Millions of people own their own business in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 10% of the workforce identifies as self-employed. Some entrepreneurs operate a brick-and-mortar business and employ workers, while others provide professional services like writing or bookkeeping for clients.

The number of new business owners spiked in 2020. The U.S. Census Bureau reported more than 550,000 new business applications in July 2020, nearly doubling the number from July 2019.

Business owners enjoy the independence and autonomy that come with being their boss. However, with that independence comes greater risk and responsibility. To succeed, entrepreneurs need to understand basic business principles.

An associate degree in entrepreneurship can help you build a strong foundation for your current business or launch a new venture. These skills can also serve you in just about any business role working for an established company.

Should I Get an Associate in Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurs need skills in budgeting, financial analysis, marketing, human resources, and product development.

Starting a new business venture requires a leap of faith. Many businesses fail in their first few years. According to the BLS, About 80% of companies launched in 2015 were still in business in 2016, but only about 50% survived to 2020. Business survival rates vary by industry, with healthcare and social assistance services reporting especially high rates of survival.

Entrepreneurs need skills in budgeting, financial analysis, marketing, human resources, and product development. An associate program in entrepreneurship combines these disciplines in a two-year curriculum you can complete online or on campus. In addition to business skills, coursework can also help develop critical thinking abilities, public speaking and presentation skills, and problem-solving skills.

Many schools offer entrepreneurship as a track within their business management program. Business owners often wear many hats, and these courses help provide a foundation in several areas of business management. Additionally, credits from an accredited associate program typically count toward a bachelor's degree if you wish to continue your education.

Licensure requirements for entrepreneurs depend on their industry and product offering. If you operate a business in the childcare or healthcare industries, for example, states often regulate your business and require licenses for anyone providing services.

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What Will I Learn in an Entrepreneurship Associate Program?

A college often offers an associate degree in entrepreneurship through its business school. An associate degree usually requires about 60 credits and takes full-time students two years to complete.

Some schools offer an associate of science (AS) degree, including general education courses, while others focus more on career-specific skills by offering an associate of applied science (AAS) degree. Students interested in eventually transferring to a four-year university should ask about accreditation and transfer opportunities — AS degrees typically transfer more easily.

Learners need a foundation in math, English, and economics. Most programs offer a core business curriculum that introduces students to topics like accounting, marketing, and business leaders' legal and ethical obligations. Some schools may provide in-depth instruction in using business software like spreadsheets, presentation applications, and word processing.

Entrepreneurs often focus on innovation in the marketplace. Schools may offer a series of classes geared toward small business management, e-commerce, or product feasibility and funding. Some schools may integrate practica or internships into the curriculum, providing students with opportunities to learn in real-world business environments.

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What Can I Do With an Associate in Entrepreneurship?

A degree in entrepreneurship can benefit business owners in almost every industry. The business skills gained from earning an online associate degree in entrepreneurship apply to virtually any business venture.

Some entrepreneurs may find they want to return to a corporate workplace in the future. The business principles that apply to a small business can also be used in other business settings, making graduates attractive to other startups or established companies.

While earning your degree, you may find you prefer one part of business management, such marketing or accounting. There are many jobs for professionals in these fields. Additionally, if you gain expertise in your industry, you can pursue work as a business consultant. Consultants often work with a business on specific challenges, such as finding ways to increase efficiency or implementing process changes.

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How Much Money Can I Make With an Associate in Entrepreneurship?

Compensation for self-employed individuals varies widely. According to PayScale, self-employed professionals reported an average annual salary of about $61,000, but wages ranged from roughly $23,000-$166,000. Multiple factors influence an entrepreneur's earnings, including their industry, location, business structure, and business longevity.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Entrepreneurship Programs

What is entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurs create new businesses, often at personal financial risk, in hopes of making a profit. Entrepreneurs include small business owners operating a mom-and-pop business in a community, as well as technology startups seeking to revolutionize a product or process with innovative ideas.

How much does it cost to get an associate in entrepreneurship?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, two-year colleges charged an average tuition of $3,564 in 2018-2019. Alternatively, four-year colleges charged an average of $16,318. Private and out-of-state schools tend to be more expensive than in-state, public institutions. Students who earn an online associate degree in entrepreneurship may have out-of-state tuition charges waived.

What can you do with an associate in entrepreneurship?

An associate degree in entrepreneurship provides a foundation in critical business skills and principles. This knowledge can help a current business owner refine their business plan to increase profitability. Classes can also equip prospective business owners with the knowledge needed to start and run a business.

Is an associate in entrepreneurship worth it?

Many people dream of owning their own business. Many people have acted on those dreams during the COVID-19 pandemic, with record numbers of business applications filed over the last year. An associate degree in entrepreneurship can help you develop the skills needed to be your own boss, but success ultimately requires dedication and hard work.

What are the benefits of studying entrepreneurship?

Launching a new business comes with a lot of risk. Half of the businesses that opened in 2015 had closed by 2020. However, earning an associate degree in entrepreneurship can equip business owners with critical business management skills and increase their chances of success. Entrepreneurship coursework also provides a strong foundation in multiple facets of business administration. Graduates can build on those skills by continuing their education and earning a bachelor's degree.