What Is an Online Associate Degree in Business?
An online associate degree in business introduces you to core business concepts and skills that provide a solid foundation for a career in business or further education.
What You’ll Learn
You’ll take introductory courses in areas like:
- Accounting: Learn principles of financial accounting, managerial accounting, and bookkeeping.
- Economics: Gain an understanding of microeconomics and macroeconomics, supply and demand, and economic indicators.
- Business law: Study contracts, ethics, employment law, and other legal issues that impact business.
- Management: Develop skills in leadership, motivation, conflict resolution, and resource allocation.
- Marketing: Explore how to identify target markets, engage customers, and develop pricing and distribution strategies.
How It Works
Online associate degrees in business are very flexible. You can study on your own schedule and at your own pace. Most schools offer both part-time and full-time options to complete the 60-credit program. Coursework is delivered asynchronously through video lectures, slides, readings and more. You’ll interact with professors and other students through online discussion forums and messaging. Some programs may require limited on-campus attendance for orientation or exams.
An online associate degree in business can open up many career opportunities or allow you to transfer credits to a bachelor’s program. If you’re looking for a practical, skills-based education to launch your business career, this affordable degree is a great place to start.
Benefits of Earning an Online Business Associate Degree
Earning an associate degree in business online has some appealing benefits.
1. Flexibility and Convenience
With online courses, you can study on your own schedule. No rushing to class after work or struggling to find parking. You can log in anytime and anywhere with an Internet connection.
2. Cost Savings
Living at home while you earn your degree can save thousands in room and board costs. Online programs also often charge lower tuition than on-campus programs. Some even offer discounted tuition for in-state students regardless of where you live.
3. Learn Practical Skills
An online business associate degree teaches useful skills like accounting, management, marketing, and communication that translate directly to the workplace. You’ll learn the latest business software and technologies to prepare you for a career.
4. Career Opportunities
With an associate degree in business, you’ll have the knowledge and skills for jobs like:
- Accounting Clerk: Assist accountants with tasks like accounts payable/receivable, payroll, and financial reporting.
- Customer Service Representative: Handle customer inquiries, complaints, and orders.
- Sales Representative: Sell products and services to new and existing customers. Meet sales targets and build client relationships.
- Office Manager: Oversee daily operations at an office including supervising other staff, budgeting, and record keeping.
An online business associate degree can open up opportunities for a rewarding new career or advancement in your current field. The benefits are well worth the effort.
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Types of Online Associate Degrees in Business
There are several types of online associate degrees in business you can earn from home. The two most common options are:
1. Associate of Arts (AA) in Business
An AA in Business provides a broad overview of basic business concepts and principles. This flexible degree allows you to explore various areas of business to determine what interests you before choosing a specialization. Coursework typically includes:
- Introduction to Business
- Principles of Marketing
- Accounting Fundamentals
- Business Communication
2. Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Business
These programs usually take about two years and include an internship or work experience component. Some options include:
- Accounting: Prepares you for a career as a bookkeeper, accounting clerk, or payroll clerk. Coursework focuses on financial accounting, managerial accounting, tax accounting, and payroll practices.
- Business Administration: Develops skills for various administrative support roles like office manager, executive assistant, or administrative assistant. Coursework includes business software, communication, human resources, and project management.
- Entrepreneurship: Provides the knowledge and tools to start or run your own small business. Coursework covers opportunity assessment, business planning, marketing, accounting, and legal issues for small businesses.
- Marketing: Prepares you for a career as a marketing associate, social media manager, or digital marketing specialist. Coursework focuses on areas like advertising, sales, public relations, market research, and digital marketing strategies.
Finding an Accredited Online Business Program
Here are a few things to consider when evaluating schools and programs.
Make sure any online program you’re interested in has proper accreditation. Regional accreditation is the gold standard, meaning the school meets high standards of quality. National accreditation can also be acceptable for some careers. Check with your intended career field to determine which accreditation they prefer. Accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid and credits are more easily transferred.
Compare curricula between programs to find one tailored to your interests and goals. Common courses for an online business associate’s degree include:
- Introduction to Business
- Principles of Management
- Business Law
3. Cost and Financial Aid
Online associate’s in business degrees typically cost between $30,000 to $60,000. Look for schools that offer scholarships, grants, and student loan financing. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA form to determine your eligibility for need-based aid, student loans, and work-study programs.
4. Support Services
Make sure any online school you consider offers support services that fit your needs. These include:
- Academic advising to help navigate your program requirements
- Access to instructors and teaching assistants for help
- Tutoring and writing assistance
- Career counseling and job placement help after graduation
- Technical support for issues with online courses and school resources
Tips for Succeeding in an Online Business Degree
Succeeding in an online degree program requires discipline and time management skills. Below are some tips to help you succeed:
1. Set a schedule
Having a regular schedule will keep you on track. Set fixed times for watching lectures, reading materials, and completing assignments. Treat your online courses like a real class—show up for “class” at the same time each day. Stick to your schedule as much as possible to avoid falling behind.
2. Find a quiet place to study
Designate a distraction-free space for studying. Let family members know that you need to focus during certain hours. Minimize notifications on your devices. The less interruptions, the more you’ll absorb and retain.
3. Stay engaged
Watch lectures actively, not passively. Take notes by hand as opposed to just listening. Ask questions if you have them. Participate in discussion forums. Engaging with the material and your peers will make the courses more interesting and help the information stick better in your memory.
4. Utilize resources
Don’t hesitate to use all resources available to you. Connect with your professors and advisors if you need help. Use your school’s tutoring services. Study with other students via video chat. Look for additional learning materials, videos, podcasts, and interactive apps related to your courses. The more you immerse yourself, the more you’ll get out of your program.
5. Take breaks when needed
While keeping a schedule is important, also make sure to schedule in breaks when you need them. Step away from your work for a bit to rest your mind. Even taking short breaks can help rejuvenate your mental focus. Staying burnt out will only hamper your progress and enthusiasm.
With hard work and persistence, you can succeed in earning your online business degree. Follow these tips to stay on track and get the most from your courses. While challenging, the rewards of your achievement will make all the effort worthwhile.