Best Online Associate Degrees in Business Administration

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Online business associate degree programs are some of the most popular and versatile college programs offered in the US today.

This degree may be used to launch you into the workforce quickly and potentially with minimal debt, or it may be used as a stepping stone if you plan to continue your education and earn a higher degree.

Online Associates Degrees in Business Administration & Management

Whatever your future goals are, or where or how you intend to use your degree, there is likely an associate degree in business available to suit your needs.

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You can read on for answers to some of the questions you may have about what a business administration degree is good for and about earning your associate degree in business online.

What Is the Difference between an Associate Degree in Business Administration and an Associate Degree in Business Management?

business managers discuss about new company project

These degree program titles are often used interchangeably. They both typically include general education courses as well as courses on the fundamentals of business. Both can help you learn how to plan activities, oversee employees, run departments, and manage organizations.

But in the event that a school offers both degree programs, it’s important to understand the difference.

An online business administration associate degree program typically covers core business subjects, like law and ethics, marketing, management, finance, and so on. Additionally, you will likely be able to dig deeper into a particular area through elective courses or by declaring it in your area of concentration.

Developing this expertise can help prepare you for your future career field.

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An online business management associate degree program, on the other hand, typically focuses more on the interpersonal aspects of a business. This path can help prepare you for managerial roles or human resource management positions.

What Courses Will I Need to Take to Earn an Associate Degree in Business?

Your associate-level business degree program will likely include general education courses, such as composition and algebra, as well as business courses.

The exact courses will vary depending on the school and the program. If you choose to declare a concentration, that will also impact exactly which courses you take, but there are courses you are likely to take no matter the program.

Some common courses for students pursuing an online Associate in Business are:

  • Managerial Accounting
  • Principles of Finance
  • Introduction to Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing Principles
  • Business Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Business Law

Can I Get an Associate Degree in Business Online?

Yes, it is possible to get an associate degree in business online. Because this is such a popular program, many schools offer it online.

You will likely find numerous general business degree programs and business programs with specializations in areas such as computer science, finance, healthcare management, marketing, entrepreneurship, and more.

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Associate in Business Degree?

Typically, an associate degree program requires about 60 to 68 credit hours. If you are able to take a full course load, you can likely complete this program in about 2 years. It usually takes about the same amount of time for students who plan to enroll in fully online programs.

This means you can potentially graduate and enter the career field in about half the time it takes someone who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

Whether you want to pursue an online business administration degree at the associate or bachelor’s level is dependent on your personal goals and how much time you want to devote to your education. 

What Is the Difference between an Associate of Science (A.S.), an Associate of Arts (A.A.), an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.), and an Associate of Applied Business (A.A.B.)?

business people discussing business presentation together

With so many options, it can be tough for students to figure out which degree program is the right path for them. One of the most important things you need to ask yourself is: What do you plan to do once you have earned your associate degree?

Associate of Science (A.S.) and Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree programs are typically designed for students who plan to continue their education by transferring to 4 year institutions to earn bachelor’s degrees.

Whether you choose the A.S. or an A.A. depends on which area of business you plan to pursue. Put simply, the A.S. degree usually emphasizes math and science, while the A.A. usually puts more emphasis on the humanities.

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If you plan to transition directly into the workforce after earning your associate degree, the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) or Associate of Applied Business (A.A.B.) may be a better fit for you.

These programs are typically career-oriented and provide the technical training necessary to help you secure a job in your field upon graduation.

What Kinds of Jobs or Careers Can I Get with an Associate Degree in Business Administration or Business Management?

diverse businessmen gathered for a meeting

There are numerous jobs you can pursue with an associate degree in business administration or business management. Business degrees are among the most versatile degrees available and can open many doors!

An Associate in Business can help you qualify for a variety of entry-level business or management positions in private, public, or nonprofit organizations. You might work in sales, real estate, or human resources, for example.

Many colleges and universities will allow you to declare an area of concentration in order to develop industry-specific skills. If there is a particular field you are interested in—healthcare administration or information systems management, perhaps—this can help give you a leg up when it comes to employment.

Those with an Associate in Business often become:

  • Administrative assistants
  • Assistant managers
  • Auditing clerks
  • Business assistants
  • Customer service supervisors
  • Event planners
  • Executive assistants
  • General office clerks
  • Human resources administrative assistants
  • Human resources coordinators
  • Inside sales representatives
  • Inventory managers
  • Marketing managers
  • Office managers
  • Operations managers
  • Payroll coordinators
  • Procurement coordinators
  • Project assistants
  • Purchasing managers
  • Retail managers
  • Sales managers

How Much Money Can I Earn with an Associate Degree in Business Administration or Business Management?

Salaries are dependent upon many factors, including location, experience, and exact position.

The following are some examples of jobs you could pursue with an Associate in Business Administration and their average salaries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Food Service Managers: $59,440 per year
  • Lodging Managers: $59,430 per year
  • Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks: $45,560 per year
  • Secretaries and Administrative Assistants: $39,680 per year
  • General Office Clerks: $37,030 per year

Why Would I Choose an Associate in Business Instead of a Bachelor’s in Business?

young business intern working in the office

People choose to pursue an associate degree rather than a bachelor’s degree (or higher) for a number of reasons.

First, an associate degree program can typically be completed in about half the time it usually takes to earn a bachelor’s degree. If you need to enter the workforce and start earning money quickly, an associate degree is likely your best bet.

Second, because the program is shorter, associate degree programs usually cost less. Even with the help of grants and scholarships, post-secondary education can be a heavy financial burden. Not everyone can afford four or more years of school.

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An associate degree program is usually less of a commitment than a longer, more expensive program, so it may be a good choice for students who are less certain of their long-term goals.

It’s beneficial to think about what you want and what you can afford before choosing your educational path. An associate degree might be the best fit for you now, and you may choose to earn your bachelor’s degree later.

Which Schools Offer the Best Associates Degree in Business Online Programs?

If you are interested in pursuing an associate degree in business online, you can check out the programs offered at the following schools:

  1. American Public University
  2. Ashworth College
  3. Bay State College
  4. Belhaven University
  5. Bethel University
  6. Bismarck State College
  7. Brescia University
  8. Broward College
  9. Campbellsville University
  10. Columbia College
  11. Eastern Florida State College
  12. Florida Institute of Technology
  13. Florida State College at Jacksonville
  14. Grantham University
  15. Herzing University
  16. Hodges University
  17. Indiana Wesleyan University
  18. Liberty University
  19. Limestone College
  20. Medaille College
  21. Miami Dade College
  22. New England College of Business and Finance
  23. Notre Dame College
  24. Penn Foster College
  25. Pennsylvania State University
  26. Saint Leo University
  27. Santa Barbara Business College
  28. Seminole State College of Florida
  29. Shorter University
  30. Southern New Hampshire University
  31. Strayer University
  32. Thomas Edison State University


business manager discussing annual reports

Pursuing an online business associate degree can be an extremely versatile degree path that can help open many doors.

Whether you want to pursue administration or management, transition directly into the workforce, or continue your education, there is likely a degree program to match your skill level, interests, and goals.

Ready to start your journey?
Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.