Online Associate Degrees: A Complete List of Programs

Online Associate Degrees: A Complete List of Programs

Below is a list of online associate degrees you can earn, organized by subject. View the alphabetically listed disciplines and subdisciplines below to find rankings for the best online associate degree programs in every subject.

Key Takeaways

  • The associate degree is a two-year, 60-credit degree program that provides introductory level college education in a wide variety of undergraduate subject areas.
  • Associate degrees are widely available both online and in-person, and as both arts and science degrees.
  • Many students will earn their online associate degrees at community colleges. The associate degree can provide a pathway into an entry-level job or a starting point for students who plan to transfer into four-year bachelor’s degree programs.

What can I major in with an online associate degree?

You have a lot of options for your major when pursuing an online associate’s degree. Associate degrees are often built around a general education, providing a foundation in the humanities, liberal arts, and natural sciences. However, most associate degrees also give you the opportunity to take introductory classes in a specific discipline. Some popular fields for associate degrees include:

Humanities Degrees

Best Online Associate in Agribusiness

Agribusiness combines agriculture and business in a course of study that explores the leading advances in the farming and agricultural industries. An associate degree in agricultural business will include subjects like land management, sustainable farming, farming economics, and more. Some agriculture degree programs include agricultural science courses whereas other agriculture degrees will focus entirely on the business side of agriculture.

An associate degree in agribusiness can give you the foundational knowledge to work in a wide range of agricultural careers including farm management, soil science, animal science, or in the marketing, sales, and processing of farm products.

Best Online Associate in American Sign Language

Earning an associate degree in American Sign Language will prepare students for entry-level positions or further study in the field. Students will take classes on Deaf Culture, Sign Language Interpreting, and American Sign Language.

Students who earn an online associate degree in ASL will qualify to work as translators, interpreters, student aids, or advocates for the hearing impaired community.

Best Online Associate in Animation or Illustration

An online associate in animation or illustration is a highly practical art degree that can prepare students for work in a wide range of commercial, entertainment, and digital fields. Students earning an associate in animation illustration will study topics such as the fundamentals of two- and three-dimensional animation, special effects, and motion graphics.

Though many animation/illustration students go on to earn four-year degrees in similar areas, associate graduates can enter the workforce as multimedia artists and computer animation artists. Associates often find careers in marketing, web design, and commercial design.

Best Online Associate in Biblical Studies

Earning an associate degree in biblical studies is a great way to combine your faith and your future career goals. You’ll typically take online courses on topics such as Christian doctrine, the Old and New Testament, and spiritual leadership. Many students will pair this degree with another area of study, such as social work, family counseling, or nonprofit management.

Students who earn their online associate in biblical studies may be qualified to work in an array of ministry, mission, and social services positions, including as youth ministers and program supervisors.

Best Online Associate in Business Administration

An online associate degree in business administration can be a great way to enter the workforce and immediately begin gaining experience in your field. Students earning an associate in business administration will study topics like marketing, business writing, financial accounting, and the principles of management.

Associate degree holders in business administration can compete for jobs in fields like sales, human resources, medical and health services, and fundraising. Because the business world is competitive, many students will advance toward a bachelor’s degree in a related area after earning their associate degree in business administration.

Best Online Associate in Business Management

With the online associate degree in business management similar to the associate degree in business administration, business management is generally geared toward working professionals who want to strengthen their skills in managing employees and resources. Courses cover topics such as managerial accounting, sales management, and business law.

The online associate in business management is an excellent starting point for students who hope to work in leadership roles.

Best Online Associate in Christian Ministry

Many students with an interest in faith-based jobs will begin with an associate’s degree in Christian ministry. Christian ministry students are often hands-on people who will work to serve members of a community, or share Christianity locally, nationally, or internationally.

Students who earn an associate degree in Christian Ministry can enter the workforce as an associate pastor, youth leader, or missionary.

Best Online Associate in Communications

An associate degree in communications can help you get your start in fields like business, marketing, public relations, and media. Students will take courses in professional communication, interpersonal communication, and mass media.

Graduates with an associate degree in communications will be ready to enter the workforce as technical writers, broadcast technicians, public relations specialists, marketing managers, and more.

Best Online Associate in Early Childhood Education

The associate in early childhood education is an excellent starting point for future childcare workers, teachers, and tutors. Students will take classes in areas such as childhood psychology, pedagogy, and behavior psychology.

The online associate in early childhood education can be a direct pathway to entry-level education and childcare positions, or it can serve as a stepping stone toward a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate.

Best Online Associate in Education

The online associate degree in education is an affordable and accessible way to begin your pursuit of a career in classroom education. You’ll study subjects like curriculum development, student assessment, childhood development, and more.

In order to become a classroom teacher, you will need to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program after earning your associate degree. However, an associate degree in education can also qualify you to work as a teaching assistant or gain an entry level position in an educational technology, educational publishing, or tutoring company.

Best Online Associate in English

An associate degree in English can provide a practical entryway into a wide range of careers in business, education, and much more. Associate in English courses cover topics like literature, writing, journalism, and communications.

Earning an associate in English degree can be a great first step on the path to becoming a writer or teacher. The associate degree in English can also provide access to entry level roles in marketing, journalism, and digital media content development.

Best Online Associate in Entrepreneurship

The associate degree in entrepreneurship is an ideal degree for students with an interest in both business administration and leadership. Students will take courses in areas like project management, business finances, marketing techniques, and business law.

Students who graduate with an associate degree in entrepreneurship will be prepared to develop a startup business, take on a managerial role in an organization, or transition into a four-year degree program.

Best Online Associate in French

Students who earn an associate degree in French will study the language and culture alongside French history, art, and society. French is one of six languages spoken at the United Nations and across 29 different countries. This means French speakers can work in a number of sectors, including education, hospitality, public relations, journalism, and interpretation.

The associate degree in French will include courses in practical usage of the language as well as courses in French Literature, and grammar. Students who earn the online associate degree in French will often transition into a four-year college program in order to increase their language proficiency and improve their career prospects.

Best Online Associate in Gender Studies

The online associate in gender studies provides an introductory course of study on the history and cultural practices around gender constructs and how these constructs have shifted over time. Students will take courses in subjects like family relations, gender roles, psychology, and reproductive health.

Students who earn the associate degree in gender studies will typically advance to higher level degrees, and eventual careers in social work, education, law, public policy, and sociology.

Best Online Associate in General Studies

Online students earning an associate degree in general studies can help students explore a variety of disciplines and career paths while also working toward a versatile degree. The general studies degree is an affordable and accessible way to begin earning college credits and doing college level work without committing to a major.

Many students who earn the online associate degree in general studies will do so to improve their immediate earning potential in a wide range of fields including business, healthcare, computer science, information technology, and much more. The general studies associate degree can also be a great way to get an affordable jumpstart on your way to a bachelor’s degree in any subject.

Best Online Associate in Graphic Design

The online associate degree in graphic design is an excellent first step toward a career as a graphic designer in a fast-growing industry. Students working towards an online associate in graphic design degree will develop skills in web design, digital art, motion graphics for video, graphic design, and typography.

Graphic designers create visual communications in a variety of industries, including healthcare, social media, government, and commercial marketing. An associate in graphic design will provide entry-level skills for work in commercial design, marketing, digital media, and much more.

Best Online Associate in History

The associate degree in history provides introductory learning in history, culture, government, communication, and research skills. In addition to general education courses, students earning their associate degree in history will take program-specific courses like world history, geography, and Western civilization.

History programs also put a special emphasis on communication, research, writing, and critical thinking skills. These skills are applicable to a wide range of entry-level roles in business, marketing, and education. Students who wish to become classroom educators or historians will typically go on to earn their bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Best Online Associate in Hospitality

The online associate degree in the hospitality and tourism industry is ideal for students with an interest in hospitality management, tourism management, hotel management, food service management, travel agent, event planning, and customer service. Students earning their online associate degree in hospitality and tourism will study subjects like travel planning, international travel regulations, customer service, and more.

The online associate degree in hospitality can qualify you to work right away in hotel services, food services, as a travel agent, and in a host of other roles that offer opportunity for advancement.

Best Online Associate in Human Resources

An online associate degree in human resources can help you take the first step toward a well-paying and rewarding career in HR. Students who earn an online associate degree can work in entry level jobs, including payroll clerks, employee benefits assistant, and assistant recruiters, among others.

Many graduates who work in a human resources department choose to continue their education and earn an online bachelor’s degree, or even a master’s degree, qualifying for leadership roles in human resources.

Best Online Associate in Liberal Arts

An associate degree in liberal arts is a two year program that can open the doors to a variety of careers. This well-rounded associate degree will usually cover courses in subjects like English, history, psychology, math, and science.

The online associate in liberal arts is especially well-suited to students who plan to transition toward an undergraduate degree. Many graduates will find work in entry-level positions as customer service representatives, journalists, tutors, and administrative assistants.

Best Online Associate in Marketing

Earning an associate degree in marketing can be the first step toward securing a career that blends creativity with business. Students earning their associate degree in marketing will take courses in subjects like advertising, digital marketing, and brand management. Students will also take courses in areas such as business finance, market research, and product development.

Students who earn their associate degree in marketing will qualify for entry-level positions as marketing assistants, event coordinators, and sales agents. Many students will choose to transition into a four-year degree program upon completion.

Best Online Associate in Small Business Management

An associate degree in small business management could give you the foundation you need to start your own business or provide management skills for a small- to mid-sized organization. Students earning an online associate degree in small business management will learn skills such as business planning, budget preparation, and the use of business software applications.

Most associate in small business management programs provide a combination of business theory and practical management skills. Students who earn this degree will typically qualify for an array of entry-level business positions, or to pursue their own entrepreneurial ventures.

Social Sciences Degrees

Best Online Associate in Anthropology

An associate degree in anthropology is a great starting point for students with an interest in history, scientific inquiry, and the evolution of human civilizations. An online associate degree in anthropology could set you on the path to a fulfilling career as an educator, historian, researchers, museum curator, and more.

Most of these careers will also require you to earn a four-year degree (and in some cases, an advanced degree as well). The online associate degree in anthropology is an affordable and accessible way to get started.

Best Online Associate in Criminal Justice

With an associate in criminal justice, you’ll study the three critical dimensions of criminal justice: law enforcement, courts, and corrections. The online associate degree in criminal justice provides students with the foundational and job-specific knowledge needed to enter the workforce as police officers, security guards, paralegals, victim advocates, and sheriff patrol officers.

While students may need to earn higher degrees to advance in some of these careers, an associate degree in criminal justice is a great way to get started.

Best Online Associate in Economics

Students earning their associate degree in economics will explore topics like trade, market economy, and role of governments in fiscal economics. Students will also study the political and global economy, statistics, and behavioral science in addition to the principles of micro and macroeconomics.

Though many economic students will continue their education into a bachelor’s degree program, associates in economics may qualify for entry-level roles as sales representatives, research assistants, and finance clerks.

Best Online Associate in Emergency Management

An associate degree in emergency management is an affordable first step toward a leadership role in emergency services. You may be able to earn this associate degree with an array of specializations including emergency management and homeland security; fire and emergency management; and emergency and disaster management.

Core courses cover topics like disaster prevention, infrastructure planning, and communications. Whether you are just beginning your emergency services career or you already have work experience as a firefighter, police officer, or paramedic, this degree can provide the management training to advance in your career.

Best Online Associate in Finance

The associate degree in finance is an affordable and accessible first step toward a career in the growing finance industry. Students at the associate degree level will learn how to analyze investment opportunities, reading markets and developing strategies for personal wealth management.

Students who earn their associate degree in finance will qualify for entry-level positions as accounting clerks, bookkeepers, and credit counselors. The associate degree could also be a great starting point on your way to a bachelor’s degree in finance or a related subject area.

Best Online Associate in Human Services

Students in an online associate’s degree in human services program will take introductory classes in sociology and psychology as well as more focused courses like Understanding Addiction, Methods of Social Casework, Issues in Child Maltreatment, and Human Sexuality.

Students who earn an online associate in human services can secure entry level positions in jobs such as casework aides, family service assistants, addiction counselor assistants, and clinical social work aides.

Best Online Associate in Paralegal

An associate degree in paralegal studies is a great starting point for individuals interested in working as legal assistants or paralegals. Paralegals play an important role in the legal system, conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, and managing client and witness interviews.

Students earning their online associate in paralegal studies will take classes like the Fundamentals of Law, Litigations, Wills and Trusts, Introduction to Constitutional Law, Legal Writing, Bankruptcy, and Probate Procedures. Students who earn their online associate degree in paralegal studies can either continue in their legal education or gain employment as paralegals or legal assistants for a variety of private and public entities.

Best Online Associate in Philosophy

The online associate degree in philosophy is a great starting point for students who like to think critically, analyze the human experience, and ponder the meaning of life. You’ll read works by history’s great thinkers as you explore key topics like ethics, logic, religion, and social convention.

The online associate in philosophy is also a great stepping stone for the fields of law, business, government, social work, and health management. Many students continue on to a bachelor’s degree after earning their associate in philosophy.

Best Online Associate in Political Science

The associate degree in political science is an excellent degree for students who are interested in government policies, electoral politics, or Constitutional law. The online associate degree in political science will include courses on subjects like comparative politics, American public policy, and international relations.

Students who earn the associate degree in political science will often go on to earn bachelor’s in political science or a related subject. Associates in political science can also seek entry-level employment as campaign staff members, public affairs specialists, or legal assistants.

Best Online Associate in Psychology

The associate in psychology is an accessible and affordable first step toward a career spent studying human behavior and the human mind. Online associate programs in psychology will typically include introductory courses in subjects like behavioral psychology, human development, and abnormal psychology.

Many careers in psychology require at least a bachelor’s degree, which makes the associate degree a a great stepping stone into a four-year psychology program. Associates can also qualify for entry-level positions, like social and human services assistants, psychiatric technicians, and counselor aides.

Best Online Associate in Sociology

Earning an online associate degree in sociology can be the first step toward a career in social outreach, public policy, government services, and more. Students who pursue an associate in sociology will study topics like public policy, civics, and contemporary social issues.

Sociology associates will also learn research methods and explore topics like criminology, statistics, and political economies. Many students will move on to earn bachelor’s degrees, but an associate in sociology can also lead to jobs such as youth counselors, employment specialists, and program coordinators.

STEM Degrees

Best Online Associate in Accounting

Earning an associate degree in accounting online is a great way to master fundamental accounting and business skills and qualify for various entry-level jobs with an accounting firm. You’ll learn basic accounting skills like financial reporting, tax preparation, and accounting ethics.

If you plan to become a certified public accountant (CPA), you will need to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in either accounting or business administration. The online associate in accounting is an affordable way to get started on your way to a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Best Online Associate in Biology

The online associate in biology provides the framework needed to pursue undergraduate degrees in fields like pre-nursing, pre-med, pre-vet, pre-pharmacy, wildlife biology, and laboratory sciences. The online associate in biology will include courses in biology, organic chemistry, anatomy, and more. Students will also learn critical skills in areas like math, research, and laboratory practices.

The associate-level degree can also be an affordable way to help prepare students for entry-level technician and laboratory positions, though many students will also go on to earn their bachelor’s degree in biology in a related subject.

Best Online Associate in Building Construction

Students who earn an associate degree in building construction will learn building construction fundamentals such as how to estimate materials, cabinet and finish construction, and construction management. With an online associate degree in building construction, you can qualify for a job as a construction worker, building inspector, cost estimator, and more.

If you are interested in a leadership or management role, you may wish to continue into a related bachelor’s degree program. The online associate degree in building construction is a great way to get started.

Best Online Associate in Computer Science

Students pursuing an online associate degree in computer science will learn coding, algorithms, program development, and more. Along with general education courses, students will take classes about computing, digital design, computer organization, and programming fundamentals for C++ and Java.

Students who graduate with their associate in computer science online can typically qualify for entry-level employment as computer support specialists, web and application developers, software architects, and computer programmers.

Best Online Associate in Cybersecurity

An associate degree in cybersecurity will provide students with entry-level knowledge in areas like data security, network architecture, and information systems. Students will learn how to solve hardware and software issues and defend computing systems and networks from hackers.

Students who earn their associate in cybersecurity can continue their education and apply their credits toward a bachelor’s in cybersecurity, or begin working in support roles for network administrators, cybersecurity analysts, or computer forensics specialists.

Best Online Associate in Fire Science

Students who earn an associate degree in fire science will learn how to battle fires and help the community while simultaneously earning a comprehensive education. Students will take courses on hazardous materials, emergency medical technology, fire department operations, fundamentals of fire prevention, wildfires, and fire dynamics.

The associate degree in fire science will typically prepare students to sit for the certification and professional licensure required by individual states. Graduates will qualify to work as firefighters, forest fire inspectors, wildland fire ecologists, and more.

Best Online Associate in Game Development

An associate degree in game development provides entry-level knowledge and technical skills in game design and development.

The online associate in game development degree prepares students for jobs as game testers, entry-level graphic designers, desktop publishers, and game designers. The associate degree can also provide a great starting point for students who will ultimately transfer into a bachelor’s degree program in game development.

Best Online Associate in General Science

The online associate degree in general sciences covers topics like biology, math, chemistry, environmental science, and physics. Many associate degree programs in general science will also include lab work. Students will also investigate scientific methods, research practices, and theories.

The online associate degree in general science can be an affordable way to get started on the path to a bachelor’s degree. This associate degree can also provide access to entry-level careers in the sciences, healthcare, and education fields.

Best Online Associate in Health Information Technology

The online associate degree in health information technology (HIT) provides students with the training to analyze data and enter patient information into electronic healthcare systems. Students earning the associate degree in HIT will take courses in medical coding, health information ethics, and health insurance and billing.

Upon graduation and completion of the registration exam from the American Health Information Management Association, students can enter the workforce as medical billers, coders, and health information technicians, or transition into a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

Best Online Associate in Health Science

The online associate degree in health science is a great option for students seeking careers in areas such as athletic training, pre-nursing, healthcare delivery systems, health information technology, and medical administrative assistance.

Many students who earn the associate degree in health science will go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a related area. Many students also enter the workforce with an associate degree with jobs as medical services technicians, medical registrars, medical assistants, sonographers, radiation therapists, and pharmacy technicians.

Best Online Associate in Information Technology

The online associate degree in information technology is a great starting point for students who wish to apply their technical and problem-solving skills to a fast-growing industry. Students earning their online associate degree in information technology will typically take courses in subjects like programming logic, web design, and human computer interaction.

Students will also explore the basics of computer networks and websites as well as how to maintain them. Graduates can qualify for entry-level positions like computer support specialists, database administrators, and help desk specialists.

Best Online Associate in Mathematics

The online associate degree in mathematics is an affordable and accessible way to start your math higher education. Students earning their online associate in math will take courses in subjects like calculus, differential equations, and statistics.

An associate degree can help prepare you for an entry-level position as a financial clerk or claims adjuster. However, most math-related jobs require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. The associate degree is a great starting point before you transition into a four-year program.

Best Online Associate in Physics

An associate degree in physics can be an affordable way to get started on the path toward a career in the physical sciences. Most careers in physics require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. But the associate degree is an accessible way to build foundational knowledge before going into a four-year program.

Students earning an associate degree in physics will take courses in subjects like fluid dynamics, electricity and magnetism, optics, and more. Students who earn an associate degree can transfer into a bachelor’s degree program or find entry-level employment in fields like manufacturing, research assistance, and product testing.

Best Online Associate in Software Development

An associate degree in software development can provide relevant workplace skills and the qualifications to earn an array of entry-level jobs in the tech field. Students earning the associate degree in software development will take courses like coding language, algorithms, software architecture, and programming techniques.

Students who earn an associate degree in software development will qualify for entry-level positions as programmers, database specialists, and computer support specialists. Many students will also improve their professional qualifications in this competitive field by transferring into a relevant bachelor’s degree program.

Best Online Associate in Web Design

The associate degree in web design is an excellent starting point for students who are interested in helping companies create functioning, user-friendly websites. Students pursuing the online associate in web development and design will take courses like Introduction to Adobe Photoshop, E-Commerce, Web Script Language Programming, and Fundamentals of Network Security.

Many students will go on to earn their bachelor’s degree in a related field. However, graduates with an associate in web design will qualify for entry-level positions as graphic designers, web developers, and multimedia artists and animators.