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The Most Affordable Paths & Career Potential in Business Administration

An associate degree can lead to higher earning potential and more job opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals with an associate degree earn a median $836 per week, $124 more than the median weekly earnings for individuals with a high school diploma or GED. Many graduates of associate programs pursue a bachelor’s degree, which can further increase career opportunities.

Earning a business administration associate degree online prepares students for entry-level careers in a variety of industries. Coursework strengthens skills in marketable areas like mathematics and communication. This guide includes information about typical curricula for business administration associate degree programs and career prospects for graduates. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Quiz: Is An Online Business Administration Associate Program Right for Me?

If you are considering pursuing an associate degree in business administration or a related field, this quiz can help you understand the unique details of business administration programs.

Q: Are you interested in developing business fundamentals related to planning, organization, marketing, communication techniques, and human resources, rather than focusing exclusively on financial elements of business?

A: An associate degree in business administration can help you learn the ins and outs of business, including general management practices and operational fundamentals. These programs provide a broad introduction to large and small business structures.

Those who prefer a more specialized education can pursue programs with a narrower focus. For example, learners interested in bookkeeping practices can pursue an online associate degree in accounting, while students planning to launch a small business may earn an online associate degree in entrepreneurship.

Q: Does a two-year degree program feel like the right study timeline?

A: While curricula vary, associate degree programs in business administration typically require 60-64 credits, which most full-time students can complete in two years.

Online programs generally offer more flexibility than on-campus options. Most distance learning programs offer part-time enrollment options, which can help busy students balance their studies with personal and professional commitments. Learners who want to graduate more quickly can often take more courses per semester to earn their degree at an accelerated pace.

Q: Do you have prior credits to transfer?

A: Associate programs typically accept previous credits from dual-enrollment courses or an accredited college or university. Many schools also award credit for work and life experience. Students may receive credit for military service and training and professional experience in the industry. Contact your school’s admissions office to learn how to earn credit for previous coursework and experience.

Q: Are you interested in eventually earning a bachelor’s degree?

A: If you do not plan to pursue a four-year program, an associate degree in business administration can lead to many career options. An associate degree provides the knowledge necessary to secure various roles in businesses.

If you do plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration, you may be able to apply credits from your associate degree program and earn your bachelor’s in two additional years. Contact your department advisor for details.

What Will You Learn in an Online Associate Business Administration Program?

Associate programs often emphasize general education and include coursework in a variety of subject areas. Students earning their business administration associate degree online typically complete approximately 60 credits, about half of the credit requirements for a bachelor’s degree. General education coursework often includes classes in math, composition, and social sciences.

Business administration majors also take courses in areas like accounting, management, and computer science. An associate degree in the field prepares students to pursue entry-level business positions in a variety of industries.

Common Classes and Coursework

Learners earning their business administration associate degree online often take courses similar to those listed below. However, specific course offerings and titles vary by program and school.

  • Introduction to Management: This course covers the fundamentals of management, including management theory and ethics in management. Students gain an understanding of organizational structure and various management functions. The course provides management tools and resources, and students develop problem-solving skills by working through management scenarios.
  • Marketing: This introductory course explores fundamental marketing concepts, including the ways businesses utilize marketing and the impact of marketing on the general public. Coursework examines concepts in consumer behavior and targeting in marketing. Students learn about key concepts related to the promotion, distribution, and marketing of different types of products and services.
  • Finance: Students explore corporate finance concepts, including accounting, trade, financial analysis, and financial planning. The course often covers practical issues in budgeting and financial management. Students may acquire basic skills in time-value monetary analysis.
  • Business Mathematics: This course introduces basic math skills and prepares students to apply mathematics to practical financial problems. Learners gain mathematical skills necessary for finance, principles in banking, credit, and investing. Students practice basic statistics and accounting skills and gain tools for completing statistical analyses of financial problems.
  • Accounting: Students gain basic skills in accounting and learn about assets, liabilities, and equity. The course provides basic instruction in mathematics for accounting, and students practice these skills on practical problems, equations, and scenarios. Students may take an accounting course for non-majors or a regular accounting course that explores the subject more in-depth.

Skills You Will Gain

An associate degree in business administration helps students gain skills necessary for a variety of jobs in the field. Associate programs also prepare students to pursue further education. Students earning a business administration associate degree online gain basic skills in management, finance, and marketing, along with interdisciplinary skills from general education coursework.

  • Technology: Business administration technology includes various types of software and devices. A degree in the field provides foundational instruction in business software.
  • Business Principles: Students explore business theories and principles, including those related to economics, finance, and accounting. Learners prepare to apply these principles in corporate and entrepreneurial settings.
  • Policy and Regulations: Learners gain general knowledge regarding current policies and regulations affecting business professionals at the local, state, and national levels.
  • Marketing: Marketing plays a vital role in business. Business administration programs explore various marketing topics and issues to prepare students to succeed in the field.
  • Management: Many business administration graduates pursue management positions. Students gain practical management tools and skills, and they have opportunities to practice applying those skills to management scenarios.

Average Degree Length

A variety of factors can impact the amount of time necessary to earn an associate degree in business administration online. Degree completion time depends on factors like enrollment status, degree requirements, and program format.

  • Enrollment: Part-time students typically take longer to graduate than full-time learners.
  • Degree Requirements: Most associate programs require about 60 credits, which most full-time students complete in two years. However, pursuing a minor, transferring credits, and earning a concentration can impact credit requirements.
  • Earned Credit: Some schools award academic credit for life and work experience, which can reduce the time necessary to earn a business administration associate degree.
  • Accelerated Programs: Some programs offer shorter academic terms, which can allow students to complete degree requirements more quickly.
  • Online Programs: Students who earn their business administration associate degree often have more scheduling flexibility, which they can use to reduce or lengthen degree completion time.

Career Opportunities with an Associate Degree in Business Administration

Professionals with an associate degree typically have more options for business administration jobs than individuals with no college experience. Associate programs provide learners with the skills necessary to succeed in a variety of careers and job fields, in business administration and other areas. This section introduces potential careers for business administration associate degree-holders and details earning potential for professionals in various positions.

Potential Careers and Salaries

Professionals with an education in business administration can pursue careers in a variety of job fields. Graduates often pursue roles in banking, management, customer service, sales, and corporate business. Business administration professionals may work in the corporate, nonprofit, educational, or private sectors. Many careers for graduates include strong potential for job growth and advancement, especially for individuals who pursue further education.

For professionals with an associate degree in business administration, salary depends on factors like position and employer. The table below includes common careers for graduates with an associate in business administration and the median salary for each position.

Customer Service Representatives

Bank Tellers

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Legal Assistants

Five Business Administration Scholarships to Apply For

Earning a business administration associate degree online can lead to a variety of career and educational opportunities. Scholarships are a great way to fund a degree. Students pursuing their associate degree in business administration online can apply for the scholarships listed below.

Toptal Scholarships for Women

Karin Carton Gallery Scholarship

Davis Memorial Foundation Scholarship

Paul S. Mills Scholarships Dreamer Scholarship

Educational Advancement in Business Administration

Many graduates of online business administration associate degree programs pursue further education. Although an associate degree often leads to more job opportunities and higher earning potential than a high school diploma, a bachelor’s degree often results in an even higher annual salary, according to data from PayScale. This section details the process of earning a four-year degree, along with degree options for business administration students.

Should You Transfer to a Four-Year Degree Program?

An associate degree in business administration provides a good foundation for bachelor’s studies in the field. Before transferring to a four-year program, students should consider program options and research transfer policies. Contact an academic advisor at each prospective school to discuss your options before transferring. Associate students who plan to pursue a four-year degree should begin considering transfer options before graduation.

What Degree Paths Should You Consider?

Students with an associate degree in business administration can pursue bachelor’s degrees in various majors and fields. Below are a few examples of educational paths for individuals with an associate in business administration.BACHELOR OF ARTS IN BUSINESSThis degree provides a broad business foundation and prepares students for careers in various business settings. Some schools offer concentrations to tailor the degree to a specific career field.BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN ACCOUNTINGThis degree builds on skills gained during associate studies, preparing students to sit for certification exams in accounting and to become licensed accountants.BACHELOR’S IN LIBERAL ARTSThis degree offers a broad, interdisciplinary education that incorporates courses in a variety of subjects and fields. Graduates can pursue careers in many different industries.

Professional Organizations and Resources

Professional organizations provide students in online business administration programs with resources and networking opportunities. Business administration students can benefit from the organizations and resources below.

  • Academy of Management: This group fosters research and scholarships related to the management field. Members can access professional journals, an online message board and community, and a member directory.
  • Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance: Women interested in careers in business, finance, and accounting can benefit from this organization’s resources. AFWA offers scholarships, continuing education, and networking opportunities.
  • American Marketing Association: This organization offers networking opportunities for marketing students and professionals. Members can apply for awards and scholarships and join local chapters. Members also receive discounts on industry products and services.
  • American Student Association of Community Colleges: This association connects student leaders at community colleges across the country, providing opportunities for professional development, networking, and advocacy training. The association also hosts an annual conference.
  • Association for Financial Professionals: This organization offers the certified treasury professional and certified corporate FP&A professional credentials. Members can access professional networking opportunities and an online community. The organization also provides professional development resources and publications.
  • DECA: DECA provides business resources for high school and college students. It offers community-based events and chapters, mentorships with local business partners, and opportunities to earn awards.
  • eMarketing Association: This association creates and implements programs to educate professionals on best practices for digital marketing. Members can access events and career resources.
  • Entrepreneurs’ Organization: This organization unites entrepreneurs at all levels, from around the world. The organization provides professional development and continuing education opportunities. Members can access chapter events, mentorship programs, and a career board.
  • National Association of Sales Professionals: Business students interested in pursuing a career in sales can benefit from this organization’s professional development resources and certifications. NASP also provides a career center and articles.
  • Social Media Club: This organization supports marketing professionals and students, with an emphasis on social media marketing. Students can join a local chapter, attend meetings, and take advantage of networking opportunities.

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