Guide To An Online Business Management Associate Degree

by TBS Staff

Updated August 22, 2022 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Online business management associate degree graduates qualify for an array of fascinating jobs after only two years of full-time study. Like other general business degrees, online associate degrees in management prepare learners for leadership roles that require decision-making and guidance skills. Such positions may include receptionists,sales agents, andcustomer service professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that each of these roles will see average or above-average job growth between 2016 and 2026, making it an exciting time to pursue such positions.

Management training equips students with many transferable business and leadership skills. Consequently, graduates can find work in all types of industries and settings. Some may want to work in insurance or advertising, while others may feel drawn to hospital administration or construction management. Many associate students go on to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s in business management.

The following guide highlights what it takes to earn an online business management associate degree, along with available jobs, average salaries, how to pick the right program, and where to find support along the way.

Featured Online Management Programs

The Best Online Associate in Management Degree Programs

  1. Clarion University of Pennsylvania

    Clarion, PA

    With two campuses and a substantial online presence, Clarion offers an online associate degree in business management that gives students the opportunity to graduate directly into a bachelor-level management program on campus after graduation. Students take the AS in business administration either online or on-campus at the Clarion or Venango campuses.

    Clarion’s associate of science in business administration includes a concentration in general management. Students complete 60 credits of part-time study online. Transfer students or students with prior experience must complete the degree with at least 30 of the 60 credits, or 50% of major, for-credit curriculum at Clarion. Applicants to undergraduate business programs possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. Applicants who schedule a personal interview with an admissions counselor may waive their application fee.

    Students enrolled in the online associate degree in management typically complete multiple 15-week courses per term. The school offers some seven-week courses online. While students earning their degree online pay tuition and fees according to their in- or out-of-state residency, the cost of learning online at Clarion is significantly less than the university’s traditional campus programs.

  2. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide

    Daytona Beach, FL

    The unique learning model cultivated by ERAU’s Worldwide Campus is ideal for working professionals in and outside of the school’s physical locations in Florida, Arizona, and Asia. Online degrees at ERAU emphasize a global worldview focused on both online and face-to-face instruction that accommodates students in the U.S. and around the world. The Department of Management and Technology offers an associate degree in business management online.

    All ERAU programs emphasize problem-solving, critical-thinking, leadership, and research skills that prepare students for gainful employment after graduation. The associate of science in technical management (ASTM) provides training in acute organization and planning of material assets and human resources in a variety of professional environments. Students may specialize in logistics, occupational safety and health, or engineering sciences, as well as numerous sub-specializations in applied information technology. The 60-credit program incorporates group activities and participatory courses in research and development for each specialization.

    Core courses in the ASTM include accounting, principles of management, and management information systems, as well as specialty courses like aeronautical science management. General education requirements incorporate curriculum from the social sciences, the humanities, and communication theory and skills that stress English composition and speech. Students may transfer up to nine credits in technical management or other business minors toward the degree; those without transferable credits may supplement their degree with approved management electives from core and general education curriculum within the ASTM program.

  3. Fox Valley Technical College

    Appleton, WI

    With 15 campus locations throughout the state of Wisconsin, Fox Valley has made inclusive education a part of its mission for more than 100 years. Business, finance, and management majors constitute the majority of the school’s nearly 250 academic programs, including an associate of applied science in management development. Students take the degree online in an accelerated format online, as well as at the college’s Appleton, Oshkosh, Chilton, Waupaca, and Clintonville campuses.

    Fox Valley’s online associate degree in business management focuses on enhancing a student’s existing teamwork, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills. The program offers one of nine specialty tracks: general emphasis, accounting, agribusiness-dairy livestock, diesel, agribusiness-plant science, banking, entrepreneurship, global, or marketing. Students complete 60–62 credits, including an internship or culminating experience, depending on their area of emphasis. Core requirements are the same for all specialties and include a combination of technical and general studies courses in management theory, HR management, and business decision-making and problem-solving.

    The AAS incorporates content delivered entirely online, and Fox Valley offers a variety of flexible learning options for residents of Wisconsin. The school offers some programs in hybrid format, and many degrees incorporate the interactive video classroom (IVC) and/or require online coursework in addition to campus classes. At Fox Valley, distance learners pay a set, per-credit rate for online study, regardless of their state of residence.

  4. Community Care College

    Tulsa, OK

    In conjunction with Oklahoma Technical College and Clary Sage College, Community Care College offers the latest in vocational training for a variety of emerging professions in Oklahoma and throughout the U.S. The school caters to working students and specializes in business and healthcare and offers more than 10 evening and online program options. Community Care College’s associate of occupational science (AOS) includes a focus in business and industry management.

    The occupational emphasis offers exclusively business-oriented courses that prepare graduates for employment. As a standalone program, the AOS degree enables students to pursue one of two paths of entry: an accelerated 10-month, “diploma-in-hand” program or a 20-month program that incorporates additional courses in professional development, entrepreneurship, and project management for students without previous college experience.

    Students complete courses online at the student’s convenience or in the evenings on campus. Students can also customize the program in accordance with their professional goals. Through close communication between students and instructors through text, chat platforms, email, phone, and--if preferred--face-to-face meetings, students develop their ideas into professional business plans.

  5. Mesa Community College

    Mesa, AZ

    In addition to its online campus, MCC occupies three physical locations across Mesa, Arizona, each with a focus on a different area of education and career training. The college’s various sites emphasize programs in education, community involvement, and fire science and EMT training. MCC Online offers more than 500 distance courses and 20 degrees and certificate programs, including an online associate degree in business management.

    The associate of business in management at MCC offers concentrations in 10 distinct areas of study, including a general management track, management information systems, servant leadership, and emergency management. Students complete 62–63 credits toward the associate of business as a pathway to a transfer program at a public university. The school encourages applicants to meet with an academic advisor before enrolling to discuss academic and career goals.

    The curriculum in the online associate of business encompasses general education, business-specific, lower division, and elective courses. Online courses vary in length and may take between eight and 16 weeks to complete. Regardless of concentration, common lower division courses for all management students explore foundational concepts such as accounting; quantitative methods; and legal, ethical, and regulatory business issues.

  6. North Central Missouri College

    Trenton, MO

    With multiple locations in and around Trenton, NCMC is the second-oldest, publicly-supported community college in the state of Missouri. In addition to offering all of its general education courses online, NCMC also features nine programs that students complete entirely online, including the AAS in business and technology with an emphasis in management.

    A two-year program, NCMC’s online associate degree in business management prepares graduates for a career in their choice of management-related occupations. Students complete 61- to-73 credit hours comprised of general education courses and curriculum tailored to their area of interest. Eligible applicants with transfer credits can enter the accelerated program, and students without developmental studies prerequisites take additional courses in core subjects. The school may require prospective business management students to take a placement test.

    The curriculum in the AAS degree covers topics like management and marketing principles, the humanities, business law, credit and finance, and entrepreneurship, and culminates in a business management internship during the second year. The school offers online students a set rate for tuition and fees. Students enrolled in online programs at NCMC participate in primarily lecture-based virtual classes, using email and chat platforms to communicate with instructors and peers.

  7. Hagerstown Community College

    Hagerstown, MD

    In addition to its reputation as a premier provider of two-year degrees and certificates within the Hagerstown, Maryland community, HCC’s Technical Innovation Center (TIC) is the largest business development organization if its kind in western Maryland. The school’s LERN-certified Continuing Education and Workforce Development Division has received international recognition for its cutting edge programs, and HCC offers more than 240 courses and 24 degrees online.

    HCC’s offers students an associate of applied science in management — fully online two-year associate degree — in addition to several other degrees that combine online coursework with in-person campus requirements. The AAS comprises 60 credits over four semesters, or two years, and functions as a pathway to a bachelor’s program in management or a related field at a four-year institution. Aside from fulfilling credit requirements in general education and management basics, students can select electives aligned with their prospective bachelor’s degree with the help of a transfer advisor.

    Instructors deliver both online and hybrid courses through the Moodle LMS. Students who like to learn in-class take on-campus courses in the AAS in management program during the evenings. Whether an applicant plans to study online or on campus, HCC sets tuition and fee rates according to the student’s residency status, including county and state specifics.

  8. Montgomery County Community College

    Blue Bell, PA

    MCCC offers students one of the nation’s most comprehensive distance learning networks, including nearly a dozen degrees and certificates online, as well as several hybrid programs through its physical locations and virtual campuses. MCCC designs many of its degrees as career pathway programs that prepare graduates to not only advance their professional standing but also transfer into a bachelor’s degree at a four-year university. One such program is the online associate degree in management.

    The AAS in management program offers five concentrations: management, organizational leadership, marketing, and office management. AAS students complete 60–61 credits over two years. Requirements include coursework in essential management, marketing, accounting and economic concepts in addition to concentration specific courses. All concentrations offer the opportunity for an internship, which helps students gain invaluable work experience. Each concentration’s capstone course gives students the experience of developing a sample entrepreneurial business plan.

    Students in both the on-campus and online tracks take the same classes and pay the same tuition rates. Instructors deliver coursework asynchronously through the Blackboard LMS. Through partnerships with the majority of Pennsylvania colleges and universities, MCCC ensures that courses completed through the virtual campus transfer seamlessly into local bachelor’s degrees.

  9. State Fair Community College

    Sedalia, MO

    With seven campus locations across the state of Missouri in addition to its online learning division, SFCC serves over 5,000 students in 14 counties with hundreds of courses and degree programs available online. SFCC’s associate of applied science in business management with a management specialty caters to students hoping to enter the local job market.

    The associate degree in business management online strengthens a student’s existing analytical, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. The emphasis in management incorporates coursework in communication, leadership, ethics, motivation, goal-setting, and organization. The 65-credit program covers general education courses with a focus on math, communications, American institutions, and wellness, as well as program requirements in topics like principles of macroeconomics, employment strategies, and business ethics. The degree includes a two-month summer internship that students complete after fulfilling at least 30 regular course credits.

    Courses transfer into a bachelor’s degree in business through an SFCC extension campus at Central Methodist University. Applicants possess basic computer literacy and teamwork skills. Tuition and fees change relative to a student’s county and state of residency, whether they enroll in one major course of study or a dual-credit program, and their academic subject area.

  10. Alvin Community College

    Alvin, TX

    Located in Alvin, Texas, ACC brings together an impressive list of comprehensive programs through dozens of associate degrees, certificates, and professional programs available on-campus and online. ACC prepares its students for a wide variety of occupations in healthcare, technology, and communications and offers programs in management, sociology, and psychology entirely online, including an AAS in management, through its distance education department.

    The 60-credit associate degree in business management [PDF] online at ACC prepares graduates for careers in general management by emphasizing cooperative education comprised primarily of core courses in communications, social and behavioral sciences, and creative arts. Cooperative education courses require the approval of a department chair prior to registration. Additional course requirements include topics in management/HR, general education, and recommended electives. Students pursuing the AAS as a pathway to a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution must also complete a course in computer applications.

    Students enrolled in the online associate degree in business management must complete a capstone course in special topics in marketing and marketing management to fulfill all degree requirements. While students complete the AAS degree entirely online, instructors may occasionally ask students to visit campus for orientations or tests; students unable to meet minimal campus requirements make special arrangements to complete coursework. ACC offers a variety of courses and programs in a hybrid format, combining internet-based study in Blackboard with face-to-face coursework.


We selected the programs based on the quality of the program, the types of courses offered, the faculty, rankings, awards, and reputation, including the school’s reputation for effectively providing online degree programs.

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While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

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The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

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Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

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Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

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Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

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How to Choose and Online Management Program

When considering prospective online business management associate degree options, students should take their time choosing a program. Distance learning opportunities exist abound, so make sure to choose a school that meets most of your needs and expectations. Many students opt for in-state public colleges, which tend to offer lower tuition rates, while others choose private or out-of-state schools and offset higher tuition rates with financial aid.

Program Cost:
Cost is often a prohibitive factor in higher education, but learners can usually work around it. In addition to seeking out federal, state, and local aid resources, prospective students should look into institutional and programmatic funding.
Transfer Policies:
Many learners choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree after completing an online associate degree in management. These students should make sure their associate programs offer classes with credits that transfer easily. When considering their next school, learners should ensure their chosen bachelor’s program implements transfer agreements or transfer-friendly policies.
School Size and Type:
Some students prefer small class sizes and intimate learning environments in which they can get to know their peers and professors. These learners may consider private colleges, which tend to offer smaller class sizes than public universities. However, private schools cost substantially more than public schools. Check with your prospective program about average class sizes.
Program Length:
Most full-time distance learners can complete their associate degree in two years. Students may complete their degree faster if they completed prior credits through AP classes or dual enrollment in high school. Conversely, part-time students usually need three years to finish their associate degree.
On-Campus Requirements:
Recognizing that many students work while enrolled, most online programs do not require campus visits. However, some do. If on-campus requirements do not fit your schedule, verify your prospective program’s on-campus requirements before enrolling.

Career Opportunities for Associate Level Management Degrees

Graduates of online associate degree in management programs can choose between several professional paths after earning their diplomas. Associate degrees tend to qualify graduates for entry-level support roles, but professionals in these positions may work their way up over time. Those who succeed in management love analytical thinking, finding inventive solutions, bringing the best out of other workers, and operating in a professional manner. Most work standard 40-hour workweeks, but some positions may require night or weekend hours, as well.

Paralegals support lawyers by conducting research, creating organizational systems, liaising with other legal staff, writing prep materials for trials, filing briefs and appeals, and managing clients to ensure smooth scheduling of meetings, depositions, and court hearings.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $37,000
  • Mid-Career: $47,000
  • Experienced: $51,000
  • Late Career: $55,000
Administrative Services Manager:
Also called chiefs of staff, these professionals manage other admin staff, create departmental goals, oversee sensitive data, liaise with senior leadership, and implement new strategies and protocols to increase productivity.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $48,000
  • Mid-Career: $59,000
  • Experienced: $65,000
  • Late Career: $66,000
Management Analyst:
Often working in consultancy roles, these professionals help clients identify and improve organizational efficiency issues. Analysts observe personnel, review data, and gather facts before creating solutions and presenting them to senior staff.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $59,000
  • Mid-Career: $70,000
  • Experienced: $73,000
  • Late Career: $79,000
Sales Representative:
Working on behalf of their companies and products, sales representatives identify prospective clients, contact them, discuss needs, and provide overviews of available products. They also court clients as they decide whether to make the purchase. These professionals execute sales contracts and check in with clients regularly.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $35,000
  • Mid-Career: $49,000
  • Experienced: $55,000
  • Late Career: $55,000
Purchasing Manager:
Also known as buyers, these individuals ensure their companies possess the raw and finished products needed to sell their goods and services. They find vendors, review quotes, work with suppliers to negotiate prices, and liaise with staff to determine when to make changes based on quality or price.
Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $51,000
  • Mid-Career: $63,000
  • Experienced: $70,000
  • Late Career: $75,000

Source: PayScale

Courses in an Online Management Associate Program

Organizational Behavior in Business:
This course helps students understand how different management and leadership styles lead to different organizational behaviors and outcomes. Learners cover topics such as productivity, profitability, employee morale, motivation, managing conflict, overseeing times of change, and creating favorable group dynamics.
Business Finance
Usually taken in the first year of studies, this course helps students learn about the basics of business financials. Learners build skills in analyzing financial statements, managing cash flow, understanding risk and return, and seeking out diversified streams of income. They also learn about the foundations of financial management.
Strategic Management
Students in this class learn to complete competitive advantage analyses and think strategically about their companies’ short- and long-term goals. Learners cover topics such as strategic planning, making decisions about the future, and responding to industry-based and economic shifts.
Human Resources Management
This course teaches about the basic foundations of personnel management, with emphasis on developing effective HR systems, hiring the best qualified staff, creating and integrating innovative training programs, managing benefits effectively, and developing work environments that promote productivity.
Sales Management
Students in this class walk through the lifecycle of a successful sale, studying each step along the way to learn about best practices. Learners gain skills in developing customer leads, building portfolios, negotiating prices and contracts, garnering repeat clients, and creating organized and maximized strategies.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate Degree in Management?

An online business management associate degree usually appeals to students considering careers in business management. This degree provides learners with a sense of the industry without requiring a four-year commitment. Comprising approximately 60 credits, most traditional associate programs take full-time students about two years to complete. Students who want to graduate more quickly should consider taking summer courses or maxing out their course loads each semester.

Other learners may need to take their time as they juggle academic, personal, and professional responsibilities. These students might study part-time, which takes about three years. Part-time students often end up paying more for their degrees, as they enroll in school for longer periods of time and therefore pay more semester-based fees.

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