According to a report by Inc., 2018 is an ideal time to start a business in America. In addition to more than 2,000 colleges and universities now offering entrepreneurship degree programs, nearly 10% of the country's population -- 27 million people -- earn their living owning a small business, in part because of America's welcoming business laws. An associate degree in entrepreneurship teaches students the necessary skills and knowledge to imagine, create, and run a successful venture. The degree also provides a foundation for students wishing to pursue further education at the bachelor's level.
Should I Get an Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship?
Associate in entrepreneurship programs appeal to students who aspire to start their own business. With coursework in business planning, entrepreneurial finance management, and product creation, students receive a solid introduction to tools for success. Though online coursework becomes more popular each year, many students, especially recent high school graduates, pursue an associate degree in entrepreneurship on campus.
Students can expect to learn about the functions of a business, how to create corporate structure, and how to launch their business. On-campus entrepreneur associate degrees also offer networking events, including faculty mentorships and guest speaker sessions. Many programs require students to complete internships with local business owners before graduating. Students can usually take advantage of their school's career center during and after their coursework.
What Can I Do With an Associate in Entrepreneurship?
Associate entrepreneurship degree programs open numerous doors to well-paying jobs. Individuals in these roles typically possess foundational business knowledge and work standard business hours.
- Advertising Sales Agent
These professionals seek clients to offer their firm's advertising services to. They work closely with other businesses, providing clients with available advertising options, as well as estimating their cost.
Median Annual Salary: $49,680
- Real Estate Broker and Sales Agent
Real estate broker and sales agents often spend their time finding clients who are looking to buy or sell property. These professionals sell residential and commercial real estate. To become a broker or agent, you must take real estate courses and pass a licensing exam.
Median Annual Salary: $47,880
How to Choose an Associate in Entrepreneurship Program
Before selecting an associate in entrepreneurship program, students should compare programs to find coursework that suits their interest. Consider program length: the majority of associate in entrepreneurship programs are 60 credits, and students enrolled on a full-time basis typically complete these credits in two years, while part-time enrollment might require three years or longer, though this option appeals to many students who must work while completing their degree. Some degrees also require students to complete a semester-long internship to build their skills and network with others in the field. Because entrepreneurship programs emphasize the value of forming professional bonds, many students find that studying on campus offers more opportunities to network with professors and classmates.
Community colleges are the most common providers of associate degree in entrepreneurship programs, so in-state students who attend a local school can often save money compared to attending a four-year or out-of-state institution. If students choose a school in an area with high living expenses, these costs must also be factored into their budgets, as well as transportation costs and taxes. There are many online associate in entrepreneurship programs available.
Associate in Entrepreneurship Program Admissions
Most associate in entrepreneurship programs accept applications between October and June, though some community colleges may extend the deadline further into the summer, and require students to turn in a completed application, application fee, and transcripts. When assessing potential options, learners should research required coursework, faculty, career services, and graduate employment rates for a better sense of how well the school prepares learners for life after graduation.
- Application: In addition to basic information like name, age, and location, applications frequently require a personal statement or essay.
- Transcripts: Students must submit official high school and college transcripts, which sometimes requires a fee.
- Application Fee: Colleges charge an application fee to help cover the costs associated with processing your information. At the community college level, these usually range from $25 to $60. Some schools may waive the fee based on academic merit or financial need.
Educational Paths for Entrepreneurship Associate Programs
After finishing an associate in entrepreneurship program, many graduates pursue bachelor's degrees by transferring to a four-year college. Because of the depth and breadth of their coursework, baccalaureate programs typically produce more competitive graduates who earn higher salaries. For instance, the average salary for secretaries and administrative assistants (who usually hold an associate degree) is $37,870, while administrative service managers (who usually hold a bachelor's degree) earn, on average, $94,020 per year.
While an associate degree in entrepreneurship covers foundational courses, programs at the bachelor's level explore topics like risk assessment, business planning, and legal and ethical considerations of starting a business.
- Business Management
Designed for aspiring organizational leaders, the business management bachelor's degree covers topics like managing supply chains, eBusiness, and managing corporations.
For students interested in corporate money, finance concentrations cover topics like capital management, portfolios and investments, and sound banking practices.
What Else Can I Expect From an Associate in Entrepreneurship Program?
Associate in entrepreneurship program coursework includes foundational business courses to teach students the basics of owning a companies. While required courses will vary between programs, the class descriptions below offer a glimpse into common coursework.
Courses in an Associate in Entrepreneurship Program
Students should consult the department head of their prospective schools to better understand the coursework offered. The following courses are examples of some of the introductory and advanced classes students can expect to take as they complete their associate degree.
- Financial Accounting Foundations
This course is an introduction to principles governing small business accounting. Students learn to use financial spreadsheets to record expenses and income, adjust numbers, and analyze monthly reports.
- Business Law
Students learn about foundational law concepts like regulatory affairs, international business law, and business ethics. They may also cover the legal ramifications of shareholders, different business classifications (like limited liability and incorporation), and employment law.
- Entrepreneurial Venture Funding
This course teaches students about the acquisition of funding for new business ideas, including angel investors, venture capitalists, and self-funding. Students can expect ample classroom discussion about business ownership and financial health.
- Entrepreneurial Innovation
This course teaches students to harness their creativity to envision and execute ideas for new businesses. Lecture topics include innovation and imagination, creative entrepreneurs past and present, and the future of business.
- Managing a Small Business
Classes about managing small businesses include lessons about franchising, the life cycle of businesses, and how to quantify success.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate in Entrepreneurship?
Most associate in entrepreneurship programs require two years of full-time study to complete the standard 60-credit curriculum. Students looking to finish a program more quickly may take AP classes in high school, as passing AP exams can provide credits for general education courses. These Students may also consider accelerated programs that allow for year-round enrollment. For some students, full-time enrollment may not be the best option; in these cases, students should talk to prospective schools about part-time options, taking special care to ask how part-time enrollment might affect tuition costs and government aid.
How Much Is an Associate in Entrepreneurship?
According to a report from College Board, the average annual cost for students attending a public two-year school with in-state tuition was $3,570 for the 2017-2018 academic year. The same study found that full-time learners attending these colleges receive grant aid and federal tax credits averaging $3,900 per year, meaning many learners do not pay for their educations. While such situations are not guaranteed, students should vigilantly pursue opportunities for scholarships, grants, tax credits, and work-study programs.
When calculating educational expenses, prospective learners must also consider costs like housing, semester fees, technology costs, and textbooks. According to the aforementioned College Board report, room and board at two-year public colleges averaged $8,400 for the 2017-2018 year. At the community college level, many learners live off-campus (e.g. with their parents, roommates, or extended family), as off-campus housing typically offers a more affordable alternative to college housing.
Professional Organizations in Entrepreneurship
Professional entrepreneurship organizations offer regular networking events where entrepreneurs can connect. These organizations also provide ongoing training, mentorship services, and opportunities to learn new skills to help entrepreneurs reach their full potential. New students and professionals benefit from access to tools that help business ventures succeed.
The Female Entrepreneur Association International gives members access to community forums, resources for workplace templates, and continuing education courses.
In addition to virtual learning opportunities, the Entrepreneurs' Organization offers the Global Entrepreneur Indicator, a survey of members' business prospects, and regional, chapter, and global events to connect entrepreneurs through communal learning opportunities.
Designed for successful entrepreneurs aged 40 or younger, the Young Entrepreneur Council is an exclusive, invitation-only group that provides branding and editorial support, networking with other young entrepreneurs, and discounts on services essential to running a business.