Best Online Associate Degrees in Tennessee 2023

Best Online Associate Degrees in Tennessee 2023

Find the best online associate degrees in Tennessee ranked by the academic success of faculty and alumni associated with the colleges and universities and their online degree programs.

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Colleges and Universities in Tennessee

About one third of the higher learning institutes in Tennessee are public schools. Students who attend these schools can expect to pay anywhere between $4,000 to $13,000 in tuition and have the option to pursue degrees in fields such as economics, history, nursing, literature, education, and criminal justice. Tennessee’s largest public school, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, boasts some impressive alumni, including Oprah Winfrey, Kurt Vonnegut, and Cormac McCarthy. The private school alumni are equally as notable. For example, author James Patterson and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus both attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

Tennessee also offers nearly 30 religiously affiliated schools, the largest being Belmont University in Nashville, located just blocks from the famous Music Row. Here, students can study a wide range of fields including Christian leadership, audio engineering technology, and biophysics. Additionally, Tennessee offers students several loan forgiveness programs. Math and science teachers, minority teachers, and registered nurses interested in becoming teachers or administrators who meet certain requirements may be eligible.

Tennessee is home to mouthwatering barbecues, electrified blues, and the sweeping majesty of the Smoky Mountains National Park. And with access to countless historic sites, unique museums, and lush green spaces, students attending one of the more than 60 colleges and universities in The Volunteer State will have plenty to do and see in their downtime.

Discover more about the top programs and higher education learning opportunities available in Tennessee.


What are Tennessee’s Colleges & Universities?

Tennessee’s Best Overall

What is an Associate Degree?

An associate degree is a two-year degree that can be earned at state community colleges, vocational schools, and most accredited colleges and universities.

What will I study with an associate degree?

The associate degree provides an introductory level college education. You will usually take an array of liberal arts or humanities courses along with introductory level courses in a specific subject area. Most associate degree programs are available to both on campus students and online students.

Why get an associate degree?

There are several good reasons to get an associate degree. An associate degree is an affordable and accessible way to get a college education while improving your earning potential. The associate degree is popular both among students looking for entry-level work in their field, and for those who are already working.

The online degree is particularly popular at the associate level because so many students must balance work responsibilities and studies. Online courses and complete online programs make it possible for students to earn associate credits and degrees without disrupting daily work responsibilities.

The associate is also a far more affordable and accessible alternative to earning a bachelor’s degree. The associate degree takes about half as long to earn as a bachelor’s degree. Associate students need 60 credits to graduate, versus the 120 credits needed for a bachelor’s degree. And many state community colleges offer low tuition rates.

Can I get a job with an associate degree?

You can get an entry-level job in your field with an associate degree. Many students will use the associate degree as a way to get relevant job training before entering the job market. In fact, many associates will pursue entry level work in their field while earning a bachelor’s degree through online education.

Should I get an associate degree before pursuing a bachelor’s degree?

You may want to get an associate degree first to save money, or improve your admission chances, before getting a bachelor’s degree. The associate degree is a popular stepping stone for students who will seek a bachelor’s degree. When you earn an associate degree from an accredited state community college, you can usually transfer your credits toward your bachelor’s degree program.

Can I get an online degree at the associate level?

You can definitely get an online degree at the associate level. A growing number of online colleges offer high-quality associate-level online courses and complete online programs. Online students will typically take the same courses and curricula as on campus students.

Are associate degrees from online colleges respected?

Online degrees at the associate level are respected as long as these online degrees come from accredited community colleges or two-year schools. Regional accreditation is important when it comes to online colleges. If you plan to go into a bachelor’s degree program at a regionally accredited school, you must earn your online degree from a regionally accredited associate degree program.

If you need more answers to frequently asked questions about online degrees, we can help.

Best Online Associate Degree Programs in Tennessee
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Best Online Associate Degrees in Tennessee 2022

  1. #1

    Fisk University

    Nashville , TN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/23

    Online Associate Degrees

    Associate of Human Development and Leadership
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
  2. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1053/21

    Online Associate Degrees

    Associate of Liberal Arts
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
  3. #3

    Bryan College

    Dayton , TN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    1K

    Online Associate Degrees

    AS in Business
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. #4

    King University

    Bristol , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/22

    Online Associate Degrees

    Associate of Arts
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 20 months
    • Format: Online
  5. #5

    Union University

    Jackson , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    53%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/26

    Online Associate Degrees

    AS in Professional Studies

    Concentrations

    • Christian Leadership
    • Organizational Leadership
    • Human Services: Accelerated BSN
    • Human Services: Social Work
    • Required Credits: 28-32
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  6. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    6K

    Online Associate Degrees

    AS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Business

    Concentrations

    • Logistics and Supply Chain Management
    • Management
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Computer Information Technology

    Concentrations

    • Networking
    • Cyber Defense
    • Programming
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AA in English
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AA in Foreign Language
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AA/AS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AS in Mathematics and Science
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AA/AS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Fire Science
    • Required Credits: 60-61
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AS in Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AA in Political Science
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AS in Economics
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AS in Secondary Education
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AS in Social Science and Education
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AA in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AS in Finance
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AA in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AA in History
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    AA/AS in Liberal Arts
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  7. Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1146/22

    Online Associate Degrees

    AA in General Studies
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AS in Business Management
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. #8

    Welch College

    Gallatin , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    <1K

    Online Associate Degrees

    Associate of Arts
    • Required Credits: 62
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AS in Business
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AS in Ministry
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    5K

    Online Associate Degrees

    AS in Accounting
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AS in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AS/AAS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
  10. #10

    Johnson University

    Knoxville , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $19K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    974/21

    Online Associate Degrees

    Associate of Applied Linguistics
    • Required Credits: 61
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    Associate of Biblical Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    Associate of Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 61
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Associate of Intercultural Studies
    • Required Credits: 61
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    Associate of Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 60-62
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    Associate of Ministry Leadership
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Associate of Psychology
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    13%

    Student body

    5K

    Online Associate Degrees

    AAS in Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AAS in General Technology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Computer Information Technology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Web Technology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  12. Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    3K

    Online Associate Degrees

    AAS in Health Information Management
    • Required Credits: 66
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Computer Information Technology: Programming
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AS in General Transfer
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Geographic Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
  13. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    2K

    Online Associate Degrees

    AS in Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 60-62
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AS in Marketing
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Administrative Professional Technology

    Concentrations

    • Business
    • Legal
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AS in Management
    • Required Credits: 60-62
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AS in Finance
    • Required Credits: 60-62
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Computer Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AS in Information Systems
    • Required Credits: 60-62
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Administrative Professional Technology
    • Required Credits: 63
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AS in Education
    • Required Credits: 61
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AS in History
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AS in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AS in Political Science
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AA in English
    • Required Credits: 62
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Medical Informatics
    • Required Credits: 61
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
  14. #14

    Bethel University

    McKenzie , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    38%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    987/18

    Online Associate Degrees

    AA/AAS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AA/AAS in Business
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AAS in Business

    Concentrations

    • Customer Relationship Management
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AS in Liberal Arts
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  15. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    19%

    Student body

    5K

    Online Associate Degrees

    AAS in Business

    Concentrations

    • Management
    • Marketing and Retailing
    • Required Credits: 61
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  16. #16

    Tusculum University

    Greeneville , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1002/21

    Online Associate Degrees

    AA in General Studies

    Concentrations

    • Communication
    • English
    • K-12 Education
    • History
    • Religious Studie
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    AS in General Studies

    Concentrations

    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  17. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Graduation

    27%

    Student body

    2K

    Online Associate Degrees

    Associate of Early Childhood Education
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    AA/AS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
    Associate of Health Information Management
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
  18. #18

    John A. Gupton College

    Nashville , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    <1K

    Online Associate Degrees

    AAS in Funeral Service
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  19. Online Associate Degrees

    Associate of Database Management and Administration
    • Required Credits: 94
    • Completion time: 84 weeks
    • Format: Online
    Associate of Digital Graphic Art
    • Required Credits: 92
    • Completion time: 72 weeks
    • Format: Online
    Associate of Restaurant, Hospitality, and Retail Management
    • Required Credits: 101
    • Completion time: 84 weeks
    • Format: Online
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Online Degree Frequently Asked Questions

If this is your first time taking an online course, the experience may require a time of adjustment. Although you’ll typically learn the same material and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, going online will require greater independence and responsibility than going in person. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, for harnessing the online educational technology that you’ll need to use, and for completing the course requirements, such as listening to lectures, learning lessons, reading texts, and handing in assignments. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take the initiative in building relationships with your instructors and classmates. With online college, your goal is to find a balance between independence and engagement.

No. The only part of online education that’s easier than campus-based education is ease of access: all you need is a computer and an internet connection for online education. But even this seeming advantage of online education can be misleading: what’s easier, studying online with your computer and internet connection from your home where you need to cook, clean, pay rent, and maintain a job? Or studying on campus in a dorm where all your living needs are handled by the school, and college staff are there to help you every step of the way?

If you take the commute to campus out of the equation, campus-based education is easier. All the support structures available on campus for students, especially with real people to help you in person, are not there online. The demands on you as an online student will largely be the same as for your campus-based counterpart, but without the same helps.

In general, your online courses will present the same material and test you in the same way as traditional in-person courses. In many cases, you’ll even have the same instructors as your on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you are adjusting to the experience of independent learning with remote educational technology for the first time, online college may be considerably more challenging than campus-based college. For a few insights on how to manage this new online experience, check out our 10 Tips for Adjusting to School Online.

Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable non-profit institutions on the one end and less-than-reputable for-profit institutions on the other end. Accreditation gives you the power to identify the more reputable actors in online education. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency indicating that a college or university is meeting standards of quality and credibility. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.

Attending a college or university that is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. For students seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that they opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree. For more on this important topic, check out our What is Accreditation and Why Does It Matter? College & University Accreditation Guide.

As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited (see the previous point), you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer of credits. In many cases, you will encounter some bureaucratic haggling in which some of your credits will be transferred and others may be refused. However, provided that you have attended an online school with recognized regional accreditation, you should be in good shape in transferring your credits earned online.

In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript, or resumé differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.

Some employers may express the concern that because you did your degree online, you may need to transition from an online education experience to in-person workplace experience. But in an age of Covid, that concern seems much diminished. The fact is that much employment these days is remote. And collaboration increasingly happens online over Zoom. Many employers will therefore view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.

If you are a student who thrives on the dynamic energy of in-person discussion, who requires the physical surroundings of a classroom to feel engaged, or who considers the social aspects of education to be of equal importance to the actual content of your courses, online education will be less than ideal for you (though depending on your circumstances, it may also be the only viable option).

While there is much in traditional campus-based education that can be substituted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing that can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual in-person classroom setting. As you transition to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face in getting the most out of your online classes is overcoming this difference between “real reality” and “virtual reality.” Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.

The advantages of online classes are many. Above all, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities-educational experiences that you can complete at your own pace and on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.

Resources for Online College-Bound Students

Whether you’re just getting started on your college search, you’re looking for survival tips on your way to a bachelor’s degree, or you’re preparing for the transition into grad school, we’ve got guides, how to’s and tons of other valuable resources to keep you moving forward in your educational journey.