Guide To An Online Business Management Associate Degree

by TBS Staff

Updated October 19, 2022

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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 Guide To An Online Business Management Associate Degree

Clarion University of Pennsylvania

  • Clarion, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Clarion University of Pennsylvania's online associate of science in business administration: general management program is one of seven associate degrees offered remotely. The virtual business management program equips participants with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a business management-specific career. Upon completion, graduates can apply their credits towards a bachelor's degree or other educational endeavors.

Throughout the program, students can access career services, academic advising, and other institutional resources. The online learning community connects remote enrollees with virtual library resources and academic tutoring.

The average learner is awarded $6,065 in financial aid to offset the costs of education. Around 96% of incoming degree-seekers receive financial aid awards and around 67% receive student loans.

Clarion University of Pennsylvania at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Location: Clarion, Pennsylvania

Admission Rate: 95%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 16-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $7,716

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $11,574

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,716
Out-of-state
$11,574
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
95%
Students Enrolled
4,700
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 Guide To An Online Business Management Associate Degree

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide

  • Daytona Beach, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online

At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide, the virtual associate of science in technical management is one of six online associate degree options offered remotely. Enrollees gain foundational knowledge and skills relevant to the business management field through coursework and experiential learning opportunities. Graduates can apply their course credits towards further study, such as a bachelor's degree.

Business management degree-seekers can access comprehensive college resources, including career counseling, academic advising, and financial aid assistance. Distance learners can receive one-on-one guidance from virtual library services and academic tutoring resources.

The college notes that 49% of all students receive financial aid awards, with 14% receiving loans. Prospective applicants can contact the financial aid office to see what funding options are available and what the eligibility criteria for them are.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Location: Daytona Beach, Florida

Admission Rate: 62%

Student-Faculty Ratio: 19-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $9,912

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $9,912

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,912
Out-of-state
$9,912
Retention Rate
52%
Admission Rate
62%
Students Enrolled
13,773
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
93% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Guide To An Online Business Management Associate Degree

Fox Valley Technical College

  • Appleton, WI
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Distance learners seeking flexible study in business management should consider Fox Valley Technical College's online business management associate degree. The associate of applied science in business management is one online program that prepares participants for the business management field through comprehensive coursework. Graduates can also transfer their credits toward a bachelor's degree at a four-year college.

Throughout the program, students can access career services, academic advising, and other institutional resources. Distance learners can further benefit from virtual services, such as library access, writing workshops, and other academic tutoring.

The average financial aid award, the college reports, is $4,669. Around 69% of incoming degree-seekers receive financial aid awards and around 15% receive student loans.

Fox Valley Technical College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Location: Appleton, Wisconsin

Student-Faculty Ratio: 11-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $4,095

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $6,143

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,095
Out-of-state
$6,143
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
12,239
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
26% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Guide To An Online Business Management Associate Degree

Community Care College

  • Tulsa, OK
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Community Care College, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, boasts four online associate programs, including its highly ranked business management associate degree. The associate of occupational science in business and industry management is one online program that prepares graduates for the business management field through comprehensive coursework. After graduation, students can apply their college credits towards a bachelor's degree or other educational endeavors.

Participants in the business management program can access numerous college resources, such as career services and academic advising. Distance learners can further benefit from virtual services, such as library access, writing workshops, and other academic tutoring.

Of all its enrollees, the college reports that 89% receive financial aid, and that 75% receive loans. Prospective applicants can reach out to the financial aid office to ask about funding opportunities and eligibility requirements.

Community Care College at a Glance:

Type of School: Private 

Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Student-Faculty Ratio: 23-to-1

Average Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
542
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

#5 Guide To An Online Business Management Associate Degree

Mesa Community College

  • Mesa, AZ
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Distance learners looking for a flexible online associate degree in business management should consider Mesa Community College. Participants in the associate of applied science in retail management program complete courses relevant to the business management field, preparing them for their future careers. Enrollees looking to advance in their studies can apply their associate degree credits towards further undergraduate study.

The college connects students with resources, such as academic advising and career resources. Online learners can receive further guidance through virtual library services and academic tutoring.

The college reports that the average degree-seeker's financial aid award package is $4,493. Prospective applicants can expect to receive financial aid or loans, as 71% of enrollees are awarded aid, and 12% receive loans.

Mesa Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Location: Mesa, Arizona

Student-Faculty Ratio: 20-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,040

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $7,824

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,040
Out-of-state
$7,824
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
20,351
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Methodology

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.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

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

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

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.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

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.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%

Affordability - 15%

Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

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.

Paralegal:
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.


Featured Image Credit: Ezra Bailey | The Image Bank | Getty Images

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