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.
What are the best small business programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||Southeast Technical Institute||Sioux Falls, SD|
|2||Hutchinson Community College||Hutchinson, KS|
|3||Peirce College||Philadelphia, PA|
|4||Bucks County Community College||Newtown, PA|
|5||Seminole State College of Florida||Sanford, FL|
|6||Mitchell Technical Institute||Mitchell, SD|
|7||Laramie County Community College||Cheyenne, WY|
|8||Herkimer County Community College||Herkimer, NY|
|9||Westmoreland County Community College||Youngwood, PA|
|10||Miami Dade College||Miami, FL|
2020 Best Accredited Online Associate in Small Business Programs
Southeast Technical Institute
|Sioux Falls, SD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
Located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Southeast Technical Institute offers more than 70 programs. These offerings include a 63-credit associate in entrepreneurship, which features classes in human resource management, small business entrepreneurship, principles of marketing, and psychology at work.
This program can be completed entirely online, and students must meet weekly deadlines for assignments. Southeast Tech recommends spending 6-9 hours per week for a three-credit class and 9-12 hours per week for a four-credit class.
First-year applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA and must submit standardized test scores. This institution accepts transfer credit from regionally accredited colleges. Southeast Tech is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Hutchinson Community College
|Hutchinson, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
Hutchinson Community College enrolls around 5,500 students per semester. Located in central Kansas, about 54% of HutchCC graduates earn their degrees in a career or technical program.
The school offers an online associate of applied science in business management and entrepreneurship. The curriculum includes 64 credits and features classes in small business accounting, spreadsheet management, microcomputer applications, and advanced small business management. Graduates of this program can pursue careers in areas like marketing operations and human resources. HutchCC uses the Canvas online learning platform.
Applicants must submit ACT scores or take an ACCUPLACER test. Kansas residents receive a discounted tuition rate. HutchCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
|Philadelphia, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 35%||
Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Peirce College enrolls around 2,000 students. Pierce's online associate in business administration features 61 credits of coursework, including classes like rhetoric and research, financial accounting, business law, and introduction to marketing. Learners must also complete a business capstone course.
Students enrolled in this business program can apply up to 30 transfer credits toward their degree. New students who have not completed at least 15 college-level credits must enroll in a student success seminar. Applicants who have yet to earn a minimum "C" grade in college-level English and math classes must take a placement test.
Peirce is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Its associate in business administration program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Bucks County Community College
|Newtown, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 20%||
Located in Newtown, Pennsylvania, Bucks County Community College provides students a two-year education with career-specific training options. The school offers an online associate in entrepreneurship and small business management that includes classes in cooperative education management, legal environment of business, principles of marketing, and small business management.
Students pursuing this associate in small business complete 61-63 credits. Graduates can start their own business, take over an existing business, or assume other management positions at small businesses. Applicants need a minimum 3.25 GPA, and students must meet minimum placement test scores.
Bucks County Community College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Its associate in entrepreneurship and small business management program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Seminole State College of Florida
|Sanford, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
Based in Sanford, Seminole State College of Florida features a job placement rate of more than 90% for graduates with associate of science degrees. The school's online associate of science in entrepreneurship and business features courses in opportunity analysis and franchising, entrepreneurial marketing and professional selling, and office accounting.
Graduates of this program can pursue careers as office managers and business owners. This program prepares learners for immediate entry into the workforce or transfer to a four-year degree program.
The college requires some students to submit ACT scores or take a placement test. Seminole State is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Mitchell Technical Institute
|Mitchell, SD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 78%||
Mitchell Technical Institute has an above-average retention rate of 81%. Located in South Dakota, the institute enrolls over 850 full-time students.
The school offers an online associate in small business management program that boasts a 100% job placement rate among recent graduates. Some classes include sales and advertising, spreadsheet concepts and applications, entrepreneurship and small business management, and outlook essentials.
Students pursuing this online associate degree in small business can find careers as finance officers and business owners. This program prepares graduates to start their own small business or run an existing one. MTI is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Laramie County Community College
|Cheyenne, WY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 28%||
Laramie County Community College offers 85 for-credit degree programs. Based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, LCCC boasts a 79% completion rate among for-credit students.
The school's 66-credit associate in small business management takes two years to complete. Coursework can be completed online and includes computer information systems, personal financial planning, risk and credit management, and investment and retirement planning.
Students pursuing this associate in small business must engage in a management internship during the second year in the program. Graduates can pursue careers across government, business, and technical industries.
Applicants should submit ACT scores, and the college accepts transfer credits from regionally accredited institutions that were earned with a minimum "C" grade. Wyoming residents receive a discounted tuition rate. LCCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Herkimer County Community College
|Herkimer, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 33%||
Based in Herkimer, New York, Herkimer County Community College reports that approximately 63% of its graduates transfer to four-year institutions.
The school's online associate degree in small business management features 64 credits of classes. Students learn about topics like business organization and management, market research and new business development, human resource management, and introduction to graphics and design. Students also complete a capstone project to graduate.
The college does not require standardized test scores, but some scores may exempt applicants from further placement testing. Transfer students must complete at least 30 credits at Herkimer to earn their degree. New York residents receive a discounted tuition rate. Herkimer is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Westmoreland County Community College
|Youngwood, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 22%||
Westmoreland County Community College enrolls more than 5,000 students across eight different campus locations. Based in Youngwood, Pennsylvania, roughly 97% of graduates live and work in the southwestern part of the state.
The school's 61-credit AAS in business management features classes in mathematics of business, human resource management, principles of marketing, and accounting for managers. Students can complete coursework entirely online.
This degree prepares students for entry-level management positions in large and small businesses. Graduates can find careers as department supervisors, warehouse managers, and assistant managers.
Applicants may need to submit standardized test scores. WCCC accepts transfer credits from regionally accredited postsecondary institutions that were earned with a minimum "C" grade. Pennsylvania residents receive discounted tuition. WCCC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Miami Dade College
|Miami, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 35%||
Located in Florida, Miami Dade College enrolls over 92,000 for-credit students. The school's online associate of science in entrepreneurship takes about two years to complete. The 60-credit curriculum includes classes like marketing in a digital world, fundamentals of change-making and social innovation, starting and growing a social venture, and marketing web analytics.
Students develop competencies related to startup strategies and project management. The program offers three concentrations: family-owned business, startup venture, and social venture.
Applicants must submit standardized test scores. The college accepts transfer credit from all regionally accredited schools and some nationally accredited institutions. MDC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Small Business Program?
|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|
|Concentrations||Entrepreneurship, Marketing & Advertising, and Small Business Management|
|Accreditation||Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and Accreditation Council for Collegiate Business Schools and Programs|
What Can I Do With an Associate in Small Business Degree?
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|
|Retail Store Manager||$39,040||7%|
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.
Employment Outlook for Associate in Small Business Graduates
ASSOCIATE IN SMALL BUSINESS SALARY
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)|
|Retail Store Manager||$39,040||$33,184||$39,430||$48,800|
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.
Financing Your Online Associate in Small Business Program
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.