The 9 Best Online Associates in Economics Degrees

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Did you know that the country with the most number of Nobel Prize laureates in the Economic Sciences is the United States with 57 so far? No wonder that colleges and universities offering online associates in economics degrees are popular among aspiring economists! Being an economics major in an associate degree program is excellent exposure to the economic theories of Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Paul Krugman, among others.

All economic degrees are considered degrees in social science due to economics being part of the social sciences. As a distinct discipline, economics uses scientific techniques to understand the use, exchange, and distribution of scarce resources within societies. These societies range from small, local communities to the global economy. 

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Online Associates in Economics - fact

Economists have a profound impact on society, too, with their research findings and expert opinions being instrumental in domestic economic growth strategies, international trade agreements, and consumer spending. Nearly all aspects of modern life are influenced by economic theory, from inflation and its effect on prices to climate change and its impact on entire societies. 

The bottom line: You will truly benefit from pursuing an online associate degree in economics, not just in terms of gainful employment but also in your understanding of the world! 

Quick Summarization
An online economics degree from a well-respected associate degree program will open doors of career opportunities in the public and private sectors that a high school diploma cannot. Most entry-level positions as market researchers, credit analysts, and budget analysts require an associate degree, minimum, not to mention that it’s an accessible entry point for an advanced degree (e.g., bachelor’s degree and master’s degree). 

But it must also be emphasized that choosing from among the best online economics programs is a must for an associate degree in economics to be recognized by potential employers and educational institutions.

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Are you ready to earn an associate degree in Economics? Then take a look at our list of the top Economic associate degrees offered online by the country’s leading colleges! Each of these programs is distinctive because of these salient academic features:

  • Delivered 100% web-based or partially web-based coursework in an asynchronous and synchronous format,
  • Rigorous Associate in Economics coursework to produce the most competent associate degree holders and prepare them for work opportunities or a four-year degree should they choose to, 
  • Maintains Transfer Pathway agreements with partner higher education institutions so that associate degree graduates can seamlessly transition to a four-year program,
  • Offered through a Learning Management System that is known for providing online students ease of coursework access as well as 24/7 technical support,
  • Federal financial aid opportunities are provided to qualifying associate degree students, including Scholarships, Grants, and Military Aid,
  • Earned proper accreditation from academic organizations, meaning their curriculum, faculty members, and quality of instruction meet the standards established by the US Department of Education for higher education.

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Online Associates in Economics

9 Best Online Associate in Economics Degree Programs

SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College

The 100% online Associate of Science in Business, Management, and Economics program is among the best online associate degree programs because of its outstanding academic quality. Students in the online economics degree program earn the same diploma as their on-campus counterparts, too. The on-campus faculty members are also the instructors in the online classes, meaning the exceptional quality of instruction is the same. 

The online associate in economics program has a 64-credit curriculum consisting of courses in:

  • Economics
  • International Business
  • Business Administration
  • Information Systems
  • Financial Accounting
  • Public administration

Students of the economics degree online program develop technical and transferable skills that make them qualified for entry-level positions. In the course of their studies, learners acquire mathematical skills that economists use in their work, as well as analytical, critical thinking, and communication skills for every workplace.  

While it’s a 100% online associate degree program, students have the opportunity to gain real-world exposure via internships and serving learning. Prospective students may also get credit for work experience and/or college-level credits, while students can access personal tutoring services. Applicants must at least possess a high school diploma to be considered for admission. 

SUNY Empire State College offers online degrees in other disciplines, too, with its accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Front Range Community College

Front Range Community College

The online Associate of Arts in Economics program at FRCC is a transfer degree, meaning holders of the online economics degree can transfer credits to a bachelor’s degree in economics or other related fields. Many graduates even earn a master’s degree in preparation for management roles. 

FRCC has articulation agreements with several universities. Adams State University, Colorado State University, and the University of Colorado are a few examples. 

Aside from an advanced degree, students in the online economics degree program also prepare for immediate employment after graduation in fields like finance, banking, and insurance. Economics graduates can pursue careers as financial managers, stock brokers, and economists with an advanced degree and work experience. Such prestigious occupations are made possible through the balance of core and support courses in the online program. 

The curriculum of the online associate in economics program consists of 60 credits with core courses covering fundamental economic concepts. Students learn about the principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics, as well as tackle an introductory course in statistics. 

Students in the online associate degree in economics program are eligible for financial aid. But students must only complete online classes and credits required for the completion of the associate degree. 

Prospective students must possess at least a high school diploma to be considered for acceptance. 

Front Range Community College, a multi-campus public community college, offers numerous online degrees with accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. 

Tyler Junior College

Tyler Junior College

The online Associate of Arts in Economics program at TJC attracts individuals with a deep interest in economics as the basis for their future careers. The faculty members of the online economics degree program assist students in making intelligent choices about their studies and careers, as well as in preparing them for the real-world challenges ahead. This is the best online associate in economics degree program because of its student-centric approach. 

The online associate in economics serves as the first two years of a bachelor’s degree program. Graduates can transfer the credits earned while also enjoying half the cost of education in comparison with a four-year university. 

The online associate degree consists of 60 credits divided into core courses as well as general education and elective courses:

  • Principles of Macroeconomics and Microeconomics
  • Elementary Statistics
  • Mathematics for Business
  • Social Sciences

A high school diploma is required of prospective students. 

Tyler Junior College, among the largest community colleges in the Lone Star State, offers several online degrees in other disciplines, too. The public community college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). 

Highline College

Highline College

The online Associate of Arts in Economics program at Highline is a transfer-friendly degree, meaning the core courses and their credits in the associate degree can be transferred into a bachelor’s degree. Students must work with the advisors of the online economics degree program to make the best course selections in line with their planned transfers. 

Graduates of the online program not only have the opportunity to transfer credits earned in the core and support courses of the associate degree into a bachelor’s degree but also qualify for entry-level jobs. The University of Washington as well as Central Washington University are among Highline’s top transfer-to institutions. 

This is among the best online associate degree programs because students gain foundational knowledge and skills in economics. Their online education even allows them to make smarter decisions about the use of their scarce personal resources.

Students enrolled in the online associate in economics degree program must complete 90 credits. Their workplace-ready soft skills include critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills, while their technical skills are in quantitative reasoning and mathematics. Statistics and calculus are their strongest suits. 

As with other online associate degree programs, prospective students must have a high school diploma for admission purposes. 

Highline College, a public community college, is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and offers several online degrees. 

Community College of Denver

Community College of Denver 

The CCD Associate of Arts in Economics program is also the best online associate degree program in our books because of its exceptional convenience, affordability, and quality of instruction. Graduates of the online associate in economics program go on to become successful professionals in the field of economics, business, and education. The associate degree served as their stepping stone toward greater things! 

The online economics degree program has a 60-credit curriculum consisting of core courses that explore both economic concepts and economic theory. 

The economic courses are:

  • Principles of Microeconomics and Microeconomics
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Principles of Financial Accounting
  • Business Statistics

Graduates can also transfer credits earned in the online associate degree program into a four-year bachelor’s degree program in economics, business administration, and other fields. Graduates are guaranteed transfers to Colorado State University, Adams State University, and University of Colorado campuses. 

Students enrolled in the online associate in economics program are eligible for federal financial aid and CCD’s institutional scholarships. Contact the Financial Aid Office for this purpose. 

Community College of Denver, a public community college accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, also offers several online degrees in other disciplines.

Foothill College

Foothill College

The online Associate of Arts in Economics at Foothill College is perfect for students seeking a career in law, politics, government service, or the teaching sector. However, if you pursue teaching, do note that graduate degrees are necessary. On the other hand, an online associate of arts in Economics is enough leverage to find entry jobs in diverse fields. And if you’re considering going into a master’s or Ph.D., you can, too!

Some of the topics in this program are:

  • Political Economy
  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • The Global Economy

The minimum requirement for this associate program is 90 units. The major requires letter grades in all courses. Students must also get a grade of “C” or better in the core and support courses for this degree.

Foothill College, a public community college, is accredited by the ACCJC – Accrediting Commission for Community & Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools & Colleges.

West Valley College

West Valley College

The online Associate of Arts in Economics at West Valley College is geared towards focusing on both public policy and global marketing. And they make use of practical and theoretical analysis in their curriculum. Microeconomics and macroeconomics are the program’s core courses, while electives comprise the rest of the curriculum. 

For elective courses, you can choose from different options such as:

  • Anthropology, 
  • Comparative governments
  • Psychology
  • Human growth and development
  • American government

Students transferring to a CSU campus and complete a bachelor’s degree in a related field become eligible for the ADT or Associate Degree for Transfer. By completing this program, you can be guaranteed to get admission to a campus in the CSU system. You will be able to be exempt from courses that can be transferred.

Also, you can be ready to begin upper-division courses at CSU. With a degree in economics from WVC, students can learn about topics like unemployment, inflation, the stock market, and pollution from experts in their fields. Various student support services are available to distance learners at WVC, including counseling services, tutorials, health services, and online library access.

West Valley College, a public community college, is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and offers several online degrees. 

Merced College

Merced College

The online Associate of Arts in Economics at Merced College is great for distance learners from any state in the US and any country in the world. In this program, students learn macroeconomics, microeconomics, and mathematics with a focus on economic efficiency. Degree requirements can be completed in two years. At least half of the required classes can be taken online. 

This 60-credit program includes core classes such as:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Statistics in psychology
  • Finite mathematics

After completing this program, learners are eligible to transfer to a four-year economics program at California State University. Numerous Merced College degree programs accept macroeconomics and microeconomics as transferable courses.

Merced College, a public community college, is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and offers several online degrees. 

Blinn College District

Blinn College District

The online Associate of Arts in Economics at Blinn College District is intended for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree later. There are 60 credits in this curriculum, which represents the first two years of a four-year degree program. In the general education program, students learn the United States history, mathematics for business and social science, and general psychology.

Students will learn economic concepts and principles while developing their critical thinking skills. A practical application of economic theories is also taught to participants. The degree requirements can be completed entirely online in two years for full-time students.

Additionally, economics courses are taught along with math, science, and social sciences. Based on 42 hours of coursework, the Economics degree represents the first two years of a four-year degree, depending on the university. However, an articulation officer or advisor at the receiving institution should always be consulted by transferring students.

Blinn College District, a public community college, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and offers several online degrees.

The Study of Economics: Definition, Scope, and Direction 

Associate degree in economics programs provide students with fundamental introductions to the study of economics. By definition, economics is the scientific study of scarcity including its implications on the use and distribution of resources, the production of products and services, and economic growth, among other social concerns. These economics-specific topics are covered in a typical online economics degree program, as well as the liberal arts via general education courses and electives. 

Scope of Coverage 

Economics has such a wide reach that it covers both national and international aspects, as well as personal lives. As a social science, economics has stakes in several disciplines including sociology, mathematics, business, and political science. 

Economics has also engendered subdisciplines that straddle multiple disciplines. Economic geography is the study of economic activities in relation to physical geography. Political economy refers to the study of the relationships between societies and individuals, as well as between the state and markets. 

While economics may seem like an all-numbers discipline, it isn’t! Its scope also includes qualitative issues like international relations, social issues like health and education, and environmental issues. But it cannot also be denied that its impact is felt most by ordinary citizens through policies adopted by the federal government in relation to budgets, taxes, and international trade. 

Economics can also be seen in two ways – as universal (macroeconomics) or as personal (microeconomics). Both are studied by economics students in online associate degree programs, albeit at introductory levels.  

Macroeconomics features Economics in its entirety including prices and inflation, gross domestic product and national income, and unemployment. Microeconomics is the study of the impact on individual human actions of macroeconomics including a person’s financial risk tolerance. 

Indeed, the study of economics can be for everybody because of its impact on our lives! But, of course, only individuals with a keen interest in economics will thrive in an associate in economics degree online program. Being an economics major will open your eyes to new possibilities in your career and in life. 

Future Direction of Economics 

With a 250-year history, economics as a distinct discipline is in constant flux, too. Among the trends that economics will undergo in the 21st century is the bigger role that women will take on in the field, thanks to the willingness among economists for gender inclusivity and public discussions. 

Economics programs are also putting more emphasis on the use of big data and analytics in instruction, a direction also seen in the field of economics at large. Many experts also see economics for its possible use in fostering peace and ending the conflict, as well as in tackling the diseases that have haunted mankind for centuries. 

Economics Degree

What to Expect from an Online Associate in Economic Degree Program 

The best online associates in economics degree programs are not just accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies. They are also characterized by their topnotch instruction quality, student support services, and graduate outcomes. The associate degree opens doors to gainful employment and advanced degree opportunities for these reasons. 

Admission Requirements 

Most online associates in economics degree programs have simple and straightforward admissions requirements, thus, making them accessible to interested individuals. Prospective students are high school diploma holders with a minimum GPA to be considered for admission into an associate degree in economics. 

Personal interviews are uncommon admissions requirements, as are letters of recommendation, personal essays, and current resumes. Even the more competitive associate degree programs skip these aspects, but these are standard practices for bachelor’s degree programs. 

Average Time-to-completion 

Like their on-campus counterparts, online programs offering an associate degree in economics have a two-year time-to-completion for full-time study. Depending on the online associate in economics, online students may enroll on a part-time or full-time basis, too. Many economics programs targeted at working adults have a dedicated program of study for students enrolled on a part-time basis. 

But there are also online programs that have an accelerated program of study with less than 24 months time-to-completion. Part-time enrollment, in contrast, will lengthen time-to-completion by two or more semesters. 

Curriculum and Courses  

Students pursuing an associate in economics degree must be prepared for the academic rigor of the discipline. Economics programs are designed to train economics students in the job of economists and related professions. In fact, the best online associate degree programs enable students to pursue their professional aspirations with the degree as their foundation. 

Many online associates in economics degree programs have a 60-credit curriculum but it can be higher. The 60 credits represent half of the 120 credits of bachelor’s degree programs. Thus, an accredited online economics degree at the associate level represents the first two years of the advanced degree. 

Online economics degrees usually have a core curriculum consisting of general education courses that students must complete to earn the associate degree. The core courses are usually economics courses covering the principles of macroeconomics and microeconomics, as well as statistics and calculus. The elective courses are intended to tailor the associate degree to each student’s personal interests. 

Principles of Macroeconomics

The course teaches students about large-scale economies that cover policy decisions made at the government, corporate and organizational levels and their effects. Students learn about the mathematical formulas behind the gross domestic product, inflation, and unemployment, among other macroeconomic aspects. 

Principles of Microeconomics

The course teaches students about international economics, but more emphasis is placed on the economic impact of individualized decisions and other small-scale actions. 

Global Economy

Students learn about the global economy and international trade, from their history to their present and future trends. The course emphasizes the changes in the global economy and their effects on society including its culture and politics. 

Business Calculus

The course teaches students about business economics in particular and calculus as it applies to business analytics. Business economics refers to the study of the organizational, financial, and environmental issues that corporations face. 

Statistics for Business and Economics

The course teaches students about the statistical and other mathematical methods relevant to economics and business. 

Money, Banking, and Financial Institutions

Students learn more about business economics as it applies to commercial banks and other financial institutions, as well as monetary theory. 

Online Learning Technology

Economics students pursuing an online associate in economics degree will agree that it’s among the best ways of getting educated for career advancement purposes! The best online associate in economics programs makes it easy, convenient, and accessible for its students to perform academic activities online, often in a faster manner than in on-campus programs. But the academic challenges of pursuing an associate in economics degree remain, such as submitting top-notch papers. 

Specific Technologies 

Every online associate in an economics program uses a learning management system (LMS), such as Canvas and Blackboard, in the delivery of online education. Every online student creates an account in the LMS to be able to access the learning materials, submit assignments, and monitor their progress. 

Due to the unique challenges of online education, economics students also use multiple productivity and collaboration tools. Many productivity tools are the digital equivalents of manual tools, such as to-do lists, but most are designed to automate daily tasks. Collaboration tools facilitate peer-to-peer teamwork and instructor-to-student collaborations, and these include messaging apps and discussion boards. 

Methods of Assessments 

Online students in a typical online associate in economics degree program are evaluated based on their academic performance, too. But the methods of assessment have significant differences from on-campus economics degree programs, particularly in the prevention of cheating. 

In an online associate in economics program, students also learn from lessons including lectures and reading materials. Instructors assess the students’ academic performance through assignments, journals, and reaction papers, to name a few. Letter and numerical grades are also given to students. 

Online education isn’t as prone to cheating and academic shenanigans as it was before. This is due to the use of plagiarism detection and proctoring software, among other anti-cheating technologies. 

Internship and Practicum Requirements 

Students pursuing an associate in economics degree may want to supplement their online courses with an internship. But not every online degree in economics program offers internship opportunities, meaning students may have to create their own. 

Potential employers may appreciate associate degree holders with internship experience since it boosts their work experience. Associate degree holders pursuing bachelor’s degrees may also benefit from real-world work exposure. 

Tuition and Financial Aid 

Students enrolled in associate in economics degree programs in community colleges pay less tuition than students in four-year public and private institutions. Financial aid is also available for students enrolled in online degree programs, thus, further reducing the cost of education. 

On average, the total tuition for an associate degree in economics from public universities is about $11,000 but it can be as low as $3,500 at community colleges. 

Woman graduate

Career Prospects for Graduates of Associate in Economics Programs 

Economics graduates with an associate degree can pursue entry-level careers in business, finance, and insurance, usually in a junior capacity. Career advancement to supervisory and management positions is possible with an advanced degree, such as an economics bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. 

Economists earned a median annual salary of $113,940 (May 2022), and these professionals usually have a bachelor’s in economics degree. Labor statistics also show a 6% employment growth over the 2022-2032 period for economists. 

Junior Credit Analysts (Median Annual Salary: $54,849/year)  

Working under the supervision of senior financial analysts, junior credit analysts prepare an analysis of the financial risk that loan applicants pose to the company. Their main duties also include negotiating with customers and other stakeholders for the terms and conditions of loan agreements and other similar arrangements. 

Junior Budget Analysts (Median Annual Salary: $76,799/year

Junior budget analysts may work under the supervision of financial managers in ensuring the company funds are used according to the budget. They develop the company’s budget, maintain budget-related records and prepare reports, and defend budget recommendations. 

Junior Market Researchers (Median Annual Salary: $61,347/year

The specific duties of junior market researchers vary depending on the employer, but their general duties include planning and implementing data collection methods. They will also analyze and interpret data using statistical software, present their findings, and measure the effectiveness of marketing strategies. 

Junior Loan Officers (Median Annual Salary: $44,259/year)  

Junior loan officers assist senior loan officers in evaluating loan applications and, thus, in deciding their approval or rejection. They may also collect relevant financial information from the loan applicants, assist them with their loan applications, and even follow up on loan payments. 

Junior Claims Adjusters (Median Annual Salary: $57,774/year)  

This is an entry-level position that associate degree holders are qualified for. Junior claims adjusters assist in the evaluation of insurance claims, negotiate claim settlements, and ensure proper payment of claims to policyholders. 

Economics graduates

Frequently Asked Questions 

How can you choose the best online Associate in Economics degree program? 

Look at the accreditation first since it’s the basic standard for academic quality, among other aspects of higher education. Then, take a closer look at the curriculum with its mix of general education, elective, and core courses, as well as the ease of transferring credits to a bachelor’s degree program.

Consider the credentials of the faculty members, the quality of student support services, and the cost of online education. 

How difficult is it to earn an online Associate degree in Economics? 

If you have strong math skills combined with strong critical thinking, analytical and problem-solving skills, then you will find it easier than it’s made out to be. 

Which is the better choice: An associate of Arts or an Associate of Science in Economics degree? 

Both are acceptable among potential employers and institutions of higher learning. But if you want a more science-centric economics degree, then an associate of science degree is the best choice. 

What are the possible educational paths for Associate in Economics degree holders? 

A bachelor’s degree in economics, business administration, or public administration is an excellent choice. 

Is an online Associate in Economics worth it?

Yes, it is considering that it opens doors of opportunities in employment and higher education at half the cost of a bachelor’s program in half the time. 

In Conclusion

The best thing about online associates in economics degrees is their accessibility in terms of schedules, cost and time. Yet these degrees pave the way for employment and education opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible with just a high school diploma.

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Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor