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.
Accredited Online Associate in Small Business Programs
Bucks County Community College
Bucks is a two-year community college located outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Established in 1964, the school today boasts 21 associate degree programs. Distance learners earn an online associate degree in small business management entirely online or in a hybrid format.
Learners develop the essential skills to design and start their own businesses over the course of 63 credits. Bucks alums demonstrate extensive knowledge of business plans, starting businesses from scratch, and purchasing existing businesses. Additionally, the program teaches the critical accounting, management, and marketing skills required for success in today's competitive market.
Required courses for the associate degree include financial accounting, introduction to information systems, introduction to business, digital marketing, and business communication. Most full-time students take 15-16 credits a semester and complete the degree in four semesters.
Distance learners take advantage of the college's numerous online resources, including 24/7 library access, Canvas assistance, and tutorial videos. Students can also take online peer tutoring sessions in math, writing, reading, study skills, and English as a second language. Some courses may require in-person proctored testing. Bucks offers testing services on its Newton, Bristol, and Perkasie campuses.
Bucks accepts applications on a rolling basis and subscribes to an open admission policy. Applications must include official transcripts and a completed application form. All students take a mandatory placement test before enrolling in classes. Incoming students may transfer credits toward the associate degree. The registrar considers transfer classes on a case-by-case basis.
Moraine Park Technical College
|Fond du Lac, WI||
MPTC is a public technical school with multiple campuses in Wisconsin. The school serves over 16,300 students and offers associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Online learners take advantage of its online associate degree in small business management.
This program prepares learners for entrepreneurial endeavors in virtually any industry. Upon completion of the program, alums possess the necessary management and leadership skills to start their own businesses or take an existing business to the next level.
Required classes for the associate of applied science degree include introduction to human resources, behavioral science, team building, computer literacy, business plans, and personal branding. Distance learners take 15-18 credits per semester and complete the degree in two years. In total, the degree requires 64 credits for graduation.
Prospective students submit an application with their official high school or college transcripts, ACT score, and application fee. Applicants with a 3.25 GPA or higher do not submit test scores for consideration. MPTC also accepts scores from the Accuplacer test. Incoming students may earn credit toward their MPTC associate degree from previous college courses, work experience, business training, military experience, and documented prior learning scenarios. Students also gain credits through the credit-by-exam option.
Resources for online students include academic advising, tutoring, and career coaching. MPTC also offers free counseling services to help students with any personal, career, or education issues. The career center offers coaching and job application preparation services, including professional clothes fitting services.
Established in 1865 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Peirce is a private college with approximately 2,000 students. The school offers an online associate degree in entrepreneurship and small business management.
Peirce's online associate degree in small business management helps students explore the foundations of business operations, finance, and marketing while developing the necessary skills for entrepreneurial projects. Online students participate in classes with practical applications and learn business strategies that give them an upper hand in today's modern workplace.
Peirce students need 61 credits for graduation. Required courses for the online focus in entrepreneurship and small business management include speech communication, introduction to ethics, rhetoric and research, college algebra, and macroeconomics. Degree seekers in this concentration also complete introduction to entrepreneurship; accounting, finance, and taxes for small businesses; and entrepreneurial marketing.
The school subscribes to an open admissions policy. Applicants need only to submit an online application form, application fee, and official transcripts for admission to the program. New students take Peirce's undergraduate placement exam in math and English to help them register for the appropriate courses. Incoming students who possess a score from the ACT or SAT may obtain a placement exam waiver.
Distance learners take advantage of online learning and support services at Peirce. Online learners use email and text message services to interact with professors directly. Additionally, students can participate in online tutoring sessions, academic workshops, and more. Active military personnel and their spouses receive tuition assistance and special scholarship opportunities. Veterans also receive education benefits packages and may earn credit toward their degrees based on their military experiences.
|University Center, MI||
Delta is a community college established in 1961. The school boasts 15,000 students and is located in University Center, Michigan. Distance learners pursue the online associate degree in small business management.
Distance learners enroll as either full- or part-time and complete four or 10 15-week semesters, respectively. Delta's curriculum equips students with the interpersonal, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills necessary for success in today's competitive marketplace. Upon graduation, Delta alums possess foundational knowledge of critical topics in business, including business law, electronic media communication, sales, human resources management, marketing, and small business management.
Delta uses an open enrollment policy and offers four start dates per year. The school accepts applications throughout the year and recommends that prospective students submit their applications at least eight weeks before their desired enrollment period. Students who wish to apply for financial aid should do so at least eight weeks prior to registration.
All prospective students must submit an admissions application and their high school transcripts. Incoming students may transfer credits toward the associate degree provided they possess a "C" grade or higher. Learners may also receive credit for credit-by-exam results, military experience, and other prior learning experiences.
Applicants must attend an orientation session unless they possess a 20 or higher on the ACT or earned a 480 and 500 on the reading and math sections of the SAT, respectively. Transfer students who already possess an associate or higher, or those with transferrable English and math credits, may also receive an orientation waiver.
Northcentral Technical College
NTC is a public community college established in 1912. Located in Wausau, Wisconsin, the technical college is one of 16 institutions in the Wisconsin Technical College System. NTC boasts over 2,100 students and holds accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). Distance learners complete all requirements for this degree online with no on-campus obligations.
NTC offers an online associate degree in small business management. This 63-credit program produces alums with the essential skills to build and operate a business. Students leave the program with foundational knowledge in accounting, management, marketing, and small business growth techniques. Degree seekers explore the use of social media campaigns, develop high-level problem-solving skills, and acquire the necessary computer skills to manage a modern business.
Most full-time students finish the associate degree in four terms or two years. Small business entrepreneurship majors engage with a diverse curriculum that includes classes such as introduction to sociology, introduction to diversity studies, human resources, and principles of sales. Extensive business training classes for online learners include entrepreneurship, quickbooks, project management, business law, and customer service.
NTC follows an open admissions policy. Applicants need only to submit the NTC online application and official transcripts for consideration. Incoming students receive credit for prior learning experiences, including time in the military, credit-by-exam results, and previous college coursework. Transfer credits must come from an accredited college or university. The student records office considers coursework for credit with case-by-case evaluations. Up to 75% of the credits required for the associate degree may come from transfer and prior learning experiences.
Cuyahoga Community College District
Established in 1963, Tri-C offers over 1,000 courses at the associate level and serves more than 26,800 students. The college's online associate of applied business in business management with a concentration in small business management program is available to distance learners in a hybrid format. The school also holds accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
With approximately 89% of the degree requirements available online, this flexible program helps cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit among future business owners. Distance students develop a strong foundation in business management, problem-solving, communication skills, ethical and social responsibility, finance, and presentation skills.
Students pursuing the online associate degree in small business management complete 60-61 credits for graduation. Students follow a synchronous course sequence that typically takes four semesters to complete. During the first semester, students take introductory courses in business, speech communication, composition, and computer applications. Throughout the remainder of the program, pupils engage with business-focused coursework in classes such as business law, business ethics, small business management, quickbooks, financial accounting, and new business development.
Tri-C follows an open admissions policy and accepts all high school graduates, those with a GED, and non-high school graduates who participate in dual enrollment programs. Distance students take advantage of Tri-C's online learning resources, including full-text library access, Blackboard tutorials, tutoring, academic advising, and personal counseling.
Students also receive extra academic help through free online StudentLingo workshops. Business students use on-campus resources at ThRIve, Tri-C's new business start-up and small business information center. ThRIve provides access to the latest job postings, internal workshops, and external training programs for young entrepreneurs.
Herkimer County Community College
Established in 1966 and located in New York, Herkimer boasts 2,400 undergraduate students. This community college offers 19 online programs, including an online associate degree in small business management for distance learners. Students in this program complete all degree requirements online.
This online business program provides foundational entrepreneurial training, including business plan composition, small business accounting, computer applications, budgeting, and networking. Herkimer business students prepare to start their own businesses, improve the health of an existing business, or seek out entry-level management positions.
In total, associate degree seekers need 64 credits for graduation. Most full-time learners complete the degree in two years and take 16 credits a semester. Required courses include business law, introduction to marketing, principles of management, macroeconomics, and entrepreneurship. Incoming students may transfer credits toward their associate degrees.
Prospective students must submit a free online application and their high school transcripts. Herkimer expects all applicants to possess a high school diploma or GED. About 75% of Herkimer students receive some form of financial aid in the form of grants or work-study programs. All learners submit a FAFSA for consideration for financial assistance. The school also offers over 80 internal scholarships.
Herkimer distance learners take advantage of various student support services, including tutoring, technical support, academic advising, library services, and disability services. Online learners also access student career services, personal counseling, and library services remotely. The center for student leadership and involvement supervises student clubs and organizations and facilitates distance students' participation when possible.
Tidewater Community College
TCC is a two-year public institution with five locations in Virginia. The school offers 10 online programs, including an online associate degree in small business management for distance learners.
Associate students learn how to start, expand, and manage small businesses and other entrepreneurial endeavors. The curriculum covers the necessary practical skills and tools for success in the field, including accounting, Microsoft Office Suite, marketing, communications, financial management, and small business management. All students work directly with an academic adviser to ensure their coursework and electives meet their educational and professional goals.
Learners need at least 67 credits for graduation. In most cases, full-time students complete the program in two years or four semesters. Required courses for business management majors include principles of accounting, applied business mathematics, business communications, small business management, and business law.
TCC follows an open admission policy and accepts students who meet their minimum qualifications. Applicants need only to submit their high school transcripts and the TCC online application for consideration. Adult learners without a high school diploma or GED may still apply. They take a placement test to determine their likelihood of success in an online program. Adult students in this category do not receive federal financial aid.
All incoming students take placement exams, including the Virginia Placement Test, to determine their readiness for college-level coursework. Students who possess ACT or SAT scores or hold college experience may receive a placement exams waiver. When enrolled, distance learners take advantage of tutoring services, academic advisers, and career coaching through the office of career and employment services.
Mitchell Technical Institute
MTI is a public technical school with over 1,200 students. Founded in 1968, the school offers 25 associate programs including an associate of applied science in small business management. Distance learners complete all requirements for the degree remotely.
The program best serves aspiring business owners who wish to develop business management and entrepreneurial skills. MTI prepares online students for these new entrepreneurial endeavors with cutting-edge classes in e-commerce, business law, behavioral science, marketing, insurance, and management. Graduates typically pursue careers as entry-level managers, financial officers, office assistants, or business owners.
Learners need at least 75 credits to graduate. Throughout the program, online students complete assignments and projects based on real-world scenarios that help them master the latest business software and develop relevant problem-solving skills.
Prospective students must submit their high school transcripts, standardized test scores, and a copy of their birth certificates or driver's licenses. Applicants without ACT, SAT, Accuplacer, or Compass test scores must complete the MTI admissions test.
Incoming students may transfer credits toward their associate degree provided they possess a "C" grade or higher. At least 25% of a student's total credits must come from MTI coursework. Applicants with military experience may receive credit for training and experience. Military personnel also pay in-state tuition rates regardless of their location.
Distance learners pursuing the online associate degree in small business management work directly with the center for student success to access various resources remotely. Student success coaches ensure that all students have access to academic and personal counseling. The center also helps students prepare for their careers after graduation. Additionally, MTI offers several internal scholarships reserved for business majors. Students apply online for awards worth $500-$1,000.
J Sargeant Reynolds Community College
Established in 1972, Reynolds is a public community college located in Richmond, Virginia. The school offers over 25 two-year associate programs. Distance learners earn their online associate degree in small business management remotely.
This program prepares students for entry into the business world and helps those currently working in the field to advance to supervisory or management positions. In either case, Reynolds business students develop the necessary critical-thinking skills and best practices for operating in the business world today.
The small business management concentration best serves individuals interested in working in micro-business scenarios including, but not limited to, franchises, day care centers, computer services, clothing stores, printing services, and restaurants. All students complete an internship that focuses on their interests in the field to receive relevant on-the-job training. This technology-heavy program requires incoming students to possess above-average computer skills. Learners can test out of the required computer skills class by passing the college's computer competency exam.
In total, associate learners complete at least 66 credits for graduation. Required online synchronous courses for students in the small business management concentration include customer service management, essentials of accounting, business communication, and small business management. Reynolds business alums pursue a myriad of careers in the field in areas like business development management, project development, affairs management, and business practices supervisor.
Reynolds subscribes to an open admission policy and accepts all learners with a high school diploma, certificate of completion of homeschooling, or GED. All prospective learners aged 18 or older may apply after passing the ability-to-benefit test if they do not possess a high school diploma.
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.
- Best Online Associate in Small Business Programs of 2018
Rank School Location 1 Bucks County Community College Newtown, PA 2 Herkimer County Community College Herkimer, NY 3 North Arkansas College Harrison, AR 4 Mitchell Technical Institute Mitchell, SD 5 Illinois Central College East Peoria, IL
- Best Online Associate in Small Business Programs of 2017
Rank School Location 1 Bucks County Community College Newtown, PA 2 Coastline Community College Fountain Valley, CA 3 Flathead Valley Community College Kalispell, MT 4 Illinois Central College East Peioria, IL 5 Inver Hills Community College Inver Grove Heights, MN 6 Macomb Community College Warren, MI 7 Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ 8 Mitchell Technical Institute Mitchell, SD 9 North Arkansas College Harrison, AR 10 North Hennepin Community College Brooklyn Park, MN