate Degrees (The BEST 2 Year Majors)
  • Future Ready Iowa
  • California College Promise Grant
  • Hawai'i Promise
  • (Louisiana) Taylor Opportunity Program for Students Honors Award

Some promise programs are need-based, while others are both need- and merit-based.

Outcomes of an Online Associate Degree

Students pursue associate degrees for a variety of reasons, but two common objectives include:

  • Enrolling in a bachelor's program after completing an associate degree
  • Entering the workforce and earning more than professionals who don't have a two-year degree

We explore each of these options below.

Transferring Credits From an AA Degree to a Bachelor's Program

After earning an associate degree, you have the option of transferring to a four-year university to complete the remaining requirements for a bachelor's degree, which should take approximately two years. There are a few potential advantages of doing this.

(Video) Top 4 High Paying Associate Degrees (HIGH INCOME, LESS SCHOOL)

One major motivator in earning an associate degree before enrolling in a bachelor's program is the potential cost savings. You can often earn an associate degree at a more affordable price than a bachelor's degree, and doing so reduces the amount of time you'll be enrolled in a bachelor's program. Your cost could be further reduced with financial aid for your associate degree, as the average award of combined grant and scholarship aid for students attending two-year schools—an average of about $5,470—may exceed your school's tuition fees. These financial advantages may be one reason that 31% of college students earn a cost-effective associate degree first before moving on to a bachelor's degree.

One major motivator in earning an associate degree before enrolling in a bachelor's program is the potential cost savings.

Another benefit is extra time to explore your field. The curriculum for an associate program includes many general education courses that are also required in a bachelor's program. This will give you enough experience with your major to decide whether you want to continue to study that subject or pivot to something else.

With these potential advantages in mind, you should be aware that some of your credits earned for an associate degree may not be applied to the fulfillment of your bachelor's degree requirements. For example, a course you took in English literature may have met a requirement for your A.A., but it might not meet any of the requirements for your B.A. Thus, the sooner you decide if and where you want to earn a bachelor's degree, the sooner you can start preparing for this transition. Be sure to check the transfer policies at the four-year school where you intend to enroll, and then select courses at your two-year school that will be applicable to your long-term goals. If a transfer guide is not readily available on the university's website, contact the admissions office to be connected with an academic advisor. You may also want to seek advice from your two-year school's academic counselors to ensure a smooth transition.

Careers for Associate Degree Holders

An associate degree can prepare you for a wide range of career paths and may make you a more competitive candidate for professional positions. On average, associate degree holders earn $7,280 more per year than individuals with high school diplomas. There are several jobs where associate degree-holders can earn more than this average, many of which are in the medical and technology fields. For example, dental hygienist, web developer, and sonographer all have average salaries above $70,000 and demand for these positions is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations.

You are typically eligible for entry-level positions whether you earn your associate degree online or on campus, since a growing number of hiring managers attribute the same value to online degrees as they do to traditional degrees. Some of the occupations you can qualify for with an associate degree are shown below, along with median annual salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Best Online Associate Degrees (1)

  • Dental Hygienists: People are often surprised to learn that it's possible to become a dental hygienist online, but there are quite a few associate degree programs available. Dental hygienists earn median annual wages of $77,090, and the need for professionals is projected to grow by 6% throughout the next decade.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse and Licensed Vocational Nurses: Those who are interested in healthcare can prepare for a career in nursing by earning an associate degree. Licensed practical and vocational nurses, who must obtain licensure to provide basic nursing care in many types of work environments, earn median annual wages of $48,820.
  • Medical Records Specialists: One way to train to become a medical records and health information specialist is to earn an associate degree in medical records technology. An associate degree is not required to enter this growth field, which is projected to expand by 8% over the next 10 years, but it could increase your marketability and earning potential. Medical records specialists earn a median annual salary of $44,090.
  • Web Developers: Another high-growth occupation is web developer, with an expected increase of 8% in job openings through 2029. Web developers and digital designers, who design and maintain websites, earn a median annual salary of $77,200.

This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.

FAQs

What is the best online associate's degree to get? ›

The Best Online Associate's Degrees for Careers
  • Business Administration.
  • Paralegal/Legal Studies.
  • Electronics Engineering Technology.
  • Software Development.
  • Cybersecurity.
  • Education.
  • Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist.
  • Health Information Management.
17 Aug 2022

Which associate degree is most useful? ›

Most Useful Associates Degrees
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology.
  • Health Science.
  • Network Systems Administration.
  • Nursing.
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.
  • Paralegal Studies.
  • Physical Therapist Assistant.
  • Web Development.
31 May 2022

What is the easiest associates degree to get online? ›

Easiest Online Associate Degrees
  • Associate in Liberal Arts or General Education.
  • Associate in Accounting.
  • Associate in Healthcare Management.
  • Associate in Marketing.
  • Associate in Business Administration.
  • Associate in Fashion Merchandising.
  • Associate in Family and Child Therapy.
  • Associate in Computer Programming.
28 Aug 2022

What is the fastest associates degree to get? ›

Fast Online Associate's Degree Programs You Can Finish in 1 Year or Less
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology.
  • Medical Assisting.
  • Medical Coding.
  • Medical Office Administration.
  • Medical Transcription.
  • Ministry.
  • Network Administration.
  • Network Security.
11 Sept 2022

Is an online associate degree credible? ›

Online degrees often appeal to adults looking for flexibility to study on their own schedules, as many also work full time or part time. Experts say accredited online programs at reputable schools are generally just as rigorous as the on-campus options.

What two year medical degrees pay the most? ›

Best 2 Year Medical Degrees That Pay Well
  • #1. Surgeon Technology Degree. ...
  • #2. Health Services Administration Degree. ...
  • #3. Medical Coder Degree. ...
  • #4. Dental Hygienist Degree. ...
  • #5. Nutrition Degree. ...
  • #6. Psychology Degree. ...
  • #7. Physical Therapy Degree. ...
  • #8. Chemistry Degree.
29 Mar 2022

What jobs make 6 figures with an associate's degree? ›

24 Highest Paying Associate Degree Jobs
  • Air Traffic Controller. Salary: $124,540. ...
  • Computer Programmer. Salary: $82,240. ...
  • Radiation Therapist. Salary: $80,570. ...
  • Nuclear Technician. Salary: $80,370. ...
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologist. Salary: $75,660. ...
  • Dental Hygienist. Salary: $74,070. ...
  • Registered Nurse. Salary: $70,000. ...
  • Web Developer.

What job pays the most without a degree? ›

What Is the Highest-Paying Job Without a Degree?
  • Commercial Pilots: $121,430.
  • Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers: $94,560.
  • First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives: $91,090.
  • Power Plant Operators, Distributors, and Dispatchers: $85,950.
  • Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers: $84,990.

What are the easiest degrees to get? ›

The 16 Easiest College Majors – 2022 Rankings
  • Psychology.
  • Criminal Justice.
  • English.
  • Education.
  • Religious Studies.
  • Social Work.
  • Sociology.
  • Communications.
11 Sept 2022

What is the quickest and easiest degree to get? ›

20 Easiest bachelor's degrees to get online
  • #1. Education.
  • #2. Criminal Justice.
  • #3. Agricultural Science.
  • #5. Marketing.
  • #6. Business Administration.
  • #7. Accounting.
  • #8. Engineering Management.
  • #9. Religion.
12 Mar 2022

What degree can you get in 1 year? ›

BA, MBA in One Year (single sitting), B.Com, M.Com in one year, B.Sc, MSc in one Year, B. Tech, M. Tech in one year, Diploma Engineering in single sitting, BBA, MBA, BCA, MCA in one year, etc.. and Many More Other Course Available.

Is a 2 year degree worth it? ›

According to the BLS, people with associate degrees have better prospects for employment and earnings than those who have taken some college courses but haven't received a degree. If you didn't do quite as well in high school as you now realize you could have, an associate degree program is a great starting point.

What degree can I get in 2 years? ›

2 Year Degrees (Online & On Campus)
  • Accounting.
  • Business Administration.
  • Child Development.
  • Computer Science.
  • Criminal Justice.
  • Special Education.
  • Engineering.
  • Entrepreneurship.
15 Jun 2022

How do I get a degree in a short time? ›

Here are some of the ways you can prepare to earn a bachelor's degree in less than the time it usually takes other students to complete.
  1. Bachelor degree completion programs. ...
  2. College courses during high school. ...
  3. Transfer credits. ...
  4. Accelerated degrees. ...
  5. Take summer semesters. ...
  6. Take night classes.

Is DeVry accredited? ›

DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), www.hlcommission.org. The University's Keller Graduate School of Management is included in this accreditation.

How does an online degree look on a resume? ›

Strategy 2: Omit the “Online” descriptor on your resume.

These students simply list the name of the university or school they attended, omitting the term “online” from the education section of the resume. Using this strategy can help you bypass the issues you may face as a graduate of an online degree program.

Are online degrees cheaper? ›

The Cost of Online College

Not only does tuition tend to be lower, but many additional expenses, such as transportation costs and course materials, are eliminated in an online program. However, it's important to note that the average cost of online college is still a significant investment.

Are online degree programs respected? ›

According to CNN, 83 percent of the hiring executives in their survey said that an online degree is as credible as one earned through a traditional on-campus program, but factors such as accreditation, quality of graduates and the name of the institution were chief among things they considered to make an online degree ...

What's the easiest medical degree? ›

Which medical field is the easiest? Phlebotomy is the easiest medical field to get into and to practice. Part of your training can come online, and with an accelerated program, you can be ready for your state licensure exam in under a year. Phlebotomists draw blood and transport it for lab testing.

What is the easiest healthcare degree to get? ›

12 Quality healthcare jobs that don't require a Bachelor's degree
  • Registered nurse (RN) ...
  • Nursing assistant. ...
  • Medical administrative assistants. ...
  • Medical assistant. ...
  • Health information technician (HIT) ...
  • Licensed practical nurse (LPN) ...
  • Pharmacy technician. ...
  • Medical or clinical laboratory technician.
5 Apr 2021

What is the shortest medical course? ›

8 Healthcare Certificates in 1 Year or Less
  1. Phlebotomy Technician. Certification: Approximately 2-6 months. ...
  2. Pharmacy Technician. ...
  3. Certified Cardiac Monitor Technician. ...
  4. Medical Billing and Coding Specialist. ...
  5. Surgical Technologist. ...
  6. Medical Assistant. ...
  7. Neurodiagnostic Technologist (NDT) ...
  8. Dental Assistant.
14 May 2019

What are the 3 highest paying jobs that only require 2 years of college? ›

Highest Paying 2-Year Degrees
RankMajorMid-Career Pay
Rank:1Computer Science (CS) & MathematicsMid-Career Pay:$106,000
2Nondestructive TestingMid-Career Pay:$99,800
3Radiation TherapyMid-Career Pay:$95,700
4Software EngineeringMid-Career Pay:$94,000
21 more rows

Can you make 100k with an associate's degree? ›

An associate's degree lets individuals work in a hospital setting or a cancer-treatment center where they monitor the equipment, record a patient's reaction and provide documentation for the treatment session. pay can be up to around $100,000.

What is the highest paying degree? ›

Top majors with highest median wages
  • Computer Engineering: $74,000.
  • Computer Science: $70,000.
  • Aerospace Engineering: $70,000.
  • Chemical Engineering: $70,000.
  • Electrical Engineering: $70,000.
  • Industrial Engineering: $69,000.
  • Mechanical Engineering: $68,000.
  • Miscellaneous Engineering: $65,000.
26 Apr 2022

What job is the most in demand right now? ›

Here are the top five most in-demand jobs right now, per Monster's findings — and how much they pay, according to Payscale:
  1. Registered nurse. ...
  2. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck driver. ...
  3. Sales representative, wholesale and manufacturing (except technical and scientific products) ...
  4. Customer service representative.
8 Jun 2022

How can I make 100k without a degree? ›

Here are 14 examples of high-paying jobs with salaries exceeding $100,000 – that don't require a college degree.
  1. Business Owner. Small business is the lifeblood of the American economy. ...
  2. Real Estate Broker. ...
  3. Sales Consultant. ...
  4. Air Traffic Controller. ...
  5. Virtual Assistant. ...
  6. Plumber. ...
  7. Firefighter or Police Officer. ...
  8. Site Manager.
9 Sept 2022

How can I make 80k a year without a degree? ›

Jobs That Pay 80k a Year Without a Degree
  1. Commercial Pilot. Median pay: $121,430 per year. ...
  2. Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager. Median pay: $94,560 per year. ...
  3. First-Line Supervisor of Police and Detectives. Median pay: $91,090 per year. ...
  4. Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairer. Median pay: $84,990 per year.
1 Dec 2020

Which major is easiest to get a job? ›

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following degrees are the easiest to obtain a job with base employment and a median annual wage:
  • Nursing.
  • Finance.
  • Business administration.
  • Statistics.
  • Mechanical engineering.
  • Computer science.
  • Economics.
  • Marketing.
1 Mar 2022

What's the hardest degree to get? ›

Recap: What Is the Hardest Major in College?
College MajorTime Spent Preparing for Class per Week
1. Architecture22.20 hrs
2. Chemical Engineering19.66 hrs
3. Aero and Astronautical Engineering19.24 hrs
4. Biomedical Engineering18.82 hrs
9 more rows
10 Feb 2021

What are the most stressful majors? ›

The most stressed out majors in America are Medicine, Architecture and Nursing, according to new data. STEM majors feature heavily as the most stressful degrees in the nation – compare that to arts-related courses, which students say make them feel less stressed on average.

What is the fastest and easiest degree to get? ›

What is the fastest and easiest degree to get? Often students focus on Business Administration, Psychology, or Education degrees for the fastest degrees; however, General Studies, English, and Communications may be considered some of the easiest, along with Psychology.

What is the easiest degree to get? ›

Here are the 16 Easiest College Majors for 2022:
  • Psychology.
  • Criminal Justice.
  • English.
  • Education.
  • Religious Studies.
  • Social Work.
  • Sociology.
  • Communications.
11 Sept 2022

What degree can you get in 1 year? ›

BA, MBA in One Year (single sitting), B.Com, M.Com in one year, B.Sc, MSc in one Year, B. Tech, M. Tech in one year, Diploma Engineering in single sitting, BBA, MBA, BCA, MCA in one year, etc.. and Many More Other Course Available.

What degree can I get in 2 years? ›

2 Year Degrees (Online & On Campus)
  • Accounting.
  • Business Administration.
  • Child Development.
  • Computer Science.
  • Criminal Justice.
  • Special Education.
  • Engineering.
  • Entrepreneurship.
15 Jun 2022

What job makes the most money with the least education? ›

Top high-paying jobs that require little schooling
  • Civil engineering technician. Average base pay: $76,540 per year. ...
  • Computer programmer. Average base pay: $76,526 per year. ...
  • Construction manager. ...
  • Website developer. ...
  • Registered nurse. ...
  • Clinical laboratory assistant. ...
  • Diagnostic medical sonographer. ...
  • Physical therapist assistant.
29 Jun 2021

What degree can I get in 6 months? ›

6-Month Certificate Programs That Pay Well
  • Real Estate Agent. Selling real estate has limitless potential, and you can get started quickly. ...
  • Commercial Truck Driver. ...
  • Phlebotomy Tech. ...
  • HVAC Tech. ...
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) ...
  • Personal Trainer. ...
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

What is the world's hardest degree? ›

What are the hardest degree subjects? The hardest degree subjects are Chemistry, Medicine, Architecture, Physics, Biomedical Science, Law, Neuroscience, Fine Arts, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Economics, Education, Computer Science and Philosophy.

What's the hardest degree to get? ›

Recap: What Is the Hardest Major in College?
College MajorTime Spent Preparing for Class per Week
1. Architecture22.20 hrs
2. Chemical Engineering19.66 hrs
3. Aero and Astronautical Engineering19.24 hrs
4. Biomedical Engineering18.82 hrs
9 more rows
10 Feb 2021

What are the most stressful majors? ›

The most stressed out majors in America are Medicine, Architecture and Nursing, according to new data. STEM majors feature heavily as the most stressful degrees in the nation – compare that to arts-related courses, which students say make them feel less stressed on average.

What is single sitting degree? ›

A One Sitting Degree is an education program that allows students to complete a three-year bachelor's course in just one year. The students are required to complete all the exams corresponding to the course in a single sitting, hence the term single sitting degree.

What are the 4 types of degrees? ›

At a glance. Academic degree levels in order are associate degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree and doctoral degree. Students may also earn certificates as academic credentials.

Can I do graduation without going to college? ›

You can get a graduate degree without actually going to a college by the means of distance learning. It is tough to get a graduation degree without studying but it is still possible.

Which is better AA or AS degree? ›

In essence, A.A. degrees are of a more general nature and can help students further their education or enter various occupational fields. A.S. degrees are more narrowly focused and may require students to take on additional courses when they wish to expand their studies.

Is a 2 year degree worth it? ›

According to the BLS, people with associate degrees have better prospects for employment and earnings than those who have taken some college courses but haven't received a degree. If you didn't do quite as well in high school as you now realize you could have, an associate degree program is a great starting point.

What is a accelerated degree? ›

Two-year or accelerated degrees are exactly what they say on the label — degree courses that take two years to complete rather than the usual three or four years. In a fast-tracked course, you would cover the same content and get the same qualification at the end as you would on a three-year course.

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