Is Business Administration an A.A. or A.S. degree?
Students can either pursue an online Associate of Arts (A.A.) or an Associate of Science (A.S.) in business administration. While both degrees include curricula on business topics, they differ in terms of the general education courses they offer. Students pursuing an A.A. take courses in the humanities and social sciences — including history, sociology, and literature. By contrast, those studying for an A.S. typically take classes in mathematics and science.
Both A.A. and A.S. degrees prepare students to join the workforce, but neither degree has a distinct advantage over the other.
Both A.A. and A.S. degrees prepare students to join the workforce, but neither degree has a distinct advantage over the other. Prospective students should consider their future education goals before deciding which degree to tackle. An A.A. degree is more suitable for students who want to pursue an in-person or online bachelor's in the humanities and social sciences, while an A.S. is better for those who hope to gain a bachelor's in a field of study driven by math or science.
Colleges and universities are periodically evaluated for the quality of education they provide through a process called accreditation. Higher education institutions voluntarily undertake this scrutiny by independent governmental or non-profit organizations because being an accredited institution means that a school meets nationally recognized standards for educational quality. Additionally, only students enrolled in an accredited institution — whether online or on-campus — can apply for and receive financial aid. Attending an accredited college or university can also help ensure that a student can transfer their existing college credits. To check whether your preferred school is accredited, use the U.S. Department of Education’s search tool.
Common Courses in Business Administration
The curriculum for an associate degree program in business administration typically includes coursework in finance, accounting, operations management, microeconomics, and macroeconomics. With a grounding in these fundamentals, college students can go on to pursue a bachelor's degree in business or a related field, such as project management, human resource management, or marketing. The following courses are often required when pursuing an associate in business administration.
This course is designed to help prepare students with bookkeeping skills and payroll expertise. Students should learn how to document, record, and summarize financial transactions for businesses. The coursework typically covers accounting theory, the value of current assets, and instructions on reporting financial information.
Given the increasingly global nature of business operations, this course focuses on preparing students to engage in different social and cultural settings. Overall, it covers how to communicate in any real-world business environment effectively. Students learn verbal and nonverbal communication techniques, especially methods for avoiding conflict in international business situations.
In this course, students strive to learn about the U.S. legal system as it relates to business activities, and it often includes a focus on cyber law. The faculty may introduce topics, such as product liability, employment law, and regulations relevant to sales and business liabilities.
Introduction to Macroeconomics
Business leaders, executives, and employees should understand how the economy functions. This business course is designed to teach students the basic principles of macroeconomic theory. Students should gain an understanding about how economic indicators shape and are shaped by the business world. Faculty may also introduce them to concepts such as GDP, demand, and supply.
Introduction to Statistics
Businesses are increasingly relying on data to make decisions. In this course, students learn the basics of statistical analysis. The course aims to cover complex topics, such as probability and descriptive statistics, while providing students with the skills to visualize and present the results of data analyses.
This foundational course is meant to teach students how they can evaluate a business’ financial standing, and it should also explain how both financial markets and the banking system relate to businesses. It may also introduce students to important concepts, such as shareholder wealth, dividends, and valuation.
Many students decide to continue their education after completing an associate degree in business administration at a community college. Though this credential is designed to equip graduates with the business skills to begin a career in this field, it can also be used to transition into a four-year bachelor's program. Depending on the courses students take, they could complete a bachelor's in two years of full-time study after transferring the credits they derived from an associate degree.
Many of the subjects taught in a business administration associate program cover a wide range of knowledge, from problem-solving to critical thinking, which is applicable across other career choices besides business. Though transferring to business management or a related bachelor's may seem like the obvious path, students with an associate degree in this field can also choose to transition into entirely different degree programs. However, pursuing a non-business bachelor's degree may require that students take prerequisites as electives, thereby increasing the time it takes them to complete a bachelor's.
A transfer associate degree may be more suitable for those determined to pursue a bachelor's.
Individuals who complete a non-transfer associate should work with an educational advisor to determine which credits can be applied to a four-year credential. It is also important to note that an associate degree is distinct from a transfer degree. While similar to an A.A. or A.S. in terms of structure and credit requirements, a transfer degree is specifically designed to transition students into their junior year of a bachelor's degree. Therefore, a transfer associate may be more suitable for those determined to pursue a bachelor's.