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 5 best online colleges and universities for an associate's degree.
Rating and Ranking Methodology
- 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 5 best online colleges and universities for associate's degrees.
Featured Online Schools
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
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
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
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
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