Here are our 20 best colleges for an online associates degree in 2020.
- #1 – Foothill College
- #2 – Copiah-Lincoln Community College
- #3 – Alexandria Technical & Community College
- #4 – Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
- #5 – Santa Fe College
- #6 – Western Texas College
- #7 – Fox Valley Technical College
- #8 – Coastal Pines Technical College
- #9 – Bismark State College
- #10 – Mitchell Technical Institute
- #11 – Iowa Lakes Community College
- #12 – Georgia Piedmont Technical College
- #13 – Northeast Community College
- #14 – Chippewa Valley Technical College
- #15 – Kennebec Valley Community College
- #16 – Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
- #17 – Northwest Iowa Community College
- #18 – Brigham Young University – Idaho
- #19 – Renton Technical College
- #20 – Minnesota State Community and Technical College
As college degrees become increasingly necessary to succeed in a competitive job market, associate’s degrees offer the most practical option for many students. They are relatively inexpensive. They open doors to jobs with higher salaries, and they can be the first stage of completing a bachelor’s degree. At the same time, online classes often offer the best way to fit college classes into an already busy schedule. This creates a much more flexible option than being a full-time traditional student. Because of the convenience, low cost and speed, an online associates degree can be an effective option for many people.
We have put together a list of the best online colleges for an associates degree based on three factors that show the value that the degree represents for its students: cost, graduation rate, and the number of associates degrees offered online.
Ranking the Best Colleges for an Online Associates Degree
20 – Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Fergus Falls, Minnesota
Minnesota State Community and Technical College leads their region in transfer and occupational education, and 92% of their graduates find employment within one year. Their 4 campuses and online programs offer over 200 online courses, and 19 associate’s degrees are offered entirely online. The school has a transfer pathway program for many of their areas of study, enabling the student to have an easier transition to a 4-year university.
19 – Renton Technical College
Renton Technical has been recognized by the Aspen Institute as one of the top 150 finalists for Community College Excellence for the past 3 consecutive years. The school offers 52 career training programs, and they pride themselves on serving a diverse student population. Students have the opportunity to earn any of five online associates degree programs which include Legal Assistant, Early Childhood Education, and three options within the medical field.
18 – Brigham Young University – Idaho
At Brigham Young University in Idaho, students can join an estimated 15,000 online students. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are looking for a Church university without leaving home can choose between seven online associate degree programs. These are offered in the industries of business, technology, family studies, and professional studies, and they average half the cost of a traditional university.
17 – Northwest Iowa Community College
Northwest Iowa was listed as #1 Best Online Community College overall by the SR Education Group in 2019. The school is part of Iowa Community College Online Consortium, which partners with 6 other colleges in Iowa to offer over 750 courses. Students can choose from six associate’s degrees completely online, and they will receive their degree from Northwest Iowa, regardless of which of the partnering colleges has offered the courses.
16 – Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
Shell Lake, Wisconsin
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, with over 100 years of technical experience, offers seven different online associates degree programs in five areas of study. Most of these degree options are connected to the school’s career pathway program, which allows students to build their education in increments, while improving their credentials along the way. Select programs have the option of nine different yearly start dates, offering flexibility for beginning the degree. 94% of WITC graduates are employed within six months.
15 – Kennebec Valley Community College
Kennebec Valley Community College offers a variety of degrees both hybrid and online, including five online associate’s degrees. They offer many individual courses for other degrees, as well. Their associates degree online programs use the Blackboard Learning Management System, which consists of a mix of “face-to-face” online instruction with a professor, as well as a number of online tutorials.
14 – Chippewa Valley Technical College
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Chippewa Valley Technical College is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System. They offer nine online associates degree programs in varying areas of study, such as Supply Chain Management, Early Child Education, and Human Resources. 95% of Chippewa Valley graduates are employed within six months of graduation, and their associate’s degree graduates boast an average starting salary of $46,816.
13 – Northeast Community College
At Northeast Community College, 99% of their graduates either find a job or continue their education. They offer 13 online associates degree programs–two of which are Associate of Applied Science degrees, while the other 11 are Associates of Applied Art. They also offer certificates in a variety of fields. Aspen Institute selected Northeast Community College as one of the nation’s top 10 community colleges based on graduation rate, employment rate, and employer satisfaction.
12 – Georgia Piedmont Technical College
Georgia Piedmont Technical College is one of Georgia’s oldest and most respected technical colleges, and its graduates have a job placement rate of 99.9%. They offer 12 online associates degree programs, all within the areas of business and programs and computer programs. At Georgia Piedmont, all online students are required to participate in at least one proctored event per course. This can be done either on campus or with an approved proctor at the convenience and location of the student.
11 – Iowa Lakes Community College
Iowa Lakes Community College offers programs of study in areas of science, math, technology, and engineering, and the school prides itself on focusing on serving the needs of the community. They offer the option of completing four of their associates degree online programs 100% online. Iowa Lakes is part of the Iowa Community College Online Consortium, which offers over 300 different courses that can be applied toward a degree.
10 – Mitchell Technical Institute
Mitchell, South Dakota
Mitchell Technical Institute was a top 10 finalist for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. They offer many regionally unique programs and four online associates degree online programs – Medical Office Professional, Administrative Office Specialist, Small Business Management, and Speech-Language Pathology Assistant. An impressive 99.9% of their graduates are employed or go on to continue their education within six months.
9 – Bismarck State College
Bismarck, North Dakota
The Bismarck State student body represents 48 states, and they offer more than 80 programs of study. 44% of their student population is enrolled entirely online, and two thirds of students are enrolled in at least one online course. Bismarck State offers 17 different online associate’s degrees. Most of these are in the areas of technology, while also offering degrees in business and criminal justice.
8 – Coastal Pines Technical College
Coastal Pines Technical College has a long history of offering high quality technical and training services to its students at an impressively low tuition rate. Students can choose between five online associates degree programs in Accounting, Business Technology, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Care and Education, and Marketing Management. Coastal Pines requires all students registered in online classes to complete one proctored event for each online course taken.
7 – Fox Valley Technical College
Fox Valley Technical College offers 200 hands-on programs of study at their school directly. And through the Wisconsin Technical College System, of which they take part, students can choose from more than 500 programs of study. There are 21 online associates degree programs in seven areas of study, with nine offerings in the school of Business Management. The average starting salary for graduates of Fox Valley’s two year associate’s degree program is $42,000.
6 – Western Texas College
Students can choose from a wide range of programs of study at Western Texas College, including 23 associates degree online programs that can be earned completely online. These online associates degrees include Pre-Med, Pre-Nursing, and Pre-Law, as well as other unique distance learning offerings such as Health and Physical Education, and Biology. The school attracts students from 20 countries, and students can offer take additional courses through the Virtual College of Texas, which Western Texas is part of.
5 – Santa Fe College
Santa Fe College in Gainesville offers prospective students 36 different program options for online associate’s degrees. Their campus has a nationally recognized teaching zoo, a planetarium, as well as a geological field laboratory. Their online associate’s program in Animal Sciences is one of its largest programs, as even a distance learner would be able to benefit from the school’s strong animal science department. Other online programs of study which draw the most students are Computer Sciences, Health Professions, and Liberal Arts and Sciences.
4 – Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
In 2018, Forbes listed Southwest Wisconsin as the #1 Technical College in Wisconsin and the #13 Technical College in the nation. Their seven online associates degree programs are comprised of courses that are offered at various start times, which allows for flexibility in the student’s schedule. Students can also earn prior learning credit for documented work experience, which can count toward their online associate’s degree. Courses are offered in 4, 8, and 16 week formats, and 97% of SWTC’s students are employed after graduation.
3 – Alexandria Technical and Community College
Alexandria Technical and Community College boasts the #1 best graduation rate of all Minnesota state institutions. Additionally, their graduates have a 98% job placement rate. The school offers 13 associate’s degrees online in 4 varying areas of study. Many of these online degrees are connected to the Transfer Pathway program at Alexandria Technical, which makes it easier for students to move to a 4-year degree program after completing their associate’s degree.
2 – Copiah-Lincoln Community College
Copiah-Lincoln has 33 fully online associate’s degree programs, ranging from Arts and Humanities, Education, Criminal Justice, Business and Health Sciences, to Career and Technical programs. They were recognized for having the highest graduation rate for Community Colleges in Mississippi. Copiah-Lincoln was also recognized by Lending Tree’s Student Loan Hero as #1 is Mississippi and #17 in the nation for successfully transferring students from community college to universities.
1 – Foothill College
Los Altos Hills, California
Foothill College enrolls over 44,000 students in their distance learning program, and tops our list for the best online associates degree programs. Their 22 online associate’s degree options are diverse, representing the school’s large number of course options, and they include Japanese, Women’s Studies, Anthropology, and Music. California residents can take advantage of the Foothill College Promise Scholarship, which offers two years of tuition free education for first-time, full-time college students. Foothill gets the #1 spot on our list of best online colleges for associates degree programs.