Why This Matters


    The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks around 800 occupations, and 12.5% of those — around 100 — require some postsecondary education such as an associate degree. That includes positions for teaching assistants and preschool teachers.


    Among those with an associate degree in the United States, the unemployment rate is only around 7.1%. That’s compared to 9% for those with only a high school diploma and 11.7% for those with less than a high school diploma.


    Across all occupations, people with an associate degree earn around $48,777 per year on average. Compare that to the average of around $40,000 annually for those with only a high school education.

Our Research

Our list of schools includes mainly community and technical colleges as well as a few universities that offer two-year liberal arts degrees. Most require around 60 credits for an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts.

To ensure we’re truly providing a list of the best online associate in liberal arts programs, we looked at schools that were accredited by regional or national organizations. The schools on our list are mostly accredited by entities such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), and New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

  • 57 hours to write this article
  • 40 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 70 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Associate in Liberal Arts Programs

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Degrees that are somewhat similar might include associate degrees in history, English, or communications. These degrees are all typically considered liberal arts degrees, but they concentrate on a specific topic or niche. A general associate in liberal arts may allow you to spread your classes over more topics.

Regional accreditations tend to be the best indicator for a high-quality college experience, so look for stamps of approval from the SACSCOC, NECHE, or other regional agency first. However, national accreditation is also acceptable.

Those who hold an associate degree may be able to get jobs that require more than a high school education. That opens the door to more positions and can potentially improve your job outlook.

No certifications or licensing is linked specifically to this degree. However, you may want to get a certification to demonstrate your skills or knowledge if you’re moving into a specific field.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online associate in liberal arts programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Most associate degree programs require you to have a high school diploma or GED. They don’t tend to require a certain score on standardized tests or GPA, though in some cases you may need to take a placement test with the school. This helps determine where you should be placed with regard to math and language classes.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Synchronous programs require you to log in during specific class times. You’ll be able to get a more classroom-like experience, interact with others, and ask the teacher questions in a live environment. Asynchronous programs offer more flexibility as you learn at your own pace, but they do typically require self-motivation.

As you’re researching online associate in liberal arts programs, keep track of the information you find. Facts to write down include number of credits required, cost per credit, deadlines for applications, and what you have to do for admissions. You might also want to contact the school’s financial aid office to learn more about your options for paying for your degree..