Online Associate Degree in Small Business Management

Become Team
Become Team
Published December 9, 2019 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover your program in minutes

If you are a self-starter and want to be your own boss, consider earning an online associate degree in small business management. While succeeding as a small business owner takes hard work and dedication (especially in the startup phase), the results can be rewarding and even profitable. According to PayScale, professionals with an associate degree in business administration or a similar field like small businesses earn $51,000 a year on average. Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of earning this degree.

What Will You Learn in an Online Small Business Management Associate Degree Program?

Small business owners serve as their own human resources directors, accountants, marketing directors, and project managers. As such, they need to learn skills in accounting, budgeting, strategic planning, and marketing. The following includes five common courses students in this type of program may take.

Common Courses

Marketing and Advertising

Marketing and advertising serve as two pillars for a healthy small business. To succeed as a small business owner, you must attract the right customers to your business through social media, commercials, and print advertisements. This course teaches common strategies and tactics for creating successful marketing and advertising plans.

Business Ethics

The difference between right and wrong in business is not always clear. However, by learning about business ethics and laws, you can prevent disaster from happening. This class teaches students to use constructive thinking to determine possible outcomes for ethics-related issues. Learners read about common ethical dilemmas and discuss the best choices to make.


Staying organized and prepared for tax season stands as a top priority for small business owners. Poor accounting can lead to significant issues in the long run. In this class, students learn how to use accounting software to record income and reductions. Learners also discover possible deductions they can make as a business owner to lower their tax bill.

Project Management

Most small business owners juggle multiple projects at once. Knowing how to follow up with other professionals and delegate tasks properly can help a small business owner stay organized and successful. In a project management course, students might learn how to oversee marketing campaigns, promotional video shoots, or new store openings.

Organizational Leadership

Once your small business grows, your number of employees may follow suit. Knowing how to lead employees towards success can help your business thrive. In an organizational leadership course, students learn how to motivate team members and evaluate their work. This class also covers human resources foundations.

Core Skills

An online associate degree in small business management consists of a variety of topics. As such, learners acquire a broad skill set that allows them to enter different career fields. In general, students should complete this degree with two skill sets: soft skills and hard skills.

Soft skills are hard to measure and test. Some soft skills, like organizational skills, come more naturally to some students than others, but you can learn ways to acquire basic organizational systems. Other soft skills that small business owners should acquire include time management, patience, adaptability, communication, and perseverance.

Unlike soft skills, you can test and quantify hard skills. Hard skills that prove useful for a small business owner include math, marketing, and graphic design. For example, most small business owners must do their own inventory and accounting, which require math skills. They must also attract customers to their business, which requires marketing skills and an eye for design.

What Can You Do With an Associate Degree in Small Business Management?

Before researching online small business management associate degree programs, consider potential careers you can pursue with this degree and earning potential. You can also choose to pursue a bachelor's degree after earning your associate degree, which can open up more doors and increase your earning potential. Below, we have included more helpful information surrounding these two topics.

Potential Careers and Salaries

From a flower shop to a laundromat, you can open nearly any type of small business. With enough determination and resources, you can find employment in a variety of sectors after earning an online associate degree in small business management.

That said, you might not even end up owning a small business after graduation. During your studies, you might find a different concentration that appeals to you. For example, if promotion and marketing courses catch your attention, you might go on to earn a bachelor's degree in marketing and become the marketing director of a large business.

This chart offers a quick glance at potential careers available to graduates of this degree.

Small Business Owner/Operator

Small business owners fulfill many different tasks. They oversee day-to-day operations and make proactive plans to grow their business. Some small business owners hire employees or contract out their work.

Average Annual Salary: $66,148

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

Public relations and fundraising managers use different communication channels to spread awareness and build donor and customer loyalty. Most importantly, they persuade people to take action to make a purchase or a donation. These positions may require a bachelor's degree.

Average Annual Salary: $114,800

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

These professionals perform similar tasks as public relations managers. However, rather than using unpaid advertising like press releases, media placement, and events to gain customers, they use paid placement. They could achieve this through targeted social media ads or commercials. These positions may require a bachelor's degree.

Average Annual Salary: $132,620

Market Research Analysts

Market research analysts examine market patterns to identify potential sales. They communicate with businesses to help them determine what products consumers will most likely buy and what factors influence their decision to make a purchase. Most market research analysts need at least a bachelor's degree, and some research positions may require a master's.

Average Annual Salary: $63,120

Advertising Sales Agents

These professionals sell advertising space to businesses and professionals. They must work hard under pressure to meet quotas using persuasion, strong interpersonal communication skills, and data.

Average Annual Salary: $51,740

What's Next After an Online Associate Degree in Small Business Management?

After you earn an online associate degree in small business management, you can either choose to enter the workforce or transfer your degree to a four-year program. Some people find career options for an associate degree-holder limiting, which is why they choose to pursue a bachelor's degree upon graduating.

Whichever of the two paths you choose, research the college credit transfer process to avoid wasting time and money. To help you in your research, we have provided more information about this topic below. We have also outlined three common degrees you can pursue after earning your two-year degree.

Transferring to a Four-Year Degree Program

You can use an associate degree in small business management to kick off the rest of your college education. If you attend an accredited college or university, you can typically transfer to a four-year program with ease. However, you should always research your prospective school's transfer agreement before making any big decisions. Planning your transfer options early can save you disappointment and stress.

What Degrees Can You Pursue After Earning an Associate in Small Business Management?

When deciding on additional degrees, consider your career goals. Choosing a bachelor's or master's degree that aligns with your interests and goals can motivate you in your studies. Here are potential bachelor's degrees those with a small business management associate degree might pursue:

Bachelor in International Business

Earning a degree in international business can teach you how to communicate with people from other cultures surrounding business topics. Classes cover processes behind transferring goods and services between countries.

Bachelor in Marketing

If you enjoyed learning about marketing during your small business management studies, then focusing in on this topic during your future studies can help you earn a successful job that you love.

Master in Business

Once you earn a bachelor's degree, you can choose to advance your education even further with a master's in business. A degree this advanced can prepare you to earn an advanced and potentially lucrative position like CEO of a company.

Become Team
Become Team
Contributing Writer

Latest Posts is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

View the most relevant programs for your interests and compare them by tuition, acceptance rate, and other factors important to you.