Why This Matters


    The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth for around 800 occupations. Almost 100 of those require some sort of postsecondary education without requiring a full four-year degree. An associate degree can help you get hired in these types of positions.


    Among people with an associate degree in the United States, the unemployment rate is 7.1%. Unemployment for those with only a high school education is 9%.


    Compare that to $781, which is the average weekly pay for those with a high school diploma, and you can see the value in getting a two-year degree.

Our Research

This list highlights the best colleges and schools that offer online associate degree programs. It includes options for synchronous and asynchronous learning as well as full-time and part-time enrollment options, so you can find a program that works for your schedule.

We only looked at programs that have been accredited by organizations such as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NCCU).

  • 50 hours to write this article
  • 148 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 213 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Associate in General Studies Programs

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Associate degrees are typically two-year programs when you attend full-time. Some concentrate on a specific niche such as healthcare administration or IT. A general studies program typically covers more varied knowledge and includes courses in topics such as communications, math, history, and science. While specific associate degrees prepare you for certification or licensing, general studies can help you get a job that requires a two-year degree or move into a four-year program.

When choosing an associate degree program, check that the school is accredited. Ask about certifications from SACSCOC, NCCU, MSCHE, and similar institutions.

While a general studies two-year degree doesn’t automatically land you a job, more education often opens doors to positions you might otherwise not be able to get. This degree doesn’t come with any type of certification or licensing requirement.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online associate in general studies programs:

  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Synchronous classes mean you have to log in at a certain time, often via video conferencing, to interact with instructors and other classmates. The benefits of this model can include better communication and immediate assistance with learning or assignments. Asynchronous classes can be completed in your own time, which provides more flexibility. Consider your schedule and personal learning needs and choose the program that offers a structure that works best for you.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Most of the programs in our lineup require around 60 credits. Going full time, that’s a total of 2 years. If you attend part-time, which is usually considered less than 12 credits a semester, it could take you five or more years to complete the degree.

As you’re researching online associate degree programs, take note of the deadlines for applications, number of required credits, cost per credit, and requirements for admission.

You should also consider how you’re going to pay for the degree. Contact the financial aid office at the schools you’re interested in to find out what options are available to you.