Online associate degree programs have always had the reputation of being “easier to earn” than bachelor’s degrees, and this is the principal reason why community colleges, as well as public and private universities and colleges, offer associate degree programs. Generally speaking, an associate degree can be completed in two years and costs less than a bachelor’s program. Today, distance learning has paved the way for easy online associate degree programs that still integrate these elements that benefit the student—but with options for accelerated and flexible plans of study.
While there are online associate degrees that are known for their easier and faster completion, your ability and learning style will determine how easy you find your degree program. Even these easy online associate degrees will need your best efforts if you want to earn them successfully.
We put together 30 colleges and universities all over the country that offer the easiest online associate degree programs. We picked the online schools to be part of our list based on specific criteria, including the flexibility of their program curriculum, level of difficulty of coursework, and ease of access to course materials through an interactive and user-friendly online learning platform. We also considered the schools’ accreditation status, credit transfer programs, if any, and career preparation programs through their student assistance centers.
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia offers an online Associate of Science in Psychology degree program. It is considered “easy to earn” because of its emphasis on broad psychology topics and general education courses that are taught from the Christian perspective. Online psychology courses are engaging, flexible, and useful for students who wish to earn a bachelor’s degree in the discipline as well. The 60-credit coursework is delivered purely online in eight-week terms, and the associate degree can be finished in 24 months. Up to 75%, credit transfer is accepted at Liberty University, which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Florida Institute of Technology
Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida offers an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts degree program online. The university provides comprehensive online classes that develop students’ skills and elevate them for Journalism or Communication Studies as a degree. The easy online associate degree program emphasizes conflict resolution, public speaking, basic composition, and media writing for practical purposes instead of technical career preparatory knowledge. Easy completion of the coursework can be observed through Florida Tech’s online interactive classes that are divided into eight-week terms. This school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Indiana Wesleyan University
Located in Marion, Indiana, Indiana Wesleyan University features an easy online Associate of Science in Accounting degree program. The coursework involves lessons that advance in their content and length as the degree progresses. The coursework includes weekly classes on accounting principles, business decision-making, analysis, effective communication, and information management. Students work with cohort groups that give mutual support. The easy online associate degree program can be completed in 26 months, but IWU runs the Bridge program that allows students with previously earned 36 to 59 credit hours to immediately begin working towards their bachelor’s degrees. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Located in Flint, Michigan, Baker College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice degree program online. This academic institution has a Virtual College, which provides 24/7 access to online resources and delivers the coursework in accelerated eight-week terms. An Associate Degree in Criminal Justice requires successful completion of general education courses such as the arts, science, mathematics, and history—rather than criminal justice courses. What makes this associate degree easy is that it does not require any capstone or independent research project for degree completion. Moreover, the associate degree program is marketable and meets the initial requirements for graduates to land a career in the area of criminal justice. Baker College has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Granite State College
Granite State College offers an online Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education degree program. The coursework is delivered in accelerated six-week terms. The associate degree program is easy in the sense that it features fun courses in the general education aspect, such as social science, communication, history, and humanities. Other interesting subjects include the roles of an early childhood professional, the historical foundations of education, infant and toddler development, instructional technology in education, the psychology of exceptionality, and field experience in early childhood education. Early Childhood Education is considered to be one of the easiest associate degree programs at Granite State College as it focuses only on the lower levels of academic study and features creative projects. Most students also graduate with high GPAs. Granite College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges via the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global in West Lafayette, Indiana offers an online Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting degree program that can be completed in 15 to 18 months. It neither requires a long time nor cost more than it should perform hands-on activities and complete practicum programs in laboratories and medical facilities. Online Purdue University Global students become equipped for jobs that involve checking vital signs, performing laboratory testing procedures, and assisting doctors. The associate degree can be completed easily and, upon graduation, graduates become prepared to enter top-notch jobs that may require them to aid inpatient medical care. The university has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Weber State University
Located in Ogden, Utah, Weber State University offers easy online associate degree programs such as the Associate of Science in General Studies. The 60-credit curriculum allows students to gain extensive knowledge and skills needed to earn a bachelor’s degree in General Studies. Students engage in interesting academic and occupational topics in online classes. The university also features accelerated eight-week coursework for easy completion on Canvas. A bachelor’s degree in any related field can easily be earned through a generous credit transfer program. This Utah-based school is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Ohio Christian University
Ohio Christian University in Circleville, Ohio features an online Associate of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degree program. Students can quickly engage with academic advisors in this online associate degree program with 22 elective hours of courses from different areas of study. The flexible and hassle-free program has detailed lesson plans delivered through the university’s Online Plus that is designed for online students planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree. This university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Academy of Art University
The Academy of Art University, an academic institution based in San Francisco, California, features easy online associate degree programs such as Associate of Arts in Fashion Styling, which can be completed in 18 months or less. The degree program is unique and easy to earn with its interesting courses that are available 24/7 online. Live discussions, interactive videos, and live demonstrations are also accessible. Projects and assignments can be uploaded easily through the university’s online portal. The Academy of Art University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Wayland Baptist University
Located in Plainview, Texas, Wayland Baptist University offers online associate degree programs such as the Associate of Applied Science in Religion. The 64-semester hour curriculum is composed of four 11-week terms on a flexible online format. What makes this online associate degree program easy is that students can earn at least four credit hours for qualified work experience and training, and they can complete the degree in a positive, faith-based setting. In some cases, Wayland Baptist University permits students to start with their online coursework before granting them formal acceptance. The university has earned its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
University of the Potomac
The University of the Potomac in Washington, D.C. offers the online Associate of Science in Business program. The degree can be completed in one and a half years due to the curriculum’s self-paced online format delivered on the Blackboard Learn platform. The coursework focuses on significant business topics to help students gain a competitive edge in the industry. This university has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
College of Southern Nevada
The College of Southern Nevada features an easy online Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene degree program. Students take classes in subjects such as physiology, pathology, radiography, anatomy, medical ethics, and patient management. Aside from coursework taken via online classes, students get to experience laboratory work as well as clinical activities that are conducted on-campus. The associate degree can be obtained rapidly at an affordable cost, and often leads to higher-paying career opportunities in the health industry. Regardless of its challenging nature, the College of Southern Nevada offers easy completion of this degree program through condensed coursework and a variety of clinical experiences and online resources. Three years of this associate degree program is almost equivalent to four years of earning a bachelor’s degree in dentistry, and the salary of a dental hygienist is more than twice the median wage of a salary of a dental assistant. The program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association. The school has earned accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Sinclair Community College
Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio offers an easy 60-credit hour Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts degree. In this online program, students who plan to transfer can choose specific electives based on their desired majors. For easier completion of this associate degree program, students must interact with the receiving institution at an earlier period and should connect with an academic advisor to choose appropriate courses and comply with the requirements. Students also need to complete the Ohio Transfer Module (OTM) that is composed of OTM courses guaranteed for easier transfer in any public university or college in Ohio on a course-by-course basis. The program also features a 15-month accelerated program for convenient and fast completion. Out-of-state students pay $100 to $300 per credit hour. This Ohio-based college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
South Florida State College
Located in Avon Park, Florida, South Florida State College is a public academic institution that uses the Florida Virtual Campus E-Learning platform for easier and faster delivery of open courses in eight weeks. Designed for adult learners and busy professionals, the online classes, usually begin and end on the same dates as the school’s regular summer, fall, and spring terms. The online coursework utilizes the same materials as their on-campus counterparts and has the same educational content as the traditional coursework. Online students interact with their instructors who also teach on-campus. Online class size averages 13 students for 14 programs such as online Associate of Arts in General Studies, Humanities, and Social Sciences. This school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Lewis-Clark State College
Based in Lewiston, Idaho, Lewis-Clark State College offers an online Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts degree that which can be completed in 18 months or less. Through the academic institution’s Blackboard Learn, coursework can be easily accessed and completed. The associate degree program focuses on soft skills such as communication, basic composition, and intensive writing while also requiring students to attend mathematics and science classes. Through this associate degree program, students gain an established educational foundation for their future careers in the discipline. The academic institution has received accreditation from the Northwest Commission on College and Universities.
Located in Lawton, Oklahoma, Cameron University is a public academic institution that has at least 20 easy online associate degree programs including the Associate of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and Associate of Science in Business. The university offers fast-track, eight and 12 semester-hour coursework that is readily accessible online. The associate degree can be easily completed due to the flexibility of the program curriculum comprised of general education courses, some mathematics and science courses. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Bismarck State College
Bismarck State College in Bismarck, North Dakota is considered to be the third largest, co-educational academic institution that features 17 online Associate of Applied Science degree programs. Some of its easy associate degree programs include Associate of Applied Science in Information Processing, Human Services, and Administrative Assistant degree programs. The Associate of Applied Science in Information Processing is an integration of word processing, desktop publishing, web development, and word processing. Easy completion of the coursework is possible in just 24 months or less through flexible classes, assignments, and activities online. Bismarck State College has earned accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Located in Waxahachie, Texas, Southwestern Assemblies of God University runs an online Associate of Arts in English degree program. Online class sizes are small as there are one-on-one interactions with instructors and advisors on a regular basis. What makes this associate degree program an easy one is the fact that there are fun and interesting courses to take that will help you analyze and assess written texts, make your own original written pieces, and express your views through oral discussions and essays. Online materials are easily accessed and interesting as the courses focus on enhancing soft skills such as proper communication, comprehension of written texts, and composition writing for practical purposes rather than for career advancement. This Texan university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Montana State University-Northern
The Montana State University-Northern, located in Havre, Montana is a public university that offers easy associate degree programs like the Associate of Arts in General Studies. The university has launched nine online programs on Desire2Learn which can receive up to 45 transfer credits. As for the 60-credit associate degree, it is considered easy as it provides an interesting foundation of general education courses with a concentration on the humanities, arts, and social sciences. This associate degree is most recommended for students who are still determining their career goals in the discipline and desire a more self-paced and flexible pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Students can easily adjust to the coursework through the program’s small online class sizes and emphasis on academic skills enhancement. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on College and Universities.
Ashworth College in Norcross, Georgia offers an Associate of Science in General Business degree program. Students can enroll through a one-time registration for one semester and complete it in six months or less with four semesters each. The degree program can be quickly completed through condensed yet interesting online resources, a 24/7 accessible Student Portal dashboard, ProQuest digital availability, and Learning Resource Center. Another aspect that makes this degree program easy is its broad concentration on general education coursework, making it more of a liberal arts degree rather than a business course plus elementary statistics and some basic math. The degree program’s central goal is to develop a variety of versatile skills in accounting and business management. The degree program is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.
Miami Dade College
Located in Miami, Florida, Miami Dade College offers easy Associate of Arts in Accounting and Associate of Arts in Recreation degree programs. Both of which are available online, alongside other 14 easy distance learning programs on Blackboard that are conducted on eight-week sessions. The online associate degrees’ coursework can be completed in 16 weeks, and consist of general education credits and elective courses. Because of their unique and interesting courses, coupled with supportive and competent advisors, students can complete the easy associate degree programs fast and be admitted readily into a public academic institution in the state. Miami Date College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Dallas County Community College District
Located in Dallas, Texas, the Dallas County Community College District offers an online Associate of Arts in Teaching degree program (EC-12). This easy online associate degree program is designed for students seeking to earn a certification to practice foreign language instruction to students from Early Childhood to Grade 12 levels. It is also ideal for those who plan to jump to a bachelor’s degree program and become a licensed teacher. The coursework consists of critical reading and writing, communication, quantitative and qualitative reasoning, research, creativity, foreign languages, scientific discovery, and online classes in Spanish, French, or German. The coursework materials can be accessed as video clips, actual exercises, interactive textbook materials, and real-time lessons through Skype video chats. This community college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Holy Apostles College and Seminary
The Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut features online associate degree programs such as Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts and Associate of Arts in Theology. The academic institution provides a 24/7 online campus to enable students to easily earn associate degrees in about two years and six months at an affordable cost. CLEP testing and a generous transfer policy also allow for hassle-free accelerated completion for the associate degree programs. The Holy Apostles College and Seminary is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
Indian River State College
Located in Fort Pierce, Florida, Indian River State College is a public school that features easy online associate degrees. These programs are Associate of Arts in Social Work, Dietetics/Nutrition, Humanities, Psychology, and Sociology. Its Virtual Campus features a free Smart Thinking tutorial program. There is only one proctored evaluation for easy completion of associate programs. The online Associate of Arts in Social Work degree coursework involves general education courses like sociology, humanities, human welfare, and psychology. Students enjoy timely and fast completion of the associate degree program through readily accessible materials, fun courses, interactive projects, and internships—all of which promote an easier way of earning a bachelor’s degree in social work. The college also accepts transfer credits. Indian River State College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Formerly Brown Business College of Commerce, Midstate College in Peoria, Illinois is a for-profit school that offers Associate of Applied Science in Administrative Professional. It has a completion rate of at least 81% for 18 online programs, and easy completion of coursework can be done through Gateway, the college’s online learning platform. The Administrative Professional associate degree focuses on basic knowledge of customer service skills, software applications, and expert operation of office technology and equipment. Online learning is made easier through hands-on experiences and practical training in the field. Midstate College has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Located in New York City, Nyack College is regarded as a private school that offers the online Associate of Arts in Biblical Studies and Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts. The online courses are delivered on the Blackboard learning portal every four months with class sizes of 10 to 25 students. For easier completion, there is also an option to complete the associate degree programs on the asynchronous format in just six weeks. Another element in the of the Biblical Studies associate degree program that contributes to ease in completion is its focus on interesting coursework such as the in-depth study of the Bible covering the Old and New Testaments, hermeneutics, the science of biblical interpretation, and a course in the history of theology. This academic institution is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Pensacola State College
Pensacola State College is a public university that offers the following Associate of Arts in General Studies, Associate of Science in General Studies, Business Administration, and Criminal Justice Technology. The e-learning department allows online students to finish the associate online degree programs conveniently in just 18 months. An associate degree in General Studies is deemed easy to complete because of its broad focus on the liberal arts with an emphasis on the enhancement of students’ critical thinking and communication skills. It also has several electives to choose from, and there is no need to select a major or area of concentration. Pensacola State College is also accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Snow College in Ephraim, Utah is a co-educational school that has a 20:1 student-faculty ratio in its over 100 fast and easy online courses on Canvas platform. Some of its easiest online associate degree programs include Associate of Science in Corrections, Associate of Arts/Science in Outdoor Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Associate of Arts in Anthropology, and Associate of Arts in General Education. The Associate of Arts/Science in Outdoor Leadership and Entrepreneurship serves as a pre-major for students who plan to pursue a four-year bachelor degree program. The easy online associate degree program provides the necessary knowledge and skills for students to start their businesses or advance their careers. It doesn’t deal too much on hard-core courses such as mathematics and sciences, as most of the courses are geared toward outdoor activities and hands-on experience. The school is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Located in Los Altos Hills, California, Foothill College features an online Associate of Arts in Humanities that blends interdisciplinary courses such as music, theater, classic literature, foreign languages and culture, history, art and art history, philosophy and religious studies. This easy online associate degree is composed of 16 units of core courses and 12 units of support courses. It does not include science and mathematics classes, as it focuses more on general education courses, making the program easy to complete. This degree emphasizes the enhancement of a variety of skills for practical rather than career purposes.
Crafton Hills College
Crafton Hills College at Yucaipa, California offers an Associate of Arts in Social Science degree program online that includes a broader focus of the general education courses such as sociology, government, economy, anthropology, and geography. It does not tackle difficult scientific terms or mathematical formulas. Through this associate degree program, students can earn 18 credit hours of general education courses that can contribute towards easy completion and pursuit for a bachelor’s degree in the related field.
What are the credit requirements for the completion of an online associate degree?
The regular number of credits to be earned in an online associate degree is 60 semester credit hours or 90 quarter credits. Recently, some universities and colleges require online students to complete at least 64 to 70 credit hours.
What are the top-paying jobs for graduates of an online associate degree?
Some online associate degree careers that pay well include dental hygienist with an average annual pay of $70,210; registered nurse that earns $65,470 a year; radiological technologist that makes $54,620 per annum; occupational therapy assistant with a median annual wage of $53,240; computer network support specialist that earns $59,090 yearly; and web developer that gets $62,500 annually.
What are the main differences between an online Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), and Associate of Applied Science (AAS)?
These three types of associate degree programs differ in their course requirements. An Associate of Science and Associate of Arts degree program allow graduates to pursue further a bachelor’s degree program that deals more with academic qualifications and general education coursework. On the other hand, an Associate of Applied Science degree program consists of “applied” course requirements, which means it involves the practical side of the discipline with greater emphasis on equipping students for a specific career.