The 30 Best Associates Degrees Online for 2019

By BCR Staff
October 2018

There are many advantages to earning an online associate's degree, including an increase in wages and significant savings on the path to a bachelor's degree. When considering an online associate's degree program, there are many factors to consider, though, such as one's career and academic goals, scheduling options, and of course, the school offering the degree. In this ranking, we explore the top 30 best online colleges and universities for an associate's degree.

Rating and Ranking Methodology
Tuition Points:

  • Under $25,000—1 point
  • Under $20,000—2 points
  • Under $15,000—3 points
  • Under $10,000—4 points
  • Under $5,000—5 points

U.S. News & World Report's Ranking

  • Top 10—6 points
  • Top 25—5 points
  • Top 50—4 points
  • Top 100—3 points
  • Top 150 –2 points
  • Top 200—1 point

Number of Online Associate's Degree Programs
1 point per Associate's Degree Online Offering

Ranking the Top 30 Best Online Colleges and Universities for Associate's Degree Programs

For this ranking, we began with an initial pool of 120 schools that offer online associate's degrees and then narrowed it to only four-year colleges and universities. To apply the rating and ranking methodology above, we used data from College Navigator and US News & World Report as well as information from each school's website. What follows is our selection of the top 30 best online colleges and universities for associate's degrees.

#30 –Bethel University

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Website
Points: 7
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 2

Bethel University's online associate of arts degree and associate of science degree are both highly flexible programs intended for working adults who are returning to school to finish a degree or starting college for the first time. Both degrees are offered in online and traditional formats. The AA degree is a general liberal arts degree that can lay the foundation for a wide range of more advanced degrees. The AS degree program includes majors in business and leadership but also allows students to create a custom major. The one drawback is that Bethel University is less affordable than many of the other online colleges for associate's degrees in our ranking.
In-State Tuition: $36,210

#29 –Limestone College

Gaffney, South Carolina

Website
Points: 8
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 4

Limestone College offers associate of arts degrees in business administration and liberal studies, as well as associate of science degrees in computer science information technology and computer science programming. These degrees are primarily online degrees, but students are free to take in-person courses at any of Limestone's campuses if they prefer a hybrid program. The online and evening courses are accelerated eight-week courses meant to make it easy for busy adults to complete their degree in a shorter amount of time.

In-State Tuition: $25,025

#28 –University of Valley Forge

Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Website
Points: 8
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 4

Students earning their online associate's degree at the University of Valley Forge can choose between four majors: Biblical Studies, Children's Studies, Ministry Leadership, and Youth Studies. All of these programs are associate of arts degrees designed to prepare students for ministry and outreach in Christian settings. These programs follow a traditional semester format, with each course taking 14 weeks to complete. Most students graduate in two years, but they are given the freedom to adjust their pacing to fit their specific needs.

In-State Tuition: $21,370

#27 –Davenport University

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Website
Points: 8
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 5

Davenport University Top Online Bachelor's in Sports ManagementDavenport University is a top online college for associate's degrees, offering multiple ABA and AAS degrees online through its Colleges of Business, Technology, and Health Professions. All of these degree programs have different requirements, taking anywhere between 60 and 69 credits to complete, but all follow the same basic structure. Students are given a series of foundations courses in general topics and their area of study, then take a series of advanced courses in their major. While there are almost no content customization options, students are given a good deal of freedom in terms of formatting. Students may take some courses on campus, and online courses are offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats.

In-State Tuition: $17,558

#26 –Taylor University

Upland, Indiana

Website
Points: 9
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 3

Taylor University's online associates degrees prioritize flexibility. Students choose from three majors: Biblical Studies, Human Services, and Professional Writing. All of these programs result in an associate of arts degree that can be used as a stepping stone to more advanced degrees or career advancement. Depending on students' financing and preferences, courses can be taken in either a traditional semester structure or more flexible four-month terms. No matter which scheduling option students choose, they are free to access coursework and materials at any time without worrying about scheduled class meetings.

In-State Tuition: $32,885

#25 –Northwest Nazarene University

Nampa, Idaho

Website
Points: 9
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 6

A top online university for associates degrees, Northwest Nazarene University offers six online AA degrees, including Accounting, Liberal Studies, Elementary Education, and Christian Studies. All of these majors are completely online and designed to cater to both first time students and returning adults. Courses are accelerated, with new classes starting every eight weeks. This means that students have more start dates to choose from and can easily complete the program in two years. None of the AA programs are available in a traditional format, but online students are still encouraged to come to campus for sporting events and other activities.

In-State Tuition: $29,000

#24 –Chaminade University of Honolulu

Honolulu, Hawaii

Website
Points: 9
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 4

Chaminade University of Honolulu offers top online associates degrees in business administration, criminology and criminal justice, liberal arts, and early childhood education. These online programs are part of the university's larger PACE program, which offers evening and distance classes to working professionals who need a more flexible format than the traditional class structure allows. While students can take some in-person evening courses if they wish, all majors can be completed entirely online. Terms are ten weeks long, allowing students to progress through the program at an accelerated pace.

In-State Tuition: $24,514

#23 –Campbellsville University

Campbellsville, Kentucky

Website
Points: 10
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 8

Students earning their associates degrees online through Campbellsville University can choose from among eight different programs across several different fields, including criminal justice, mass communications, nursing, and education. All of these programs use an accelerated, 8-week schedule and are designed to be completed in two years. Campbellsville is also transfer-friendly. Students can transfer up to 32 credits from any regionally accredited institution towards their associates degree. There are six different start dates every year, so prospective students don't have to wait long to get started on their degree.

In-State Tuition: $25,400

#22 –Regent University

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Website
Points: 10
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 7

Regent University offers several associates degree programs online through its College of Arts and Sciences. Some major options include Information Systems, Business, Psychology, and History. In all of these programs, coursework is delivered primarily asynchronously, though some instructors include live lectures and discussions. Distance students also have the opportunity to participate in online workshops and have access to audio and videos of speakers and events on campus. Most students complete their associates degree in two years, but students are encouraged to choose a pace that best fits their individual needs.

In-State Tuition: $17,288

#21 –Ohio University

Athens,Ohio

Website
Points: 10
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 6

Ohio University offers six top online associate degree programs, including an individualized studies program that allows students to create their own major if none of the other programs meet their needs. One unique aspect of Ohio University that prospective students should keep in mind is that not all courses are available in an online format. Instead, some courses are offered to distance students in a print-based format. Students should expect to complete their degree through a combination of online, independent learning, and print-based courses. Transfer credit is offered not only for previously earned college coursework but also for military service and work experience.

In-State Tuition: $11,896

#20 –Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Website
Points: 10
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 3

Western Kentucky University offers three online associates degrees: a flexible LPN to ASN program, an early childhood education program, and a highly-customizable interdisciplinary studies program. While it still includes an impressive amount of scheduling and format options, the nursing degree uses a cohort structure, making it the more restrictive of the three. The other programs allow students to take advantage of WKU's On Demand option, which allows students to take courses starting on any day they choose and complete them at their own pace without being limited by the traditional semester format.

In-State Tuition: $10,202

#19 –University of Alaska- Fairbanks

Fairbanks, Alaska

Website
Points: 10
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 6

A top provider of online associates degrees, The University of Alaska offers both a general associate of arts degree program and five associate of applied science degree programs in fields such as business, information technology, and paralegal studies. All of these degrees require 60 credits to complete and are designed to be two-year programs. They are suitable for both working adults who want to finish their degree and first-time college students. Full and part-time options are available to allow students to adjust their pacing to their needs.

In-State Tuition: $6,262

#18 –Shorter University

Rome, Georgia

Website
Points: 11
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 6

Shorter University Top Online Bachelor's in Sports ManagementShorter University's online associate degree programs are all associate of science degrees that can be useful to both students who plan to go on to get a bachelor's degree and students who plan to immediately start their careers. Majors include sport management, human services, business, and criminal justice. Coursework is delivered asynchronously, so students can schedule their schoolwork around their other responsibilities. Accelerated eight-week terms give students more start dates to choose from and make it easier for busy students to earn their degree in only two years.

In-State Tuition: $21,730

#17 –Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Clarion, Pennsylvania

Website
Points: 11
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 7

Clarion University of Pennsylvania offers seven of its associates degrees in an online format, including its AS in Allied Health, its AS in Criminal Justice, and its AAS in Industrial Technology. Most courses are delivered in a primarily asynchronous format in order to accommodate busier students. These programs can be completed entirely online, but students who prefer a hybrid format are welcome to take any combination of distance and face-to-face courses. Some programs are only intended to be part-time, but most allow students to choose between a part-time and full-time pace.

In-State Tuition: $10,890

#16 –Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, Kentucky

Website
Points: 11
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 4

Distance students earning their associates degree at Eastern Kentucky University can choose from four different areas of study: general studies, police studies, paramedicine, and paralegal studies. Most of these programs can be completed entirely online. The exception to this is the paralegal studies program, which has a two-week residency requirement. Course materials are primarily delivered asynchronously, and students are encouraged to customize their pace to fit their needs. The courses also follow an accelerated eight-week schedule. All of this makes EKU one of the best online universities for associate's degrees, especially for busy students with full-time work or family obligations.

In-State Tuition: $9,366

#15 –Hawaii Pacific University

Honolulu, Hawaii

Website
Points: 12
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 7

Hawaii Pacific University is one of the best colleges for online associates degrees in the nation. The school offers an associate of arts in general studies, as well as six associate of science degrees in subjects such as cybersecurity, mathematics, supervisory leadership, and health professions. All of these programs are 60-credit hour programs intended to be completed in two years. All programs also encourage students to customize the content of their degree through roughly 15 credits of unrestricted electives. These programs prepare students for both further study and entry-level careers in their field of study.

In-State Tuition: $24,550

#14 –Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

University Park, Pennsylvania

Website
Points: 12
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 6

Penn State World CampusPennsylvania State University–World Campus offers six online associates degrees, including the unique AS in Turfgrass Science and Management. Many programs have opportunities for content customization, either through electives or different specialization tracks. All of these programs can be completed without any visits to campus. They are also entirely asynchronous. This makes the degree more accessible to non-traditional students and students living far from the main campus. Most courses are designed to be adult learner-centric, but traditional, first-time students are not excluded.

In-State Tuition: $13,988

#13 –Dakota State University

Madison, South Dakota

Website
Points: 12
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 6

Students who choose to pursue their associate degree program through Dakota State University online have six different majors to choose from. These majors include Health Information Technology, Web Development, and Network and Security Administration. These online associates degree programs are primarily asynchronous and require no on-campus residency, so students don't have to compromise their work or family responsibilities to earn their degree. Students can expect to work with industry-standard software and other relevant technology during their studies. Students can also customize their degree through electives.

In-State Tuition: $9,147

#12 –University of Alaska- Southeast

Juneau, Alaska

Website
Points: 12
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 6

The University of Alaska – Southeast offers six of its associate's degrees online. Notable programs include the AAS in Fisheries Technology and the AAS in Health Information Management. General associate of arts and associate of science degrees are available to students whose career goals don't fit into the more specific AAS programs. Formatting varies depending on the instructor, so students should expect to take classes in a mix of synchronous and asynchronous formats. All of these degrees can prepare students for both entry-level jobs in their desired field and a more advanced degree program.
In-State Tuition: $6,828

#11 –Lewis-Clark State College

Lewiston, Idaho

Website
Points: 12
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 4

One of the top online universities for associate's degrees, Lewis-Clark State College offers an AS in Business Administration, an AAS in Early Childhood Development, an AA in the Liberal Arts, and an AAS in Web Design and Development. These programs require just over 60 credits to graduate and can typically be completed in two years. Some programs require internships, but these can typically be completed at a location that is convenient for the student. Course materials are delivered primarily asynchronously, though it is possible that some instructors may include a few live activities.

In-State Tuition: $6,334

#10 –University of Toledo

Toledo, Ohio

Website
Points: 13
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 9

University-of-ToledoThe University of Toledo has several online associates degrees for distance students to choose from, including Computer Network Administration, Accounting Technology, and Technical Studies. The University prioritizes flexibility. Programs can be completed entirely online, and coursework can be scheduled around students' other responsibilities. UT is also very transfer friendly. It allows students to easily count previously completed coursework towards their degree at UT, and there are many scholarships available specifically for transfer students. Most students can complete the degree in two years, but they are given the freedom to adjust their pace as needed.

In-State Tuition: $9,547

#9 –Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website
Points: 14
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 13

Liberty University aims to make higher education more accessible to both traditional and non-traditional students by offering an impressive amount of associate degree programs in a flexible online format. Areas of study include paralegal studies, apologetics, interdisciplinary studies, and psychology. Students never have to make any trips to campus, and coursework is delivered asynchronously. Up to 45 credit hours can be transferred from another accredited college, making Liberty one of the best online universities for associate's degrees for transfer students. Classes follow an accelerated eight-week schedule.

In-State Tuition: $21,310

#8 –University of Maine-Fort Kent

Fort Kent, Maine

Website
Points: 14
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 8

The University of Maine – Fort Kent offers eight top online associates degrees across a variety of fields, such as criminal justice, health information technology, and conservation law enforcement. Most programs are completely online and require no visits to campus, but students are free to take some courses on campus if they prefer a hybrid format over a purely online format. Students who graduate from any of UMFK's associate degree programs are able to use their degree to go on to a more advanced degree program or advance their careers.

In-State Tuition: $7,965

#7 –Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Daytona Beach, Florida

Website
Points: 15
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 6

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers several top online associate degree programs for students interested in the aviation industry. Some of the school's more notable programs include the AS in Aviation Maintenance and the AS in Aeronautics. Students can earn their degree completely online, but they are also welcome to take courses at one of the university's many campuses. Courses are organized into nine-week terms. This accelerated format makes it possible for busy students to graduate in only two years. It also allows for 12 different start times throughout the year.

In-State Tuition: $9,000

#6 –Keiser University

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Website
Points: 16
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 11

Distance students earning their online associate's degree through Keiser University can choose from several associate of science and associate of art programs. Majors include Golf Management, Homeland Security, Fire Science, and Medical Administrative Billing and Coding. Each program is designed to be accessible to working adults. All coursework is asynchronous, and most students only take one course at a time. Courses are career-oriented, but these programs also prepare students for further education should they be interested in earning a bachelor's degree.

In-State Tuition: $19,244

#5 –Albany State University

Albany, Georgia

Website
Points: 17
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 11

Albany State University offers several online associate degrees, most of which are in health professions. Some available options include Radiologic Science, Respiratory Care, and Dental Hygiene. Many of these programs are not completely online but offer a significant amount of core courses online. Students who are not able to come to campus should make sure the program they are interested in does not require a campus residency. No matter which program students choose, they have access both to program advisors and online specialists that will support them as they progress towards graduation.

In-State Tuition: $5,675

#4 –Southwestern Assemblies of God

Waxahachie, Texas

Website
Points: 18
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 14

Southwestern Assemblies of God University offers an impressive amount of online associates degree programs, including Early Childhood Education, Addictions Counseling, Intercultural Studies, Business Administration, and Social Studies. SAGU is very transfer friendly, not only giving credit for completed courses at other accredited institutions, but also allowing students to earn credit towards their degree for work experience. There are no required visits to campus, so busy students don't have to worry about traveling or taking time off of work.

In-State Tuition: $19,994

#3 –Waldorf University

Forest City, Iowa

Website
Points: 19
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 15

Many of Waldorf University's top online associates degrees are only available online. While this may be disappointing to students interested in a hybrid format, this does mean that these programs were specially tailored to fit the online format instead of having to be translated from an on-campus counterpart. There are 15 different degree programs to choose from, including an AA in Diversity and Inclusion, an AA in Sport Management, and an AA in Fire Science. Students who decide to pursue a bachelor's degree after earning their associate degree are able to easily transition into Waldorf's programs with upper division standing.

In-State Tuition: $21,664

#2 –Middle Georgia State University

Macon, Georgia

Website
Points: 20
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 12

Students at Middle Georgia State University have several online associate degree options to choose from, including Political Science, Financial Technology, and Criminal Justice. All of these programs are customizable either through electives or other options. Some programs also include certification. The university's "eCore" program may help students complete the general education requirements of their degree more efficiently and should be discussed with students' academic advisors. No matter which format or program students choose, they graduate ready for both entry-level jobs and most bachelor's degree programs.

In-State Tuition: $3,924

#1 –Bismarck State College

Bismarck, North Dakota

Website
Points: 25
Number of Associate Degree Programs: 17

Bismarck State College boasts an impressive 17 different online associate degree programs. While multiple fields are represented, the vast majority of the programs are in energy. Programs offered include Nuclear Power Technology, Process Plant Energy, Cybersecurity and Computer Networks, and Business Administration. Most coursework is asynchronous, but students are expected to log in daily to participate in activities and discussions. Most programs can be completed entirely online, but students are free to blend online and traditional classes to create a hybrid program.

In-State Tuition: $3,832

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