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Fascinated by the idea of using data to solve business challenges? Eager to pursue a college degree on a budget? Learn if the AAS or AS in Business Analytics is the right choice for your goals! Find details on coursework and electives, as well as admissions requirements and tuition costs. Evaluate the pros & cons of an online associate degree. Get advice on job opportunities and answers to associate degree FAQ. Or skip ahead to our listings of associate degrees in business analytics to see all of your options!
What is an Associate’s Degree in Business Analytics?
An associate’s degree in business analytics or a closely related field is a low-cost, 2-year undergraduate program that teaches students how to use analytics in order to make smart business decisions. It’s often the first step in the road to a bachelor’s degree in the same subject. You’ll acquire the skills to:
- Evaluate business & financial information in order to support thoughtful decision-making
- Collect, organize, assess, and analyze data as it relates to specific business problems & challenges
- Apply analytics tools & technologies in a business setting (e.g. Python, SQL, R, predictive modeling, etc.)
- Manage projects, communicate with business teams, and deliver relevant findings & reports
Business analytics experts are obsessed with making companies do better. They love to think about ways to improve manufacturing & IT processes, increase sales, decrease waste, target specific markets, and more. If this sounds intriguing, keep reading!
How They Work: Associate’s in Business Analytics Overview
Associate degrees in business analytics contain 60-64 credits in undergraduate coursework. Almost all of the program will be lower division credits (e.g. freshmen & sophomore courses), although you may run into a few upper division credits (junior & senior courses). The standard degree titles are:
- Associate of Science (AS) in Business Analytics
- Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Business Analytics
Use our state-by-state listings to browse through all available programs.
- Year 1: The first year will be a blend of core coursework (e.g. Programming Concepts, Introduction to Business, Applied Statistics, etc.) and liberal arts courses (e.g. Composition).
- Year 2: The second year may include more electives and complex subjects in data analytics & business (e.g. Advanced Analytical Tools & Methods, Financial Accounting, etc.)
In a part-time associate degree program, your timeline could be extended to 3 years (e.g. 2-3 courses per semester).
For a complete picture of business analytics coursework, check out the curriculum links in our listings. A reputable 2-year undergraduate degree will cover:
- College-Level Math: Associate-level programs often have a mandatory course in Applied Statistics and a math elective (e.g. Algebra, Calculus, etc.). Look for the prefix “MAT” in the curriculum.
- Data Analytics Subjects: Solid programs will provide you with the building blocks of analytics. Typical course titles include Computer Information Systems, Programming Concepts, Data Visualization, Database Design & Implementation, Predictive Analytics, Advanced Analytical Tools & Methods, and more.
- Business Subjects: Most degrees will have an Introduction to Business course in the first semester and a class in Financial Accounting later on. Certain programs will also include credits or electives in areas like Management, Business Law, Digital Marketing, and the like.
Wondering what a course title means? Find definitions in our glossary of common analytics terms.
Liberal Arts/General Education Requirements
An associate degree in business analytics will always include coursework in liberal arts subjects. These are called General Education (GE) requirements.
- Composition & Communications: Expect to take at least 1-2 courses in Communications and/or Composition—business analysts need these skill sets to do well in the workplace.
- Related Subjects: You will also be asked to choose a few relevant humanities, social science, and/or science electives. These are subjects like Economics, Psychology, and Critical Thinking.
Many AS or AAS programs include electives—this is where you get to choose your own courses. You’ll usually be able to select subjects for General Education (GE) requirements. In certain degrees, you may also have the option to customize your coursework with extra electives in analytics & business subjects (e.g. Project Management).
It may be challenging to find an AS or AAS degrees in business analytics that includes a final capstone. A capstone is an applied analytics project that is designed to solve a real-world business problem or challenge. Most of the degrees we examined focused on traditional coursework.
But ask the program coordinator about your options! You may be able to include a capstone project in an elective or complete one independently with a local company or business. This will really impress universities & potential employers.
Associate’s in Business Analytics: Admissions
It should be relatively easy to apply for an AAS or AS in Business Analytics. The standard requirement at community or technical colleges is a high school diploma or GED. SAT or similar test scores aren’t always required.
Wondering if you’re ready? Talk to the program coordinator. Many colleges will be looking for candidates who have sturdy grades in high-school mathematics and an eagerness to learn new technical skills.
Associate’s in Business Analytics: Tuition Cost $
Calculating the Price
The cost of an associate degree in business analytics will depend on your choice of school. A public community college is going to be a lot cheaper than a private university.
- Technical & Community Colleges: Most AS & AAS programs will be offered by these types of institutions. They don’t have the same reputation as 4-year universities, but they’re always affordable.
- Universities: Associate degrees in business analytics at 4-year universities are rare, but they do exist (e.g. UIndy). And they provide easy transfers of credits into their BS programs. Prices will be higher, so ask about scholarship opportunities.
Real-World Price Data
Use the tuition links in our listings to compare programs. You’ll need to budget for tuition costs, mandatory fees, books & supplies, and commuting expenses (if it’s an in-person program).
- Community College In-State Tuition: If you live in the same state as your college, you may only have to pay $5,500-$10,000 for the whole degree. Some states (e.g. Florida) are much cheaper than others (e.g. New York).
- Community College Out-of-State Tuition: If you don’t live in the same state as the college, tuition costs will be much higher. You may end up paying between $18,000-$25,000 for the entire degree.
Online Associate’s in Business Analytics Programs
Can’t afford the time to commute to a college campus? A lot of associate degrees in business analytics are now offered in a 100% online format! Colleges like Wake Tech and Cape Fear Community College even give students a choice: online or face-to-face.
Before you opt for an online associate degree, make sure it’s a good one. Use the following checklist to assess the value of the program:
- Regional Accreditation: The college offering the associate degree should have regional accreditation. Before you can transfer any AS or AAS credits into a BS program, universities will check and make sure your college was regionally accredited.
- Asynchronous vs. Synchronous: Asynchronous coursework can be completed on your own time. Synchronous learning will involve real-time online meetings and class discussions. How does the AS or AAS program mix the two elements?
- Technical Resources: Will you have virtual access to analytics resources? Will you be able to use popular analytics tools & technologies? Even if you’re online, you still need to be able to practice “hands-on” technical work.
- Group Projects: Do any of the courses contain online group projects? Will you have opportunities to collaborate with other students on business analytics case studies? You should be able to work with others.
- Career Support: Community colleges are often underfunded, so you may find it difficult to access a lot of career resources. However, you deserve some support! Find out how the program helps its online students look for jobs.
- Transfer Options: Don’t sign up for any online AS or AAS in Business Analytics until you are sure that your credits can be applied to a bachelor’s degree later down the track (e.g. BS in Business Analytics, BS in Data Analytics, etc.).
Still not sure? Try before you buy. Some colleges will allow you to “sit-in” on a few classes. You could also ask current online students and recent alumni for their opinions. Or take an online Coursera course in analytics to see if virtual learning feels achievable.
Career in Business Analytics: Is it Worth It?
What Can You Do with an Associate’s Degree in Business Analytics?
We’ll start with the good news—the job market for business analytics professionals is booming! For more on this trend, skim through the employment section in our guide to a bachelor’s degree in business analytics. You’ll find lots of data on job growth and popular regions.
However, it is going to be very challenging to find a job in business analytics with an associate’s degree.
- Baseline Requirements: Entry-level analysts in any realm of analytics—business, data, finance, or the like—are usually required to have a BS in Business Analytics or a BS in Data Analytics or a BS in a closely related field (e.g. Data Science, Computer Science, etc.).
- Employment Competition: Even if an employer is willing to consider candidates with an associate’s degree, you’re still going to be competing with BS applicants.
It doesn’t mean an AS or AAS in Business Analytics is a waste of time. It just means that you have to regard it as the first step in your career.
How to Approach the Job Market
Start thinking about your employment options early. If you really can’t afford a bachelor’s degree right now, then make sure your associate degree program has strong ties to local businesses.
- Internships: Ask the AAS or AS program coordinator if you can arrange an analytics internship with a local company during the summers. This organization may be willing to hire you after graduation in a low-level position.
- Education Promise: Be prepared to tell potential employers that you’re ready to earn a part-time bachelor’s degree while you work.
You’ll also need to think about how you will be compared to business analytics candidates with a BS:
- Can you handle all of the daily responsibilities?
- Can you earn additional professional certificates to fill in skill gaps?
Smaller companies in small cities & towns may be more open to associate degree graduates than big companies in big cities. Talk to HR managers and current business analysts & data analysts about your plans. They’ll have insider advice on where to look for openings.
Entry-Level Job Titles
- Entry-Level Business Analyst
- Junior Business Analyst
- Junior Management Analyst
- Junior Operations Research Analyst
- Database Administrator
Business Analyst Salary Data
The salary section in our guide to a bachelor’s degree in business analytics has real-world numbers for entry-level positions in this field.
Associate’s in Business Analytics FAQ
What’s the Difference Between a Business Analyst Associate Degree and a Business Analytics Associate Degree?
The titles may look similar, but the degrees have a different focus:
- Business Analyst Degrees: Business analysts are concerned with the structure, policies, and operation of an organization. They analyze business requirements, develop best practices, use technologies to find solutions, and serve as the liaison between IT teams, management & subject matter specialists. But they’re not regarded as “analytics experts” unless they’ve trained in that field.
- Business Analytics Degrees: Professionals with business analytics expertise have many of the same skill sets as data analytics experts. They’re interested in analyzing large amounts of data in order to solve problems. They’re trained in major analytics tools & technologies. And they understand the benefits—and limitations—of using data to make predictions & decisions.
If you’re torn between the two choices, ask business analysts and business analytics experts for their advice. You can use LinkedIn to find professionals in your area or attend networking events run by industry organizations.
Should I Choose an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Analytics?
The best choice for your career is going to be a bachelor’s degree in business analytics. This is the standard requirement for entry-level analytics jobs in any industry or sector. You could also consider a bachelor’s degree in data analytics, as long as it has a lot of business-focused coursework.
Or you can do both:
- You might wish to earn a part-time associate’s degree first and pay for it while you work.
- You could then decide to transfer your credits to a bachelor’s degree in business analytics or a related field.
Should I Choose an Associate’s Degree in Data Analytics or Business Analytics?
Most students who are interested in analytics opt for a bachelor’s degree, so associate degrees in both subjects are fairly rare! But you’ll find more program offerings if you opt for an AS or AAS in Data Analytics. If you visit the curriculum links in those listings, you’ll also notice that many of the courses are the same as an AS or AAS in Business Analytics.
Can I Apply Associate Degree Credits to a Bachelor’s in Business Analytics?
Yes—but have a detailed conversation with the AS or AAS program coordinator before you sign up for a degree. You need to be certain that all of your hard-earned associate degree credits can be transferred into a BS program.
- Many community & technical colleges have transfer agreements with local universities. Be sure that those universities offer a bachelor’s degree in your chosen field (e.g. business analytics, business, finance, etc.).
- Hoping to transfer your credits from a community college into a bachelor’s program at a prestigious university? Check with the university as well. Some big-name schools may have limitations on transfers.
Can I Transfer Existing Credits into an Associate’s Degree in Business Analytics?
Yes. If you’ve already completed college-level coursework, you should be able to apply those credits to an associate degree. Some colleges & universities may even be willing to give you credit for professional analytics certificates and/or IT certifications & credentials.
Jot down all of your achievements and talk to the AS or AAS program coordinator. Colleges will usually consider credit transfers on a case-by-case basis.
Do I Need to Know How to Code for Associate-Level Business Analytics Programs? If So, Which Languages?
No. You don’t need to know how to code to apply for an associate degree in business analytics. That kind of training will be covered in the core coursework. Look for undergraduate programs that cover programming languages such as Python, R, and SQL—these are usually listed in job requirements for entry-level data analysts.
What Math Do I Need to Take for Associate-Level Business Analytics Programs?
You should have sturdy grades in high-school mathematics before you apply for AAS or AS in business analytics—this field is built on statistics. Once you’re in the program, you’ll be required to take Applied Statistics. You’ll usually have to take an additional elective course in another math subject (e.g. Linear Algebra, Calculus, etc.). Use the curriculum links in our listings to learn more.
Should I Consider Other Majors?
Yes. Associate degree programs in business analytics are rare, and they’re not always available at 4-year universities. So we recommend that you consider the AS or AAS in Data Analytics. You’ll get a strong grounding in all the major aspects of analytics and you may be able to select electives in business subjects.
At this stage in your learning, you can also look at majors like Data Science, Operations Research, Management Information Systems, and more. We’ve put together a guide to choosing an analytics major to help you sift through all the options.