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An associate degree in business administration provides an excellent foundation in principles of management, administration, marketing, business law, organizational behavior, and more. Graduates can apply these skills to careers in a variety of industries or pursue further education at the bachelor’s degree level.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that overall employment in business and finance occupations will grow at a faster-than-average pace throughout 2032, with an average of 911,400 new jobs per year. Individuals with an associate in business administration degree can pursue entry-level positions in areas like human resources, office administration, and project management.

Associate degrees typically require a minimum of 60 credits and can be completed in two years of full-time study. For the 2022-23 academic year, the average cost of tuition and fees was $3,598 at public two-year institutions and $17,408 at private colleges.

How to Choose an Associate in Business Administration Degree Program

Choose your area of study

Before you begin researching the many options for associate in business administration degree programs, it’s helpful to clarify what your career and educational goals are so you can find a program that aligns with your aspirations.

Most associate in business administration degree programs present a general curriculum that introduces students to foundational business principles and practices in administration, management, accounting, marketing, communication, human resources, and more. If you are interested in specializing in one of these areas, seek out programs that offer a concentration related to your interests.

While many students earn an associate degree so they can enter the workforce faster, going on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field can unlock more job opportunities and higher earning potential. Students interested in pursuing a bachelor’s may want to look for schools that offer a direct entry from their associate degree to their bachelor’s degree program.

This is also the appropriate time to consider how an associate degree program will fit into your life. Do you want to attend school full-time or part-time? Can you attend classes during the day, or do you need a program with evening and weekend classes? If an in-person program doesn’t fit into your schedule, an online program may make getting your associate degree more accessible.

Research schools and programs

Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, you can begin exploring your options for associate in business administration programs.

The following questions can help guide you in selecting a program that meets your needs and interests:

  • What does the program’s curriculum consist of?
  • Who are the faculty members, and what are their qualifications?
  • Is there an experiential learning component, such as an internship?
  • What financial aid resources are available?
  • What support services does the school offer to students?
  • What networking opportunities do students have?
  • What is the school’s accreditation status?

This last question is particularly important, as a school’s accreditation status can affect financial aid eligibility, employment opportunities, and the transferability of credits to other schools. Regional accreditation is the most widely respected form of institutional accreditation for U.S. schools. Most colleges include their accreditation status on their website, but you can also confirm with the U.S. Department of Education’s accreditation database.

To learn more about schools and programs, visit their website or contact program representatives. If you can visit the school for an open house or information session, this is an excellent way to get a sense of whether the school is a good fit.

Prepare for tests and applications

The admissions process will vary for each school you apply to, so for the most accurate information, visit the school’s website or contact an admissions counselor. You should also confirm whether there are hard deadlines for submitting applications or if the school operates on a rolling admissions cycle.

In general, an application for an associate degree in business administration requires:

  • Completed application and applicable fees
  • Official transcripts showing proof of high school graduation or GED
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Personal essay or statement
  • Resume or CV
  • SAT or ACT scores

Before applying, check to see if there are any eligibility requirements, such as a minimum high school GPA.

Select your program

There’s no specific number of schools you should apply to. Some students focus on one school based on proximity or curriculum, while others cast a wider net to increase their chances of admission.

When it comes time to decide which program you’ll attend, return to the priorities you established in step one to find the program that most closely aligns with them. You can also consider factors like cost, financial aid offers, schedule, and school resources to help you determine which program is the best fit.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

As part of your research, you should also collect information about the program’s tuition and fees and what financial aid resources the school offers. You can find this information on the school’s website or by contacting the financial aid office.

If you plan on using federal student aid to help pay for your degree, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form gathers information about you and your family’s finances that schools use to determine your eligibility for need-based aid like federal student loans, grants, work-study, and scholarships. Many schools and external resources also offer merit-based assistance for academic or extracurricular achievement. Students who are planning on working while earning their associate degree should inquire with their employer to see if they’re eligible for tuition assistance benefits. Active duty service members and veterans can ask about GI Bill benefits and military discounts.

Best 50 Accredited Associate in Business Administration Degree Programs

Best Associate in Business Administration Programs

Dallas College El Centro

Loyola University Chicago

Coastline Community College

Cerritos College

College of Southern Nevada

Trinity Valley Community College

Embry - Riddle Aeronautical University

Broward College

Saint. Leo University

Tulsa Community College

Bucks County Community College

Thomas Edison State University

Pasadena City College

Discover More Options

How we rank schools

Associate degrees are offered as Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Science, and Associate of Art degrees. We included all three of these options on our list so you can find a degree program that’s well-suited to your educational and career aspirations.

Every program listed is regionally accredited by a respected academic body, and many have business-specific accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). Accreditation is essential if you ever want to transfer into a four-year bachelor’s program.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect From an Associate in Business Administration Degree Program?

Associate degrees in business administration are designed to give students an introduction to the various aspects of the business field, including administration, management, accounting, marketing, human resources, communication, and more. These programs help students develop skills in leadership, organization, decision-making, problem-solving, and communication.

Associate degrees typically require a minimum of 60 credits, which are divided between core courses, electives, and general education requirements. Some programs may also include an internship, which gives students hands-on experience in a professional business environment.

Some programs only offer classes during daytime hours on weekdays, while others cater to working professionals with evening and weekend classes. Others may operate in a hybrid format, with a mixture of in-person and online classes. When researching programs, be sure to review their class schedules to ensure you can accommodate classes.

Potential courses you’ll take in an associate in business administration degree program

  • Introduction to Business: This course introduces students to the business profession and modern business principles and philosophies.
  • Business Law: Provides students with an overview of the key areas of business law, including torts, crimes, intellectual property, and contracts.
  • Principles of Management: Reviews the role of management in the modern business environment, with a focus on the terminology, theories, and principles that make up the core of business management: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.
  • Business Communication: This course applies the principles of ethical and effective communication to the creation of letters, memos, emails, and written and oral reports for a variety of business situations using word processing software and presentation design programs.
  • Financial Accounting: Gives students an understanding of the accounting cycle, generally accepted accounting principles, financial statements, and statement analysis.

Associate in Business Administration Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an associate in business administration degree program?

Visit the school’s website or contact an admissions counselor for specific instructions on how to apply to a particular program, as procedures and requirements may vary.

In general, an application for an associate degree program consists of the school’s application, official transcripts from high school and any previously attended post-secondary institutions, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a resume or CV, and standardized test scores. Students can usually submit their applications and other supporting documents online.

How much does an associate in business administration degree cost?

The cost of an associate degree in business administration will vary based on factors like the school’s status as public or private and whether students attending a public college are considered in-state or out-of-state. Students should also consider what kind of financial support they will receive, such as scholarships, grants, and employer tuition benefits, which can reduce the amount they have to pay out-of-pocket.

During the 2022-23 academic year, the average cost of tuition and fees was $3,598 at public two-year institutions and $17,408 at private two-year colleges. For more specific information, visit the websites or speak to a financial aid counselor at the schools you’re considering.

How long does it take to earn an associate in business administration degree?

Full-time students can typically complete an associate degree in business administration in two years. Associate degrees require a minimum of 60 credits, with full-time students taking a total of 30 credits per year. Students who enroll in programs part-time may take three years or more to complete their associate degree, as they are taking a lighter course load over an extended period of time.

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