Associate Degrees in Operations Management

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Business majors are a favorite for students at all degree levels, and associate degrees are no exception. The field was the third most popular major for those earning a two-year degree in 2013-2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. During that year, 11 percent of associate degrees were conferred in business, marketing, management, or a related-major.

In today's competitive marketplace, companies are looking for knowledgeable and skilled workers to help them reduce costs, improve revenue, and otherwise boost the bottom line. Operations managers and support workers play a key role in business success, and an online associate degree in operations management can be the first step toward qualifying for these positions.

Unlike a bachelor's degree which takes four years to complete, an associate degree be earned in two years or less. By studying online, students can continue working normal hours while finishing class assignments during their time off. It's a convenient way to get started on the path to a new career in business.

Why Get an Associate Degree in Operations Management?

There are numerous business majors available, but operations management is special because it focuses on a niche area within the field. An operations management degree prepares people to oversee the development of products and set their pricing. While the curriculum will vary by school, students typically learn how to review and analyze financial reports, create policies to make production and distribution more efficient, and make adjustments as needed based on consumer demand.

An associate degree helps provide an introduction to these concepts, while a bachelor's or master's degree will give more in-depth instruction. However, a two-year degree can be the perfect way for students to determine whether this field is one in which they want to pursue a career. An associate degree is relatively inexpensive compared to other degree programs, and graduates can use their education to obtain entry-level business jobs or go on to complete a bachelor's in the field.

With enough experience or additional education, operations management majors may go on to fill the following business roles:


Average Income (2015)

Expected Job Growth (2014-2024)

General or Operations Manager



Purchasing Manager



Transportation, Storage or Distribution Manager



Buyers or Purchasing Agent



Operations Research Analyst



Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do You Enroll in an Online Associate Degree Program?

At many institutions, the enrollment process for online degrees is virtually identical to that for on-campus degrees.

Most schools have an online application form which requests basic demographic and background information. Then you may be required to upload or submit information such as transcripts or standardized test scores. Fortunately, most associate degree programs have open admission policies, so you shouldn't have to submit letters of recommendation, a personal statement, or any of the documentation you may find required by competitive bachelor's degree or MBA programs.

The school may require a small application fee to process your enrollment, and you should receive information within a few weeks with details on how to finish the process and select your classes.

Filling Out a Request Form

Operations management is a specialized program that isn't offered by every school. To easily find institutions that offer this degree or related majors, click the "Search Schools" button on the right. After entering some basic information, you'll be matched to appropriate colleges and universities.

What's the Difference Between Online and Campus-Based Degrees?

At many schools, there is no difference between online and on-campus degrees other than how instruction is delivered. Colleges and universities may use the same curriculum and even have the same instructors teaching both online and on-campus.

Why Is Online College Good for Associate Degrees in Operations Management?

Online learning and business majors go perfectly together. Unlike health care or skilled trades which require hands-on instruction, almost everything about business can be taught, and learned, online. Schools make use of video lectures, online chats, message boards, and other technology to relay the same information students would get in a classroom.

By selecting an online college, students may have more flexibility in not only when they study, but also how quickly they complete their program. Some online programs let students accelerate their class schedule and finish in less time, while others may have additional options to study part-time so as not to interfere with work or home life.

Does Location Matter for an Online Associate Degree in Operations Management?

At the associate degree level, location may not be as important as it can be for MBA or other advanced degrees. Still, you might want to consider whether a school's campus location is convenient. It's possible you'll want to attend the graduation ceremony in person, and if the college offers career counseling services, you may want to travel to campus to utilize those as well.

An online associate degree in operations management can mark the start to a promising career in the fast-paced business world. Use the "Search Schools" button or browse the institutions below to find the perfect fit for you.


  1. General and Operations Managers, O*Net OnLine, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-1021.00
  2. Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2015, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/oes/
  3. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
  4. Undergraduate Degree Majors, National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/pdf/coe_cta.pdf

Associate Degrees in Operations Management

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