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An associate degree is a convenient way for beginning students and working professionals to further their education on a schedule that’s right for them. These convenient and affordable programs are an ideal path for pursuing your career. Explore the information below to learn more about accredited online associate degree programs.

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What’s an Associate Degree?

An associate degree is a two-year program with the majority of its coursework specific to student career interests. Most to all college universities offer online associate degrees; however, their associate programs vary per institution. To learn which colleges offer what associate degrees, use our university search tool! If the goal is to enhance existing career skills or to gain new ones, an associate degree may be the right college program for you.

Do Associate Degrees Pay Well?

Typically, campus or online associate degrees do not entail the same rates as higher-degree programs like bachelor or master’s degrees, all other factors being equal. Employers tend to place an initial higher value on four-year degrees than two. However, that does not mean an associate degree only leads to minimum-wage jobs. Doors open almost as readily for an individual who has an associate degree as do individuals with higher education degrees.

The career path you choose significantly impacts your salary, in addition to experience and qualifications. Be sure to examine all appropriate variables, personal interests, and goals when determining which online associate degrees and programs are right for you.

Accredited Online Associate Degree Programs

Campus or online associate degrees are typically earned at community colleges – also known as junior colleges – and trade and technical schools. Four-year universities also provide opportunities for associate degrees; however, they are not as program specific compared to community colleges. Students can earn an associate degree either online or on-campus depending on which program they select, and what programs the college offers.

Accredited online associate degree programs offer a combination of both core undergraduate education and specialized career-oriented coursework. Here is a brief list of courses that may be required for an associate degree:



Basic Computer Course

This class is designed to teach basic computer understanding and literacy to help a student use their computer as a tool for success as a student.

Spanish I

Students in a basic Spanish course will learn the fundamentals of the Spanish language as well as concepts to carry on to learn about Spanish conversation in more advanced courses.

Introduction to Anthropology

Students in a basic spanish course will learn the fundamentals of the spanish language as well as concepts to carry on to learn about spanish conversation in more advanced courses.

Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education teaches about preschool and the coursework needed to be able to teach young children. It goes over the basics of teaching in a classroom and foundation for teaching work.

Accounting I

This beginning accounting course focuses on the basics and foundation of accounting.

Why Should I Pursue an Associate Degree?

There are many reasons why online associate degrees are a great option, as opposed to bachelor or master’s degree:

  • For students who have not decided on their desired major, or those whose career field does not require a four-year degree, an associate degree is a perfect option.
  • Accredited online associate degree programs are specifically designed to help students determine which line of work is best suited for them by classes offering a wide variety of disciplines.
  • Others who may greatly benefit from an associate degree are those who are looking to enter a specific career field with immediate eligibility for possible promotion. Many employers require employees to have some form of higher education, so obtaining online associate degrees can be a valuable tool for broadening advancement opportunities.
  • Finally, an associate degree is convenient for students who may want to establish a strong history of academic success before applying to a competitive four-year university. Since four-year colleges permit the transferring of credits earned from an campus or accredited online associate degree program, students have the opportunity to obtain their bachelor’s degree in two years or less.


Earning a two-year degree allows individuals to enter a career field quickly. Then, they can begin gaining experience in their desired profession.

With any career, regardless of college education, factors that impact salary compensation are geographic location, profession, experience, industry, and the employer.

Some examples of careers that only require campus or online associate degrees are:

  • Health Care

    Medical Assistants, Medical Billing and Coding, Dental Assistants and Hygienists, Nuclear Medicine Technologists, Physical Therapy Assistants and Aides, Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, Radiation Therapists, and Registered Nurses

  • First Responders

    Police officers, Firefighters, EMTs, and Paramedics

  • Legal Professionals

    Paralegals, Court Reporters, Forensics Technicians, Homeland Security Officers, and Correctional Officers

  • Information Technology & Technical

    Web Developer, Information Technology (IT) Specialists, Civil Engineering Technicians, Air Traffic Controller, and Construction Trades Technicians, Nuclear Technician, Computer Programmer

Community College Benefits:

If you are unsure about what degree you want to pursue but still want to attend college, then community/junior colleges are highly recommended. Here’s why:

  • Community and junior colleges are an ideal starting point in that they tend to be less expensive than four-year colleges. This benefit has become increasingly evident as more and more four-year universities are offering “reverse transfers”, which allows students to complete a two-year degree program before returning to obtain a bachelor’s degree, lowering students’ educational costs. With little variance between core courses at a four-year university and a two-year college, it is a sensible solution for many students looking to save on college expenses without having to compromise the quality of their education.
  • The versatility of accredited online associate degree programs is that it allows students to obtain a well-rounded education, positioning them to excel in their career of choice with distinguished success.
  • Technology, such as video conferencing and instant chat, is used to help produce an environment just as engaging as one that is on-campus.
  • Additionally, with accredited online associate degree programs, students enjoy the benefit of learning anywhere they like at any time of the day in an environment that is tailored specifically to their schedule and lifestyle.

Online Associate Degrees & Colleges

Accredited online associate degree programs provide a distance learning opportunity for students who live far away from a university. All components of the application process and online associate degrees include:

  • Application
  • Registration
  • Enrollment
  • Course selection
  • Coursework

Most to all are conducted digitally through a college’s online portal.

Quick Q&A:

  • Are faculty readily available for students who participate in online associate degrees and programs?

    Yes! Online professors set regular ‘office hours’ for students who need assistance. Email is typical and the most effective way to contact professors; however, some instructors are also adding video chat as a contact method. Some online courses may also offer 24-hour chat rooms, which is beneficial if you are studying remotely.

  • Am I required to be online daily while attending an online school?

    Absolutely not! While some classes for online associate degrees require ‘attendance’ (i.e. engaging in discussions posts), most online schooling is scheduled around the time of the student. With most accredited online associate degree programs, courses grant students around-the-clock access to their studies, which can make earning a degree much faster than attending standard on-campus classes which have rigid start-to-finish completion dates. Learn more about campus colleges!

  • Will I receive the same level of peer interaction learning online as I would in an on-site classroom?

    Yes – to an extent. Quality academic relationships can be formed between students receiving their education online through collaborative assignments, conference calls, online chat, phone number exchange, etc., as peer connection via the Internet is a growing reality.

  • If online learning takes less hours to complete than traditional learning, is it still as valuable?

    Yes, because online learning requires students to balance school with other responsibilities To potential employers, this may be viewed as an achievement as students are learning and receiving their online associate degrees remotely from campus. Many individuals attending online programs tend to complete their degree in a short amount of time and are viewed by potential employees as dedicated and driven.

  • Do all online schools provide financial aid assistance?

    No, not necessarily. Schools with superior credentials that provide accredited online associate degrees and other higher education degrees have a greater likelihood of providing students with financial assistance. Students are encouraged to meet with financial aid representatives prior to enrolling when choosing a school based on this factor.

Community College Accreditation

Accreditation is an act of granting recognition to institutions that display appropriate credit and qualifications for services, usually with regards to a business or educational facility.

Many colleges and universities seek accreditation to ensure their institution is recognized as performing at a level desired by attendees and employers of their alumni. Financial aid agencies will more readily offer grants, loans, and work-study packages to accredited colleges. The U.S. Department of Education approves accreditation agencies. Different credentials may be sought after for various educational facilities, depending on a school’s specialties.