The 10 Best Online Associate in Entrepreneurship Programs

| TBS Staff

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Earning an entrepreneurship associate degree online will prepare you to run your own business or startup. In as few as two years, an online entrepreneurship degree will strengthen your accounting, marketing, planning, and business administration skills. If you have entrepreneurial leanings at all, this associate degree will help you jump-start your business planning and bootstrap your skill-level, while completing coursework according to your schedule.

An increasing number of individuals choose to launch their own companies, thanks to technological advancements and growing demand for innovative products and services. In 2015, The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that, 15 million people — 10% of the total employed U.S. population — were self-employed. An online entrepreneurship degree will prepare you to launch and grow your own business.

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Online Associate in Entrepreneurship Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

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We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

The motto of TheBestSchools.org is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:

The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.

To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — TheBestSchools.org formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):

1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]

  • Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
  • Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
  • Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
  • Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
  • Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
  • Considers range of electives within that discipline
  • Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline

2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]

  • Considers education background of the faculty
  • Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
  • Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
  • Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
  • Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources

3. Reputation [weight = 20%]

  • Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
    • Faculty
    • Curriculum
    • “Freshness” of academic knowledge
    • Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
    • Suitability of graduates for the workplace

4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]

  • Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
  • Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants

5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]

  • Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
  • Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business

6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]

  • Considers the following of the online classes:
    • Types of online technology used to deliver content
    • Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
    • Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
    • Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
  • Considers the following of instructors:
    • Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
    • Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
    • Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
    • Ratio to number of students in a class
  • Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees

Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.

To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:

  • Accreditation
  • Public or private status
  • Acceptance rate
  • Retention rate
  • Graduation rate
  • ACT/SAT requirements
  • Cost in-state / out of state
  • Undergrad, grad, or both offered
  • Region
  • State
  • City

Get the best rankings here AND get them to suit your personal needs. That’s TheBestSchools.org advantage!

If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.

Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!

The Best Online Associate in Entrepreneurship Degree Programs

Macomb Community College View School Profile Warren, MI Macomb Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Macomb Community College’s associate of business administration in entrepreneurship program gives students a firm background in fields like accounting, marketing, and information technology. Graduates leave school prepared to become innovative leaders in a variety of fields.

Based in Warren, Michigan, Macomb offers an extensive business-focused curriculum that includes courses like entrepreneurship fundamentals, accounting for entrepreneurs, and global purchasing and supply chain management. The school’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship provides students with business coaching and other resources. Additionally, Macomb hosts a yearly pitch competition, where distance learners can get feedback on their business ideas and potentially win funding for their startups.

The school offers financial aid and scholarships, and says that 80% of its students graduate debt-free. The credits earned in the program can transfer to most community colleges and universities with the same accreditation as Macomb. Candidates who know they want to pursue a BBA at another school following graduation are encouraged to meet with an advisor or counselor.

Learners must complete 63 credit hours to graduate, which Macomb suggests they complete over the course of four semesters. Students may also complete the program entirely online.

Minnesota State Community and Technical College View School Profile Fergus Falls, MN Minnesota State Community and Technical College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Minnesota State Community and Technical College’s entrepreneurship program teaches students valuable business skills. Candidates learn in small class settings, taught by professionals and business owners who translate their personal success into enriching and engaging lessons and classroom discussions.

Students carve their own path in the associate of applied science in business entrepreneurship program. Throughout their studies, they learn various business skills, including how to assess new enterprise opportunities, obtain financial resources, and market a venture for success. Courses teach distance learners how to create a business plan, select a leadership style depending on worker maturity, and use technology applications to meet business objectives.

Students must complete 60 credit hours to graduate; these credits include business and general education courses. Candidates may complete the program entirely online and in two years.

Located in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, Minnesota State boasts strong ties to its local community. The school’s Entrepreneurial Services Center on the Detroit Lakes campus offers business guidance to individuals. In addition to its associate degree program, Minnesota State also offers four other diplomas and certificate programs in entrepreneurship.

Genesee Community College View School Profile Batavia, NY Genesee Community College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

A key factor separating this online entrepreneurship degree from similar programs is its emphasis on e-commerce and retail business management. Students in Genesee Community College’s hybrid associate of applied science of entrepreneurship program can use a retail business management laboratory, where they can experiment with different merchandising techniques and strategies. Since the college is based in Batavia, New York, students can take class excursions to nearby retail and entrepreneurship hubs like Toronto and New York City. And for those interested in taking their entrepreneurship career overseas, students can study abroad.

Students can complete most of this program online, though they must take some classes in-person. Genesee’s online classes follow the same academic calendar as the in-person courses. The credits earned in this online associate degree in entrepreneurship can also transfer to nearby four-year institutions like Fashion Institute of Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology, and SUNY College of Buffalo. Students need to earn a total of 64 credits to complete the degree, which are in business and general education courses.

With Genesee’s program, students find themselves with a strong foundation when it comes to career fields or entrepreneurship degree jobs like operations management, accounting, information technology, and merchandise management. Degree earners also participate in a full-time internship during the program, expanding their career options following graduation.

All the programs offered at Genesee have been approved by the State University of New York. The school is also a member of the American Association of Community Colleges.

Craven Community College View School Profile New Bern, NC Craven Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Craven Community College’s associate of applied science in entrepreneurship curriculum is offered entirely online. Required courses include entrepreneur marketing, entrepreneur issues, and funding for entrepreneurs. In total, students need to complete 69 credits to graduate, and those who take a full-time course load can finish in two years.

Craven’s program helps students develop valuable professional skills. The school notes several fields where students might find entrepreneurship degree jobs, including personal supply services, lawn and home care, real estate, and management and public relations services.

Located in New Bern, North Carolina, Craven serves over 3,000 curriculum students, along with 10,000 continuing education students. For those who live nearby, the school also offers hybrid classes, which combine both in-person and digital instruction.

Craven provides a distance learning handbook and phone support for students who may experience technical issues. Some of the resources for online courses include a writing lab, an MLA writing support service, and Smarthinking, an online tutoring platform.

Cowley County Community College View School Profile Arkansas City, KS Cowley County Community College is regionally accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Leadership is the driving force behind Cowley County Community College’s entrepreneurship program. The associate degree from the Arkansas City, Kansas school equips business professionals with the necessary skills to succeed as leaders in the workplace.

Candidates must complete a total of 63 credits to graduate, which are spread out across general education courses, a business core curriculum, and six credits in leadership elective coursework. Full-time students can complete the program over the course of four semesters, or two years.

Almost every class at Cowley tackles a different dimension of leadership. This makes students not only valuable business leaders, but also provides them with a rigorous understanding of the values of leadership in personal and professional life.

Cowley’s associate of applied science in entrepreneurship and business leadership program gives students more access to their instructors and the chance to reach out with questions or comments through the school’s Blackboard system. The school’s online curriculum isn’t self-paced, so students still need to follow a specific academic and scheduling calendar. Some courses may require learners to take exams in person, so online students should take that into account when scheduling their coursework.

Tuition and fees vary depending on a student’s residential status. The school also offers financial aid programs, scholarships, student loans, and tuition payment plans.

Forsyth Technical Community College View School Profile Winston-Salem, NC Forsyth Technical Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Forsyth Technical Community College believes innovative and creative thinking skills, a strong tolerance for uncertainty, and a self-nurturing personality are helpful qualities for success. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina school’s associate of applied science in entrepreneurship curriculum includes a strong basis in entrepreneurship, along with coursework in business, computers, and economics.

Online candidates must complete 72 credits to graduate, and may finish those over the course of four semesters and one summer term. Degree earners who take more than 16 credits in a semester are not required to pay for any additional credit hours. Financial aid and scholarships are also available.

Forsyth Tech delivers its online courses through its Blackboard system, enabling students to access their coursework and communicate with their e-learning peers.

Great Basin College View School Profile Elko, NV Great Basin College is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Great Basin College helps students reduce the entrepreneurial risks and conflicts of starting their own business. Mentoring is also an important part of the curriculum, helping ensure learners’ success post-graduation.

Students at the Elko, Nevada school complete three specific educational levels in the associate of applied science in entrepreneurship emphasis degree. Those levels are: 1. Individualized assistance in deciding on a specific venture, 2. An opportunity to try the business in a virtual small business world environment, and 3. A cooperative education experience working with a small business manager/consultant.

The school requires 60.5 credits to graduate, which are spread out over general education coursework, a business core, and additional entrepreneurship classes and business electives. Students who take a full-time course load over four semesters can graduate in two years. Great Basin also allows candidates to continue into a bachelor’s degree program.

Tuition fees depend on a student’s residency status in the state of Nevada, as well as the level of course they are taking.

North Hennepin Community College View School Profile Brooklyn Park, MN North Hennepin Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

North Hennepin Community College transforms graduates into well-rounded business professionals by equipping its learners with a comprehensive understanding of human cultures, intellectual and practical skills, personal and social responsibility, and engagement.

The associate of applied science in entrepreneurship program consists of 60 credit hours, which include a strong business core and a general education requirement. While the program provides immediate skills for those looking to start their own business or enter the workforce, students can matriculate to several bachelor degrees in-state, including business programs at Minnesota State University Moorhead, Bethel University, University of Minnesota Crookston, and Concordia University St. Paul.

The Brooklyn Park, Minnesota school has offered online courses since 1997. Over $40 million in aid is awarded to students each year through scholarships, grants, and loans.

College of Southern Idaho View School Profile Twin Falls, ID College of Southern Idaho is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Students at the College of Southern Idaho can jumpstart their careers with its associate of applied science in business management/entrepreneur degree. The Twin Falls, Idaho school offers a business management technical certificate for students who have completed their first year of study. This certificate allows learners to become successful management professionals in retail operations while pursuing their associate degree.

The curriculum gives students a strong foundation in business management, team-building, and analysis-based decision-making. Distance learners must complete 60 credits to graduate. While some courses can transfer into a four-year institution, like Boise State University and its bachelor of science programs, the degree is intended for students who wish to immediately enter the workforce.

Candidates can find all the school’s entrepreneurship classes online, but some are only available at certain times of the year. The school offers resources of over $2 million of financial aid and scholarship aid.

Hudson Valley Community College View School Profile Troy, NY Hudson Valley Community College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Troy, New York’s serene community serves as one of the biggest draws of Hudson Valley Community College’s program. The school provides its associate of applied science in entrepreneurship students with an internship opportunity in their community.

Hudson Valley requires 63 credits for graduation, which includes entrepreneurial courses and some general education requirements. Students may also take classes in intrapreneurship, and become innovators in existing companies by employing entrepreneurial strategies they learned. Graduates may transfer to a four-year institution, and a certificate program is also available.

Hudson Valley offers an extensive amount of digital resources for online students, including learning centers, library services and databases, and a center for access and assistive technology. Tuition rates vary based on state residency.

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What Can I Do with an Associate in Entrepreneurship Degree and What Will I Learn?

Many graduates of online entrepreneurship degree programs enter bachelor’s programs. Earning a four-year degree builds on essential skills and knowledge gained during an associate program and increases earning potential.

According to PayScale, professionals with a bachelor’s in entrepreneurship earn an average $50,000 per year.

Marketing
A bachelor’s degree in marketing prepares students to oversee an organization’s marketing strategy and to project the return on investment for promotional activities.
Business Administration
Graduates of bachelor’s in business administration programs often become account managers. These professionals collaborate with clients, government officials, and the media to maintain an organization’s reputation.
Entrepreneurship
After earning an entrepreneurship associate degree online, many graduates pursue a bachelor’s in entrepreneurship, which prepares students to launch businesses or assume ownership of existing businesses.
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