As young men and women strive to earn degrees, many find that online learning is one of the most affordable, flexible, and well-respected methods of securing their education. In response, many traditional brick and mortar institutions have created online curriculum to meet the needs of a diverse number students. This means that through the advances in education and technology, attending classes on campus is no longer the only way to work toward a degree.
The evolution of education to the online and/or flexible campus model makes gaining the knowledge base and refining the skills necessary for career advancement attainable for nearly every student, including working adults and other non-traditional students.
Since an associate degree is often the building block for educational, personal, and career success, we have collected information regarding some of the world’s best online associate degree programs. These schools represent the best in majors, affordability, and academic quality. Many of the schools on this list were ranked on SuperScholar’s Top Ten Smart Choice Schools for Online Associates Degrees in 2013 . Several of the schools have received awards for excellence in program development, while others have faculty members who have received distinguished teaching awards.
Since college degrees generally represent excellence, we hope that you take the first step toward meeting your educational and personal aspirations through an online associate degree program. As you hone your vision of what excellence means to you, as well as determine the educational, financial and logistical aspects of managing work and family as you complete your degree, check out this list of the Top 15 Accredited Schools Online Offering Associate Degrees. All of the schools on this list are guaranteed to help you as you begin your educational endeavors within associates degree programs as well as offer lasting effects like increased employability, expanded training in your field, and refined skills needed to secure your future success.
UMassOnline, part of University of Massachusetts’ multi-campus presence, was founded in 2001, responding to the need for accredited, quality education in a flexible forum. This school boasts over 1500 classes and offers 100 of the parent University’s degrees online to a worldwide student base. Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, UmassOnline’s Associate of Science in Information Technology degree leads the way in preparing students for Fortune Magazine’s top twenty fastest growing professional jobs, such as Environmental Engineers, Systems Analysts, and Medical Scientists.
To learn more about UMASSOnline’s Associates programs, go here .
2. Columbia College
Flexibility has been the focus of this college. Founded in 1851, Columbia College has changed with the times. They pride themselves on offering affordable education in an online setting. Many of the instructors that teach the online courses also teach their campus classes. Eight-week classes offered five times a year allows students to pace themselves and maximize their educational experience. With over 800 classes accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, Columbia College caters to the needs of those with families, working adults, and those in the military.
To learn more about Columbia College’s Associates programs, go here .
3. Penn State Online
Penn State Online understands what it means to be flexible. They are one of the pioneers of distance learning, having offered their first class correspondence class over 100 years ago in 1892. In 1998 they were one of the first accredited university to advance into the foray of online learning. They understand what it takes to provide quality instruction without being in a physical classroom. Penn State Online’s renowned leaders in their chosen field serve students from all over the world, teaching the same curriculum that is taught on campus. With five Associate degrees to choose from, Penn State Online makes a better future attainable.
To learn more about Penn State Online’s Associates programs, go here .
4. Keiser University
Keiser believes in laying the foundation for academic excellence. Their step-by-step approach to learning allows students to take one class at a time for a four-week session before moving on to the next one. The focus this allows gives students the ability to hone in on their studies and master the material. Additionally, Keiser’s curriculum has the unique distinction of being reviewed by employers in related industries. Keiser has Associate degree offerings in Computers and Technologies, Culinary Arts, Business, and Nursing and Allied health that are accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
To learn more about Keiser University’s Associate programs, go here .
5. Baker University
Baker University, a small private institute founded in 1858, prides itself on small classes and attention to the student. Among its alumni are Rhode Scholars and Pulitzer Prize winners! Baker University, known as the first university in Kansas, has an online program that embodies the same values expressed in the school mission as the physical campus does. Their commitment to developing well-rounded contributors to society is evident in their personal approach to academics. Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, Baker University offers an Associate of Arts in Business degree.
To learn more about Baker University’s Associate degree programs, go here .
6. Liberty University
Dr. Jerry Falwell founded Liberty University, a Christian institution, in 1971. The university created a distance learning program in 1985. Liberty University strives to develop Christ-centered students ready to emerge as leaders in their field upon graduation. Online Education Database consistently ranks Liberty University among the top 10 online universities. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. With ten Associate degree programs in fields such as Accounting, Criminal Justice, and Psychology, Liberty University secures a solid place in online education for variety and flexibility.
To learn more about Liberty University’s Associate degree programs, go here .
7. American Public University
American Public University, founded in 2002 under the flagship institution, American Military University, boasts 100,000 students taking classes with them. The university strives to offer relevant courses and majors that satisfy current private and public sector needs. American Public University commits to upholding academic integrity and providing students with viable career paths. Instructors with real world experience teach students practical information backed by accreditation by The Higher Learning Commission. There are several Associate degree paths available under the two larger umbrellas: Associate of Arts and Associate of Science.
To learn more about American Public University’s Associate degree programs, go here .
8. Northern Virginia Community College
Northern Virginia Community College, founded in 1964, offers quality education at an affordable price. Their online component adds to the appeal by adding convenience. Accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Northern Virginia Community College offers 160 degrees. Northern Virginia Community College has designed two different types of Associate degree programs – one prepares the student to transfer to a four-year institution, while the other prepares students for the work force.
To learn more about Northern Virginia Community College’s Associate degree programs, go here .
9. Kaplan University
Kaplan University, a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company, has been involved in education since 1937. All students at Kaplan have the opportunity to enhance and advance their careers through gaining a degree from an establishment dedicated to helping students. Kaplan offers curricula that have been reviewed by academic and business resources as well as accrediting organizations to ensure quality education at an affordable price. Kaplan strives to cultivate a desire to learn that spans past the completion of the degree. Kaplan University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. The university has two Associate programs: Applied Science in Human Services and Applied Science in Early Childhood Development.
To learn more about Kaplan University’s Associate degree programs, go here .
10. Grantham University
Grantham University provides degree programs that are aligned with society’s current needs. Striving to produce degree programs that are relevant and accessible for working adults, Grantham University focuses on student success at its core. Boasting accreditation by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council since 1961, Grantham makes education not only attainable but also “guarantee-ably” reputable. Founded in 1955 as an offshoot of its flagship institution, the Grantham Radio License School, Grantham University expanded its online degree offerings in 2002 to keep pace with evolving national requirements. Associate degree programs in disciplines like Business Administration, Engineering Management Technology, and Medical Coding and Billing make Grantham a great match for many students!
To learn more about Grantham University’s Associate degree programs, go here .
11. Lone Star Community College
Lone Star Community College, the fastest-growing community college in the United States, is an open enrollment institution, accepting all applicants with current admissions applications. Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Lone Star Community College students enjoy easy transfer processes to four-year universities because of the college’s partnerships. Students taking classes online at Lone Star Community College have the opportunity to participate in fully online, or hybrid classes, which offers a combination of online and on campus learning within a dynamic environment ensuring quality, affordability, and excellence.
To learn more about Lone Star Community College’s Associate degree programs, go here .
12. Ashford University
Ashford University, originally founded as Mount St. Clare College – a junior college for women – in 1918, has added curriculum and focus over the years, offering first baccalaureate degrees, then, over time, Master’s degrees. They are now a well-recognized accredited university with both a brick and mortar and an online presence. Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, Ashford provides affordable and innovative learning opportunities to their students. With a 92% overall satisfaction rating from alumni, Ashford University is well poised to serve future students.
To learn more about Ashford University’s Associate degree programs, go here .
13. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University has earned more than its share of awards. Among them is the distinction of being the Number 1 institution of higher learning for veterans. Consistently ranks them as one of the most military friendly schools, their flexible scheduling is designed to help working adults achieve their academic goals The university provides the same curriculum on both their physical campus and the online presence, and both formats of learning instruction are also taught by the same distinguished instructors. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Eastern Kentucky University offers three Associate degrees: General Studies, Paralegal Studies/ Paralegal Science, and Police Studies.
To learn more, about Eastern Kentucky University’s Associate degree programs, go here
14. Post University
Post University signifies evolution. Over their 120-year span, Post University has offered a diverse curriculua that is not only relevant to the times but, more importantly, forward thinking. Post University offers classes accredited through New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Their online experience allows students to connect with professors and advisors who will assist in working toward student goals. The courses are offered in eight-week sessions six times a year. With several Associates degrees to choose from, Post University continues along the path they have always traveled – providing versatility to students.
To learn more about Post University Associate degree programs, go here .
15. Tarrant County College
Tarrant County College believes in helping students turn academic success into gainful, fulfilling employment. With 50,000 students enrolled, Tarrant County College is one of the top ten largest colleges and universities in the state of Texas. Founded in 1965, this college offers four different Associates degrees as well as certificates and opportunities for continuing education. Accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Tarrant County College offers affordable classes to enhance job skills and career building.
To learn more about Tarrant County College Associates degree programs, go here .