Do associate’s degrees matter and are they valued?
An associate’s in business administration prepares a graduate for a role in the business world, whether it’s for a new position or to advance in their career.
Let’s take a look at what an associate degree is, what kind of jobs hire those with an associate degree, the salary expectations, and what you’ll learn with an associate degree in business administration.
What is it?
Associate degrees are generally 2-year programs that are completed at a 4-year university, community college, or online institution. While some people choose to earn the degree and jump straight into the job market, others go on to earn a bachelor’s degree and apply the transferable credits from the associate degree as they often serve as the first 2 years of a bachelor’s degree.
In 2018, Payscale reported the following key statistics about those who graduated with an associate degree in business administration:
- 66% female / 34% male
- Average salary: $52,000
- Based on nearly 14,000 respondents, 5 out of 5 are very satisfied with their degree
Pros and Cons – What to Consider
When considering to enroll in any kind of secondary education, there are factors to consider, including time, money, and future goals. Here’s a quick look to help you make the right decision:
Associate degrees take half the time that a bachelor’s degree takes. Generally, an associate is 60 semester credits (or 90 quarter), which usually takes two years to complete.
The coursework prepares you for entry-level roles in the job market by teaching technical skills and foundational academic knowledge.
Although each institution varies by cost, the average associate degree tends to cost a total of about $25,000-$30,000. On the other hand, the average cost for a bachelor’s degree from a non-profit public school is about $120,000 (or 30,000 per year).
Or, your associate degree could cost $0 in tuition which dramatically reduces the costs! At the University of the People, we offer an accredited online program that is entirely tuition-free so that you could achieve your academic and career goals reducing your chances of going into student debt.
4. Career Goals:
An associate degree in business administration opens the door to countless positions with higher pay than that of a high school graduate. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, those with an associate degree earn 20% more per week than their counterparts with high school diplomas.
You can begin by landing an entry-level job in various industries like sales, marketing, management, retail, real estate, trade, and more, and then work your way up the corporate ladder with experience. Or, perhaps you’re interested in starting your own business, in which case an AA (Associate of Arts) will offer you the foundational business knowledge to get started.
What Do You Learn with an Associate’s in Business Administration?
Not only do you take courses that will advance your technical and practical knowledge, but you’ll also brush up on many skills that will help you professionally and personally.
Here’s a look at some of the courses you will take (such as from University of the People’s curriculum):
- Principles of Business Management
- Business Communications
- Personal Finance
- Multinational Management
Along with other courses, you’ll solidify a strong foundation to think rationally and enhance your problem-solving skills. You’ll strengthen your skills in the following areas:
With statistical analysis and cost/benefit analysis, you’ll be able to make stronger business decisions that maximize efficiency and lower costs.
Many of the courses will require you to work with your peers. This will also help you understand the dynamics between employees and managers for when you enter the job market, especially for those who are interested in managerial positions.
3. Ethical Reasoning:
Businesses have to worry about more than just their bottom line, especially in an evolving world. From human rights to diversity in the workplace, an associate’s in business administration will prepare you for ethical reasoning.
What does an Associate’s Do for You in the Job Market?
Although you may earn slightly less than your colleagues with a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s in business administration is not frowned upon and it places you well ahead of those with a high school diploma in terms of salary and opportunity. In fact, many employers look for those with an associate’s because they can enter the job market earlier and fill entry-level positions and then use their experience to work their way up with the company.
With a relatively small amount of time and financial investment, an associate’s can help open doors and build skills in the workplace.
Here’s a short list of some common jobs that those with an associate’s in business administration fill:
- Customer Service Associate
- Store Manager
- Sales Consultant
- Sales Supervisor
- Relationship Banker
- Executive Assistant
Where to Obtain an Associate’s in Business Administration:
Like most degrees, you have the option to earn an associate’s in business administration online or at a traditional institution. Again, what works best for you will come down to your preferences, finances, and schedule.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, online associate programs are outpacing the growth of online BA degrees, growing at 59% compared to 36% respectively. A good way to decide how you want to proceed is to consider your career path and see the required education, as well as consider your schedule.
If you need a more flexible schedule, online may be a better option for you because it can be done from anywhere and is typically cheaper than the traditional option. Employers generally don’t care where you earn your degree, as long as you show how your education and experience can positively impact the business.
If you do choose or may consider pursuing a BA later, check out what courses are transferable so you can use those credits towards earning the next degree. Another possibility is to combine two associate degrees. An associate degree in business administration often pairs well with an associate of science in nursing to work in the medical field/hospital management, but again, it depends on what kind of career you want to pursue.
By earning your associate degree, you’re in a position to be eligible for at least 30,000 more jobs than those who only have a high school diploma. Not only will your salary be higher, but you’re automatically expanding your options for employment.