In this ranking, we examine the top values in online associate degree programs for 2016.
Some people are quick to dismiss associate’s degrees as a lesser form of education, especially in a day and age where a bachelor’s degree is hardly enough in many industries. But have you considered the education you can acquire – and the future career you can secure – with just two years of study? Practical degrees in business, healthcare, law, technology, and design are all well within the bounds of an AA or AS program. And by cutting your degree time in half, you’ll save a significant amount of money while waiting less time to start earning those well-deserved paychecks.
10. Grantham University
If you’re looking for an online college with the feel of a traditional university, Grantham may be your best bet. With over 17,000 enrolled students, 40+ degree programs, and an established reputation that dates back to 1951, Grantham’s age and experience give it a clear competitive advantage. As a student here, you can choose from degree programs in four independent divisions: the College of Engineering & Computer Science, College of Arts & Sciences, School of Business, and College of Nursing & Allied Health. And as for affordable online associate degree programs, Grantham has you covered; from Business Administration to Electronics and Computer Technology to Multidisciplinary Studies, you’re guaranteed to find exactly what you need to get ahead in your career.
Net Price: $15,732/yr
9. New England College of Business and Finance
The New England College of Business and Finance, as its name suggests, is an institution uniquely focused on the study of management, administration, marketing, finance, and related topics. Given that most of its programs are actually at the master’s and bachelor’s degree levels, NECB might not be the first college you think of for an affordable associates degree online. But don’t dismiss it quite yet: the one AS degree the school does offer (in Business Administration, of course) imparts high-quality training and highly valued skills that you can use to get ahead in the job market. And as an added bonus, if you are currently employed by one of the college’s Corporate Partners (more info available here) you could enjoy a 25% discount off your tuition!
Net Price: $9,563/yr
8. Vista College-Online
When it comes to career-focused, affordable online associate degree programs, Vista College has plenty to offer. Its curriculum focuses exclusively on programs at the associate’s and baccalaureate level, with a special emphasis on vocational topics. Degrees in Business Administration, Computer-Aided Drafting and Design, Information Technology, and Criminal Justice are all available through Vista College’s distance education program, and most of them only require 18 months to complete! You can also access the school’s career services center and live chat feature to get helpful advice regarding your academic plan – without leaving the comfort of your own home.
Net Price: $28,862/yr
7. Colorado Technical University
The benefit of attending CTU is right in the name – as a technical university, the school’s focus lies squarely on career-focused programs for the 21st century. Accredited online associate’s degrees are available in Healthcare Administration, Accounting, and Business, and the latter two are available in both online and traditional formats. CTU also offers “learning assessments” that allow new students to demonstrate competency in specific areas, potentially earning academic credit for their past experiences! If you’re a working adult, this could seriously work in your favor and compress your tenure at Colorado Technical University to a fraction of the time.
Net Price: $13,796/yr
6. Amridge University
Although Amridge University only offers a single associate-level program, it’s one of the best online AA degrees for students just starting out in academia. The purpose of the AA in Liberal Studies is to provide online learners with a broad foundation in general education topics as preparation for entry into a bachelor’s degree completion program – either at Amridge or another university. The 64-credit curriculum combines electives, “gen eds” and subject-specific courses across a wide swath of topics, but all students, regardless of interest, must complete a capstone course titled “You and the American Government.” Finally, an exit exam and General Competency Test serve as a demonstration of your readiness to move onto more advanced classes at the baccalaureate level.
Net Price: $12,992/yr
5. American InterContinental University-Online
Like many online colleges, American InterContinental University emphasizes vocational skills and career readiness in all of its degree programs – and especially in its affordable online associate degree programs. Two options are available for beginning college students at this level: an AABA in Business Administration and an ASCJ in Criminal Justice. But what AIC lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality; 24/7 online support, customized course content, and an extensive digital library are just a few of the resources you could enjoy as a student at American InterContinental. What’s more, its online classes feature discussion boards and interactive content that will keep you constantly engaged – you can even complete group projects through their virtual system.
Net Price: $15,495/yr
4. Bryant & Stratton College-Online
Bryant & Stratton College is undoubtedly one of the best schools on this online associates degree ranking. Why? Because unlike some universities, which only provide a few two-year programs amidst a number of baccalaureate options, B&S actually offers the majority of its degrees at the associate level! With a strong focus on technical careers that you can train for in 18 months or less, this top provider of inexpensive associate degrees online houses programs in Nursing, Interactive Media Design, Office Management, Security Technology, Medical Assisting, and Financial Support Services, to name but a few.
Net Price: $13,172/yr
3. National Paralegal College
While National Paralegal College isn’t exactly known for its academic diversity, it is known for enrolling students who know what they want. If you’re committed to a career in the legal field but need a college that offers flexible scheduling, NPC could be the place for you. It has one of the best online associates degree programs available in Paralegal Studies and offers self-paced learning options for busy students. You could take one, two, or three courses at a time as it suits your schedule, studying topics like personal injury, criminal law, patents and trademarks, and white-collar crime along the way.
Net Price: $13,709/yr
2. Sessions College for Professional Design
After hearing about the many colleges offering online associate degree programs in technical areas of study, it might be nice to read about some different options! Sessions College offers “the highest quality in online arts education,” with degree programs in Advertising Design, Digital Media, Graphic Design, Illustration, Web Design, Fine Arts, and Digital Photography. And just because these subjects are “artistic” in nature doesn’t mean they are less applicable to the job market; Sessions has worked hard to develop accredited associate degrees online that are grounded in a high-quality, relevant curriculum. This is evidenced in the school’s clear mission statement, which aims to “optimize the fully online experience rather than accommodate it.”
Net Price: $12,352/yr
1. American Public University System
In terms of quantity, it’s hard to beat a school like American Public University in any associate degree online ranking. APU is also one of the few online colleges to offer an even distribution of both online AS and online AA degrees (associate’s of science and art, respectively). Options of study include Communication, Database Application Development, Fire Science, History, Public Health, Retail Management, Web Publishing, and many more. The school also proudly supports veterans and offers special services to members of the armed services through American Military University, its partner institution. As such, it has tailored several academic programs to those with a military background, including associate degrees in Counterterrorism Studies, Explosive Ordinance Disposal, Military History, and Weapons of Mass Destruction Preparedness.
Net Price: $9,572/yr
This concludes our ranking of the top 10 values in online associate degree programs.
See our methodology page for more information about how we calculated this ranking.
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By CVO Staff
Published March 2016