Did you know that associate degrees were first offered in the United Kingdom in 1873? But it was only in 1898 when these were first introduced in the United States. Ironically, these degrees are now uncommon in the United Kingdom!
An associate degree is a two-year post-secondary degree equivalent to the first two years of a four-year bachelor’s degree. While these can be completed in two years on a full-time basis, most educational institutions offering them allow students the benefit of self-paced study. These degree programs can then be completed in three years or more, but it’s more time-effective and cost-efficient to complete them three years or less.
Associate degree programs are typically offered in community colleges, junior colleges, technical colleges, and vocational schools. Some four-year colleges and universities also offer these degrees, albeit on a limited basis only. The curriculum and coursework for each associate degree program will differ between educational institutions, but the resulting credentials and skillsets are similar.
Students who complete the graduation requirements can earn one of three major types of associate degrees, namely:
- An Associate in Arts or Associate of Arts (AA) degree usually covers areas in the liberal arts and sciences. These areas of study include social science, psychology, and humanities.
- Associate of Science or Associate in Science (AS) degree, a common award in applied scientific, technical and professional fields of study. These include healthcare, business administration and management, and fashion design.
- Associate of Applied Science or Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree applies to technical and vocational fields of study. Students in AAS programs train for employment in a specialized field after graduation and, thus, these are considered terminal degrees. This means that credits earned may not be transferred to a two-year or four-year degree program.
For the AA and AS degree programs, some or most of the credits earned may be transferred to a bachelor’s degree program depending on reciprocity agreements. Many four-year educational institutions offer a seamless transition process for associate degree holders to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program with most, if not all, their credits transferred. Terms and conditions, such as the prospective student earning his/her associate degree in the university itself, apply.
Explore this comprehensive article using these page jumps:
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should you consider online associate degree programs?
- What considerations will make interested individuals have second thoughts about them?
- Who will benefit the most from easy online associate degree programs?
- What are the common admission requirements for these programs?
- What are the credit requirements and transfer policies?
- Associate in Early Childhood Education Programs
- Associate in Liberal Arts or General Education Programs
- Associate in Accounting Programs
- Associate in Healthcare Management Programs
- Associate in Marketing Programs
- Associate in Business Administration Programs
- Associate in Fashion Merchandising Programs
- Associate in Family and Child Therapy Programs
- Associate in Computer Programming Programs
- Associate in Fire Science Programs
- Associate in Homeland Security Programs
- Associate in Hospitality Management Programs
- Associate in Legal Studies Programs
- Associate in Medical Assisting Programs
- Associate in Entrepreneurship Programs
- Associate in Graphic Design Programs
- Associate in Construction Project Management Programs
- Associate in Retail and Sales Management Programs
- Associate in Theology Programs
- Associate in Network Administration
M E T H O D O L O G Y
The associate degree programs listed here were chosen for the ease and convenience with which students can complete their graduation requirements. We want to emphasize that “ease and convenience” or “easiest online” does not mean students can take it easy and still earn their degree!
Instead, these programs were chosen because working professionals, adult learners, and fresh high school graduates will enjoy the flexibility of scheduling classes. Since these are 100% online or hybrid programs, students can study at their own pace, thanks to mostly asynchronous classes. Their lives can then be easier and more convenient because there’s less scheduling pressure than on-campus, synchronous classes.
We also want to emphasize that these easiest online associate degree programs will also challenge students to do their best. In the end, learning is about enjoying the process and acquiring practical skills that will become the foundation of your professional success.
The suggested schools mentioned after each online associate degree program were also carefully chosen based on the following merits:
- Accreditation by either a national or a regional accrediting agency. This is a crucial criterion because valid and active accreditation is proof that the college or university meets, even exceeds, the rigorous educational standards of the US Department of Education.
- Flexible scheduling options. The suggested schools offer either a 100% online or a hybrid (i.e., a combination of online classes with on-campus meetings and on-site externship training) delivery. Students study at their own pace, when allowed by the curriculum, and plan their pathway toward graduation.
- The overall reputation of the colleges and universities. These schools were chosen for their positive reputation as centers of excellence or other similar accolades by the academe, their communities, and their students and alumni.
- Other aspects that mattered in the selection include the tuition structure, the credentials of the faculty members, and the student support services and career services in place. In general, associate degree programs are more affordable than bachelor’s degree programs due to their shorter duration. But these still cost money, with the average total tuition, fees, and room and board rates in two-year institutions at $10,704 (2017-2018).
We also chose a few representatives for the top three associate degrees conferred by colleges and universities. The three most popular fields are:
- Liberal arts and sciences, humanities, and general studies
- Health professions and their related programs
- Business administration and management
FAQs on Associate Degrees
Why should you consider online associate degree programs?
Besides the more affordable cost and more accessible admission requirements, getting an associate degree brings the following notable benefits.
- Flexibility is the oft-cited reason for getting an online associate degree, as discussed above. You can maintain a better work-life balance with a self-paced program.
- Cost-effectiveness also draws individuals because an associate degree takes less time to acquire, yet it can open doors of opportunities quickly. You’re more likely to be employed with an associate degree than with a high school diploma. You may also be able to pay off your student debt faster.
- The probability of graduation is higher because of the greater focus on skills, the shorter time commitment, and the lower costs involved. You may also think of it as a stepping stone toward a higher goal – a bachelor’s degree. You can try to see if the program you’re enrolled in is aligned with your personal and professional goals.
- Job opportunities and career advancement come easier, too, for many reasons. First, you’re more prepared for jobs because of your practical skills. Many employers look for higher education, such as an associate degree, because it indicates the applicant’s determined character, too.
Second, you have a better chance at being hired in jobs that require some college education or an associate degree. You will also be more likely to enjoy a higher earning potential.
In a Bureau of Labor Statistics study, people with an associate degree earn $887 in median weekly earnings and have a 2.7% unemployment rate. In contrast, people with some college but no degree and high school graduates earned less – $833 and $746 in median weekly wages, respectively. The latter were also likely to be unemployed – 3.3% and 3.7%, respectively.
Over a lifetime, the difference in wages can equate to $300,000 to $500,00 on average! The bottom line: Getting an associate degree is well worth your time, energy, and money.
What considerations will make interested individuals have second thoughts about them?
Unfortunately, there’s a significant stigma surrounding higher education at community colleges, technical colleges, and vocational schools in certain cohorts. In a June 2018 survey, more than 25% of parents and families have a “very stigmatized” opinion of community college transfers.
But conversely, college advisors and administration staff held little to no stigma about community college transfers! The conclusion here is that the more first-hand knowledge and experience individuals have about community colleges and the like, the lower the stigma felt.
There are also other indications that the stigma isn’t as widespread as feared. In a higher education survey conducted by New America, Americans have high regard for community colleges and similar institutions.
It helps, too, that college credits earned in an associate degree are considered for admission to a bachelor’s program. Sometimes, it’s easy; sometimes, it’s a pain in the neck. The trick is in asking the admissions officer about the credit transfer process before making your decision.
You may also ask your state education officials about the state policy on transferability. At least 30 states implement a favorable transfer of lower-division courses, including a statewide guarantee of associate degree credits transfer.
Who will benefit the most from easy online associate degree programs?
Every adult, both men, and women can benefit from online associate degree programs. According to data, however, more females earned an associate degree than men in the United States – 629,443 females and 407,219 males (2018-2019).
But certain individuals are more suited to these programs. If you answer “yes” to two or more of these questions, then you may well be one of them.
- Do you want to earn more college credits so you can earn a formal degree? You may already have “some college” (i.e., less 60-semester credits), but you want a college degree.
- Do you have 60 college credits and want to consolidate them? You can consider an associate degree as a way of consolidating these credits.
- Do you want to get higher-paying jobs, but you don’t have the time, money, and inclination to get a bachelor’s degree? Your associate degree is the perfect stepping stone that will bridge the gap!
- You must take the time to determine your suitability for an online associate degree program considering your present circumstances and aspirations for the future. One thing is clear, nonetheless: You’re likely to reap the benefits if you earn an associate degree!
What are the common admission requirements for these programs?
The admission requirements differ between educational institutions, such as the requirements below, while others have open admission policies.
- Minimum age
- High school diploma or GED equivalent
- A minimum GPA in high school
- Passing grades in the prerequisite courses
- Minimum score on SAT or ACT
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal statement
- Clean background check
Due to the differences in admission policy and requirements, it’s always best to ask clarificatory questions of the admission staff.
What are the credit requirements and transfer policies?
Like the admission requirements, the transfer of credits varies between schools, so be sure to clarify them first. But transfer admissions may allow the transfer of credits earned from AA and AS programs to bachelor’s degree programs. This is possible through legislation, articulation agreements, and board policies, among other pathways.
In general, an associate degree program requires completing at least 60-semester credits or 90 quarter credits as eligibility for graduation. These credits are equivalent to about 20 college-level courses.
Many schools also offer so-called 2+2 programs. Here, students earn their associate degree in the first two years and then decide whether they want to continue earning their bachelor’s degree in the next two years. The credits earned in the former are then applied in the latter if the continuance is decided on.
Associate in Early Childhood Education Programs
Individuals who want to work with children as teacher’s assistants, childcare workers, and daycare directors should consider an associate degree in early childhood education. Their training includes acquiring skillsets that will make them adept at communicating, teaching, and handling young children in schools, daycares, and other settings.
The courses include:
- Infant and child development
- Early childhood communication
- Nutrition and safety
While high school education is the typical admission requirement, many schools also require practical experience in childcare-related jobs.
Northeast Community College
801 East Benjamin Avenue, Norfolk, Nebraska 68701
Students not only participate in academic learning experiences but also benefit from hands-on experiences in real school settings. Their training ensures that, upon graduation, they will be able to teach young children like seasoned teachers. Their hands-on experience will also boost their professional portfolios and, thus, increase their employment opportunities.
There are three types of coursework in the program, namely:
- General education courses are intended to strengthen general knowledge among students
- Subject courses are designed to allow students to learn the subjects that they will teach in schools and daycares
- Professional education courses teach students about the art and science of teaching
Students are encouraged to join the Student Education Association (SEA) that provides networking opportunities, leadership activities, and community partnerships. These are designed to make the student experience more meaningful.
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
The faculty members are well-known in the greater community for their professional excellence, integrity, and credibility. Future educators then have good role models aside from their exceptional teacher education.
Stanly Community College
141 College Drive, Albemarle, NC 28001-7458
Stanly offers three specializations that students can choose from, namely:
- A birth-to-kindergarten licensure track with transferable credits
- A non-licensure track with transferable credits
- A career-ready track
Students in all tracks study general psychology, child development, and quantitative literacy and must complete two rounds of on-site practicum experience. These tracks also require completion of academic and other requirements for 71-73 credits for graduation. Students must also show competence by integrating theory and practice in early childhood settings with qualified teachers as their supervisors.
Applicants should submit high school transcripts and undergo a placement test. Testing waivers are available for qualified applicants with college-level math or English credits.
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Graduates have easier time landing jobs due to their above-par competency in early childhood education. They can also continue with their studies and earn a bachelor’s degree in child development or similar degrees.
Associate in Liberal Arts or General Education Programs
The liberal arts degree programs emphasize a breadth of knowledge in English, history, and math, among other liberal arts topics, instead of acquiring specific career-related skills. Students participate in classes that boost their communication skills, computer skills, and public speaking skills with a foreign language course thrown in. Think of these programs as the solid foundation for a bachelor’s degree because of the expansive range of subjects studied.
The beauty of a liberal arts degree lies in its versatility! Graduates can qualify for various occupations requiring a generalized college education. Their education and strong communication skills, problem-solving and analytical skills, and broad knowledge make them attractive to employers. Career opportunities include sales associates, copywriters, and retail salespersons.
Saint Leo University
33701 State Road 52, St. Leo, FL 33574
Among Florida’s oldest Catholic schools, Saint Leo incorporates a balanced approach to liberal arts education and, thus, attracts students of all faiths. The 60-credit program has a student-centric feel that encourages a love of learning for a wide range of subjects, from math to literature. Students develop their critical and creative thinking skills alongside learning their academic subjects.
Students take common core courses in fine arts, natural sciences, social sciences, philosophy, humanities, and religion. Many noted intellectuals conduct lectures, and students can contribute to the university’s publications. Students also choose from several guided electives, such as science in a changing world and open electives.
Applicants may transfer college and professional training credits, aside from enrolling at any time (i.e., rolling admissions). Saint Leo is also a top-ranked university with a low student-to-teacher ratio, credentialed faculty, and an exceptional curriculum.
Trinity Valley Community College
100 Cardinal Dr., Athens, TX 75751
Students use the Canvas platform in attending their online classes. Their coursework covers college-level general education topics, including chemistry, algebra, and US history and government. There are also more specialized courses like behavioral sciences, sociology, psychology, and electives.
As a liberal arts program, its core curriculum prepares students for the rigors of four-year degree programs. Despite its online nature, its students remain engaged with their studies and professors through digital communication. Students also strengthen their soft skills, including communication, creative and critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
Graduates can transfer their earned credits to a bachelor’s degree. TVCC’s program enables its students to be more competitive in the employment aspect, too.
Associate in Accounting Programs
Accounting is essential “language” to a business. Students in these programs learn about financial statements, business strategies, and taxation laws. Other relevant subjects include statistics, economics, and cost analysis, which require proficient math, English, and analytical thinking skills. Students must also learn about recording, analyzing, and reporting assets, liabilities, and owners’ equity, which are the backbone of accounting.
The required credits for graduation ranges from 60 to 70 semester hours. This means a minimum of two years of work that will lead to eligibility for entry-level work. Career opportunities include bookkeepers, bank tellers, tax preparation specialists, and accounting clerks.
Haywood Community College
185 Freedlander Dr., Clyde, NC 28721
The program involves students earning between 67 and 70 credits in a wide range of accounting-related subjects, including business law, management, and finance. Basic and intermediate accounting, computer applications, and taxation are also on the curriculum. Soft skills like communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills are also instilled in students.
Students participate in their online classes via the Moodle learning platform aside from being encouraged to maintain a professional relationship with their professors. The program can be complete in five semesters, including a summer semester.
Such is the outstanding training provided by HCC professors that graduates are qualified for entry-level jobs in accounting and finance in various industries. Graduates are in the manufacturing, service, education, and healthcare industries, among others.
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
505 Pine Ridge Drive, Shell Lake, WI 54871-8727
Gradates become productive members of administrative, accounting, or finance departments in companies. Their skill sets include:
- Processing financial transactions throughout the entirety of the accounting cycle
- Analyzing financial statements and business reports as part of the planning and decision-making process
- Performing tax-related tasks, including tax form preparation
- Identifying internal controls and quality control measures and their risks
Students must also be proficient in using a 10-key calculator, intermediate math processes, and problem analysis.
The college has a Career Pathways program wherein students can advance their education and, thus, career. The graduate outcome at WITC includes above-average competency in the accounting cycles and processes, too.
Associate in Healthcare Management Programs
The varied career options open for holders of an associate in healthcare management degree attracts students to its programs. While these are entry-level positions, these are among the highest-paid in the industry. These jobs include medical administrative assistants, medical records specialists, and medical secretaries in hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics.
Candidates sould be holders of a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and meet other requirements. Their academic schedules are easy enough to juggle their studies with their jobs and personal responsibilities. The typical completion time is two years, but it isn’t uncommon for students to finish in three years.
The coursework includes claims preparation, medical terminology and ethics, and information technology. On-the-job training is also a typical part of these programs.
Colorado Christian University
8787 W. Alameda Ave., Lakewood, Colorado 80226
Becoming an effective and productive frontline healthcare worker is the outcome under CCU’s AS in Healthcare Administration program. Students are provided with intensive training in patient relations, medical terminology, and healthcare communications, which are imbued with a Christian worldview.
The curriculum consists of 60 credit hours, of which 18 credit hours are spent in core subjects. Courses should be taken one at a time and completed in five weeks. The university has generous transfer credit policies – up to 45 credits – that contribute to faster completion times.
The university isn’t just known for its exceptional Christian-based education but also its generous financial aid programs, a draw for students interested in private education. Plus, standardized test scores, letters of reference, and placement tests aren’t required for admission.
2600 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33409
The 60-credit curriculum has challenging specialized courses like management principles and practices and healthcare computer applications. There are also general education courses like English literature, math, and environmental science that boost the students’ suitability for generalized work.
In preparation for employment in the healthcare sector, students also train in anatomy and physiology, medical terms and ethics, and healthcare-related computer applications. Of course, front office management is also integrated into the curriculum since graduates can apply as medical receptionists and assistants.
Career advisors are on hand to provide professional career development services, including workshops and job boards. Students can access the free LearningExpress service for more job-related resources.
Associate in Marketing Programs
While there are programs with marketing courses in their curricula, the associate in marketing programs have a more in-depth focus on marketing skillsets. The courses include advertising, sales, and business strategies with a marketing perspective that, in turn, prepares students for entry-level jobs. There are also general education courses, such as math and psychology, for the first year in the program.
Since marketing involves market research, students also learn about the wide range of marketing research tools and techniques. Their training incorporates the communication of results and the design of the research itself. Job opportunities are present in public relations, sales, and advertising firms.
Milwaukee Area Technical College
700 W. State Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233
Unlike many AAS programs, the AAS in Marketing program at MATC allows students to transfer their earned credits to certain four-year institutions. Candidates who plan on doing so must consult with an advisor regarding their Academic Program Plan.
Students acquire a broad knowledge of industry-specific skillsets, including sales, promotion, and advertising in traditional and digital media. Since marketing is about people, their coursework also includes customer experience and client services planning. Students are expected to be adept at selling strategies and product promotions after graduation.
The possible careers open for its graduates include advertising and account associates, B2B and B2C marketing associates, and event marketers. MATC also allows students to earn their Digital Marketing and Integrated Communications or Sales and Customer Experience technical diploma while completing the degree.
California Coast University
925 N. Spurgeon Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701
+1 (888) 228-8648
The 60-semester units in the program involve completing 20 courses, of which 10 are general education courses, six are core courses, and four are electives. Students must complete the academic requirements of these courses for graduation eligibility. Since these are self-paced online courses, students have an easier time at them.
Graduates are known to succeed in entry-level jobs in business marketing in industries like retail, manufacturing, and services. Their quite comprehensive training includes learning about global marketing principles and practices.
Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
Students who complete the program have more in-depth knowledge and skills in local, national, and global marketing. Their skill sets can be applied to most business settings, too.
Associate in Business Administration Programs
If you have an interest in business, you may find an associate in business administration degree is right up your alley. These programs cover a wide range of business-related topics that will open up your horizons. These topics include:
- Business law and ethics
- Accounting cycles and processes
- Financial, management, and cost accounting
- Human resources, including business communication
- Economics, math, and marketing
General education courses designed to boost personal and professional development are also incorporated. With the training, graduates can work as retail associates, accounting or auditing clerks, and bank tellers.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus
128 Outreach Building, University Park, PA 16802
Penn State’s reputation as a premier school is reason enough to consider its AS in Business Administration program. Look beyond that, and individuals become even more interested, thanks to the extensive training on:
- Effective business management strategies including consumer, employee, and vendor relations
- Productive use of the latest business tools for long-term success
- Analysis of business issues caused by the economy, politics, and society
- Collection and analysis of business data in solving problems
Candidates include people planning a career change, or looking for entry-level jobs in the business sector, or working professionals who want faster career advancement.
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
The associate degree can be your foundation for professional success, but you can also view it as a stepping stone toward greater things, such as a bachelor’s degree. The 60-credit program both challenges your capacity but also rewards your efforts.
Dakota State University
820 N Washington Ave., Madison, SD 57042
DSU prides itself on its use of the best technological resources in its online programs. This is true for its AS in Business Management program, where students use several must-have technological tools in their training. These tools include QuickBooks accounting software, spreadsheets, and databases, all of which are essential in becoming an effective manager.
But it isn’t just technology that makes DSU’s program a highly recommended one. Students also learn about the human side of the business and, thus, their coursework includes human resource management. Soft skills like oral and written communication, team building, and interpersonal relationships, are also developed among students.
Students thrive under individualized attention, thanks to the small class sizes, which the teachers provide during their training. Their studies also ensure that they have market-ready skills for jobs like assistant store managers, sales associates, and customer service associates.
Associate in Fashion Merchandising Programs
Fashion merchandising is a rewarding occupation wherein its practitioners have a head for fashion design, business management, and textiles. These concepts can be studied via an associate in fashion merchandising program, which introduces students to the ins and outs of the industry.
The typical coursework includes:
- Manufacturing processes
- Merchandising strategies
- Fashion and visual merchandising
- Retail and marketing management
- Human resource management
Aside from fashion merchandisers, other career options include retail promoters, fashion buyers, and even store managers with corresponding work experience.
Southern New Hampshire University
2500 North River Road, Manchester, NH 03106
The SNHU’s AS in Fashion Merchandising program has a curriculum that equips students with the knowledge and skills in:
- Basic design and color theory as its principles apply to fashion merchandising
- Basic principles of psychology with applications in sales
- Identification of product life cycle in the fashion industry
- Analysis of the differences in wholesale and retail operations
The combined focus on fashion-related topics and business-focused training results in graduates with a high employability factor. The fact that the courses are led by experienced fashion and retail professionals adds to its credibility and popularity.
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
The class materials can be accessed 24/7, and there are no set class times. Up to 45 credits can be transferred toward your associate degree, too. SNHU is also a highly respected and ranked institution in the US, not to mention its accolades for its innovations.
Mesa Community College
1833 West Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85202
MCC’s Open Entry program allows students to complete their degree programs completely online and study at their own pace. This is true for its AAS in Fashion Merchandising program that also offers two concentrations – fashion design and apparel merchandising. These have different specialization courses but share several general education courses.
The fashion design coursework includes textiles, fashion illustration, and clothing construction, while the apparel merchandising track focuses more on the business side. Students in both tracks are encouraged to participate in internships to boost their skills and resume.
The varied career options make the degree worth its time and cost, and these include online merchant, retail buyer, and window display artist. The combination of fashion and business makes for savvy employees, too.
Associate in Family and Child Therapy Programs
Becoming a family and child therapist with an associate degree is possible through an associate degree in a more specialized area, such as human services and psychology. Both degrees include general education courses and career-specific courses that serve as foundational knowledge for work-related concerns.
The associate of arts in psychology program has introductory psychology courses, including psychological assessment tools and procedures. Students work in both academic and therapeutic settings as part of their internship experience.
The associate of arts in human services degree program introduces students to the basics of social work with courses in social welfare, psychology, and community service. Their understanding of individuals in family and group settings becomes deeper with a combination of academic work and internship in social services agencies.
1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23464
Regent’s 64-credit AS in Psychology program is imbued with a Christian perspective, as befitting its Christian university status. Students learn a wide range of topics, including the Bible and Christianity, science and math, and economics and history. These general education courses are complemented by occupation-specific topics, including psychological assessments and theories of psychology.
Students must attend five eight-week classes for their major courses. Upon completing the program, they should apply for entry-level jobs as psychiatric nursing assistants, youth counselors, or human service assistants.
Despite its private status, RU is known for its affordable tuition structure and high-quality degree programs led by credentialed faculty members. Students can also request for transfer of credits earned.
717 Frederica Street, Owensboro, KY 42301
While Brescia University is a leading Catholic liberal arts institution, its AS in human services program doesn’t have a heavy-handed feel that turns off people from non-Christian faiths. The 63-credit program instead emphasizes modern training in social and behavioral sciences, social work, and philosophy. There are general education requirements, including public speaking and English, essential in human services-related occupations.
Candidates can choose from five start dates, too, and request for transfer of earned credits from a previous post-secondary program of up to 42 credits. Once enrolled, students learn about case management and crisis counseling and intervention, among others.
The courses are designed with optimal flexibility for adult students and, thus, provide them with the opportunity to earn the degree within two years. Affordability is also a major draw for candidates – the university has frozen its undergraduate tuition and other fees until spring 2022.
Associate in Computer Programming Programs
With many people being computer-savvy, an associate degree in computer programming may become easier. The degree can be offered as AS or AAS, but both programs include programming languages, networking, and operating systems. Besides academic work, students may have to write effective, efficient, and operate computer programs as part of their capstone project.
Extensive laboratory time is also par for the course in these programs since computer programming expertise demands plenty of hands-on training. Students learn programming in different languages, such as Java, programming and logic, computer security and servicing, and systems design and analysis.
Possible occupations include computer programmer, web developer, and programmer analyst. With appropriate work experience, people with this degree can become supervisors and managers in IT units.
Southeast Technical Institute
2320 N Career Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57107
Students can pick between full-time and part-time enrollment, but graduation eligibility partly depends on completing at least 62 credits. Out-of-state students can also enroll, thanks to the school’s participation in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. Most coursework is also done asynchronously.
Students will thrive with the small class sizes led by competent faculty and learn more about integrated development environment applications.
St. Petersburg College
P.O. Box 13489, St. Petersburg, FL 33733-3489
SPC is a public college offering a fantastic AS in Computer Programming and Analysis program covering key topics including systems analysis, Java programming, and operations systems. This is a 36-credit program that offers several electives aside from the core subjects and the hands-on training. The internship is a great way to learn real-world skills, establish a network and get your foot in the door.
Students learn from experienced faculty with impressive credentials in the field of study. Their training isn’t static, too, as the coursework may change with notable trends being incorporated.
SPC’s emphasis on learning as a holistic experience and career-specific skills for job preparation makes it a standout. Graduates can also have a higher chance at passing the Oracle Java certified associate industry certification.
Associate in Fire Science Programs
Students of associate in fire science programs have different motivations, from getting entry-level jobs to promoting their careers in the industry. Regardless of their motivations, however, students learn about the principles and practices of being a firefighter. The coursework includes fire prevention and management techniques, tools, and technologies.
The two-year degree opens up a host of career paths uncommon in associate programs. These include firefighters, fire investigators, fire inspectors, and forest fire and prevention specialists. Graduates can also choose to proceed to a related bachelor’s degree program.
Due to the hazardous nature of these occupations, candidates must meet more stringent admission requirements, including minimum age, letters of recommendation, and minimum GPA.
Hutchinson Community College
1300 N Plum, Hutchinson, Kansas 67501
Completing HutchCC’s 61-credit program opens up opportunities in several occupations, notably firefighters and fire and prevention specialists. The coursework can be intensive but rewarding and life-saving, and it includes courses in fire ground operations and fire prevention. Students also learn first-aid and emergency medical measures, along with electives like social sciences and math.
Beyond these offerings, HutchCC also offers a fire academy program and fire science certification. Students are welcome to discuss their options in these programs, too.
The college offers an impressive range of services intended to establish a foundation of success for its students. These include personal counseling, tutoring, and academic advising, as well as career services.
125 College Drive, Casper, WY 82601
Casper’s AAS in Fire Science program consists of 60 credits in general education and career-specific courses. First-year students attend a three-hour online orientation to make it easier for them to succeed in the program. Enrollment can be done three times each year – fall, spring, and summer.
Students not only excel in their academics but thrive in the internship program. This includes shadowing a firefighter for 24 hours, a sort of a day-in-the-life experience that opens their eyes to the practical aspects of the occupation. Students can complete the program in two academic years, provided that they are enrolled in 15-17 credit hours every semester.
The outstanding academic and practical training prepares students for the competitive job market for firefighters and similar occupations. Graduates can choose to enter the job market immediately or continue with their studies.
Associate in Homeland Security Programs
Individuals interested in careers in border security, terrorism prevention, and cybersecurity should consider getting an associate in homeland security degree. While there are academic challenges – every degree program has them – completing the program is easier with your heart in it.
Students combine academic coursework with their observational, analytical and critical thinking skills development. The topics covered vary but typically include core subjects like homeland security, emergency management, and computer and network security. Most online programs are self-paced, although there will likely be synchronized sessions.
79 Bolton Road, Buies Creek, NC 27506
The admission process at Campbell can be fairly competitive, with applicants encouraged to present their ACT or SAT scores as a partial basis for admission. Once enrolled, students must achieve at least a 2.0 GPA after six credit hours, which should be easy for average students.
The 62-credit program consists of 24-credit core curriculum subjects. These include intelligence analysis, homeland security, emergency management, and general education courses like humanities.
The emphasis on national and international perspectives in exploring homeland security, terrorism, and emergency preparedness underlines Campbell’s noteworthy program. Students with military backgrounds are also eligible for transfer credits, which will shorten their time spent earning the degree and enjoy advanced standing.
Georgia Military Academy
115 Davis Road, Martinez, GA 30907
GMC offers students two options: an AA or an AS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Both, nonetheless, prepare students for entry-level jobs or success in a bachelor’s degree program in a related field.
Their main differences lie in the number of credits and certain types of classes required. The AA track consists of 70-73 credits and has a foreign language component with a Spanish, German, or French choice. The AS track requires completion of 65-69 credits and doesn’t require students to attend foreign language classes. All students take core courses like intelligence and counter-intelligence, homeland security law and policy, and terrorism studies.
Graduates aren’t just well-versed in homeland security topics, but they become more empowered citizens whose sense of duty pushes them to make meaningful contributions to society.
Associate in Hospitality Management Programs
Individuals whose passion lies in the hospitality and tourism industry will find the associate in hospitality management degree programs easier than anticipated. Of course, good communication skills, patience, and problem-solving skills are valuable for success, but these traits can also be developed as a student.
Students can choose from several programs lasting from under a year to two years of full-time study. Specializations are also offered, and these can include travel, food and beverage, hotel management, and event planning. It’s common to find 60-credit programs with a curriculum that combines general education and core courses.
Albany Technical College
1704 South Slappey Blvd., Albany, GA 31701
The 69-credit AAS in Hotel/Restaurant/Tourism Management includes travel geography, hospitality marketing, and hotel operations management. These academic courses prepare students to become the best possible entry-level workers in the hospitality industry. Their academic training is supplemented by an internship that exposes them to real-world situations and solutions.
Take note that while the online classes are delivered asynchronously, these aren’t self-paced. Students and instructors used Blackboard as their online learning platform.
Early in their training, students are encouraged to develop their occupational skill sets and soft skills to serve them well after graduation. The graduation outcome is considered among the best because graduates can acquire jobs and advance in their careers with an associate degree.
1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles, WA 98362
Peninsula’s AA in Hospitality and Ecotourism program shines the spotlight on an enduring niche in the hospitality industry, particularly in beautiful Washington State. Students become prepared to advocate for ecotourism, including sustainable tourism planning, leadership and management, and adventure travel planning and guiding. As a requirement for graduation, students must also complete an internship.
Online courses are delivered via Canvas, an online learning platform. While the courses are easy enough, students can avail themselves of online tutoring services.
Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Students at Peninsula College get the opportunity to learn the basics of ecotourism, event management, and tourism policy—and the business side of things!. Their internship experience working with local employers also gets them a foot in the door, a good thing for employment purposes.
Associate in Legal Studies Programs
Lawyers may be the face of the legal industry, but there are hardworking people behind their performance. Legal assistants and paralegals perform crucial roles, including investigating the facts behind cases and researching legal precedents. Such is their importance in allowing lawyers to do their job well that they are among the most sought-after legal professionals.
The best way of becoming one is to earn an associate degree in legal studies, a way of getting entry-level jobs and preparing for further legal education. Students learn legal principles, practices and processes; terminologies and jargon; and ethics in their studies. Their coursework can be heavy in constitutional and contract laws and research planning and writing of reports.
And the jobs that await graduates are aplenty, too! The growth forecast for legal assistants and paralegals is an increase of 15% until 2026.
Tallahassee Community College
444 Appleyard Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32304-2895
The AS in Paralegal/Legal Studies consists of 64 credit hours and can be completed in five terms provided that the student is enrolled in 15 credit hours every term. This is among the easiest programs because students can use the support services.
Once they have completed the program, students are more than well-equipped to be productive members of the legal industry. Graduates have been known to pursue higher education, too, including law school. This isn’t surprising since their comprehensive training prepared them for the rigors of law education.
TCC isn’t just your run-of-the-mill diploma mill! The college has received accolades for its exceptional quality of instruction, and one of these accolades was ranked #1 in AA degrees by Community College Week.
100 Reservoir Road, Herkimer, NY 13350
Making your way into the legal industry isn’t an easy feat! But with an AAS Paralegal degree from Herkimer, doors are opened in many companies, including law offices, real estate firms, and government agencies. Students get the legal training that will make them productive and effective paralegals and legal assistants.
The graduation outcomes include:
- Maintain relevant office systems, including file tracking and client trust fund accounting
- Provide legal assistance to lawyers and other legal professionals in matters related to lawsuits and other matters
- Describe the legal processes in numerous transactions, including real estate, family, and criminal law
Students can transfer credits earned due to the articulation agreements with several colleges, including the SUNY Institute of Technology. The program’s instructors also have experience on their side, which immensely benefits students.
Associate in Medical Assisting Programs
With projected job growth of 19% between 2019 and 2029, or 139,000 new jobs, there will be plenty to go around for associate degrees in medical assisting programs. These programs typically have 64 credits that will take two years of full-time study to complete; part-time enrollment is allowed in many programs but will take longer to complete.
Students may choose their specialization. Usually clinical medical assisting or administrative assisting, but it isn’t offered in many schools. Their coursework includes general education in English, math, and communication, and core courses like medical coding, quality patient care, and medical terminology. Internships are a required part of every program, and these are conducted in various healthcare settings.
Graduates may or may not be required to take a certified medical assistant exam, depending on the state’s regulations.
507 West 10th Street, West Point, GA 31833
The program objectives are impressive, but students should meet them considering the outstanding support from instructors. Graduates should be able to:
- Demonstrate their functional knowledge of human physiology and anatomy concerning disease prevention and promotion of health
- Use suitable medical terminology in communicating with patients and healthcare professionals;
- Demonstrate their mastery of medical technology in maintaining patient records and privacy
Students are trained in their future responsibilities, including patient safety and front office management. Their training is such that they have a basic understanding of their workplaces’ front and back ends.
Instructors teach the courses with a Christian perspective that, in turn, makes them more compassionate and competent medical assistants in the future. Graduates can sit for post-program certification exams like the National Center for Competency Testing’s Certified Medical Assistant exam.
W140N8917 Lilly Road, Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
Becoming a highly qualified medical assistant seems far-fetched with an associate degree, but it’s possible with an AS in Medical Assisting Services degree from Herzing University. Students get quality instruction covering relevant topics, including medical terminology, patient safety, and office administration. Ethics and professionalism are also emphasized since these are valuable traits in the medical field.
The program can be finished in about 20 months or shorter than typical programs, and its classes are delivered fully online. The laboratory experience and externships, however, involve on-site participation. The externship aspect involves 180 hours in a healthcare setting during the final term.
Graduates can sit for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification exam. Better yet, the university pays for their first attempt with most graduates acing it.
Associate in Entrepreneurship Programs
These programs are offered in the business schools of four-year colleges and universities and community colleges as standalone programs. But these have their similarities, including a 60-credit curriculum with a two-year suggested completion rate, a choice between an AS and AAS track, and an entrepreneurship focus.
While students may seek employment in business settings, many more pursue the entrepreneurship path. The latter is possible since these programs prepare students to become successful business owners. The in-depth training includes business strategies, accounting and marketing principles, and legal obligations.
Internships in local employers may be a requirement for graduation, too. Many other programs require a capstone project to demonstrate the students’ skills.
Forsyth Technical Community College
2100 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27103
Forsyth designed its AAS in Entrepreneurship program for students to make informed decisions in their existing and future businesses. The comprehensive coursework covers relevant topics, including business funding, strategies and solutions; innovation and creativity; and accounting procedures. Since we live in a computer-driven economy, students are also trained in business-relevant computer applications.
Applicants must have strong math and communication skills. Once enrolled, their training will include soft skills development, particularly in leadership and teamwork. Students emerge with a renewed sense of perseverance, patience, and adaptability.
The program’s exceptional quality of instruction has produced several successful entrepreneurs whose success also inspires others. The college is also well-known for its student support services.
Northwest Arkansas Community College
One College Drive, Bentonville, AR 72712
The AAS in Entrepreneurship program isn’t all academics! The best thing about it is that its students gain practical skills and access to useful resources during their studies. These aspects establish the foundation of their success as entrepreneurs and business owners.
The coursework lays down the foundation of accounting, marketing, and business management, including real-world processes and practices. Electives enhance their interests, such as in the culinary arts, which makes the program more enjoyable.
Students leave the program with the tools and mindset to push their business success to the next level. Their business skills range from accounting to customer relations and, thus, cover most aspects of the business.
Associate in Graphic Design Programs
Graphic designers are creative professionals in many industries, including advertising, manufacturing, and publishing. Their occupation allows them the benefit of either being employees or self-employed professionals or even both. Their training starts with enrollment in associate in graphic design programs that combine academic work and hands-on experience.
Online programs have the same high quality of instruction as brick-and-mortar programs but with the convenience of learning from home. The curriculum consists of 60 to 65 credits divided into general education courses, core courses, and electives. Many students fulfill the requirements within two years with full-time enrollment.
12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
Foothill’s AA in Graphic & Interactive Design program paves the way for individuals to start their careers in graphic design, game design, web design, and UI/UX design. Students develop their creative side and boost their technical abilities in these areas of design while also learning numerous graphics applications. There’s a strong emphasis on the visual arts as it applies in modern graphic design and a hands-on approach.
The 90-credit program includes 58 credit hours for major subjects and requires proficiency in English and math. Students should earn at least a “C” grade for all core and support courses for graduation eligibility.
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and College (WASC)
The immersive training in the various areas of design results in competent graduates whose skillsets are desired by employers and clients. Their well-rounded education also allows them to maintain great relationships with others, particularly customers.
St. Charles Community College
4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, Cottleville, MO 63376
The 72-credit AAS in Graphic Design program equips students with both the traditional fundamentals of design and today’s digital technology. Students have above-average skillsets in graphic design, interactive design, print production, and computer animation learned through academics and hands-on training. Indeed, graduates are known for their employability!
Their occupations include graphic designers, imaging specialists, and infographics designers, to name a few. Armed with a college degree, graduates advance their careers, too, especially with more work experience.
The public community college has established a reputation for exceptional instruction, and its growing number of students is proof of it. The faculty members boast impressive credentials for a community college, which translates to better student outcomes.
Associate in Construction Project Management Programs
A high school diploma, as well as standardized exam results (ACT or SAT) with minimum scores, are the common admission requirements for these programs. Many programs also ask for relevant work experience in the construction industry, but it isn’t as selective as you imagine. Soft skills, including good writing and communication skills, are preferred due to the occupation’s nature.
The courses are designed to enable students to appreciate the construction and business side of their future jobs. These include introducing construction safety and supervision, blueprint reading, surveying and mapping, and management and leadership.
But it isn’t just as construction field superintendents that graduates can apply for. Many are employed as land-use planners, construction contractors, and construction cost estimators.
San Joaquin Valley College
9331 Mariposa Rd, Hesperia, CA 92344
With a 14-month completion period, SJVC’s AS in Construction Management program is among the easiest and fastest of its kind. But students may also opt for part-time enrollment if their resources and schedules don’t permit full-time status.
The coursework is easy enough for diligent students, but studying is still a must. Students undertake academic coursework in subjects like:
- Estimating costs and bidding for projects in the residential and commercial sectors
- Planning the timelines of construction projects and controlling their variables
- Using computer applications and management principles in construction projects
Graduates are armed with valuable skill sets, including construction management, effective communication, and supervision of people.
Career options available for graduates include estimators, construction managers, and site supervisors with potential employers expressing appreciation for their skills.
Rockford Career College
1130 S Alpine Rd #100, Rockford, IL 61108
The 7-month short but sweet AAS in Construction Management program makes it easier for students to enter the construction industry with formal training. Students transition from being greenhorns to professionals armed with advanced-level coursework in contract management, project planning, and quality control. Their skillset makes them suitable for entry-level jobs with the possibility of career advancement within a few months of work experience.
Take note that this program is designed for individuals with at least 50 credit hours in skilled trades like HVAC/R. Students are in the program to boost their skillsets and advance their careers.
Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
The curriculum provides students with career-specific knowledge and skills instead of general education-heavy education. Graduates say that their skillsets are exactly what employers are looking for. Plus, RCC has free tutoring services, networking opportunities, and financial aid options for students.
Associate in Retail and Sales Management Programs
Traditional and digital commerce are discussed in depth in these programs because it’s what the times demand. The instruction includes the development of retail and sales plans, as well as their implementation and evaluation. Students start with learning core business principles as a foundation for their advanced-level business law, marketing research, and sales management courses.
Interested individuals will benefit from a background in business and marketing during their high school years, but it isn’t a mandatory admission requirement. Upon graduation, career options available include distribution associates, social media marketers, and product sales associates.
American Public University
111 W. Congress Street, Charles Town, WV 25414
The program involves completing 60 credits but allows the transfer of 45 credits, which lessens the time and dollar commitment. The courses start every month with their duration varying between eight and 16 weeks. The credits requirement is divided into:
- 30 semester hours for general education
- 21 for major courses
- 6 for general electives
- 3 for final program requirements
Students learn about information technology, human resources, and consumer behavior as these apply to retail management practices. Their analytical thinking skills are developed, too, by analyzing the impact of internal and external factors on the business organization.
Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
The curriculum is updated on an annual basis to reflect the current trends and latest data, and, thus, students learn in a dynamic environment. Their training prepares them for competitive jobs in the ever-changing retail industry.
1200 E. Diehl Road, Naperville, IL 60563
Students should complete a minimum of 61 credit hours to earn their associate degree in business with a retail management concentration. Full-time students can graduate within 16 months and have a great shot at retail-related jobs.
The program includes business core courses that enable students to understand business principles and practices with more sophistication and an emphasis on business. These courses cover accounting, management, marketing, and soft skills that result in effective business decision-making.
DeVry has several notable alumni whose successful careers serve as an inspiration to current students. The university is known for its excellent quality of instruction, facilities, and student support services.
Associate in Theology Programs
If your passion lies in religious thought and service, you may want to apply to a reputable associate in theology program. While clergy jobs are popular among graduates, many also choose to pursue non-clergy occupations like educators and administrators. The specific coursework depends on the school, the program’s focus, and the religious denomination, but there are similarities.
Students typically learn about the Bible and its history, youth ministry, and pastoral care and become servant leaders. Their education may also include community work, public speaking to spread the faith, and religious studies. For this reason, many graduates also work as community workers and human service assistants.
1009 Jupiter Rd. Suite 500, Plano, TX 75074
1 (214) 400-8690
The 60-credit hour program only requires a high school diploma and intermediate English language skills for admission. This Bible-based degree can be completed in two years and prepares men and women for a career in ministry. Candidates with a passion for discipleship, service to God and man, and community service are more than welcome to apply.
Students learn about the Bible and Christianity on a deeper level and acquire the skills to become a charismatic preacher, a compassionate teacher, or an effective evangelist.
Accreditation: Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges and Universities
The university has an affordable tuition structure and provides several benefits to students, including all-inclusive materials.
1235 University Boulevard, Steubenville, Ohio 43952
Candidates apply to the AA in Theology program because of their Catholic faith, including understanding it better and spreading its message. Instructors and students work together in strengthening the faith and finding innovative ways of serving God through service to humanity.
The program welcomes a wide range of cohorts, too, and it’s such diversity that makes it a dynamic and exciting program. The student body consists of fresh high school graduates, working professionals, and even retirees.
Students can take classes five at a time or one at a time; classes are offered in the spring, summer, and fall terms. Alumni are leaders in the Catholic faith as evangelists, clergy members, and laypeople.
Associate in Network Administration
The shortened two-year associate in network administration program is an opportunity for individuals to enter the workforce and become gainfully employed sooner. Network administrators earn well, too, with a 2019 median annual salary of $83,510. The number of jobs is also expected to increase, so now is the time to consider an associate degree.
The coursework is heavy on computers and includes database management, IT project management, and web authoring. Training includes the installation, management, and troubleshooting of computer networks. Completion results in preparedness for passing the CompTIA and Cisco certifications, which boosts job prospects.
4400 West 78th Street, Bloomington, MN 55435
Students can choose to complete the program through Flex Choice, a method of delivery combining online coursework and self-paced assessments. This means a more affordable path toward a degree, not to mention that it’s easier for a working professional to comply with requirements.
The coursework is intensive and updated, and courses include Linux administration, Windows directory services, and systems analysis and design. Students learn well through a combination of academic coursework, laboratory training, and hands-on experience.
Students undergo training that prepares them for industry certifications, such as CompTIA Linux+, Cisco® CCENT, and CompTIA Network+. The university’s ladder curriculum allows students to transition from their associate degree to a Pre-Bachelor’s Cyber Security Certificate and then a bachelor’s degree.
The University of Toledo
2801 W. Bancroft St., Toledo, OH 43606
Graduates of UToledo’s program are prepared for the pressures of being in the computer networking industry. The coursework includes networking fundamentals, operating systems management, and computer integration. While these courses may seem challenging, these are made easier with the guidance of instructors and student support services.
The laboratory training and hands-on experience reflect the program’s in-the-now approach. Recent developments in computer network administration are incorporated in the curriculum, and, thus, there’s a little industry-academe gap.
Students have direct access to their academic advisors and success coaches who work with them for their success. UToledo also has several useful resources, including eLibrary, eTutoring, and IT Help Desk for online students.