Best Accredited Online Associate Degrees 2024

Thomas Broderick
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Updated May 1, 2024
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Person in college

Want more job opportunities, a higher salary, and a lower likelihood of unemployment? Earning a college degree is one of the best ways to improve your career prospects.

With an associate degree, you’ll earn an average of $150 more per week than a high school graduate. Plus, your chances of unemployment drop by a third, according to May 2022 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

You can get those benefits in a way that suits your schedule when you earn your associate degree online. Want to know more? Keep reading to learn about the best online associate degrees.

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Best Online Associate Degrees of 2024

#1 Best Accredited Online Associate Degrees 2024

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Location-markerManchester, NH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$15,000
  • Out-of-state$15,000
  • Retention Rate62%
  • Acceptance Rate92%
  • Students Enrolled145,533
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment96%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best Accredited Online Associate Degrees 2024

Pennsylvania State University

  • Location-markerUniversity Park, PA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$15,400
  • Out-of-state$25,084
  • Retention Rate87%
  • Acceptance Rate92%
  • Students Enrolled88,914
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment54%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Best Accredited Online Associate Degrees 2024

Eastern Gateway Community College

  • Location-markerSteubenville, OH
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,115
  • Out-of-state$7,727
  • Retention Rate61%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled45,173
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment96%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Best Accredited Online Associate Degrees 2024

Purdue University Global

  • Location-markerWest Lafayette, IN
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,080
  • Out-of-state$13,356
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled43,458
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment100%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Best Accredited Online Associate Degrees 2024

Lone Star College

  • Location-markerThe Woodlands, TX
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,280
  • Out-of-state$5,380
  • Retention Rate48%
  • Acceptance Rate100%
  • Students Enrolled68,653
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment67%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 Best Accredited Online Associate Degrees 2024

Houston Community College

  • Location-markerHouston, TX
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,904
  • Out-of-state$3,624
  • Retention Rate63%
  • Acceptance Rate100%
  • Students Enrolled46,780
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment77%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 Best Accredited Online Associate Degrees 2024

Northern Virginia Community College

  • Location-markerAnnandale, VA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,051
  • Out-of-state$10,790
  • Retention Rate69%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled49,560
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment63%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 Best Accredited Online Associate Degrees 2024

Austin Community College

  • Location-markerAustin, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,010
  • Out-of-state$10,050
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled35,609
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment76%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 Best Accredited Online Associate Degrees 2024

Utah Valley University

  • Location-markerOrem, UT
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,368
  • Out-of-state$16,450
  • Retention Rate66%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled41,262
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment56%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 Best Accredited Online Associate Degrees 2024

St. Petersburg College

  • Location-markerSt. Petersburg, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$1,943
  • Out-of-state$7,774
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled24,543
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment76%
  • AccreditationYes

Popular Associate Degrees

Popular online associate degrees include accounting, business administration, and criminal justice. Work with your school’s advisors to learn how a degree can jumpstart your career.

1. Accounting

Online associate degrees in accounting may feature classes in microeconomics and managerial accounting. You can use this degree to work as a tax preparer or bookkeeper. BLS data from 2023 reveals that bookkeepers earn a median annual salary of $47,440.

2. Business Administration

The best associate degrees in business administration may require coursework in finance and marketing. Careers for recent graduates include construction and sales manager. Construction managers who further their education with a bachelor’s earn a median salary of $104,900 (BLS, May 2023).

3. Criminal Justice

An online associate degree in criminal justice requires an in-depth study of criminal procedures and investigations. You can apply your education to a career as a police officer, with a median salary of $72,280 (BLS, May 2023).

4. Education

An associate degree in education requires selecting a concentration, such as primary or special education. Primary education degree-seekers take classes in early childhood development. You can become a preschool teacher with this degree, a career with a median salary of $37,130 (BLS, May 2023).

5. Fire Science

An online associate degree in fire science can prepare you for a career as a firefighter, a job offering a median salary of $57,120 (BLS, May 2023). Typical fire science programs emphasize coursework in fire protection equipment and fire protection organization.

Types of Associate Degrees

Your future career or bachelor’s program depends on what kind of associate degree you choose. Keep in mind that each degree features different graduation requirements.


Why Should You Get an Associate Degree?


  • checkAn associate degree can prepare you for entry-level jobs and professional certifications.
  • checkAn online associate degree can offer flexibility to balance work and other commitments.
  • checkWorkers with an associate degree earn about $150 more per week than those with only a high school diploma.
  • checkOnline college is often more affordable than traditional programs.
  • checkMany associate degrees help you meet the general education requirements for a bachelor’s degree.
  • checkAn asynchronous online learning format lets you complete schoolwork anytime and anywhere.
  • checkMany students prefer the convenience and accessibility of an online degree.

Choosing the Best Associate Degree for You

Considering an online associate degree? Comparing programs? Here are some practical tips to help you find the right program at the right school for your needs.

1. Define Your Goals

First, consider your goals. Are you ultimately hoping to earn a bachelor’s degree? Choose a two-year school with a strong transfer record. Are you interested in allied health or technical programs? Find a school with a high job placement rate.

Once you know your goals, you can narrow down your options.

2. Choose a Field of Study

Some people know their major before applying to college. Others are less sure. It’s important to carefully consider your field.

The difference between a business and accounting degree might seem small, but one might make it easier to launch a bookkeeping career, while the other might meet more prerequisites for a bachelor’s in business program.

Learn more about popular programs and consider your career and educational options with different majors.

3. Determine Your Budget

Many students rank cost as their top concern. And there’s good news if you’re considering associate programs: Public community colleges are the most affordable way to earn a college degree. Plus, an online learning format can save even more!

After looking at your budget, consider financial aid options like scholarships and loans. Make sure to factor in any fees or technology costs, and find a school that matches your budget.

4. Compare Online Associate Programs

Once you’ve considered your goals, interests, and budget, it’s time to compare programs. Look at delivery options — do you want a fully online program, or would you prefer a hybrid option? Do you want asynchronous classes with no set meeting times, or do you prefer live class sessions?

You can also research course offerings, graduation rates, and placement records. Consider online student services. Does the school offer tutoring, advising, and career services online? These factors will shape your experience as a student.

5. Confirm Accreditation

Before applying to an online college, check the school’s accreditation status. An unaccredited school or diploma mill can cost you, so take the time to do your research.

Independent accrediting agencies evaluate colleges based on their student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and academic mission. That means an accredited degree is worth more than an unaccredited degree.

The U.S. Department of Education offers a Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. Check whether your school holds accreditation.

6. Talk to Current Students, Faculty, and Alumni

Still curious about the program? Connect with current students, recent graduates, faculty members, and staff to learn more about the program. Ask students about their experience.

Learn more about online student services. And make connections that will help you once you enroll in your associate program.

Associate Degree vs. Bachelor’s Degree: How Do They Differ?

What’s the difference between an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree? While graduates with a bachelor’s degree report a higher annual salary, an associate degree costs significantly less — and takes less time to complete.

You can earn an associate degree in two years, while a bachelor’s degree takes four years on average. At the end of your degree, you’ll spend around $12,000 for an associate degree compared with over $30,000 or more for a bachelor’s degree.

Differences Between an Associate Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree
Points to ConsiderAssociate DegreeBachelor’s Degree
Average Tuition Cost$11,976$30,031
Program Length2 years4 years
Number of Credits~60~120
Average Annual Salary for Graduates$50,076$69,368
Degrees Available
  • Associate of Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Science (AS)
  • Associate of Applied Arts (AAA)
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
  • Bachelor of Science (BS)

Transferring From an Associate Program to a Bachelor’s Program

Most community college students ultimately want to complete a bachelor’s degree. And earning an online accredited associate degree can help.

That’s because you can apply credits earned during your associate degree toward a bachelor’s degree. Many colleges have transfer agreements in which an associate degree meets the general education requirements for bachelor’s programs.

How does that help students? By paying a lower tuition rate for the first two years, you can save a ton of money on your bachelor’s degree.

Should you graduate from an associate program before transferring? Or can you transfer at any time? If you choose an accredited online associate degree, you can transfer before or after completing your program. Make sure to check with four-year colleges about their transfer credit policies.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate Degree Programs


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Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by Accredited Schools Online. Page last reviewed November 21, 2023.

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