Easiest Associate’s Degrees
More and more people today are realizing the importance of having a degree. The prospect of earning a degree often means spending money and years in college. A simple solution for many of these individuals is earning an associate’s degree. There is a lot of good to be said about associate degree programs. The first step is often finding the easiest associate’s degrees.
What is an Associate Degree?
An associate degree is an academic degree offered at junior colleges, community colleges, technical colleges, and even some four-year universities. It generally comes between a high school diploma and a bachelor’s degree.
This undergraduate degree generally takes two years to complete with students completing both general education and major-related courses. Many associate degree programs today are offered online. In fact, some of the easiest associate’s degrees are online degrees.
Who Needs an Associate Degree?
An associate degree is ideal for the following individuals.
- Those who want a degree without spending years in college
- Those who want to join the workforce now rather than later
- Those who want an affordable degree
- Someone who wants a variety of degree options from which to choose
Stats and Facts about Associate’s Degrees
- According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCEA), almost a million students (both male and female) earned associate degrees in the United States during the 2022-2023 school year.
- There are many high-paying jobs available to associate degree holders according to org.
- The National Student Clearing House reports that of the more than 106,000 students earning an associate degree, more than 61 percent went on to earn bachelor’s degrees in 2017-2018.
- The associate degree is offered in three options: Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and Associate of Applied Science.
15 Easy Associate’s Degrees
Students choosing to earn an associate degree have so many options from which to choose. To make it a little easier for readers, we’ve put together a list of 15 of the easiest associate’s degrees as well as a little information on each school/program. These programs are all online programs, and many of them are accelerated programs. Also included is the average annual wage for many of these professions according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Something to keep in mind is that there may be some tuition amounts listed, but these can vary greatly from school to school.
- Admission Requirements: The only admission requirement for this online program is the submission of a completed application and transcripts from any previous schools attended.
- Time to Graduate: This 60-credit program can be completed in less than two years.
- Cost/Value: This program costs $320 per credit or more, but the cost varies by school.
- What Jobs Can You Get? Graduates may find jobs working as payroll clerks ($49,630), billing clerks ($45,860), accounting assistants ($45,860), bookkeeping and auditing clerks ($45,560), and more.
- What Makes it Easier? Students can transfer up to 45 credits into this program. No SAT/ACT scores are required. You’ll be able to learn accounting skills through programs you have on your computer right at home.
- Admission Requirements: Students must have a high school diploma or GED. They must submit a completed application to the program and submit official transcripts from other schools they may have attended.
- Time to Graduate: This 60-credit-hour program can be completed in two years of full study. Students who demonstrate additional commitment can graduate in less time.
- Cost/Value: The program cost about $371 per credit, but students can save money by completing the program quicker. Prior life experiences can also save you tuition costs.
- What Jobs Can You Get? Graduates can find jobs as police officers ($65,790), legal aids and paralegals ($59,200), correctional officers ($48,320), and more.
- What Makes it Easier? It only requires 10 to 15 hours of study each week. Most of the work can be completed at your convenience at your own pace. Students can also choose from various areas of concentration.
3. Early Childhood Education
- Admission Requirements: Applicants must submit an online application and all transcripts from schools they’ve attended.
- Time to Graduate: Although typically two-year programs, many online associate degree programs are often offered as accelerated programs that can be completed in 18 months.
- Cost/Value: Online early childhood education programs can be very affordable and save the student money in travel, tuition, and school fees.
- What Jobs Can You Get? Graduates of an early childhood education associate degree may find work as childcare workers ($27,490), preschool teachers ($30,210), and teacher assistants ($29,360).
- What Makes it Easier? All the courses can be completed online. Students have access to online support and tutoring if needed.
- Admission Requirements: Applicants to a nursing associate degree program should have a high school diploma and be able to submit an official transcript. Depending on the program, they may also be required to provide proof of good health and pass a criminal background check.
- Time to Graduate: This program can be completed in two years, and the graduates are prepared to take the licensing examination. In all states, nurses must have a nursing license, which can only be obtained by passing the nursing exam.
- Cost/Value: The cost of an online nursing associate degree program is substantially less than an on-campus program, yet its value in terms of potential earnings is high.
- What Jobs Can You Get? Graduates of the online nursing associate degree program may work as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) ($48,070), a registered nurse (RN) ($77,600), or a paramedic ($36,930).
- What Makes it Easier? It’s an online program that allows students to complete most of the work online, eliminating many trips to the lab/hospital. However, students may still be required to complete clinical education at a healthcare facility.
- Admission Requirements: High school diploma and official transcripts are required. Some programs may require applicants to submit letters of recommendation.
- Time to Graduate: This program can be completed in less than two years with full-time studies.
- Cost/Value: Business associate degree programs are generally very affordable with many offering various payment plans. This is also a valuable program because it lays the foundation for an MBA if the student does wish to advance his or her education.
- What Jobs Can You Get? This degree prepares students to work as sales managers ($127,490), social and community services managers ($74,000), or office and administrative support specialists ($38,050).
- What Makes it Easier? Business programs are generally self-paced programs that students can complete in their spare time. They’re also considered one of the easiest associate degrees.
6. General Studies
- Admission Requirements: High school diploma and official transcripts.
- Time to Graduate: General studies associate degree programs can be completed in as early as 18 months depending on the school and program.
- Cost/Value: These programs are very affordable, yet they provide students with the education needed for various careers.
- What Jobs Can You Get? A general studies associate degree can prepare graduates for jobs as technical writers ($78,060), copywriters ($69,510), and administrative assistants ($39,680).
- What Makes it Easier? They are fully online programs that require no classroom attendance, have affordable payment options, and may be offered as accelerated programs.
- Admission Requirements: High school diploma, official transcripts, completed application, and completion of foundational skill courses like math, English, and research.
- Time to Graduate: Most psychology online programs require completing at least 60 credits; many can be completed in two years.
- Cost/Value: Costs vary by school, but online programs save students a lot of money on books, tuition, and fees. This degree prepares students for high-paying jobs in various fields.
- What Jobs Can You Get? Possible jobs upon graduation include psychiatric technicians and aides ($36,230), social and human service assistants ($37,610), and correctional officers ($47920).
- What Makes it Easier? Because it’s online, students can choose the school they wish to attend. Most of the classes can be completed online. Students can rely on technology to complete all online assignments.
8. Medical Coding and Billing
- Admission Requirements: Applicants should have a high school diploma or equivalency. They must submit the official transcripts.
- Time to Graduate: This program can be completed in 18 months to two years.
- Cost/Value: Costs may differ from school to school, but most are very affordable programs, especially considering the job potential after graduation and certification.
- What Jobs Can You Get? Possible jobs include medical records specialists ($46,660), medical transcriptionists ($30,100), and pharmacy technicians ($36,740). Some of these jobs, like medical coding and billing, may be offered remotely.
- What Makes it Easier? Medical coding and billing specialist students can complete all the work online in their spare time.
- Admission Requirements: Students only need to provide proof of a high school diploma or GED and the transcripts for these.
- Time to Graduate: Students can complete this program in as little as 18 months.
- Cost/Value: In addition to offering affordable tuition, many marketing programs give online assessments that can save students even more money.
- What Jobs Can You Get? Marketing graduates are qualified for jobs as advertising sales agents($52,340), promotion and marketing managers (133,380), and market research analyst ($63,920).
- What Makes it Easier? This program is offered online and even in accelerated versions, so students can complete it quickly. Marketing programs also offer various areas of specialization.
10. Public Health
- Admission Requirements: High school diploma and appropriate official transcripts are all that are required. Students interested in working in a healthcare setting may have additional requirements later on in the program.
- Time to Graduate: This program can be completed in two years.
- Cost/Value: Tuitions vary by school, but students will save money in an online school.
- What Jobs Can You Get? An associate degree in public health prepares students for jobs as medical transcriptionists ($30,100), cardiovascular technologists and technicians ($63,020), and community health worker ($46,190).
- What Makes it Easier? Except for a possible required internship in the final semester, all other courses can be completed online. Students are not restricted to certain schools because of location.
- Admission Requirements: Applicants should have a high school diploma and official transcripts from any schools attended. They should also have a strong background in math.
- Time to Graduate: Students can complete a finance program in two years or less.
- Cost/Value: Tuition varies by program, but most finance programs range about $200 per credit.
- What Jobs Can You Get? Possible jobs include accounting, bookkeeping, and auditing clerk ($45,560), financial clerk ($44,760), and bank teller ($36,310).
- What Makes it Easier? This online program offers areas of specialization such as insurance, financial analysis, and real estate, among others. It can be completed 100 percent online.
12. Computer Science
- Admission Requirements: This program requires nothing more than official transcripts from any schools attended and a computer with high-speed internet.
- Time to Graduate: Students can generally complete this program in two years.
- Cost/Value: Tuition can be $300/credit or more depending on the school and program.
- What Jobs Can You Get? Possible jobs include computer programmer ($93,000), web developer ($78,300), and computer support specialist ($57,910).
- What Makes it Easier? Because it’s an online program and computers are needed everywhere, this program is very easy to complete online.
- Admission Requirements: Students must have a high school diploma with attached transcripts. They may also be required to take an entrance or proficiency test.
- Time to Graduate: Education programs typically take about two years to complete online. Additional time may be needed if the student needs any type of certification or licensure.
- Cost/Value: Tuition can range from $200/credit to much higher depending on the program.
- What Jobs Can You Get? Although a student cannot become a licensed teacher with an associate degree, most of these programs act as a foundation for a bachelor’s degree. Graduates may find work as teacher assistants ($29,360), childcare workers ($27,490), and preschool teachers ($30,210).
- What Makes it Easier? The entire program can be completed online, and students can specialize in certain areas of education.
14. Information Technology
- Admission Requirements: All that is required are transcripts of any schools attended, a complete and submitted application, and a computer with sufficient internet speed.
- Time to Graduate: Information technology programs can be completed in two years or less.
- Cost/Value: The cost of this program can range from $275/credit to $400/credit depending on the school and program.
- What Jobs Can You Get? Potential jobs include computer support specialists ($57,910), information security analysts ($102,600), and IT specialists ($97,430)
- What Makes it Easier? IT online programs are usually 100 percent online, which allows students to complete them at their leisure. They also offer various areas of specialization such as cyber security, programming, network security, and more.
15. Healthcare Administration
- Admission Requirements: All that is required for admissions to an associate’s program is a high school diploma or GED, along with any application fees.
- Time to Graduate: Healthcare administration associate’s degrees can be completed in about two years.
- Cost/Value: Tuition can range for an associate’s in healthcare administration depending on if you attend a university or a community college. Check with your school for up-to-date information.
- What Jobs Can You Get? With these degree, you could work your way up to a medical or health services manager ($101,340), medical secretary or administrative assistant ($56,620), or a health education specialist ($48,860).
- What Makes it Easier? A healthcare administration program trains you to work in an office setting and can be done completely online with no need for in-person clinicals. If you like the healthcare field but do not want to do hands-on care, then this may be for you.