2021 Best Online Associate Degrees
Online Associate Degrees with the Highest Return on Investment
Our rankings are the first to source graduate salaries and student debt amounts from government databases in order to identify the colleges and universities that offer the best return on investment (ROI) for their online associate degrees. To develop this list, we calculated a 10-year ROI value for every online associate degree program, then compared each value against those for similar programs to calculate an ROI percentile. For each school that offers online associate degrees in at least two subject areas, we then calculated an average ROI percentile and ranked the schools by this value.
Best Online Associate Degrees Highlights
Frequently Asked Questions About Associate Degrees
How long does it take to complete an online associate degree?
Students can complete an associate degree in two years if they are enrolled full-time. Prospective students must have a high school diploma or equivalent to meet the admission requirement. Notably, the college credits that students earn while pursuing an associate degree can be applied to the final two years of a four-year bachelor’s degree program.
How much does an associate degree cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, from 2017-2018, the average cost of tuition for all two-year institutions was $10,704. For public colleges, the cost is $10,281 per year, while students attending private or for-profit colleges can expect to pay much higher tuition rates of about $25,296 per year.
Should I get an associate degree or bachelor’s degree?
Deciding whether to pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree depends on a variety of factors, including an individual’s career goals and financial circumstances. A bachelor’s degree will require a greater commitment in terms of time and financial resources; however, a more advanced degree typically increases an individual's earnings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that those with an associate degree typically made $874 in median weekly earnings in 2019, compared to $1,281 for bachelor’s degree holders. Individuals who are unsure about which degree level to pursue may consider first earning an associate degree and then completing a bachelor’s degree further on in their career.
What can I do with an associate degree?
Associate degree holders are qualified for career paths in a range of industries, including financial services, medical, dental, veterinary, and information technology. Some position titles available to those with an associate degree include bookkeeper, veterinary assistant, computer network support specialist, radiologic technologist, web designer, and civil/architectural drafter.
What are the highest earning jobs that require associate degrees?
While the median annual salary for associate-degree holders was $46,124 in 2019, there are several jobs in the medical and technology fields that received higher salaries that year. For example, in 2019, dental hygienists earned the highest median annual salary of $76,220 and the field is projected to grow 6%, which is faster than average. Web developers and sonographers also received high salaries of $73,760 and $68,750, respectively. These positions have a strong job outlook and are expected to grow much faster than average for all occupations.