10 Best Online Associates in Business Administration

associates in business administration online

Careers in business administration are known to be stimulating, flexible and lucrative. While the term may conjure images of corporations and boardrooms, all sectors of society require skilled business experts, from nonprofits and startups to manufacturing and research facilities. Business administrators also occupy a variety of roles, such as managing and training staff or overseeing production. Regardless of the setting, business success always requires leadership, communication, negotiation and decision-making skills. An associate’s degree in business administration can provide an excellent jumping-off point for those new to the field, or an opportunity to advance an entry-level business career. Degree holders are eligible for employment as team leaders, supervisor trainees, or assistant manager in a variety of business functions such as marketing and sales, operations or human resources in almost any industry.

An online associate’s degree program offers busy adults the opportunity to further their education in business while keeping up with their work and life commitments. Students can expect to learn the principles of economics, accounting and management, and to develop skills in critical thinking and decision-making. Upon graduation, credit earned in an associate’s degree program in can be applied towards a bachelor’s in the field, and most two-year schools offer seamless credit transfers through “articulation agreement” partnerships with four-year institutions. Many online degree programs offer specializations in areas such as management or human resources, or provide special options in scheduling in order to make degree completion faster and more convenient. And because online teaching allows schools to avoid overhead costs, many are more affordable than traditional on-site classes.

Our ranking of the 10 Best Online Associate’s Degrees in Business Administration for 2017 presents the best of the best, ranked for affordability, flexibility and academic strength.


  • Affordability (1/3): The average cost per credit hour.
  • Flexibility (1/3): The number of specializations, accelerated courses, start dates, and other features granting flexibility for the student.
  • Academic Prestige (1/3): The academic prestige of the program’s parent institution according to national and international rankings and reviews.

1. Bryan College

Bryan College is a Christian liberal arts college based in Dayton, Tennessee, serving a total of 1,710 students. All curriculum is taught from a Christian worldview, and biblical values are promoted across academic disciplines. Bryan enjoys a strong academic reputation. U.S. News and World Report ranks the college 72nd in regional Universities South. Academics at Bryan are rigorous and admission is selective. Class sizes are small, with a student/faculty ratio of 16 to one, and 77% of their professors hold terminal degrees in their fields of study.

The Associate of Science in Business at Bryan represents a winning combination of academic prestige, flexibility and value. The program is offered in an accelerated format, and with courses starting every 6 weeks, students can begin the program at their convenience. Sixty credit hours are required to graduate. Students begin with 36 general education classes and advance to the 24 core business major courses. Core courses include topics relevant to today’s increasingly international and computer-driven workplace environment, such as global economics and business information systems. The general education component of the associate’s program reflects the school’s commitment to providing students a broad liberal-arts foundation and meets all general education requirements for Bryan’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Having satisfied these requirements, graduates of the associate’s program can smoothly transition to the higher degree program if they so choose. Tuition is priced at $310 per credit hour, an outstanding value for a school with Bryan’s reputation for academic excellence.

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  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $310
  • Academic Prestige: #7
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated courses option

2. Central New Mexico Community College

Central New Mexico Community College (CNMC) was founded in 1963 as a vocational school. Over time, the school’s offerings have shifted to include a great number of liberal arts offerings, and today, CNMC promotes a general education approach, equipping students with cultural literacy, communication skills and the capacity for critical thinking. The college offers certificates and associate’s degree programs to some 35,000 students, making it the largest institution of higher education in New Mexico. CNMC also provides the largest online distance learning program in the state and one of the largest in the country for public colleges, with over 225 credit courses.

Central New Mexico Community College offers two online associate’s degree tracks in business administration: an Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration and an Associate of Arts in Business. The former consists of a 61-65 credit sequence, with all courses, from customer relations to marketing, relating directly to the business world. A capstone project is required. The latter degree program requires 62-65 credits and covers a range of content areas, such as psychology and composition, in addition to business topics. The curriculum provides a broad foundation for students planning to continue their business studies at a four-year institution upon graduation. The business curriculum at CNMC emphasizes hands-on experiences and real-world research, and practical skills are developed through exercises in computer applications, team building and decision-making. At just $52 per credit hour, an associate’s degree from Central New Mexico Community College costs a fraction of the price charged by other online programs, and is by far the most affordable option included in this ranking.

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  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $52
  • Academic Prestige: N/A
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Two tracks offered

3. Southern New Hampshire University

Academic programs at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) are designed with the real world in mind, so students are prepared to launch successful careers when they graduate. The faculty is made up of accomplished professionals and highly credentialed academics, and class sizes are small enough to afford students personal attention. The university enjoys an excellent reputation; U.S. News and World Report places it 101st in Regional Universities North. The same ranking awarded SNHU 1st place for Innovation. The school was the first in New Hampshire to go carbon neutral, and the campus boasts cutting-edge amenities such as a simulated stock trading room and an award-winning, studentun restaurant. SNHU’s business department pioneered the “Degree-in-Three” program over a decade ago, and now offers all of its business majors in this accelerated format.

The Associate of Science in Business Administration at SNHU is both flexible and comprehensive, focusing on tangible skill outcomes and providing a broad background in business. SNHU offers a 60 credit program, of which 45 credit hours can be applied towards a bachelor’s degree. Six eight-week terms per year allow students to complete the program efficiently, and full-time students can expect to graduate in under two years. All core courses have real-world business applicability, covering topics in accounting, business law, economics, marketing, human resources and management, while 12 electives allow students to explore other areas, such as organizational leadership. At a cost of $320 per credit hour, the program is reasonably priced for that of a prestigious institution.

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  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $320
  • Academic Prestige: #9
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated courses option

4. California Coast University

California Coast University (CCU) is a private distance-learning university based in California, with a student body of 8,000. The institution was founded in 1973 to serve non-traditional learners, and today conducts instruction exclusively online. Unlike many institutions serving distance and adult students, CCU is staffed with the distinguished faculty typical of a traditional university, with most holding terminal degrees in their field. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in such job-oriented areas as marketing, criminal justice, health care management, and education.

CCU’s online Associate’s Degree in Business Administration offers a winning combination of quality, flexibility and affordability. Sixty credits are required for graduation, comprising 6 core business courses, 10 general education courses and 4 elective courses. The elective component leaves ample room for students to choose whether to pursue further business courses, such as consumer behavior and public relations, or to explore courses in other disciplines, such as forensic science and developmental psychology. The curriculum is exceptionally flexible; the program is entirely self-paced, with no group projects, scheduled exams or end dates. Students can begin their studies at any time during the year and graduate as soon as their coursework is complete. With no classroom overhead costs, CCU is able to offer an outstanding educational value, with high-quality instruction offered at just $150 per credit hour. Students can further cut their costs by renting, rather than buying, textbooks through the school, and by receiving credit towards the degree for prior learning, work experience or by demonstrating subject mastery through testing.

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  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $150
  • Academic Prestige: #22
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: On-demand classes (not on a schedule)

5. Genesee Community College

Genessee Community College (GCC) is a public community college based in New York. The school offers over 60 academic programs, including two-year associate’s degrees or one-year certificate programs. GCC educates mostly part-time, commuter students, who balance work and family obligations with higher education goals. The school holds a transfer agreement with a number of other colleges, mainly members of New York’s SUNY state school network, allowing graduates to seamlessly transfer credits and apply them towards a four-year degree.

For students pursuing an associate’s degree in business administration, CGG offers two tracks: an Associate in Science and an Associate in Applied Science. Both tracks include an internship component, which can generally be completed at a current employment site. Students choose from three concentrations: Social Media, Supply Chain Management and general Business Administration. By taking just a few additional courses, students can earn an additional certificate in Entrepreneurship. While some business programs aim to build a general knowledge base, with abundant liberal arts content, the associate’s program at GCC focuses largely on practical, jobelated business skills, such as web design and marketing. Graduates will be able to demonstrate competitive job skills and apply the experience gained on their internship site. Tutoring, advising and career services are available to online students. Tuition is only $185 per credit hour, making GCC a very cost effective choice.

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  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $185
  • Academic Prestige: #22
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Two tracks offered

6. Belhaven University

Belhaven University (“Belhaven”) is a private Christian university located in Jackson, Mississippi. Belhaven’s Christian outlook is reflected in the school’s culture and programming. Significant numbers of faculty and funding come from the Presbyterian Church, and the school offers degrees in such faith-based disciplines as ministry and biblical studies. In addition, all courses are taught from a Christian worldview curriculum, integrating faith-based values and concepts across all disciplines. Belhaven offers a broad range of academic offerings, primarily in liberal arts. Over 70 areas of study are available, with visual and performing arts and business being the most popular majors. The school is consistently recognized for academic excellence, with over 80% of professors holding terminal degrees in their field. U.S. News and World Report ranks Belhaven 52nd in Regional Universities South. The same ranking also awarded the institution 20th for “Best Value” based on its combination of outstanding academics and modest cost.

Belhaven’s reputation for high quality, faith-based, liberal arts instruction extends to the school’s online Associate’s of Art in Business degree program. Sixty-two credits are required, including 12 in business-specific content such as business computing and management, 9 in Christian studies, 12 in writing and literature, 9 in history and culture, and 13 general electives. Students enrolled in Belhaven’s business program can expect to develop a foundation of communication and critical thinking skills, as well as general cultural fluency and spiritual values. Courses are just 8 weeks long, and all classes involve video lectures and weekly discussion boards. Belhaven’s online education department prides itself on the level of personal attention afforded to each student, with professors and advisors offering fast responses and support. Credit hours are priced at $365, an excellent value in light of the school’s academic prestige. Belhaven awards credit not only for prior coursework but also qualifying work experience, further reducing the cost of earning a degree.

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  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $365
  • Academic Prestige: #5
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated courses option

7. Georgia Military College

Founded back in 1879, Georgia Military College (GMC) is a public independent junior college offering two-year degrees. As the name implies, the school has a military affiliation, offering a two-year cadet program to graduate students as commissioned officers. However, 98% of GMC’s 13,800 students are non-military. The school stresses character building as a component of academic learning, and integrates the study of ethics across disciplines. GMC focuses on teaching part-time students, adult and distance learners, and gaining interested graduates entry to a four-year institution.
The school holds “articulation agreements” with over 40 four-year institutions. Students completing an associate’s degree at GMC are guaranteed admission to the institution and seamless transfer of credit. An open enrollment policy means that any applicant with a high school diploma or GED will be admitted to GMC.

GMC offers both a 60-credit associate’s of arts and a 70-credit associate’s of science in business administration. Both tracks cover similar content areas, including accounting, business and economics, as well as a number of electives, such as foreign-language and ethics courses designed to improve critical thinking and communication. Students gain practical skills such as facility with Excel and everyday legal issues in the business workplace. With 24% of GMC students fully enrolled online, the school has allocated considerable resources to delivering the best possible virtual learning experience. Support services available to online students online students include tutoring, career planning, academic advising and a study skill coaching program called Academic Success. Class sizes are small, averaging 14 students, so online learners enjoy personal attention. At just $221 per credit hour, an associate’s degree from GMC is an excellent value, particularly for those intending to further their studies by completing a bachelor’s degree at a more costly institution.

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  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $221
  • Academic Prestige: #22
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Two tracks

8. Indiana Institute of Technology

Indiana Institute of Technology, or Indiana Tech, is a private, non-profit university serving some 9,652 students. The school specializes in career-oriented degree programs in business, computer science, education, engineering and criminal justice. Teaching at Indiana Tech emphasizes real-world job skills and measurable learning outcomes. With the College of Professional Studies comprising one of just five schools within the university, a considerable portion of the school’s resources are dedicated to the education of adult and distance learners. Non-traditional students can take advantage of accelerated degree programs and a well-developed and flexible online learning system.

Business is one of Indiana Tech’s strongest educational departments, and the online associate’s degree in business administration offers a quality educational program in a highly flexible format. The course of study emphasizes interdisciplinary learning, blending a business education with that of the liberal arts. Students learn practical business skills through a common core of 10 courses such as Principles of Management, Marketing, Human Resources Management, and a capstone course called Business Policy and Strategic Planning. Additional coursework and electives cover economics, computing and humanities. Two tracks are available: Management, which focuses on human resources and communication, and Production management, which focuses on manufacturing and sales. Indiana Tech offers superior flexibility in its online courses. Class content can be accessed at any time, accelerated courses are just five weeks long with 9 sessions scheduled per year, and all credits earned in the associate’s degree program are applicable towards a bachelor’s degree. With careful selection of electives, online students can even elect to pursue a dual concentration in both areas.

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  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $396
  • Academic Prestige: #22
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Two tracks offered, Accelerated courses option

9. Florida Institute of Technology

Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) was originally founded in 1958 as a training grounds for space industry professionals employed at the Kennedy Space Center. Today, the school serves undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of disciplines, primarily STEM subjects. Over half of the students attend the highlyegarded engineering program. In spite of a large student body- over 9,225 total- FIT maintains small class sizes and prides itself on providing each student personal attention. Stringent admissions, rigorous academics and active research departments have earned the school a very prestigious reputation.

True to its name, Florida Institute of Technology makes effective use of technology to deliver an outstanding online learning environment. The school’s well-developed learning platform makes use of chat, video and discussion boards. Course content is delivered asynchronously, allowing students to log in according to their own schedules. Online students enjoy the support of both enrollment specialists and student support specialists, who provide guidance and connect students to online resources, such as 24/7 tech support, virtual tutoring and a fully online library. The online associate’s degree program in business administration offers students a wellounded education. The core curriculum covers functional areas of business, such as accounting, economics, composition and computer skills. The sequence is rounded out with further studies, including electives, in humanities and social science to develop students’ communication and critical thinking skills. Those electing to take a full-time course load each semester can complete the degree in under two years.

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  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $510
  • Academic Prestige Rank: #2
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: Accelerated courses option

10. Columbia College

Columbia College is a private liberal arts and sciences college, and is also known as Columbia College of Missouri. Founded in 1851 as a female Christian college, the school is now a coeducational, nonsectarian institute, though it retains an affiliation with the Disciples of Christ Church. Over 29,000 students are enrolled at Columbia, and day school students benefit from a small student-faculty ratio of 8:1. Columbia College has been teaching online classes for over 16 years, and today teaches 5,562 students through its highlyegarded distance learning department. The school enjoys an excellent reputation; U.S. News and World Report ranks Columbia College 47th in Regional Universities Midwest.

The Associate of Science in Business Administration at Columbia is a 60-credit program providing a comprehensive understanding of the business world in a two-year course of study. While some schools aim to provide students a broad, liberal-arts foundation, Columbia’s course sequence focuses on preparing students for the workplace, and covers a wide variety of topics and skills to get graduates ready for success in an increasingly complex, global and technology-oriented business world. Core courses include business finance, marketing and business law. The 12 electives are chosen from a selection of businesselevant subjects, such as computer information systems and accounting. The degree program is self-paced, allowing students to stop and start progress towards the degree as needed. Online classes have weekly content requirements but no fixed times for conferences or testing. Tuition is moderately priced at $290 per credit hour, making Columbia College a good value in light of its strong reputation.

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  • Cost Per Credit Hour: $290
  • Academic Prestige: #4
  • Flexibility-Enhancing Components: N/A

Carrie Morris

Warren Dahl