Why This Matters

  • 4.6% UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is 6.2% 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 4.6%.

  • EARN $963 PER WEEK WITH AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE

    This is $154 more than the $809 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 features some of the best online associate 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 online 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 online associate 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 50 Online Associate Degree Programs

Best Associate Degrees 2023
01
Intelligent Pick
Foothill College
01
Best Education Programs
Copiah-Lincoln Community College
01
Best for Individualized Studies
Alexandria Technical & Community College
01
Best Business Programs
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
01
Best For Adult Learners
Thomas Edison State University
01
Best for Transfer Students
Santa Fe College
01
Best General Arts Courses
Western Texas College
01
Most Program Choices
Central Texas College
01
Best IT Programs
Fox Valley Technical College
01
Best Polytechnic Institution
Bismarck State College
01

Coastal Pines Technical College
01

Lone Star College System
01

Columbia College
01

Mitchell Technical College
01

Georgia State University, Perimeter College
01

Indiana Wesleyan University
01

Iowa Lakes Community College
01

Georgia Piedmont Technical College
01

Northeast Community College
01

Excelsior College
01

Chippewa Valley Technical College
01

Embry - Riddle Aeronautical University
01

Southern New Hampshire University
01

Kennebec Valley Community College
01

Miami Dade College
01

Northwood Technical College
01

Weber State University
01

Northwest Iowa Community College
01

Brigham Young University - Idaho
01

Jackson College
01

Minnesota State Community and Technical College
01

Renton Technical College
01

Hutchinson Community College

 

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 (72,900 annual job openings) and paralegal/legal assistant (49,900 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 $129,750), radiation therapist ($82,790), and nuclear technician ($99,340).

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.