Top 10 Smart Choice Schools for Online Associate’s Degrees 2013

In response to the reception of our Smart Choice ranking of the Best Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees and the growing number of students looking to earn an associate’s degree online, we decided to publish our first ever Smart Choice ranking of the Best Colleges for Online Associate’s Degrees.

Benefits of an Online Associate’s Degree

Earning an associate’s degree can be a smart career choice, opening up access to more satisfying and higher paying job opportunities. Some careers open to graduates of accredited associate’s degree programs may even allow you to earn more than graduates with a bachelor’s degree. An online associate’s degree program can be an excellent option for working students who need the extra flexibility online degree programs afford in order to maintain their responsibilities at work and at home. A degree from a top online associate’s program now carries as much credibility as one earned from a traditional on-campus program, and a growing number of the best colleges and universities now offer associate’s degrees online.

Online Associate’s Degree Ranking Methodology

The purpose of the Smart Choice ranking of the Best Colleges for Online Associate’s Degrees is to help you find an accredited online college with a quality degree program in the subject you’re interested in that will be respected on the job market and won’t overburden you with debt. Only regionally accredited colleges recognized by the National Center for Education Statistics were considered. Qualifying schools were then evaluated and ranked based on publicly available information regarding program quality, reputation and prestige, tuition value, and the number of associate’s degrees offered online.

#1. Florida Tech University Online

Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) is a highly regarded private research university in Melbourne, FL, with special strengths in engineering, business, and the sciences. Florida Tech University Online brings several of FIT’s respected degree programs online, and has been recognized as a top online university by U.S. News & World Report and several other publications.

Online Associate’s Degree Programs
Florida Tech Online offers accredited online associate’s degrees in Accounting, Business, Psychology, Criminal Justice, and other subjects.

Accreditation
Florida Institute of Technology is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#2. Azusa Pacific University

A private, inter-denominational Christian university, Azusa Pacific is located in Azusa, California. Second only to Liberty University in size, Azusa Pacific is recognized as one of the best online colleges as well. With a dedication to providing quality online education at affordable rates, Azusa Pacific deserves to be near the top of anyone’s list of the best online college for associate’s degrees.

Online Associate’s Degree Programs
Azusa Pacific offers accredited online associate’s degrees in highly-sought fields such as Health Sciences, Information Technology, and Management.

Accreditation
Azusa Pacific University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

#3. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is a highly-ranked liberal arts university and the first Catholic institution of higher education in the state of Florida. Established in 1889, Saint Leo continues to be grounded in the Benedictine education tradition, while also becoming a future-oriented leader in online education through its award winning and highly regarded Center for Online Learning.

Online Associate’s Degree Programs
Saint Leo University offers accredited online associate’s degrees in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Liberal Arts, and other subjects.

Accreditation
Saint Leo University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#4. Liberty University

Founded in 1971, Liberty University has grown tremendously in its short existence, becoming the largest private university in the nation. Most of the schools 80,000+ students take courses through Liberty University Online, the university’s respected online campus, which features several top-ranked online degree programs and has garnered numerous national awards for quality and affordability.

Online Associate’s Degree Programs
Liberty University offers 10 accredited online associate’s degrees, including highly-desired programs such as Business Administration, Criminal Justice, and Paralegal.

Accreditation
Liberty University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#5. Keiser University

Founded in 1977, Keiser University is a private, career-oriented university with multiple campuses in the state of Florida and online. Praised for its small class sizes and hands-on learning approach, Keiser offers a number of accredited online degrees in several high-demand career fields.

Online Associate’s Degree Programs
Keiser University offers 10 accredited online associate’s degrees, including Paralegal and Criminal Justice, as well as unusual programs in Aquatic Engineering and Fire Science.

Accreditation
Keiser University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#6. Penn State World Campus

Founded in 1855, Penn State is one of the most prestigious public universities in the nation, with several campuses and a robust online program. With a history in distance learning dating back to 1898, Penn State’s online-learning program, The Penn State World Campus, launched in 1998 and now offers over 70 degrees at all levels.

Online Associate’s Degree Programs
Penn State World Campus offers five accredited online associate’s degrees, including Business Administration and Turfgrass Management.

Accreditation
Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#7. ECPI University

ECPI University is a private career and technology oriented university centered in the southeast United States, with multiple campuses in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina as well as a growing online program. ECPI has expanded significantly in recent years, adding several online courses and degree programs in Technology, Business, Criminal Justice, and Health Science.

Online Associate’s Degree Programs
ECPI University offers a number of accredited online associate’s degrees, including programs in Database Programming, Electronics Engineering, and Network Security, Dentist Assistant and Massage Therapy.

Accreditation
ECPI University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

#8. Post University

Post University is a private university based in Waterbury, Connecticut. Originally founded in 1890 as Post College, Post University’s diverse selection of online degree programs have earned them distinctions as one of the best online universities around.

Online Associate’s Degree Programs
Post University offers five accredited online associate of science degrees in Accounting, Early Childhood Education, Legal Studies, Management, and Marketing.

Accreditation
Post University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

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#10. San Joaquin Valley College

Founded in 1977, San Joaquin Valley College is a private junior college with locations throughout California. Focusing on accelerated career training for working adults, SJVC prepares students for medical, business, and technical careers with top-quality online and campus-based associate’s degree programs.

Online Associate’s Degree Programs
San Joaquin Valley College offers more than 20 accredited online associate’s degrees in medical, business, and technical fields, including such careers as dental assistant, medical billing and coding, and HVAC technician.

Accreditation
San Joaquin Valley College is regionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges

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