If you need an online associate degree in business...fast, take a look at our deep dive into the 20 best associate programs to get that degree as quickly as possible.
The fastest online associate’s of business programs come in two major formats—first, accelerated programs with condensed coursework; and second, typical programs that accept transfer credits.
In both cases, the coursework emphasizes the fundamental knowledge and skills of business including human resources, accounting, and management. Students prepare for entry-level business administration or business management jobs in a wide range of industries, from retail and fast-food to banking and finance.
Many associate degree online programs also have embedded post-secondary certifications in business that can be stacked as credits. These post-secondary certifications can also be standalone credentials, meaning these will boost your employment opportunities, and these can be pursued outside of an associate degree.
You might wonder whether an online accelerated associate program is a good fit for you.
Online associate degrees are usually designed for working professionals, adult learners, and other non-traditional learners who want to earn an associate degree for career advancement, even for entrepreneurial purposes.
Fresh high school graduates who want to test the waters, so to speak, before getting into a bachelor’s degree program are also welcome. The convenience, accessibility, and flexibility of these online programs make it easier to fit into a busy lifestyle where personal and professional commitments can get in the way of college education.
Online associate degree programs in business, which can be in the specific fields of business administration or business management, come in three major degree types:
All these online associate degree programs are accepted by employers, colleges, and universities, and other stakeholders. But due to the differences in their curriculum emphasis, you must carefully consider your choice.
For example, if you’re into math, an AS in Business degree program with its technical training will likely be your best fit.
But if your skills are in leadership, communication, and collaboration, then AA in Business online programs will be more up your alley.
Online associate’s degree programs have more straightforward admissions requirements and processes than online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.
Many programs even have open-door policies and rolling admissions, while the most selective require satisfactory standardized test scores, among others.
The typical accelerated online associate degree programs have these common admissions requirements :
Online programs usually ask applicants to submit copies of their official high school transcripts and other official documents via an online portal, but paper copies may also be required.
Applicants to accelerated online associate degree programs may also be required to demonstrate their drive and determination to keep up with the condensed coursework via letters of recommendation and a personal statement.
Online associate degree programs have the same number of credit requirements as their on-campus counterparts. This is true for accelerated online associate degree programs, too—from 60 to 70 semester credits.
Transfer credits are counted in the total number of credits required for completion, and these usually include general education courses.
The typical curriculum consists of 30 credits of general education and elective courses and 30 credits of business courses, but it can vary depending on the associate degree program.
The typical associate degree program has a two-year time-to-completion for full-time students, and this is true for online associate degree programs, too.
Accelerated online associate degree programs, however, have a shorter time-to-completion ranging from 16 months to 20 months depending on the pace of the coursework and the transferred credits.
Note that due to their shortened time-to-completion, students pursuing accelerated associate degrees in business must spend more hours on reading learning materials, meeting assignment deadlines, and attending classes.
In other words, accelerated programs ask more of their students. As such, you will need to keep up with the fast-paced demands of your classes.
The pressure is real, and so is the struggle!
Some online associate degree programs in business offer concentration and/or certification options that customize the associate degree. Areas of concentration include:
Accelerated associate degrees with a concentration option may be more attractive to employers because these demonstrate uncommon commitment, determination and specialization.
Aside from general education courses, online associate degree programs in business have these business-centric courses:
Accelerated online associate degree programs may require students to take 2-3 classes per semester, thus, the greater time commitment to studies.
The learning structure and infrastructure in online associate degree programs vary but online students usually use a learning management system (LMS).
Every LMS, such as Moodle. Canvas, or Blackboard, has its specific features and functions but it’s a digital platform where students and faculty members can:
Online associate degree programs may also combine asynchronous and synchronous formats for online courses. In synchronous online courses, students attend online classes at the same time, view live lectures, and participate in class discussions.
Online students pursuing accelerated associate degrees should check about on-campus residency requirements, which may include welcome orientations, team-building, and networking activities, and social events.
Most, if not all, accelerated online associate degree programs also have proctored exams for online students. Cheating and other academic misdemeanors in these online programs are prevented via proctoring software.
Online associate degree programs may or may not be more affordable than on-campus associate degree programs due to several factors.
The tuition per credit and other fees, in-state and out-of-state tuition policies, and technology fees are among the notable factors that affect total cost of attendance in online programs.
Online students, however, can save on gas and incidental expenses since there are little to no on-campus visits required.
Online students may spend between $90 and $435+ on per credit tuition for their associate degree in business.
Total tuition for 2-year online programs range from $6,000 to $26,000+ but it can be less with financial aid, military discounts, and transfer credits from previous college coursework, life and work experiences, and other institutional programs.
Graduates of online associate degree programs are qualified for entry-level jobs in diverse industries, aside from being more competitive in the job market than individuals with a high school diploma or some college education.
With sufficient work experience and exceptional performance, you can become one of these professionals:
But why stop with online associate degree programs? You may also want to pursue online programs offering bachelor’s degrees in business administration or business management!
Your career opportunities will be better with a bachelor’s degree plus work experience. But an accelerated associate is a great place to start.
We use our innovative InfluenceRanking™ Engine to compare billions of data points to find the best programs.
Specifically, we chose our list of the 20 online associate degree programs in business according to the following criteria:
UMass Lowell prepares students for real-world problems and solutions through quality yet accessible education. Personalized attention combined with hands-on learning characterizes UMass education in all of its degree programs.
This is true for its AS In Business Administration program where students receive a comprehensive business education that covers accounting, marketing, and statistics, among others. Students in the AACSB-accredited associate degree program develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills, too.
With its strategic location near Boston, the business and technology corridor of New England, UMass Lowell provides its students and alumni with rich employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. UMass Lowell also provides hundreds of co-op, internship, and serving learning opportunities, socialization events via its 250+ student clubs and organizations, and the prestige of its degrees.UMass Lowell is great for students who:
Thrive in competitive environments where excellence is encouraged in every aspect of lifeUMass Lowell might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer the small community vibe
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a popular academic destination for non-traditional learners because of its 200+ career-focused programs that offer the convenience and flexibility suitable for their busy lifestyles. Affordable tuition combined with financial aid as well as a generous transfer credits policy—up to 90 credits allowed—keeps SNHU relevant in a changing industry.
The AS in Business Administration program allows up to 45 transfer credits, thus, allowing students to save time and money. The ACBSP-accredited associate degree program provides 24/7 accessibility to its learning materials. Students learn about business law, human resource management, and accounting.
SNHU is known for its commitment to student success, and it’s evident in its excellent student support services including admissions counselors, academic advisors, and career advisors being present.SNHU is great for students who:
Want a quality private university education at a fraction of the standard costSNHU might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer a small- to mid-sized student body for more camaraderie and familiarity
Students of DeVry University benefit from the stackable nature of many of its degree programs! Qualifying credits can be applied to another degree, thus, resulting in time and money savings. Students also thrive under the flexible learning arrangements and resources.
Credits earned in the Associate of Business program are also stackable toward a bachelor’s degree in business. Students in the ACBSP-accredited associate degree program choose from four concentrations after completion of 30 credits—Budgeting and Forecasting, General Business, Healthcare Business, and Retail Management. Students also earn the Business Essentials undergraduate certificate.
Most courses are divided into eight one-week increments, thus, providing students with the flexibility they need to keep up with the coursework. We also love the technology degree programs, such as software information systems and technology engineering.DeVry is great for students who:
Flourish in nontraditional learning environments and benefit from the focus on innovationDeVry might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer the familiarity of small colleges and universities
The human touch is what sets apart Purdue University Global from other online colleges and universities! With its dynamic community of students, faculty and staff, and alumni, the public university ensures a solid foundation in higher education suitable for the real world.
The AAS in Business Administration program requires 15-18 hours of time and effort per week for students to earn the degree faster than expected. The ACBSP-accredited associate degree program consists of 10-week terms with courses in accounting, management and business operations. Students choose from several concentrations including Customer Service, Entrepreneurship, or Retail Management.
The campus traditions bring every Boilermaker to come and enjoy them! Fountain Runs, the Boilermaker Special, and the annual Grand Prix are among the most memorable.Purdue Global is great for students who:
Prefer the convenience and flexibility of online programs while also enjoying a worldwide network of like-minded individualsPurdue Global might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer the face-to-face interactions of on-campus programs
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana
Institution Type: Public online university/public benefit corporation
Admission Rate: 100%
Graduation Rate: 31%
Online Student Enrollment: 32,500+
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Colorado Tech students agree that their education isn’t just about the technical skills learned but, more importantly, about the personal confidence to apply these skills! Establishing meaningful, if not useful, personal connections and professional networks is a bonus.
The AS in Business Administration program prepares students for the more challenging pursuit of a bachelor’s degree and for the fulfilling pursuit of career advancement. Students in the ACBSP-accredited associate degree program learn the technical skills in day-to-day business operations alongside transferable skills in effective leadership.
The free Fast Track program can result in accelerated studies, thanks to your prior coursework and experiential learning being acknowledged for credit purposes. We also like the Intellipath program.CTU is great for students who:
Prefer the career-focused training of a technical university but with a robust general educationCTU might not be the best fit for students who:
Like a rural campus community where familiarity rules
Students at Penn Foster College learn under the experienced tutelage of credentialed professors and thrive with the exceptional student support services provided. Here, taking control of your college education is a reality, and it’s among the reasons for the Penn Foster system’s enduring popularity.
If you’re looking for a business management degree that builds your skills sets for the real world, then look no further than the AS in Business Management associate degree program! Coursework covers the fundamentals of management, marketing, business law, and financial accounting, and students can accelerate their studies.
Resting on its laurels isn’t the Penn Foster system’s gameplay! Innovation is in its blood, and it shows in its partnership with other organizations, such as its partnership with Carrus in the development of an accessible middle-skills training program for healthcare workers.Penn Foster is great for students who:
Want career-focused, workplace-relevant education for a wide range of industries, from business to science and technologyPenn Foster might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer the on-campus, in-person college experience
Faith-based education with a focus on personal and professional growth is the hallmark of Campbellsville University. Students acquire a well-rounded education that emphasizes tolerance for diverse perspectives and servant leadership.
Students in the AS in Business Administration program develop strong foundation skills in business administration via a well-rounded curriculum. The IACBE-accredited associate degree program has an internship component with students choosing between business information technology or business administration.
The striking 80-acre campus has beautiful places, but students also have the opportunity to enjoy adventures in nearby downtown Campbellsville or the Green River Lake state park.Campbellsville University is great for students who:
Desire a faith-based college education that builds a strong foundation for growthCampbellsville University might not be the best fit for students who:
Want a more secular education in a large university
Herzing University is well-known for the world-class quality of its online bachelor’s degree programs for adult learners, as well as among the best for military veterans. Combined with its robust commitment to social and business responsibility, Herzing students and alumni singing its praises is a common occurrence.
The AAS in Business Management program is among Herzing’s best online programs. The IACBE-accredited associate degree program has a business-centric coursework with courses in business law, marketing, general management, and project management. Students can transfer up to 46 credits and, thus, accelerate their studies.
Student diversity is among the gems in Herzing’s crown, and the diversity is useful in raising the standards of academic excellence.Herzing University is great for students who:
Prefer the online, self-paced learning method but who also want more on-campus options and opportunitiesHerzing University might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer the small community colleges
Goodwin University has magnet schools within its campus—the Connecticut River Academy, Riverside Magnet School, and Pathways Academy of Design and Technology, which are K-12 institutions with different themes. As a university, it’s known for its innovative programs that empower students for employment and entrepreneurship.
The AS in Business Administration program is an accelerated associate degree program that allows students to take fast-paced 7-week classes. Students become well-versed in the fundamentals of business administration including accounting, law and ethics, and leadership. The associate degree program also allows transfer credits and grants financial aid.
Its open enrollment policy enables students with academic potential to advance their personal and professional growth. Students not only receive a robust curriculum for contemporary times but also receive excellent student support services.Goodwin University is great for students who:
Thrive in a small campus where academic excellence, camaraderie and wholesome college experiences are equally encouragedGoodwin University might not be the best fit for students who:
Like the large-campus vibe with plenty of extracurriculars
With the Ursuline tradition as its guiding philosophy, Brescia University aims to educate students with a holistic approach—mind, body, and spirit. Students engage in challenging coursework, participate in championship athletics, and enjoy diverse extracurriculars.
The AS in Business program provides a solid introduction and establishes a robust foundation in business for its students. Both technical skills in business operations and transferable skills in leadership are emphasized. The online associate degree program also has a strong liberal arts foundation and its coursework has a condensed format that results in accelerated studies.
Students have plenty of extracurricular events for their enjoyment, from student-led social activities like parties, ice skating, and midnight bowling to orchestral concerts in town. Sports are also a large part of student life.Brescia University is great for students who:
Like the lifestyle away from the big city and prefer the tight-knit community of a small collegeBrescia University might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer large universities within easy distance of large cities
MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) is among the best private universities in Kansas and its nursing programs are acknowledged as the breeding ground for the best nursing professionals in the state. Both its on-campus and online programs are notable for their academic excellence and graduate outcomes including the lowest student debt incurred by graduates.
Individuals who want to earn an accelerated online associate degree may want to consider the Associates of Arts in Business program. The credits earned in the online associate degree program can also be transferred into a bachelor’s degree program, thus, resulting in money savings.
There isn’t a shortage of things to experience and people to meet at MNU, thanks to the wide range of clubs and organizations. Jazz bands, leadership societies, and gaming clubs are a few examples. MNU is also committed to student success in all aspects, thus, the presence of its academic success center and the student counseling and wellness center.MNU is great for students who:
Love a tight-knit community of students, faculty and staff members, and alumni in a Christian university
MNU might not be the best fit for students who:
Like the party atmosphere and abundant opportunities for socialization and networking at large universities
American InterContinental University (AIU) is an award-winning university with one of its awards being the Gold Medal for its Virtual Classroom at theIMS Global 2016 Learning Impacts Awards and the 2015 Best of Elearning! Award for its Intellipath learning platform. Indeed, students in its online associate degree programs benefit from the technological innovations brought into the classroom!
This is true for the AA in Business Administration program that uses Intellipath and, thus, allows students to earn credits for what they already know. Students gain fundamental business skills in accounting, management and marketing in the ACBSP-accredited associate degree program.
Student success is of utmost importance to AIU and, thus, every student has a Graduation Team consisting of an admissions advisor, a student advisor, a faculty advisor, and a financial aid advisor. Innovative programs are also offered, such as the Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality Management specialization in partnership with Le Cordon Bleu North America.AIU is great for students who:
Prefer a large campus community but with more personalized student support services
AIU might not be the best fit for students who:
Like a community college as their first exposure to higher education
The College of The Albemarle (COA) is the pioneering community college in North Carolina. Today, it takes pride in its enduring ability to transform lives through excellent education in seven counties. Credits earned in its online associate degree programs are transferable to 16 University of North Carolina schools and many of the state’s private colleges.
The AAS in General Business Administration accelerated online associate degree program has the same curriculum as its traditional counterpart. But it has an accelerated format and a condensed coursework that enables graduates to enter business organizations faster. Business law, accounting, and management are emphasized.
Students deserve the best possible support during their educational journey and COA provides it via its academic support, career, financial assistance and advising services. COA also offers world-class career and technical education programs in diverse fields, from emergency medical science to aviation systems technology.COA is great for students who:
Like the small college vibe for their career-ready educationCOA might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer large universities with their extensive research and networking opportunities
Graduates of the Community College of Philadelphia contribute to the local economy by staying in Philadelphia, either as employees or as entrepreneurs. CCP maintains academic partnerships including transfer agreements with other institutions to assist graduates of online associate degree programs to make a smooth transition into bachelor’s degree programs.
Students in its AA in Business Accelerated program progress through the program as a cohort tackling accelerated 7-week online courses. There’s a weekly synchronous component as well as in-person workshops and community events that strengthen their learning and establish their connections.
At the heart of CCP’s degree programs is the empowerment of the individual that, in turn, will contribute to community empowerment. Majority of its graduates remain in the local area and contribute to its development.CCP is great for students who:
Thrive in a community college setting but also want the diversity of extracurriculars that a larger university can offerCCP might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer pursuing their associate degree in a large university campus
Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) boasts of Utah’s largest and most diverse student body, but it’s also known for its small 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Graduates of its online associate degree programs can transfer their earned credits to four-year institutions in Utah.
The Associate of Science in Business program consists of 19 courses taken at a faster pace than the traditional business program. The accelerated online associate degree program has a cohort format where students complete 2-3 courses every 10-week term.
The Bruins are a winning bunch with 54 NJCAA All-American athletes, 192 Academic All-Americans, and 513 Academic All-Region honorees. The men’s basketball program has two NJCAA national championships, too, and SLCC has produced several notable professional athletes like Gary Payton II.SLCC is great for students who:
Like the combination of a community college and a large student body where lifelong connections can be madeSLCC might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer the small community college experience in the truest sense of the term
Lake Michigan College (LMC) makes it easy for high school students to enroll in its online associate degree programs through its Early College Program. Other programs that provide useful assistance for local residents to earn a college degree are the Start to Finish, Upward Bound, and the Educational Opportunity Center.
Among its accelerated online associate degree programs is the Associate in Business Administration where students acquire foundational knowledge and skills in business law, accounting, economics, and organizational behavior. Students must be motivated in their studies to complete the associate-to-bachelor’s transfer program.
Community impact, academic excellence and students’ success are at the heart of every program offered by the community college. Southwest Michigan is better for its presence, thanks to the numerous civic and socioeconomic impact activities LMC has for the larger community.LMC is great for students who:
Prefer to earn their associate degree from a community college and, thus, save on costs yet still get the full college experienceLMC might not be the best fit for students who:
Like large campuses with more diverse students
Students at Strayer University have access to Sophia, a program where up to two free general education courses can be applied toward an undergraduate degree. This can result in significant savings without compromising on the quality of education.
The AA in Business Administration program is also characterized by reasonable costs and quality education. There are 20 associate courses in the online associate degree program with all classes recognized as credits when transferring into Strayer’s bachelor’s degree in business program. Students also develop their soft skills in the ACBSP-accredited program and even earn one free class for every three classes completed.
Student success is a commitment at Strayer with student service coaches, study groups and tutoring services available for all students. Online students can also avail of the free tutoring services.Strayer is great for students who:
Like a large campus community where on-campus and online students can meet and mingleStrayer might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer the rural vibe in small community college for their associate degree
Lorain County Community College has partnerships with 14 Ohio universities that allow its graduates to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees after earning their associate degrees here. The community college was the first in Ohio of its kind to establish such a partnership, which has benefited thousands of students through lower tuition costs.
The AA in Business program is an accelerated online associate degree program where students tackle 8- and 10-week courses. Students learn financial and managerial accounting, economics, and legal environment of business while pursuing their online associate degree, and earned credits can be transferred into bachelor’s degree programs via Ohio Guaranteed Transfer Pathway.
Individuals interested in an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in micro-electrical mechanical systems (MEMS) will find these programs at LCCC. In fact, it’s the first community college in Ohio with these MEMS programs and the first community college, too, with the MIT-designed Fab Lab.LCCC is great for students who:
Want cutting-edge technology in a wide range of fields that only the best community colleges can offerLCCC might not be the best fit for students who:
Like the familiarity of a small community college where traditional programs and the status quo are valued
With steady enrollment growth in the past 13 years, Colorado Christian University is among the country’s fastest-growing universities. As a flagship Christian university, its core curriculum has a strong Christ-centered philosophy that encourages students to make a positive impact on their communities.
CCU Online, or College of Adult and Graduate Studies, offers its online associate degree program in business—AS in Business Administration—for adult learners. The faith-based liberal arts coursework is complemented by contemporary business-related courses in accounting, management, marketing, and finance. College, technical and military credits are accepted, thus, shortening your stay in the program.
With its strategic location, CCU offers plenty of extracurriculars for its students, from enjoying the Colorado Rockies to participating in student-led ministries and competing in sports.CCU is great for students who:
Thrive in a Christ-centered environment that also emphasizes student success and academic excellenceCCU might not be the best fit for students who:
Dislike lifestyle restrictions including compulsory attendance of church services
The campus of Reinhardt University is so beautiful that students may not want to leave it too soon! Lush vegetation, hiking and biking trails, and striking bodies of water make for an enjoyable stay in the 525-acre campus. But students who want to enjoy the city life only need to drive to downtown Atlanta!
The Associate of Business Administration program is intended for adult learners and business professionals who want to advance their careers. Credits earned in the online associate degree program are transferable to a bachelor’s degree program, too. Coursework consists of general education and business courses.
The people are what makes Reinhardt University a great place for education and friendships! With its competent and caring faculty and staff members, the university makes its campus a second home for students.Reinhardt University is great for students who:
Love the camaraderie of a small college but also appreciate the academic competitionReinhardt University might not be the best fit for students who:
Prefer a large campus with thousands of students