Associates Degree Program Rankings

If you’re interested in getting an associate’s degree, you should compare schools to find the best educational program in your field. While college rankings should not completely decide your fate in terms of which school to attend, these are valuable resources to give you an understanding of the programs available, as long as you take what these rankings say with a grain of salt.

Associate’s degree programs are ranked in two different ways. First, some publications rank schools in general, so you’ll get an overall score for the college. Other publications rank associate’s degree programs by specific program, so you can search according to your field of study. While the first way of ranking schools gives you a better overall view of how you’ll be treated as a student, the second gives you a closer look at the specific education you’ll receive when you choose a major. Both can help when it comes to choosing a school. If you know what you’re going to college for, using degree specific publications is the most useful way to find the best college for you. If you don’t quite have a specific major in mind, finding a school with a better general ranking is probably the best route to take.

Before putting too much merit into an associate’s degree program ranking, make sure you understand how the ranking was done. Some publications simply post their opinions; this is especially common with online rankings. On the other end of the spectrum, you may also come across program rankings that are extremely well-researched and objective. No matter how objective a program ranking is, keep in mind that not every characteristic of a school can be evaluated as good or bad, simply because different students want different things. Many times, the best move is to look at three or four college rankings to understand where that school is generally regarded.

For example, some associate’s degree programs are part of large colleges where you can live on campus, while others are commuter-exclusive schools. Neither is better than the other; you need to decide what kind of environment is best for you as a student.

Other characteristics that are commonly ranked may receive a lot of weight with one publication’s ranking system, even though that characteristic isn’t very important to you. For example, a publication might rank a program higher if the college offers more financial aid to students, but if you already received a number of scholarships and grants from outside sources or your employer is paying for your tuition, this may not be important to you. So, make sure you understand how a ranking system works before you put too much faith into a publication’s opinion. The chief goal though, should be to make sure the college of your choice is one that makes you happy and instills a sense of empowerment to do better. So make sure to do your research.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to find rankings for associate’s degree programs. Schools are more commonly ranked for their higher degree offerings. If you’ve having trouble finding associate’s degree program rankings in your specific field, look for rankings for schools offering bachelor’s degree programs in that field. Often, schools offer both associate’s degree programs and bachelor’s degree programs, and the quality education they can offer for students earning a bachelor’s degree typically translates well to associate’s degree programs. If the program is well-regarded for their bachelors, many times this will lead to a high quality, but lesser known, associates program.

Although rankings can give you a great start when it comes to researching associate’s degree programs, you should visit schools (or take virtual tours in the case of online programs) before you make any decisions. Make sure you feel comfortable and that the environment is something you feel is in line with who you are as a person. Get a feel for the campus or online space, talk to some students, and sit in on a class if possible so you have a better understanding of where you’ll best fit as a student. If you’re planning on getting a bachelors from the same institution, it is even more crucial that you understand what you’re entering into and that it is something you feel will help you grow as a person.

The Best Associate's Degrees Online

Kaplan University

Kaplan University — At Kaplan University, students have a multitude of degree options, including degrees at the associate's, bachelor's, and master's level. Students also can choose certificates in education, business, information technology, arts and sciences, healthcare, nursing, criminal justice, and law.
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Liberty University

Liberty University — Liberty University offers more than 115 programs of study: undergraduate or graduate courses, residential, online or hybrid options. With over 12,000 residential students and more than 45,000 online students, Liberty is big, but class sizes are low, with a 23:1 student-to-professor ratio.
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Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College — With campuses in Minnesota, Illinois, North Dakota, Florida, Wisconsin, and throughout the world via the distance learning campus, Rasmussen College offers Bachelor of Science (BS), Associate of Applied Science (AAS), and Associate of Science (AS) degrees in a variety of exciting disciplines.
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South University

South UniversitySouth University if one of the largest and top schools in the nation with a wide range of associates degrees available. Many associates degrees are also available through online courses with students attending class from computers across the country. All degree programs, online and at the campus, are recognized and accredited.
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Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical UniversityColorado Technical University focuses its course catalog on degrees that help students obtain jobs in the technology field or positions that require a technical understanding or working with computers to accomplish primary responsibility. Many of these positions can be filled by individuals holding Associates Degrees, making CTU a great way to jump-start your career.
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