Why This Matters

  • 2.7% UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is 3.7% for those who only have a high school diploma. Workers who have an associate degree are in more demand and therefore have a lower unemployment rate of 2.7%.

  • EARN $887 PER WEEK WITH AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE

    This is $141 more than the $746 median weekly earnings for those who only have a high school diploma.

  • NEARLY 100 OCCUPATIONS REQUIRE ONLY AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE

    By earning an associate degree, you can gain access to occupations such as funeral home manager, preschool teacher, and air traffic controller. These jobs can be attained without the need for further education.

Our Research

This list focuses on the best online associate degree programs in the United States. These schools all offer 100% online programs, and some courses are available in a hybrid format as well.

To build this list, we only included programs that have been accredited by organizations such as the Higher Learning Commission, the New England Commission of Higher Education, and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. Such accreditation ensures that the program maintains high academic standards. Accreditation also ensures that you’ll be able to easily transfer credits between schools.

  • 69 hours to write this article
  • 200 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 355 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Associate Degrees

Best Online Associate Degrees Badge
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What You Should Know About This Degree

There are many different types of online associate degrees to choose from. Before you apply to any particular program, you should consider which career path makes the most sense for you.

One factor you should certainly take into account is how many jobs are available in each field. After all, the time and money you invested in your associate degree would be wasted if you weren’t able to find a job after graduating. There are many associate degree-level jobs that are projected to have a high number of openings over the next decade, including preschool teacher (50,600 annual job openings) and paralegal/legal assistant (37,600 annual job openings).

You should also consider how much money you can expect to make in different associate degree-level occupations. Some of these jobs offer high salaries, such as air traffic controller (median annual wage of $130,420), radiation therapist ($86,850), and nuclear technician ($84,190).

There are some career paths where further credentials will be necessary beyond your associate degree. Depending on your occupation, you may need to earn additional certificates or licenses after graduating from an associate degree program. For other jobs, such as preschool teacher, you may also need to pass a background check.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online associate degree programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? You will only need a high school diploma or GED to be eligible for most online associate degree programs. There may even be a dual enrollment option available that allows you to start taking courses while still in high school.
  • How long does it take to complete this degree? Generally, it takes two years for full-time students to earn an associate degree. It will take longer if you go to school on a part-time basis.

While researching programs, keep track of application deadlines and the materials that you will need to submit. If you can’t find this information on the school’s website, contact their admissions department for more details.

You must also consider how you will finance your degree. Research all the options that are available to you (scholarships, grants, federal loans, etc.), and be sure to submit your applications on time.