Why This Matters

  • EARN $950+ PER WEEK

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, associate degree holders earn an average of $963 per week, while workers who only have a high school diploma earn $809 per week.

  • REDUCE YOUR UNEMPLOYMENT RISK

    Workers with an associate degree have an unemployment rate of 4.6%, while workers with a high school diploma have an unemployment rate of 6.2%.

  • CHOOSE FROM MORE THAN 500 COMMUNITY COLLEGES

    The U.S. is home to over 500 two-year community colleges. This should make it easy for you to earn your associate degree no matter where you live.

Our Research

This list features some of the best associate degree programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for on-campus students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of associate degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The Top 46 Best Associate Degree Programs

Best Associate Degree Programs 2023 Badge
01
Intelligent Pick
New York University
01
Best Fashion Program
Fashion Institute of Technology
01
Best Interior Design Program
The New School
01
Best Trade School
Ranken Technical College
01
Best for Online Students
Washington University in St. Louis University College
01
Best Occupational Therapy Program
Thomas Jefferson University
01
Best Agricultural Technology Program
Virginia Tech
01
Best General Studies Program
University of Maryland Global Campus
01
Best Sustainability Programs
UMass Amherst
01
Best for Transfer Students
College of the Canyons
01

Pasadena City College
01

Broward College
01

Palm Beach State College
01

North Carolina State University
01

Valencia College
01

Hillsborough Community College
01

Skyline College
01

Foothill College
01

Indiana Wesleyan University
01

Embry - Riddle Aeronautical University
01

Roger Williams University
01

Mission College
01

Mount Saint Mary's University
01

East Los Angeles College
01

Providence College
01

Los Angeles Pierce College
01

Bellevue College
01

El Centro College
01

SUNY Empire State College
01

Tarrant County College District
01

UMass Global
01

Canada College
01

Florida SouthWestern State College
01

Bergen Community College
01

Lancaster Bible College
01

Montgomery College
01

Northern Virginia Community College
01

Lone Star College System
01

New England Institute of Technology
01

Molloy College
01

University of Delaware
01

Lake Area Technical Institute
01

Pacific Union College
01

Collin County Community College District
01

Bismarck State College
01

Central Texas College

What You Should Know About This Degree

If you’re not sure which associate degree program you want to pursue, it may help to consider the earning potential that is associated with each field. For example, some of the highest-earning associate-level occupations include air traffic controllers (median annual wage of $129,750) and funeral home directors ($74,000).

Conversely, you should also consider avoiding the occupations with the lowest wages. These include dietetic technicians ($29,520) and human resources assistants ($45,630).

Another factor to consider is how many job openings are available for each occupation. You should have no problem finding a job as a preschool teacher (72,900 job openings projected over the next decade) or paralegal (49,900 job openings).

There are also associate degree-level occupations that are in rather low demand, such as embalmers (100 job openings), and broadcast technicians (net loss of 600 job openings).

What’s Next?

Once you’re ready to begin researching associate degree programs, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Most community college programs will only require you to have a high school diploma or GED to be eligible for admission.
  • How long does it take to complete this degree? This will depend on several factors, such as your major and the number of courses you take per semester. Generally, full-time students can expect to complete an associate degree program in two years.

If you’re interested in a particular program, keep track of any application deadlines and materials that you’ll need to submit during the admissions process. This information can be found by reviewing the school’s website or consulting with a campus official.

You’ll also need to figure out how you will finance your degree. Scholarships, grants, federal loans, work-study programs, and other options may be available to help you pay for tuition and other education-related expenses.