Associates in Business Degree Programs
Looking for a more interesting job? A higher salary? A better career future? An associate degree puts these goals within reach.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, public two-year colleges have the highest percentage of students enrolled in online degree programs, and online business programs are the second most popular option behind information technology programs.
Most online associate degrees in business concentrations will take about two years to complete if you are carrying a full-time credit load. In some cases, you may be able to shave a few months off of your coursework if you are able to take a larger-than-average credit load. Online programs tend to follow a similar schedule to on-campus classes with regard to start dates, test dates, and so forth, but you complete the actual coursework on your time. An associate degree in business online is perfect for people who are efficient with their time and unable to pursue an on-campus program. A campus-based or hybrid program might be a better fit if you prefer a structured classroom environment.
Many associate business degree courses are ideal for online formats. The core curriculum may include general education classes such as English, math or humanities. Business courses may be in such subjects as ethics, leadership or other electives geared toward a specific specialty, such as medical office management.
The Babson Survey Research Group reports that enrollment growth in online business programs has been increasing steadily over the years. Check a program’s accreditation status by going to the U.S. Department of Education website. Only certain accrediting agencies are approved, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and the Distance Education and Training Council’s Accrediting Commission.
Why should you pursue an associate degree in business?
Earning an associate degree makes financial sense. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, people with associate degrees earn $593,000 more than people with just high school diplomas over the course of their careers. That works out to an average of $7,200 more a year in earnings compared with those who only have a high school diploma.
Associate degrees are far less costly than bachelor’s degrees. Classes that apply to an associate degree are typically less expensive than classes for a bachelor’s degree – even though the classes may be exactly the same. An associate degree establishes your credentials in a given field, and thus has value in its own right. But there is another advantage: in many cases, the credits earned for an associate degree can transfer to a four-year institution and count towards earning a bachelor’s degree. Getting two years of foundational learning done at an affordable community college, then transferring those credits to a well-regarded university can save you tens of thousands of dollars.
Time is another factor to consider. Associate degree programs are usually designed for completion in two years. You can finish your degree and join the work force in half the time of colleagues in bachelor’s degree programs. If you are already working and need to balance earning your education with your work schedule, you can design a flexible program. It may take you longer than two years to earn your degree, but you won’t need to make a full-time commitment to education and can continue to earn a living as you go.
An associate degree is an ideal way to add onto your existing credentials. Your bachelor’s degree in one area can be enhanced by adding expertise in business administration. You can update your skills and knowhow without the commitment of a full-time bachelor’s program.
What kind of jobs can you get with an associate degree in business?
An associate degree will not get you a high-paying job at a Fortune 500 company, but it will get you on your way. While most of the jobs open to you will be entry level positions and opportunities in smaller organizations, you’ll get your foot in the door – something a high school diploma, alone is not likely to get you. If you are lucky, your company might even pay for two more years of education, and you’ll earn your bachelor’s degree on someone else’s dime. In any case, an associate degree is an affordable, time-saving way to get your career off to a fast start. You can add educational credentials as your career progresses and as you get a better handle on the specific skills and knowledge base you will need.