Best Online Associate in Small Business Programs

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Badge (Online) with 2-Line TitleAssociatein Small Business2017
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The Small Business Administration reports that there are now 28 million small businesses in the United States. The number of small business has increased by nearly 50% since the 1980s.

An online small business degree offers you a wide range of skills, knowledge, and connections that allow you to take the next step in your career, whether you are just starting out or are an established professional looking to expand your education. You’ll learn about many different aspects of running a small business, including budgeting, finance, management, computer applications, business law, and more.

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Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
1 Bucks County Community College N/A Newtown, PA

Bucks, located in Newtown, Pennsylvania, has additional campuses in Perkasie and Bristol. The school serves the diverse needs of students seeking two-year degrees throughout the United States. BCC offers 17 associate degrees and two certificates online. Degrees range from English language studies to entrepreneurship and small business management, ideal for students seeking a small business degree online. The degree prepares students for the challenges that await them in the business world. Students are required to complete at least 61 credits in classes like accounting, business, principles of marketing, and advertising.

BCC also offers numerous hybrid classes. With BCC's hybrid courses, 50% to 95% of all course activities (such as meetings) occur online. Students in 47 states and the District of Columbia can apply; students in California, Florida, or Massachusetts should contact BCC before applying for additional information about registration requirements.

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2 Coastline Community College N/A Fountain Valley, CA

Coastline has four campuses in Orange County, California: Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Westminster, and Newport Beach. The school offers students an array of eLearning options. CCC administers programs in several different fields while placing a particular emphasis on affordability, flexibility, and accessibility.

CCC's certificate in small business management allows students to earn their small business degree online. This can be earned alongside the associate's degree. For the certification, students must complete 21 units including courses in marketing, finance, operations/management, and business planning. Graduates have the knowledge and skills necessary to run and start their own business. This program also teaches students the basics of management. Students can earn degrees and certificates in many fields and topics entirely online, including 17 different associate degrees, two certificates of specialization, and 23 certificates of achievement. The college has received attention for its emphasis on serving active service military students, veterans, and their families.

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3 Flathead Valley Community College N/A Kalispell, MT

Flathead Valley, located in Kalispell, Montana, offers three types of eLearning options for distance learning students: online courses, interactive television courses, and hybrid courses. Most online courses don't have any on-campus requirements.

A small business management degree can be earned entirely online from Flathead Valley. Students are required to complete 65 credits in courses like web marketing, search engine marketing, payroll accounting, and small business budgeting. Learners are also required to complete a capstone project, which combines class work and practical applications. The school's small business associate degree provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to conduct basic business accounting tasks, develop a business plan, and apply basic business law, while also building other relevant skills. Non-business courses include approaches to introductory keyboard, college writing, and graphic design. Students have the option to apply for an internship.

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4 Illinois Central College N/A East Peioria, IL

Illinois Central's primary campus is located in East Peoria, with satellite campuses in Pekin and two others in Peoria.

ICC offers several distance learning associate degrees, one applied science degree, one non-credit certificate program, and several occupational certificate programs. The latter category includes ICC's small business management certificate, formulated specifically for use in small business administration jobs. Students must earn 24 credits in classes like bookkeeping and accounting, financial accounting, business mathematics, and principles of management. This certificate gives students the knowledge they need to manage and run their own business. It also helps them obtain supervisory positions within small businesses by providing management training. Residents of California, Florida, and Massachusetts are not eligible for eLearning. Students receive access to the library, the writing and reading lab (the Studio), learning labs, and math lab.

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5 Inver Hills Community College N/A Inver Grove Heights, MN

IHCC, located in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, provides on-campus and distance learning. The college's approach to distance learning is divided into three categories: online degrees, online certificates, and online courses. IHCC currently offers four online degrees, nine online certificates, and more than 80 online courses.

IHCC has three different degrees designed to prepare students for the challenges they will encounter as a small business owner. The school's AAS in Contemporary business teaches students the basics of general management responsibilities. Through electives and certificate classes students can learn about operating a small business. The small business development certificate requires students to earn a minimum of 15 credit in classes like entrepreneurship and small business management, marketing fundamentals, and financial accounting. Distance learning at IHCC is available for Minnesota residents. Prospective students residing in other states should contact IHCC for information about their eligibility before applying.

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6 Macomb Community College N/A Warren, MI

Located in Macomb County, Michigan and founded in 1954, MCC is an integral institution throughout the region. The school provides doctors, police, firefighters, and businesses throughout the county with the professional training they need to get ahead. Nationally, MCC is in the top 2% of community colleges for associate degrees granted. The college's online courses are available in two varieties: online and hybrid. MCC offers more than 300 classes online, this includes the associate in entrepreneurship and small business curriculum. This small business management degree is designed for small business owners or students seeking a career that requires constant innovation. Courses include business enterprise, accounting for entrepreneurs, business law, and corporate responsibility.

Many out of state distance learners are welcome to apply at MCC. However, some students may need to contact their state's higher education distance learning office for more information about eligibility.

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7 Mesa Community College N/A Mesa, AZ

MCC, located in Mesa, Arizona, places emphasis on preparing students to transfer to four-year institutions and awarding two-year degrees. Mesa has received attention for the quality of its two-year adult learning programs. The college conducts class at three campuses: Red Mountain, Southern and Dobson, and Downtown Center. MCC divides its online options into three varieties: online, hybrid, and web-enhanced.

MCC offers over 20 associate degrees and certificates online, and more than 500 courses. This includes MCC's associate degree in applied science in business-small business track. This online small business degree prepares students for transfer to a university or careers in management, marketing, sales, and more. Students must earn at least 65 credits in courses like hiring and managing employees, small business customer relations, and society and business. A grade of "C" must be earned in all required classes. Every MCC student receives 10 hours of free online tutoring per semester.

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8 Mitchell Technical Institute N/A Mitchell, SD

MTI is located in Mitchell, South Dakota, a city known worldwide for its unique Corn Palace. Michell offers a variety of courses and two-year degrees. MTI places emphasis on military students, and according to MTI, the school has a 99% graduate job placement rate.

MTI offers six online programs; four are entirely online. One of these programs is Mitchell's small business management program. It's an undergraduate certificate that can be completed in one-year. This program is intended to assist business owners in creating a foundation in day-to-day business operations and provide professionals with the knowledge and skill set necessary for acquiring small business administration jobs. Students will take courses in accounting, software applications, sales, marketing, management, and more. According to Mitchell, 100% of graduates find a job after graduation, and 64% of students borrow money to pay for the program.

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9 North Arkansas College N/A Harrison, AR

North Arkansas, often referred to as Northark, is a community college located in Harrison. Northark offers several certificates and four online associate degrees: an associate of arts, science, general studies, and applied science. The college's associate of science in business degree is designed for students who intend to transfer to a business school at a four-year college in Arkansas (excluding the University of Arkansas Fayetteville's Walton College of Business). The degree requires 62 credits of coursework and prepares students for small business administration jobs. Students have the opportunity to earn a small business certificate. It's a two-semester program that teaches students how to write a business plan, apply accounting knowledge, manage people and resources, and obtain financing. Graduates are prepared for positions in management, customer service, and more. Northark recommends that transfer students contact the four-year school they intend to transfer to for verification of transferability.

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10 North Hennepin Community College N/A Brooklyn Park, MN

North Hennepin, located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, has offered online courses since 1997, making it a pioneer in providing distance education. NHCC has online business course offerings for students who intend to transfer to a four-year school, complete an associate degree, or enhance their job prospects. The associate in business administration prepares students for transfer to Concordia University, Bethel University, Minnesota State, Kaplan University, and more. Students takes courses in supervision, entrepreneurship, marketing, and other business basics. A small business accounting certificate is available. It teaches students the basic accounting skills needed for operating a small business. Courses can be applied towards the general accounting certificate. The school's business degrees, courses, and certificates are ideal for students considering small business administration jobs.

Students who live in Florida, California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania should contact NHCC for more information before applying.

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2 years
Credit Hours
30 credits per year
Program Costs
$9,095 per year
Core Courses
Introduction to Business, Human Resource Management, Writing Small Business Plans, and Introduction to Budgeting & Forecasting
Entrepreneurship, Marketing & Advertising, and Small Business Management
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs

There are a variety of small business administration jobs that you will likely qualify for once you’ve received your associate degree in small business. These positions may involve sales, marketing, management, budgeting, and various other skills on which you’ll focus in one of these programs. The following are some of the career options typically available to graduates:

Sales Representative: These professionals know how to identify leads that could become future customers, following up on referrals, using business directories, and attending various conferences and trade shows. Sales reps also help customers choose the right products or services for their specific needs; a small business degree online covers some of these subjects.

Hotel Manager: Also known as lodging managers, these professionals oversee staff and ensure good customer service at hotels, motels, and resorts. Hotel managers maintain budgets, hire new employees, monitor staff performance, and conduct regular inspections of guest rooms to ensure quality.

Retail Store Manager: Responsible for running a store effectively, retail store managers often supervise dozens to more than 100 employees. These professionals also must ensure their stores are providing top-notch customer service, manage the budgets, hire staff, and oversee stock control.

Administrative Assistant: An administrative assistant or executive assistant performs a wide range of important administrative tasks, such as filing documents, handling various communications, maintaining schedules, and even doing some budgeting and financial tasks. They may serve one or more high-ranking managers or executives of an organization.

Position Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate
Sales Representative $52,480 7%
Hotel Manager $49,720 8%
Retail Store Manager $39,040 7%
Administrative Assistant $36,500 3%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)


One of the top benefits of graduating from one of the best online small business programs is that it prepares you for bachelor’s programs across a variety of areas. Once you hold an associate degree, you will likely be able to complete your bachelor’s degree with just two or three additional years of coursework. The following are some of the more common four-year degrees you might explore:

Business Administration: One of the most popular four-year majors in the United States, a bachelor’s program in business administration is a great next step after you’ve achieved an associate online small business degree. You’ll study supply chain management, accounting, entrepreneurship, and other areas relevant to owning or operating a business.

Management: Many individuals who earn an associate in small business degree online go on to four-year programs in management. This major focuses on managing dynamic teams, usually focusing on a specialization like healthcare, finance, facilities, marketing, or human resources.

Finance: A bachelor’s degree in finance will prepare you for career opportunities as a financial advisor, credit analyst, finance officer, or investment banker, among many others. These programs focus on providing students with high-level financial knowledge.


Graduates of online associate in small business management degree programs have a variety of career options available, many of which have the potential for significant salary growth based on experience and training. The following are a few of these fields, along with what entry-level, mid-career, and late-career professionals can expect to make on a yearly basis:

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Sales Representative $52,480 $46,182 $56,153 $62,976
Hotel Manager $42,000 $36,120 $42,000 $62,580
Retail Store Manager $39,040 $33,184 $39,430 $48,800
Administrative Assistant $36,500 $33,950 $37,230 $42,340
Bank Teller $26,410 $25,881 $27,446 $30,900

Source: PayScale


You can further your studies and connections by engaging with one of the top professional organizations related to your field. The following are three associations students in these programs often take part in, allowing them to meet more established professionals, gain valuable resources, and gain access to tools that will help them in their careers:

  • Entrepreneurs’ Organization: The only global network for entrepreneurs, EO provides tools and experiences to individuals who would like to make their own professional path. It currently has 163 chapters in 52 countries, including the United States.
  • U.S. Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship: USASBE is a professional organization made up of researchers, practitioners, and teachers who are dedicated to advancing entrepreneurship nationwide. The organization offers numerous tools and resources to its members, including conferences and peer-to-peer networking opportunities.
  • Young Entrepreneur Council: One of the most successful associations for business professionals across the United States, YEC offers benefits like personal brand building, media exposure, networking, and travel and business services to its members.

Various resources are available to help pay for your education. First and foremost is federal aid, which is why you should fill out a FAFSA form, even if you don’t believe you’ll qualify for grants or subsidized loans. Many schools offer scholarships and aid, especially for single parents and former or active members of the U.S. military.


Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.


Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.


Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.


Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.


Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.