Technology and the internet have made higher education more accessible than ever, with ever-increasing numbers of colleges and universities offering digital learning. In fact, according to Babson Survey Research Group, 70% of education leaders say that online learning will be a critical factor in their institutions' long-term growth.

An associate degree online is a great place to start your academic journey, even if your ultimate goal is to get a bachelor's or master's degree. These programs are usually much more affordable than the typical four-year school, and they also offer the flexibility you need to take classes and complete assignments on your own schedule.

Thanks to credit transfer agreements, high-quality instruction, and the efficiency that comes with online learning, it's no surprise that it has become such an attractive option for students across the country and around the world.

Rank School Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1 Southwest Mississippi Community College Summit, MS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 65%

SMCC is one of 15 institutions comprising Mississippi Virtual Community College, a consortium that began offering eLearning in 2000. Each year, about 60,000 students gain access to more than 2,500 courses delivered via the Canvas LMS. SMCC attracts busy individuals by offering students flexible scheduling and affordable prices.

Students take general coursework from instructors with expertise in English, math, history, art, and the sciences. Focused academic areas of study include biology, zoology, early childhood education, computer science, and healthcare. The school also offers counseling, advising, learning resources, 24/7 technical help, and information about financial aid to students. Though students take courses at the virtual college, learners receive support services at their local institution, like SMCC.

2 Frontier Community College Fairfield, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 85%

One of four Illinois Eastern Community Colleges, FCC works in concert with the IECC system to offer a comprehensive roster of courses. Students learn from instructors in online courses delivered asynchronously via the Desire2Learn LMS. Online and hybrid courses offered include English, math, science, biology, healthcare, and sports management.

The school offers three transfer degree programs completely online: a 64-credit associate in science and arts, a 64-credit associate in general studies, and a 67-credit associate in science. All three degrees transfer to more than 100 participating Illinois institutions where students will assume junior status upon enrollment. IECC also offers a 63-credit AAS in accounting and computing and a 68-credit AAS in medical office assistant. Students living both in and out of state can enroll in the distance learning program.

3 Wabash Valley College Mount Carmel, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 75%

Part of the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges system (IECC), WVC offers a wide range of programing, including certificate, transfer, and career and technical education programs. The IECC offers courses online through WVC’s participation. Online courses include studies in English, math, healthcare, biology, and sports management. IECC delivers eLearning to students who live both inside and outside of the state.

The school offers three transfer degree programs fully online: the 64-credit associate in general studies, the 64-credit associate in science and arts, and the 67-credit associate in science. All three degrees transfer to 100 participating Illinois institutions, enabling students to walk in as first-semester juniors at these schools. IECC also offers a 68-credit AAS in medical office assistant and 63-credit AAS in accounting and computing. Learners should note that the online community college offers hybrid courses that require some campus visits to WVC or to one of IECC’s other institutions.

4 Irvine Valley College Irvine, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 51%

Hundreds of students participate in online learning at California-based IVC each semester. The school’s catalog of associate degrees comprises more than 70 majors, including online offerings. The school delivers coursework asynchronously using both Canvas and Blackboard learning management systems. The online catalog includes studies in business management, biotechnology, administration of justice, information systems security, and health and nutrition. Students can also take general education courses online.

Learners earn degrees either fully online or in hybrid formats in fields like computer science, psychology, business administration, and sociology. Students often use their associate degrees as gateways into baccalaureate programs at senior colleges. IVC boasts the highest rate of student transfers to four-years institutions in the state. Online learners at IVC have access to library databases, online counselling, the bookstore, and technical support.

5 Carl Albert State College Poteau, OK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 66%

At CASC's virtual college, students have access to flexible and affordable education. CASC offers both degree and certificate programs, and students take courses delivered both asynchronously and synchronously. Students can take general education coursework in English, history, math, and the humanities.

The school also offers an associate of arts, an associate of science, or an associate of applied sciences degree online in either an eight-week or a 16-week format. Online areas of study include business administration, computer technology, psychology, sociology, social science, child development, and general studies. In addition to online associate degrees, students can earn certificates online in child development. The college offers distance learning in some states in concert with the NC-SARA--a state agreement designed for virtual colleges. CASC has one of the lowest tuition rates in the nation.

6 Collin County Community College District McKinney, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

Collin College offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs to 53,000 students each year. Located in Texas, Collin College boasts an extensive catalog of online courses delivered either fully online or in hybrid format in disciplines like business, computer education, healthcare, and multimedia. Students can also earn online associate degrees in fields like healthcare and business administration.

The school offers three transfer degree plans: an associate of arts, an associate of science, and an associate of arts in teaching. Students can transfer credits into programs like general studies, business, criminal justice, engineering, music, and education. Some general education courses and major courses can be earned online in these transfer programs. Virtual learners have access to counselling, tutoring, career services and the writing center.

7 Diablo Valley College Pleasant Hill, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

DVC delivers affordable, flexible, and quality educational programming to more than 22,000 learners on two campuses in California and online. The school offers associate and certificate degree programs in fields such as administration of justice, allied health, business, early childhood education, construction, and electronic technology. Instructors at the school deliver coursework both fully online or in hybrid format using the Canvas LMS.

DVC does not officially offer fully online degree programs but notes that with careful planning and counselor guidance, students can earn degrees fully online. Notably, many of DVC's online and hybrid courses fulfill the lower-division general education requirements at four-year colleges within the state. Support services for DVC students include tutoring, counselling, and tech support.

8 Coastal Pines Technical College Waycross, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

Part of the Technical College System of Georgia, CPTC offers academic and technical programs using both on-campus and distance formats. Some of the school's associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates can be earned entirely online or in hybrid format. These include studies in accounting, business technology, criminal justice, early childhood care and education, and marketing management.

The 64-credit AAS in business technology emphasizes spreadsheet mastery, word processing, and presentation and database applications software. Students also earn fully online certificates in business technology in concentrations like medical language specialist, administrative support assistant, and Microsoft Office application professional. The hybrid, 72-credit AAS in early childhood care and education includes five areas of specialization: exceptionalities, infant/toddler, paraprofessional/school age, program administration, and family child care.

9 Harford Community College Bel Air, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

HCC serves nearly 2,000 full-time and thousands of part-time students enrolled in its 80 degree and certificate programs. The school offers four online programs to students through coursework delivered asynchronously using the Blackboard LMS.

The AA in business administration has an accelerated option where college-ready students with a minimum 3.0 GPA take a combination of online and face-to-face courses. Students earn the online associate degree in five eight-week semesters. Upon program completion, students transfer the degree to a four-year institution. The AA in psychology can also be taken fully online or in a hybrid format. The AAS in CIS focuses on studies in computer literacy, programming languages, network and internet applications, and program design. The AA in general studies allows students to tailor the curriculum to meet requirements at select transfer institutions.

10 Raritan Valley Community College Branchburg, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

RVCC offers both full-time and part-time students more than 90 degree and certificate programs. Program offerings include nursing, accounting, liberals arts, and engineering. In total, RVCC offers about 150 online courses each semester.

Only one of its associate degree programs can be completed fully online: a 64-65 credit AAS in accounting designed for students seeking to enter the workforce directly upon completion. Several associate degrees, however, can be taken 85% online, including the 63-64 credit AS in business administration. The degree offers one of three concentrations: general business, marketing, and international business. The 61-65 credit AA in liberal arts has two concentrations: communication studies and social studies. The school also offers associate degrees in criminal justice, English, health information systems, business management, and math. Certificate programs can also be taken fully online in CPA education and health information technology.

11 Mitchell Technical Institute Mitchell, SD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 74%

Situated in South Dakota, MTI offers rigorous programs that lead to employment. The school boasts a 99% job placement rate and offers both on-campus and online diplomas and associate degrees. The 71-credit, fully online AAS in administrative office specialist immerses students in accounting, spreadsheets, marketing, insurance, and business principles. The fully online, 73-credit AAS in medical office professional includes studies in medical terminology, the use of computers in the medical office, accounting, business law and ethics, and medical insurance and billing.

Future entrepreneurs or business managers can enroll in the 75-credit AA in small business management. Areas of study for this online associate degree include accounting, sales and advertising, e-commerce, entrepreneurship, and communication. Notably, MTI charges one tuition for learners whether they learn online or in the classroom.

12 Montgomery College Rockville, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

Considered the flagship community college in Maryland, MC provides students with 130 programs of study. The school emphasizes hands-on learning that prepares students for the workforce or for further studies in a baccalaureate program. MC's offers four fully online associate degrees in computer science and technologies, business, general studies, and criminal justice.

The 60-credit AA in computer science and technologies has two tracks: computer science and information systems. The 60-credit AA in business’ honors program offers seminars, honors courses, internships and mentoring, and a scholarship. The community college online also offers an AA in general studies with four plans of study, including integrated studies and a 60-credit AA in criminal justice. Resources for eLearners include academic support centers for those who live nearby and online access to advising services, libraries, and technical support.

13 Brookdale Community College Lincroft, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 42%

Brookdale Community College in Monmouth County, NJ offers approximately 10,800 degree seekers 74 academic programs leading to associate degrees. Some of the school's most popular degree programs can be earned online in fields such as psychology, sociology, English, and political science. Instructors deliver coursework asynchronously to online learners looking for affordable and flexible education options.

The 60-credit AA in liberal education is a fully online degree that provides the most curriculum flexibility of the associate degrees offered by the online community college. The program’s general education credits meet transfer requirements at four-year institutions for students hoping to pursue further education. Credits from the fully online AA in psychology, AA in sociology, AA in English, and AA in political science also transfer to four-year institutions.

14 Shoreline Community College Shoreline, WA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

Located just a few miles north of Seattle, this community college first opened its doors in 1964. Of the roughly 10,000 students enrolled at Shoreline each year, 14% exclusively enroll in online courses while another 27% complete their degree requirements through a combination of online and on-campus coursework.

A total of six online applied associate degrees are available to students at Shoreline. These include pathways in three business-oriented fields: accounting; general business; and business technology. The latter associate program culminates in a comprehensive individual project. The A.A.S. in health information technology, concentrated in informatics and information management, also features a capstone requirement for second-year students. The final two associate programs require students to supplement their online coursework with supervised training. Students who pursue the A.A.S. in criminal justice must complete internships in criminal investigation and police operations, while those earning an A.A.S. in early childhood education/paraeducator must complete a practicum 'observation' course in a functioning classroom. All six online associate degree programs offered through Shoreline are between 90 and 94 course credits in length -- but due to the school's quarter-based calendar, these programs can be completed in two years of full-time study.

Additionally, online students at Shoreline may choose to participate in the Direct Transfer Agreement program. This pathway allows students to transfer into participating four-year schools throughout the state of Washington. DTA opportunities are available in the following academic fields: business; criminal justice; economics; elementary education; English language and literature; health information and information management; history; political science; and psychology.

15 Citrus College Glendora, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 44%

Citrus College’s virtual arm offers several associate degrees and certificates online. Instructors deliver online coursework via the Canvas LMS--though some programs may require on-campus visits. Graduates of the fully online 60-credit ADT in administration of justice can transfer credits to California State University to pursue further studies. Additional degrees designed for transfer to the CSU system include the 60-credit ADT in sociology and the ADT in history.

Citrus College also offers an online AS in business, an AA in language arts, an AA in social and behavioral sciences, and an AA in liberal arts. Online services include workshops, counseling, and advisement. With the exception of military personnel, students who do not reside in California cannot enroll in the online community college.

16 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, located in Fennimore, offers many online programs and courses. Students can earn an associate degree in business management, medical coding, leadership development, and early childhood education, supply chain management, health information technology, and cancer information management. Many of Southwest Wisconsin's programs take about two years to complete and offer multiple start dates. The business management degree requires students to earn at least 66 credits. Courses include principles of finance, technical reporting, operations management, and microeconomics.

Business graduates are prepared for careers as credit analysts, sales representatives, and financial managers. Southwest Wisconsin holds transfer agreements with many schools, including Bellevue University, Capella University, Franklin University, and Herzing University. This makes it easy for students to transfer credits to a four-year institution. All students are issued a free email account. The school recommends that learners make 10-15 hours available each week for every three credits.

17 McHenry County College Crystal Lake, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

MCC offers 35 associate degrees and dozens of certificate programs. Seven degree programs can be earned online, including a 60-credit associate in general education designed for learners seeking a two-year credential without a concentration. The college also offers AAS degrees in career and technical education fields that lead to immediate, post-graduation employment. Instructors deliver coursework through the Canvas LMS.

The 64-credit AAS in administrative office management covers topics like general education, administrative office technologies, and medical terminologies. The 66-credit AAS in network security includes studies in business and management principles, database systems, and A+ certification prep. MCC offers four other career-focused degrees online: AAS in accounting, AAS in business management, AAS in criminal justice, and AAS in computer information systems.

18 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 75%

MPTC offers about 100 program options to students seeking degrees in a variety of fields. Online learning provides full-time or part-time students with flexible and affordable educational options. The online community college offers 18 associate degrees, diplomas, and certificate programs that can be earned entirely or mostly online. Associate degree options include the 65-credit AAS in business management--a program focused on operations management, accounting, marketing, and computer software applications.

The school offers a 63-credit AAS in water quality technology to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to tests, analyse, and treat water supplies. The school also offers a 66-credit AAS in accounting with studies focused on finance, payroll, auditing, computerized systems, and taxes. Other online associate degrees offered include an AAS in leadership development, an AAS in small business entrepreneurship, and an AAS in health information technology.

19 Sauk Valley Community College Dixon, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 65%

SVCC offers eLearning programs to students either seeking a degree or lifelong learning. Students can earn an associate degree in the state's General Education Core Curriculum requirements completely online. The GECC enables learners to transfer credits to a four year college where they can focus on courses in their major. The online community college offers five other associate degrees completely online: an AAS in criminal justice, an AAS in management, an AAS in marketing, an AAS in accounting, and an ALS in liberal studies.

The ALS in liberal studies allows learners to design a major that meets their career goals and personal interests. In some fields, students may also create a hybrid degree by combining online classes with on-campus components. Certificate programs are offered fully online in fields like management, corrections, and entrepreneurship.

20 Palo Alto College San Antonio, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 81%

Part of the Alamo Colleges District in Texas, Palo Alto College boasts transfer agreements with several universities that guarantee transfer fluidity to students. Students seeking an associate of arts or an associate of applied science degree should consider PAC’s strong programs. Students seeking to enter information technology careers should consider the online AAS in computer support specialist, the AAS in network administration, or the AAS in information security and assurance.

Business degree seekers can choose between the AAS in business management and the AA in business: business administration. Other online degrees offered include the AA in economics, AA in criminal justice, AA in social work, and AA in liberal arts. The 60-credit AA in kinesiology focuses on human anatomy, biology, personal and community health, and coaching.

21 Ocean County College Toms River, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 49%

Students at OCC can earn an associate degree entirely online in preparation for a four-year degree. The New Jersey virtual college offers associate of arts, associate of science, and associate of applied science degrees online in engineering, criminal justice, homeland security, liberal arts, and environmental science. Those seeking to pursue a career in computer science have the AS in computer science, with concentration options in game development and design and information technology. Students can transfer credits into a baccalaureate program at a four-year institution.

Other associate degrees online designed for transfer students include the AS in business administration, the AS in criminal justice, and the AS in engineering. The college also offers the AAS in business, an online degree that prepares learners for entry into the workforce upon program completion. Online certificate programs include fire science and accounting.

22 Fox Valley Technical College Appleton, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 52%

FVTC provides about 50,000 students each year with more than 200 programs from which to choose. AAS degrees can be earned online in accounting, communications, business management, supply chain management, and information technology. FVTC, which serves more students than any other technical college in the state, offers a unique 60-credit AAS in safety engineering technology. Study areas include regulatory compliance, construction safety management, ergonomics, and industrial hygiene.

A second notable online associate degree is the 60-credit AAS in industrial engineering technology that prepares graduates for today's manufacturing environment. Courses include the study of Six Sigma, project management, manufacturing processes, and Lean tools. For students entering law enforcement, the school's fully-online, 65-credit AAS in forensic science prepares graduates in criminal law, crime scene management, and constitutional law.

23 Waubonsee Community College Sugar Grove, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Learners at Waubonsee have access to top-ranked programs and comprehensive services and resources. Students seeking flexible eLearning opportunities can complete courses and degree programs fully online or in hybrid format. Waubonsee offers a Flex-Term during which online learners opt into accelerated coursework. The school also offers the Dunham Fund Quick Path program in which students earn a free business associate degree over the course of a year.

Waubonsee offers a fully online, 60-credit associate in arts, a 60-credit associate in science, or a 60-credit associate in general studies. The online community college also offers a 60-credit AAS in business administration with concentrations in accounting, business ethics, and marketing. The 60-credit AAS in human resources management includes studies in managerial law, accounting, and personnel management.

24 Westmoreland County Community College Youngwood, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 106%

A college located in Youngwood, Pennsylvania, Westmoreland offers 65 associate degrees on-campus, online, or in hybrid format. Fully online degree options include business, criminal justice, homeland security, psychology, accounting, and office technology office administration. The AAS in business has several degree plan options, including marketing, finance, and entrepreneurship. Students taking the 60-credit AAS in homeland security enter the workforce with knowledge of criminal justice, criminalistics, emergency services, and emergency management and planning.

Many of Westmoreland’s online associate degree programs enable students to transfer to a four-year institution. These include the associate of arts, the AAS in business administration, the AA in criminal justice, and the AA in psychology. Comprehensive student support services include Brainfuse online tutoring, access to the bookstore, and academic advising.

25 Merced College Merced, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 27%

California-based MC offers several online degrees and certificate programs in both fully online and hybrid formats. Students receive instruction in a degree of their choosing through the Canvas LMS. They can take the AA in social and behavioral science or the AA in international studies fully online. Associate degree programs in psychology, history, child development, and early childhood education can be taken 85% online.

Hybrid associate programs include business, geography, health sciences, humanities, and management information systems. Notable hybrid programs include the 60-credit AS in biotechnology-industry, a unique curriculum that includes studies in genetics, biotechnology, plant sciences, computer information systems, and morphology and physiology. The online community college offers transfer associate degree curriculums in business administration and early childhood education. Online certificate programs include child development, business, social media, and virtual office personnel.

26 Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, WCC accommodates both incoming freshman and experienced professionals. The school's eLearning department boasts 18 degree options from which students can choose. Associate degree offerings include business, accounting, supply chain management, and retail management. Learners seeking to transfer into four-year institutions choose among four fully online programs: the AA in business, the AA in liberal arts, the AA in secondary education, and the AS in general studies. The 60- to 61-credit general studies program offers online concentrations in math and the natural sciences.

The online community college at WCC boasts one of the lowest tuition rates in the nation. Students also enjoy the WCC guarantee that all degree programs provide them with the requisite skills needed in the major or they can retake courses at no additional cost.

27 Frederick Community College Frederick, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

The more than 16,000 students who attend Maryland-based FCC have access to a comprehensive list of programs, affordable tuition, and convenient fully online or hybrid formats. The 60-credit AA in business administration offers students hoping to enter the business space the transfer credits needed for matriculation into a four-year institution. Studies focus on math, art and humanities, biological and physical sciences, and corresponding major courses like accounting and economics.

The school enjoys strong transfer agreements with local colleges, including the business program at the University of Maryland University College. At FCC, individual online courses can be taken by students seeking to either bolster their professional knowledge or to keep their minds active. Individual courses can be taken in anthropology, information systems, medical terminology, sociology, statistics, and psychology.

28 Northwest Mississippi Community College Senatobia, MS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

Learners served by NWCC have both traditional and distance learning options available to them. The online community college offers several fully online degrees through the Canvas LMS. Academic pathways offered online at NWCC include accounting, business administration, criminal justice, and psychology.

The school offers a 62-credit AA in marketing communication and PR management with concentrations in psychology, communication, and public speaking. The school's 62-credit AA in business administration incorporates a business core with studies in statistics, microeconomics, and communication--as well as the option to take electives in medical office terminology. NWCC also offers unique online associate degree plans in business and computer teacher education and outdoor recreation and management. NWCC provides online learners with resources like tutorials, virtual job-shadow, and library services.

29 Bevill State Community College Jasper, AL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

BSCC serves seven counties in northwestern Alabama with its focus on career, technical, and health science programs. About 3,800 students attend classes at the school's four campuses in Alabama and online. Individual courses can be taken fully online or in hybrid format, and the school administers two fully online associate degrees.

The 64-credit AAS in management and entrepreneurship includes coursework in legalities, small business management, microeconomics, entrepreneurial finance, and customer service. Students can earn the online degree incrementally by enrolling in stackable certificate programs in business essentials, entrepreneurship, accounting, and retail management. The 65-68 credit AAS in office administration and technology can also be earned fully online; its general education and business technology credits transfer to four-year institutions.

30 Illinois Central College East Peoria, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 52%

ICC offers several degree and certificate programs through its virtual campus. The Illinois college's eLearning options include associate of arts degrees in accountancy, criminal justice, economics, and business administration. ICC's online associate degree in international business is a 60-credit transfer program that gives learners the foundational knowledge needed for entrance into a baccalaureate program.

Courses from the 60-credit AS in family and consumer sciences can transfer to four-year institutions and focus on both general education and studies in marriage and family, nutrition, and child and adolescent development. Graduates of the FACS program prepare for careers in education and foods and nutrition. Online certificate programs include studies in small business management and web development. Instructors deliver coursework to students at ICC using the Blackboard LMS, where students can access online tutoring and other academic support, library services, and technical assistance.

31 Clinton Community College Plattsburgh, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 51%

CCC enrolls approximately 2,400 full-time and part-time students, many of whom are working on associate degrees in business administration, computer information systems, criminal justice, liberal arts, and health services management. Students attending CCC's programs can earn degrees both fully online and in hybrid formats. The fully online AAS in computer information systems includes 62 credits of hands-on learning focused on computer programming, operating systems, database management, and web design.

The school also offers a fully online, 60-credit AA in liberal arts in humanities/social science and a hybrid, 60-credit AS in liberal arts in math/science. A 61-credit AS degree in business administration offers studies in social science and the humanities, and a 60-credit AAS in business administration focuses on business management. The school also offers a comprehensive list of online courses and certificates.

32 Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas De Queen, AR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 43%

Cossatot is affiliated with the University of Arkansas system and has campuses in De Queen, Nashville, and Ashdown. The school offers online associate degrees and certificates. Certificate programs include accounting, medical assisting, and health professions. Associate programs include business management, administrative assistant, criminal justice, and psychology. Business management graduates can transfer to Southern Arkansas University, where they can complete a bachelor's in agriculture with an ag-business major, or Arkansas Tech University, where they can complete a bachelor's of professional studies.

Business management students who plan on transferring to a different school should check whether their courses are transferable. The associate of science in psychology is a 2+2 program. Students complete the first two years at Cassatot then transfer to Southern Arkansas University to complete the final two years and earn a bachelor's. Psychology graduates can also transfer to Arkansas Tech University and earn a bachelor of professional studies.

33 Massasoit Community College Brockton, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 38%

Massasoit offers learners in Massachusetts and other states multiple degree plan options and an affordable college education. Students can complete fully online associate degrees offered in several fields, including criminal justice and business administration, supervisory management, and marketing. Massasoit also offers hybrid associate degrees in business administration with hospitality, accounting, and transfer options; liberal arts with several transfer curriculum options; childcare and administration; human services; and fire services technology.

Notably, the AS in engineering curriculum--with chemical, civil, mechanical, and engineering degree plan options--can transfer to four-year institutions. The online community college's hybrid AAS in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technology includes a building systems energy management option. Students can also earn certificates online in childcare, corrections, and mobile application development. Online learners have access to academic advising, tutoring, counselling, and library services.

34 Bates Technical College Tacoma, WA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Founded in 1940, Bates serves about 6,700 students with dozens of associate degree programs. Located in Tacoma, Washington, the school offers online general education classes that students often use to complete their associate degrees. Lifelong learners also have the choice of online continuing education courses in several disciplines.

Students complete the 90-credit AAS in accounting fully online over the course of four quarters. It is the school’s online fully online program. In addition to the general education course requirements needed to complete the program, students study business courses like business law, microeconomics, and computer applications. Coursework in the major includes accounting, payroll accounting, federal income tax, QuickBooks, Excel, and government accounting. Instructors deliver the online ASS in accounting and all of the online courses through the Canvas LMS.

35 Bucks County Community College Newtown, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

Bucks offers a comprehensive academic program to students in distance learning. The Pennsylvania college offers 20 degree programs that learners complete entirely online. Areas of study include business administration, computer science, math, social science, and psychology. Included in the school's fully online associate degrees is a 61-credit AA degree in English with transferable curriculum and concentrations in writing, secondary education, and women's studies.

The 61- to 64-credit associate degree in management/marketing prepares graduates for entry-level management, retail, or marketing positions; students can select one of three areas of emphasis: management, marketing, and retail positions. Students at Bucks choose among 36 degree programs. Hybrid or eLearning courses constitute about 80% of the available courses, and students choose courses in fields like engineering, communication studies, graphic design, multimedia, and cinema video production.

36 Northern Virginia Community College Annandale, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 40%

NOVA offers more than 300 courses in 50 academic disciplines; thirteen degrees can be completed at the online community college through the Extended Learning Institute in fields like accounting, business administration, fire science, liberal arts, and information technology. Notable programs include the 61-credit AS in social science with specializations in political science and teacher education. Both the general and the math specializations of the 60- to 61-credit AS in science prepare graduates for transfer into a baccalaureate program.

Students at Nova enjoy extensive online resources, including 24/7 library support, free online tutoring, an IT Help Desk, and a counseling staff. The school also provides assistance during the matriculation process for students hoping to enter four-year colleges. This includes guaranteed admission agreements with institutions like the University of Virginia and George Mason University.

37 Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Johnstown, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

Penn Highlands offers affordable, quality programs to students living in west central Pennsylvania. Penn Highlands Online gives students the option of taking supplemental online courses, as well as the option to enter into one of three fully online degree programs: business management, liberal arts and sciences, and small business management.

Those seeking to pursue careers in business have two options: a 63- to 65-credit AAS in business management and a 61- to 62-credit AAS in small business management. The former emphasizes accounting, small business management, business law, marketing, and human resource management. The latter provides students with an accelerated degree option that can be completed in 16 months; it includes elective blocks in engineering, biological and natural sciences, and technology. The AA in liberal arts and sciences offers flexibility to students in several concentrations including communication, English, and nanotechnology, and/or areas of interest such as biological sciences, technology, and philosophy and religion.

38 Lakeshore Technical College Cleveland, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

LTC offers its 9,900 students 140 programs from which to choose, including nine online programs. Online fields of study include accounting, business management, human resource administration, and marketing.

The school's 64-credit AS in nuclear technology prepares nuclear technicians by familiarizing them with nuclear regulations, radiation physics, radiochemistry, reactor plant components, and applied health physics. Those seeking to pursue careers in manufacturing have the 60-credit associate degree in manufacturing management, a program that includes study of supply chain management, project management, Lean Six Sigma, legal issues for supervisors, and workplace safety. The school also boasts a 61-credit AS in quality assurance that prepares professionals for monitoring and evaluating projects. Courses include project management, supply chain management, and quality concepts.

39 Middlesex Community College Bedford, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

MCC offers affordable distance learning opportunities to students hoping to transfer credits into a four-year institution. Students choose among several fully online programs in fields like liberal arts, accounting, hospitality, and psychology. They can also take hybrid courses in fields like paralegal studies, office systems and administration, and human services. Among other associate degrees online, the 61-credit AS in fire protection and safety technology focuses coursework around fire protection, hazardous materials, building constructions, fire and emergency services, and arson investigations.

Additional degrees offered fully online include degrees in criminal justice and business administration. The 61- to 62-credit AS in criminal justice includes study of policing, constitutional law, corrections, criminal investigations, and terrorism. The 63- to 64-credit AS in business administration immerses students in accounting, marketing, finance, e-commerce, entrepreneurship, and human resources. Students take courses in small classes through coursework delivered asynchronously.

40 College of the Mainland Texas City, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

COM specializes in technical degree programs. Distance education at COM includes online courses, fully online degrees, and the state's core curriculum. Those seeking to attend a senior college can complete the general education courses at COM and enter a baccalaureate program. The 42-credit core curriculum includes studies in communication, math, and life and physical sciences.

The school also offers an AA in general studies which enables students to enter into a four-year institution with most of their prerequisites out of the way. Those seeking to enter the criminal justice space can earn the AAS in criminal justice; this program features general coursework and major coursework taken at the COM Basic Peace Officer Academy. The school also offers an online Fire Officer certificate program online.

41 San Antonio College San Antonio, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 75%

One of the five schools that make up the Alamo Colleges District in Texas, SAC specializes in 2+2 agreements, affordability, and personalized learning. Online learners choose from among 200 eLearning courses and can earn an online AA in liberal arts or an AAS in criminal justice entirely online. Instructors deliver coursework both asynchronously and synchronously using the Blackboard LMS.

The 60-credit AA in liberal arts provides students with the first two years of general education requirements required for transfer to a four-year college in the state. The 60-credit AAS in criminal justice includes three degree plans: law enforcement, corrections, and law enforcement-peace officer. The online community college also offers online certificate programs in business management, financial analysis, financial services industry, and banking.

42 Western Technical College La Crosse, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Online learners at Western enjoy several degree options that result in good salaries and good jobs. The Wisconsin online community college provides students with degree paths in business, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, hospitality management, and supervisory management. The school also offers a bachelor's pathway program that can be taken fully online to save students thousands of tuition dollars. The Associate of Science/Liberal Arts transfer degree incorporates the general education courses needed to transfer to a college within the University of Wisconsin system.

The 60-credit AAS in business analyst prepares learners for career advancement in business or for matriculation into a baccalaureate program. The 60-credit AAS in digital marketing provides learners with the foundational knowledge, tools, and techniques needed in today's digital business environment. Western also provides support services like tutoring and library access.

43 Kennebec Valley Community College Fairfield, ME Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 42%

In spite of its small enrollment of approximately 2,500 students, KVCC offers more than 30 programs of study--including programs offered nowhere else in Maine. KVCC notes that current students enjoy the program’s flexibility while graduates enjoy its high job placement rates. Fully online associate degree and certificate programs offered include business administration with options in marketing and accounting, liberal studies, mental health technology, and pulp and paper technology.

The 63-credit AAS in pulp and paper technology focuses on papermaking and maintenance practices. Courses include process chemistry, pulping technology, pulp and paper manufacture, instrumentation and control. The school's 62-credit AAS in mental health technology includes studies in community mental health, psychosocial rehabilitation, sexual abuse and trauma, substance abuse, and abnormal psychology. The associate degree online prepares graduates for positions in case management and community integration. KVCC offers the lowest tuition in the state.

44 Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

As North Carolina's largest community college, Wake Tech offers students a comprehensive catalog of eLearning options. Wake Tech offers associate degrees both fully online and in hybrid formats in accounting, advertising and graphic design, early childhood education, supply chain management, and hospitality management.

The school also offers a 64-credit AAS in healthcare business informatics designed for database professionals seeking to work in healthcare. Areas of study include medical insurance, database management, and health information networking. Students seeking work in the high-wage field of Web technologies can enter the 68-credit AAS in mobile applications development. The online associate degree includes studies in web development tools, mobile web design, and JAVA web programming. The unique 73-credit AAS in storage and virtualization teaches students cloud computing, operating system virtualization, and data storage solutions.

45 Dakota County Technical College Rosemount, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

A small college in Minnesota, DCTC’s 2,200 students enjoy programs focused on sustainable technologies, service-learning, and community engagement. Students in the state and around the country enroll in its distance learning programs focused on studies in accounting, business administration, and business and digital marketing. The online community college offers a 60-credit AAS in marketing design with focuses in public relations, digital marketing, advertising, marketing communication, and general education.

Distance learners can earn certificates or diplomas fully online in marketing communication, accounting, meeting and event management, and supervisory leadership. Note that DCTC is not authorized to offer distance learning in every state. Students will, however, enjoy affordable tuitions costs and an excellent job placement record upon graduation.

46 Surry Community College Dobson, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

Founded in 1964, Surry provides its diverse student body with dozens of associate and certificate programs, including eight degrees available completely online. The North Carolina college's eLearning associate degree options include accounting, advertising and graphic design, business administration, and early childhood education. The 68-credit AAS in criminal justice technology focuses on studies in criminology, juvenile justice, law enforcement operations, corrections, and constitutional law.

Those seeking careers in office administration have two options: the 68-credit medical office administration degree and the 67-credit office administration degree. The first focuses on medical terminology; medical coding, billing, and insurance; information systems; and legal and ethical issues. The second degree emphasizes records management, software applications, business principles, and personal finance. The school's associate of arts allows students to transfer curriculum into non-STEM related fields like education, English, or marketing.

47 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 62%

Minnesota State Community and Technical College, with campuses in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena, offers more than 30 programs that can be completed fully online within the D2L Brightspace classroom. M State students benefit from flexible scheduling with more than 300 online or hybrid courses at a great value.

The college offers certificates, transfer degrees and career and technical programs in the fields of accounting, business, computer programming, healthcare, human resources, information technology and paralegal. M State also offers hybrid programs, including Massage Therapy, Medical Laboratory Technology, Pharmacy Technology and Plumbing. These hybrid programs have on-campus requirements. All online students receive access to academic advising, career services, online tutoring, IT assistance and financial aid resources.

48 Flint Hills Technical College Emporia, KS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 74%

FHTC's 19 programs of study emphasize business and technical industry, hands-on learning, and real-world experience. FHTC’s eLearning programs lead to associate degrees in several disciplines. The school offers four AAS programs fully online in business administrative technology, power plant technology, healthcare administration/management, and interactive multimedia design. The AAS in healthcare administration/management gives students the opportunity to transition from LPN to BSN through a 2+2 program agreement with Emporia State University.

The eight-month accelerated AAS in power plant technology enables students to take both technical and general education courses. Technical areas of study include electricity, power plant systems, and mechanics--complemented with an internship at a power plant. The college also offers hybrid online associate degree programs in emergency services technology, industrial engineering technology, and multimedia design.

49 Lone Star College System The Woodlands, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 33%

LSC provides students across Texas and beyond with flexible and affordable learning. The college offers academic transfer degrees fully online in business administration, criminal justice, international studies, and teaching. The online community college also offers associate degree programs for those seeking to enter the workplace after graduation in business administration and administrative services.

The 60-credit AAS in business administration with a human resource specialization enables professionals to advance in their management careers with studies that focus on human resources, management, and team-building skills. The 60-credit AAS in administrative services--office applications hones students' word processing skills and their use of spreadsheets, databases, document layouts, and presentations. Students interested in computer programming take the 60-credit AAS in computer programming to develop a strong foundational core in programming, language implementation, and ethics. LSC offers distance learning in most states.

50 Suffolk County Community College Selden, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 38%

Part of the State University of New York system, Suffolk’s 27,000 students can choose among 100 programs of study that lead to associate degrees and certificates. Suffolk offers online courses in both fully online and hybrid formats, and instructors deliver coursework to students through the Blackboard Learn LMS. The program caters to learners on tight budgets in search of a flexible schedule.

The institution offers a 64-credit AAS in business administration designed for immediate entrance into the workforce upon graduation. The degree incorporates seven areas of specialization: human resources management, marketing, entrepreneurship, management technology, international business, business law, and economics. The major's core courses include studies in accounting, business law, microeconomics, and statistics. The program meets transfer requirements at four-year institutions.

Is it Cheaper to Attend an Online Community College than a Traditional University?

Attending an accredited online community college offers a range of benefits, especially when it comes to saving on expenses. While online programs usually charge the same tuition rates as their on-campus counterparts, they also provide flexibility and freedom that can save you a considerable amount as you work toward your degree. Because you can complete your coursework from anywhere with an internet connection, you may realize savings in the form of reduced childcare and transportation costs, along with fewer academic fees.

The total amount of money you spend on your associate degree online will depend on many different factors, including the type of degree you pursue, your chosen area of study, and your desired career path. These factors also may affect the length of time required to meet your course requirements, especially if your program includes an internship or practicum.

If you need help paying for online community college courses, financial aid is available in the same way as with on-campus schools and programs. As long as your school is accredited, you may qualify for aid based on financial need.

Average Full-time Cost of Community College, 2016-17

Tuition $3,520
Room and Board $8,060
Books and Supplies $1,390
Transportation $1,760
Other Expenses $2,270
TOTAL $17,000

Salary for Associate Degree Graduates

Earning an online associate degree is an investment that can pay incredible dividends, both short and long term. Equipped with a degree, you'll qualify for many jobs unavailable to those with a high school diploma alone. A College Scorecard study found that college graduates typically earn $1 million more than high school graduates over their lifetimes.

If you want to earn more money and provide yourself with greater career opportunities, exploring various online associate degree programs is an important first step. The table below reflects the value an associate degree can provide:

Online Trade Schools, Technical Colleges, and Career Colleges

Trade schools, like community colleges, typically offer students the opportunity to earn a degree in two years or less at relatively low tuition rates. However, trade schools are somewhat different from colleges in that they provide more focused training on specific jobs or industries. Community colleges, meanwhile, tend to offer more generalized degrees.

  • Trade Schools: These schools provide focused study on a broad range of vocations, such as automotive repair, plumbing, and cosmetology. They are typically government backed or approved, and their credits will typically transfer to other accredited institutions. Students usually receive certificates, rather than degrees, upon completing these programs.
  • Technical Colleges: These two-year colleges are similar to trade schools in that they train students for specific careers. However, graduates typically receive associate degrees—rather than certificates—as a result of their coursework. Technology-related programs, such as information technology, are common areas of study.
  • Career Colleges: The term "career college" is usually associated with for-profit schools that are not accredited and therefore not recognized by most reputable two-year or four-year institutions. These programs focus on specific careers, and students often complete them in nine months to a year.

Choose Your Career Path and Major

Before you begin looking at community colleges online, think about your long-term career goals and the vocations that interest you most. Your desired career path will inform your choice of a major and ensure you're working toward a degree that will allow you to enter a specific field. If your potential career requires a bachelor's degree, choose an online community college program that will enable you to transfer your credits to a four-year program later.

Also note that some schools don't offer all types of majors, and so you'll want to avoid enrolling at a college where you cannot pursue the career you want.

Finally, consider your local economy and the industries and employers that seem to be doing the best in your state. Opting for a career in a high-demand field can help ensure you secure a job after graduation.

Get the Facts

Once you've chosen a career path and major, take some time to research potential online associate degree programs. Check to see if each program meets your requirements, and if not, eliminate it from your list of possible schools. Below are several key factors to consider during this search:

Program Cost

When you're on a tight budget (and most college students are), even a small variance in tuition and fees can make a big difference. Make sure you know how much each school charges per term or per credit, and look into any technology and academic fees you may need to cover.

Transfer Policies

At some point, you may wish to transfer to a different institution, especially if you plan on pursuing a bachelor's degree. Try to find schools that have transfer agreements with other institutions. You will want as many credits as possible to transfer.

School Size and Type

Think about the type of academic experience you would like. If you prefer smaller class sizes, look at schools that highlight their small instructor-to-student ratios. Also consider whether you'd prefer a private or public college. Public schools may be less expensive, but private institutions generally offer more personalized instruction.

Program Length

How long will it take you to complete your program if you're attending full time or part time? See if you can find a planning guide for each program and determine how many credits you'll need to take each term to graduate within a certain period of time.

On-campus Requirements

Some online associate degree programs require students to attend class or seminars on campus periodically. If you live close to the campus, this might not be a problem. But if you live far away, an on-campus requirement could be extremely difficult to meet—especially if you have children, a full-time job, or other personal obligations.

Accreditation for Online Community Colleges

Among the most important factors when choosing an online community college is the school's accreditation status. All reputable colleges and universities are either regionally or nationally accredited. Regional accreditation is considered the more prestigious of the two, and there are six regional bodies for institutions across the country. Many online-only schools are nationally accredited. These institutions still offer high-quality programs, and they tend to come with the added benefit of lower tuition. Some programs within schools may be independently accredited, as well.

The nonprofit Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education, a federal agency, oversee accrediting agencies. Both organizations maintain strict standards related to the processes accrediting agencies use when analyzing schools and programs nationwide. This is important, as it ensures that accrediting bodies use standardized, fair procedures when awarding schools with accreditation. Thus, students can rest assured that their programs are providing them with a quality educational experience.

One of the great things about the many community colleges online is that you can attend school in just about any state you wish. This can open up opportunities you might not have considered, giving you an excuse to embark on a new adventure. Conversely, there are so many great options out there that you're likely to find a school that meets your needs close to where you already live.

See the map below to browse online community college programs across the United States:

If you wish to get an associate degree online, you should understand that there are several types of these degrees available. The option you choose may have a long-term impact on your academic career, as it will affect the majors available and the four-year programs into which you can transfer. It could even influence the careers available to you after graduation. Take some time to understand the types of associate degrees and find the best one for you.

  • Associate of Arts (AA): These programs typically focus on general education classes, rather than those concentrated on a specific career or major. This can prepare you well for transferring to a bachelor's of arts program in the future. Courses usually include English, mathematics, social sciences, and laboratory science.
  • Associate of Science (AS): This two-year degree can be a great option if you wish to enroll in a bachelor of science program in the future. In most cases, an AS degree provides a strong academic foundation rather than specific career training. Some AS programs offer concentrations in majors like biology, computer science, physics, and health science.
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS): These programs are usually focused on preparing students to enter specific career fields upon graduation. They may require you to complete a few general education classes, but most of the coursework is concentrated on your chosen major. Examples of AAS programs include computer technology, healthcare systems technology, and hospitality management.
  • Associate of Applied Arts (AAA): This category includes specialized programs that train you for a specific vocation. Unlike AAS degrees, AAA programs tend to focus more on the visual arts, music, and advertising. Students may take some general education classes, along with major-focused coursework like photography, graphic design, and art history.

Common Areas of Study for an Associate Degree

When you select a major for your online associate degree program, you make an important decision concerning the subject areas you will explore during your time in school. In fact, this decision could influence which bachelor's programs you can transfer into once you've completed your two-year degree. And, of course, your major affects the jobs you may qualify for in the future. Below are a few of the most common majors within community college online programs:

Icon - Person Business Administration

This major covers a range of topics related to the business world, including management, sales, marketing, accounting, and organizational structures. Students also learn how to apply their newly acquired skills in a practical setting, while preparing themselves to move seamlessly into a four-year business program.


These programs provide a comprehensive introduction to the healthcare sector for students who typically go on to engage in more focused health services bachelor's degree programs. Students take courses across the sciences, along with those pertaining to research, clinical procedures, and various healthcare professions.


Students in these online associate degree programs learn about theories and practice in teaching and learning, along with basic educational psychology. They also learn how to plan lessons, contribute to the social and academic growth of students, and manage school health and safety issues. Many students later enroll in four-year elementary or secondary education programs.

Social Sciences/History

These are general majors that prepare students for various bachelor-level programs. They may cover a range of subjects, including sociology, ancient and modern history, social issues, and political science. The ultimate goal is to give students a solid foundation of knowledge of social institutions and behaviors.


Honing in on the study of the social behaviors of individuals and groups, an associate degree in psychology gives students a base of knowledge that they can use in their future studies. Students learn about various subfields of psychology, how to conduct thorough research, and how to conduct scientific experiments and tests.


This major explores the multiple facets of communication among people, including in person, in groups, and through different forms of media. Interpersonal, organizational, professional, and intercultural communication are key areas of study.

Typical Curriculum for Online Associate Programs

Most of the online community college courses you'll take will be general education classes. These typically revolve around core subjects like English, the humanities, mathematics, and the sciences. For example, your school could require you to complete two science classes, with the options including astronomy, biology, chemistry and physics. Therefore, you'll have some flexibility as to which classes you take to meet various general education requirements. Some programs may require you to take other types of general education courses, such as those focused on cultural literacy, communication, or foreign languages.

Often, the general education classes you take as part of an associate degree online program are the same as those you'd find in a four-year program. This is why so many students choose to complete this coursework at a less expensive community college before transferring into a bachelor's-level program at a four-year university.

You may also be able to complete some major-focused or upper-division classes through an online community college. This is especially true if you pursue an AAS or AAA degree, which both focus on preparing students to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation.

How do Online Classes Work for Community College?

Most online associate degree programs involve specialized software or digital platforms that allow students to access course materials, take part in class forums, interact with instructors, and complete assignments and exams. These platforms also give students access to technical support and tutoring resources. Ultimately, online programs aim to replicate the in-person educational experience, while making the best use of technology to make the learning process as efficient as possible.

In many courses, you will need to interact with your fellow students. This takes place via online discussion boards and forums, through which you may discuss assignments, ask questions, and provide feedback on the subjects covered in class. Your instructor will also post grades to the platform. If you have any questions or wish to discuss your grade with your instructor, you will have the opportunity to do so online.

When it comes to taking exams, many online community college programs require students to go to a certified testing center. There, professional proctors will issue your exam and ensure you are completing it within the allotted time frame and without the use of textbooks or other course materials, if necessary. In other situations, you may be able to take your exams online, but may have a limited amount of time to complete them.

Once you've found a community college online program that meets your needs, your next step is to apply to that school. You will need to prepare a few documents regarding yourself and your academic history. There may also be an application fee and, for some associate degree programs, an admissions essay. Below is an overview of the most common application requirements:

  • Requirements/Prerequisites: Nearly all associate degree programs require prospective students to have a high school diploma or GED certificate to be eligible for admission. Some may require you to have completed certain prerequisite courses, such as a certain level of English or math. If you don't meet these requirements, you may need to take a remedial class before you can officially begin the program.
  • Application Fee: The application fee varies from college to college, but in general, you can expect to pay between $20 and $50 to apply to your desired program. Some schools don't have application fees, while others may waive the fees for applicants who can demonstrate financial need.
  • Application Materials: In addition to paying an application fee and providing your high school transcripts/GED certificate, you may need to submit a resume, one or more letters of recommendation, and a personal statement or essay. These materials give you an opportunity to make your case for why you deserve to be accepted to your desired community college online program.

Many students may wish to transfer into a bachelor's program after they complete their community college studies. Getting an early start can help ensure your online associate degree credits transfer seamlessly into a relevant four-year program.

To transfer credits, you'll work with a transfer counselor at the college or university you'd like to attend. This person informs you which credits will or will not transfer, and how transferred credits will cover various general education requirements. This process typically works best if you've planned ahead and attended a community college that has an established transfer arrangement with the four-year school in question.

Not all schools will accept your online associate degree program credits, and so it's important to do some research and make sure the courses you're taking will help you achieve your academic goals. In general, most transfer students find they can complete a bachelor's degree in about two years if they get an associate degree first.

What are Transfer Agreements?

Many community colleges online have credit transfer or transfer articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities. These arrangements allow students to first obtain an associate degree and then use the credits they've already earned toward a bachelor's program. This can be incredibly helpful if your long-term goal is to continue your studies, as it ensures you won't waste your time on courses that will not ultimately count toward a more advanced degree.

Contact each of your prospective associate degree online programs to determine if they have credit transfer agreements with other institutions. If so, find out if you might wish to attend any of those institutions in the years to come so that you can plan the most efficient way to achieve your educational and professional goals.

Rankings Archive

Best Online Community Colleges of 2017
Rank School Location
1 Florida Institute of Technology-Online Melbourne, FL
2 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
3 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls, MN
4 Northcentral Technical College Wausau, WI
5 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK
6 Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ
7 Foothill College Los Altos Hills, CA
8 Excelsior College Albany, NY
9 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA
10 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
11 Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, NC
12 Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, IA
13 Bismarck State College Bismarck, ND
14 Shoreline Community College Shoreline, WA
15 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, WY
16 Surry Community College Dobson, NC
17 Southwest Virginia Community College Richlands, VA
18 Hodges University Naples, FL
19 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, TX
20 Tiffin University Tiffin, OH
21 West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah, KY
22 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN
23 Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS
24 Gateway Community and Technical College Florence, KY
25 Allen County Community College Iola, KS