Best Online Associate in Small Business Programs

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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 Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Bucks County Community College RANKING SCORE 73.18 COST GRADUATION RATE 18% LOCATION 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 Herkimer County Community College RANKING SCORE 69.55 COST GRADUATION RATE 35% LOCATION Herkimer, NY

The two-year online associate degree in small business management at Herkimer County Community College offers an associate of applied science in small business management program. This 62-credit degree trains students to own and operate a small business. They learn how to develop business plans and budgets, engage in productive meetings with banking and legal professionals, file appropriate legal documents, and network with government agencies that provide small business assistance. The program also features coursework in writing, mathematics, computers, and physical education.

Herkimer accepts new and transfer applicants. New applicants must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. If students do not have sufficient GPAs or GED scores, applicants need to submit ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants also need to submit official transcripts. The campus is located in Herkimer, New York, and is part of the State University New York system. New York residents receive discounted tuition.

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3 North Arkansas College RANKING SCORE 60.68 COST GRADUATION RATE 29% LOCATION 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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4 Mitchell Technical Institute RANKING SCORE 58.41 COST GRADUATION RATE 69% LOCATION 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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5 Illinois Central College RANKING SCORE 55.68 COST GRADUATION RATE 32% LOCATION East Peoria, 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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Timeline
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
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

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)

EDUCATIONAL PATHS

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.

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)
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

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

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.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

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.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

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 STUDENTS

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.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

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.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

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.

Rankings Archive

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