Associate Degree in Biology

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Biology is a vast subject with multidisciplinary areas. An online associate degree in biology can help students build a solid foundation in research, teaching, medical fields, biotechnology, or other related fields. Students who want to major or minor in biology for a bachelor’s program or want to use the undergraduate degree to enter a professional field directly or as a foundation for advanced study leading to a graduate degree can opt for an associate in biology degree. This guide looks into the various aspects of an Associate Degree in Biology and answers questions such as “what jobs can you get with an associate degree”, “where can you work with an associate degree in biology”, and more.


Best Associate Degree in
Biology Programs

An associate degree in biology program is available in person, online, or through distance learning from many institutions throughout the United States. The best colleges offering online associate’s degrees in biology programs are accredited. They have well-qualified and experienced faculty, additional services for students, and an excellent reputation in placement history. To make it easy for prospective students, Find Best Degrees (FBD)  has screened the best associate in biology programs that are affordable and flexible. Here is the list: *

Arizona Western College (AWC) is a public community college offering associate degrees, occupational certificates, and transfer degrees. AWC offers over 100 degrees and certificates in person and online. Its associate degrees include Arts (AA), Science (AS), Business (ABus), and Applied Science (AAS).
Univ Address
Arizona Western College 2020 S. Avenue 8E, Yuma, Arizona 85365

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to Expect from the Associate
Degree in Biology Programs

Earning an associate’s degree in biology might be a terrific way to get started on a variety of professional career pathways.  The online associate’s degree in biology lays the foundation needed to pursue undergraduate degrees in fields like pre-nursing, pre-veterinary, pre-medical, pre-pharmacy, wildlife biology, and laboratory sciences. Associate degree programs are designed for students looking for entry-level jobs before continuing their education. Typically, the associate degree in biology is a 2-year, 60-65 credit program. The programs combine hands-on laboratory work with coursework and fieldwork investigating the diversity and biology of plants, animals, and microbes, developing theoretical learning and practical skills to help lay the groundwork for a successful career. Along with core courses, students may also expect general education courses in a general studies associate’s degree with a minor in biology.

Here are some courses one can expect from an associate degree in biological sciences online:


Biochemistry is the application of chemistry to study biological processes at the cellular and molecular levels. It emerged as a distinct discipline around the beginning of the 20th century when scientists combined chemistry, physiology, and biology to investigate the chemistry of living systems.

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and physiology are the most prominent and most crucial subjects in the areas of study in biology. The course provides students with a more profound knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the living organism. Although similar in some ways, anatomy and physiology provide two independent methods for understanding living organisms. While anatomy studies the internal and external structures of the body and their physical relationships, physiology studies the functions of those structures.


The movement of a charged particle caused by an electric field is referred to as electrophoresis (electro-charged particle and phoresis-movement). This course lays the foundation for students to fully understand how the electric field works. The study is about how biological molecules such as amino acids, peptides, proteins, nucleic acids, and nucleotides possess ionizable groups.

Marine Biology

Marine biology studies marine organisms, their behavior, and how they interact with their surroundings. This course helps students understand marine organisms; they research chemical, physical, and geological oceanography as well as biological oceanography.

Wildlife Biology

Wildlife biology is a multidisciplinary study of wild animals and their habitats. The course covers the analysis of wildlife, zoology, chemistry, botany, and mathematics.  In this course, students are made to conduct studies on animals in their natural habitats, studying the mannerisms of animals and their interaction with different species, their movement and reproductive patterns, and the transmission of diseases.

Some other examples of courses in a bio associate include but are not limited to:

  • Evolution and Diversity
  • Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Ecology and Evolution
  • Cells and Systems
  • Forensics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology
  • Zoology
  • Botany
  • Animal Behavior
  • Virology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Psychology
  • Physiology

Degree Types offered in Associates
Degree in Biology Programs

An associate degree in biology can be pursued in two ways – the Associate of Arts in Biology or AA Biology and the Associate of Science in Biology or AS Biology.

Associate of Arts in Biology

An Associate of Arts in biology degree offers more options for students to explore a wider range of subjects. As a result, an AA in biology combines basic science courses with the opportunity for more optional study in subjects like languages, history, and philosophy. Students who pursue an AA in biology gain exposure to a broad multi-disciplinary understanding of life science along with arts and humanities.

Associate of Science in Biology

An Associate of Science in biology focuses mostly on biological science. Students who enroll in an AS in biology will take the full course load of required biology courses. Apart from basic education requirements, students participate almost exclusively in biology and other sciences classes and can specialize in a particular field.

Areas of Specializations in Associates
Degree in Biology Programs

Specializations are an excellent choice for those who want to focus on particular fields in biology, which is a vast subject. Specializations also prepare associates in biology students for employment in specific biology sectors. Although the number of specializations may not be many at the associate’s level, students may still find concentrations and specialized courses to narrow their studies. Some of the most popular options for an associates degree in biology online are:

Area of Specialization Description Career Options
Molecular Genetics and Cell ScienceThis specialization helps students examine how biological science works at the microscopic and molecular levels. Students explore the molecular and biochemical pathways that determine cellular function.Biotechnologist, forensic DNA analyst
Marine BiologyMarine biology studies marine organisms, their behavior, and how they interact with their surroundings. To understand marine organisms, students research chemical, physical, and geological oceanography as well as biological oceanography.Marine biologist, aquarist, marine biotechnologist
Biology of DiseaseThis specialization prepares aspiring students interested in epidemiology and lab-based diagnostics by providing the technical knowledge necessary to identify and transform diseases to reduce their spread. Students also investigate ecological factors contributing to disease and infection.Lab manager, lab technician
Behavioral BiologyThis specialization combines insights from biology, psychology, and social science, which are interdisciplinary. It focuses on how ecology and evolution motivate human behavior, studies the basic principles in natural science, and applies them to efforts dealing with hormonal, neural concerns, and genetics in biomedicine.Mental health counselor, human resource specialist
Wildlife/Conservation BiologyThis specialization focuses on evolution and animal behavior and the effects of climate change on natural ecosystems. It helps students understand the threats to life on the planet and the solutions to eliminate these threats and restore the health and diversity of an ecosystem.Conservation ecologist, conservation specialist, wildlife technician
ZoologyZoology studies animal behavior, habits, body structure, and evolution. The associates degree in zoology specialization is heavily science-focused with chemistry, ecology, and biology courses.Animal caregiver, biological aide, zoo supervisor

Prospective students of bio associates can also consider some of these other available concentration areas:

  • Applied Physiology
  • Biomolecular Technology
  • Biomedical Science
  • Organismal Biology
  • Ecology
  • Pre-Health
  • Pre-Medical
  • Integrative Biology
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Why should I get an Associate
Degree in Biology?

Biology is a broad field of study that includes research on everything from the molecular study of life to the study of plants and animal communities. An associates biology is an excellent choice for students who want to pursue a career in a variety of sectors, such as biological, clinical & medical research, forensic science, wildlife biology, agricultural science, fisheries science, etc. Careers with associates degree in biology can help students gain a deeper understanding of living organisms to help develop biological knowledge and understanding of living processes, including treating sickness and sustaining the natural environment.

So, what can you do with an associates degree in biology? There are many careers you can get with an associate’s degree in settings such as laboratories, wildlife conservation, horticulture, healthcare, nutrition, and more. Although many employers will require at least a four-year degree for certain jobs, an online associate’s degree in biology can be an affordable option to help prepare students for entry-level positions in these and other settings.

With skills acquired from this program, graduates with an online associates degree in biology would have the ability to:

  • conduct research and evaluate scientific data to effectively communicate findings and research results to a wide audience;
  • comprehend and be able to apply a scientific approach to solve issues;
  • create a habit of lifelong learning by developing a critical and analytical mindset;
  • understand the functional traits, structural layout, and chemical composition of living organisms;
  • use professional communication skills necessary to convey scientific information both orally and in writing;
  • describe biological systems, use statistical analysis, modeling, and quantitative reasoning; and
  • communicate life’s guiding principles.

Free Courses for Associate Degree
in Biology Students

Free courses are a terrific way to pick up new information or sharpen existing abilities in certain fields of biology. They can also assist students with assignments and exam preparation. Although free courses do not lead to any sort of associate in biology degree, they help students better understand what they can expect when enrolling in a bio associate.

Course Description Provided by
Various Topics Related to BiologyCoursera provides free beginner- and intermediate-level courses on a variety of biology-related topics. The collection comprises courses like advanced neurobiology, medical neuroscience, space medicine, advanced neurobiology, etc., from reputed organizations and institutions.Coursera
Various Topics Related to BiologyThe self-paced video courses offered on Udemy are well-known and are facilitated by experts and professionals. Numerous courses on Udemy are offered for free, with many available at reasonable rates. Some free ones include biology basics, cell biology, A-Level biology, the foundation of biology, and basics of molecular biology, to name a few.Udemy
Various Topics Related to BiologySeveral free courses on a variety of biology-related topics are available on this platform. Not all courses listed are free, but some are – including clinical bioinformatics, genomic technologies in clinical diagnostics, genomic medicine, and life science, to name a few.FutureLearn

How to get into the Associate Degree
in Biology Programs?

Applying for an associate degree in biology program is relatively simple. But the admission requirements for colleges vary, and each one has its unique set of criteria for admission. The basic requirement for entry to an associate degree in biology is a high school diploma or GED. It is always a good idea to check with the admissions office for exact and specific requirements since the prerequisites for the institution of choice may differ. Some of the standard associate’s degree in biology requirements are:

  • Admission or Application Form with its prescribed fee
  • Official Academic Transcripts
  • High School Diploma or Graduate Educational Development (GED) Certificate
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.0 or more
  • SAT or ACT Score (required by some schools)
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose (required by some schools)
  • At least 2 Letters of Recommendation
  • Proof of English Proficiency (if the native tongue is or education was not in English)

How Long does it take to complete
Associate Degree in Biology

An online associate’s degree in biology is typically a 60-65 credit program, which requires a minimum of 2 years to complete. This time frame can vary depending on the institution and factors such as synchronous or asynchronous classes, the course structure, concentrations, and projects. The bio associates may also be pursued part-time, which may take students about 2 to 3 years to earn their degrees.

Accelerated Associate Degree
in Biology Programs

Very few schools allow students to complete an associate’s in biology program in less than 2 years. However, depending on the college and the program’s coursework, some students could potentially complete their degrees a few months earlier, at most. Many colleges offer accelerated degrees to allow students to complete their associate’s program and then move on to a bachelor’s program with most or all their credits transferred, making their bachelor’s degrees shorter.

Accreditations for Associate Degree
in Biology Programs

Accreditation is a term that includes both initial and ongoing accreditation of schools, higher education institutions, or programs aimed at meeting the standard requirements of nationally recognized accreditation bodies. Accreditation is critical to allow students access to federal financial aid or to transfer credits to another college or program. The Guide to College Accreditation outlines all the details.

In most instances, colleges offering an associate degree in biology would be (and should be) accredited by one of the six regional accreditation bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). These six agencies are:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

How to Pay for an Associate Degree
in Biology Programs?

Prospective students may be apprehensive about the cost of an associate’s program. An online associates biology is usually more economical than a traditional one since the student does not have to pay for accommodation, transportation, or meals. Yet they need to pay tuition fees, which keep increasing each year. Fortunately, students can access various financial aids that could significantly reduce their financial burden.


Students who excel in academics, athletics, arts, or any other endeavor are eligible for scholarships. Religious organizations, communities, individuals, and NGOs provide scholarships to deserving students. The benefit of scholarships is that they are free, and the student need not pay the awarded money back.


Grants are need-based and are given on a case-by-case basis to students who have poor financial status. Grants can be used to pay for a range of education-related costs, including tuition, fees, board, and books and supplies. Grants do not need to be repaid as well.

Student Loans

Student loans are sums of money often borrowed from a bank, financial institution, or the federal government. Loans attract interest, which must be paid back along with the principal amount in equated monthly installments. Read about Donors for Student Loans and Grants for Student Loans to understand how one can apply for loan forgiveness to avoid repaying student loans.


Students can apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA to check if they are eligible for federal financial aid.

Find out everything about FAFSA Student Aid and How to Pay for College to better navigate college funding.

FAQs Related to the Associate Degree
in Biology Programs

What is biological sciences?

Any branch of natural sciences that focuses on different facets of life processes is included in the biological sciences. The definition spans all species, from microorganisms to animals and plants, and incorporates anatomy, physiology, cell biology, biochemistry, and biophysics.

 What can you do with an associate’s degree in science? What can I do with an AA in biology?

What jobs can you get with a human biology degree?

Can I get an associate degree in biology online?

What are the best universities providing associates in biology?

What is an associate in biology like?

Is an associate degree in biology worth it?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after
Associate Degree in Biology

An associate’s degree in biology offers a versatile credential that may take an individual into a variety of different fields. Some of those careers with associates degrees in biology reflect fields that are anticipated to have rapid expansion in the next few years. Students need to consider whether they want to use the associate degree to enter a professional field directly or as a foundation for advanced study in health care fields like medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, etc. Students can also consider graduate programs in other non-health disciplines, another popular option. What jobs can you get with an associates degree in science in biology? Jobs for associates degree in science include entry-level positions in:

  • Museums
  • Parks
  • Education
  • Medical Research Labs
  • Zoology
  • Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Federal or State Government
  • Healthcare

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in the biological, physical, and social science occupations is expected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030, nearly as fast as the average for all occupations, and roughly 113,800 new positions will be created. Here are a few examples of careers, the skills required, salaries, and growth potential:

Occupation Job DescriptionSkills RequiredMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2030)
Medical AssistantsAdministrative and clinical tasks are completed by medical assistants in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. They record personal information & patient history, measure vital signs, schedule appointments for patients, and enter patient information into medical records.Interpersonal skills, technical skills, analytical skills, detail-oriented$37,19018% (much faster than average)
Psychiatric Technicians and AidesPeople with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities are cared for by psychiatric technicians and aides. Technicians typically provide therapeutic care and monitor the conditions of their patients. Aides assist patients with daily activities and keep the environment safe and clean.Observational skills, interpersonal skills, compassion, physical stamina, patience$36,23011% (faster than average)
Biological TechniciansBiological technicians assist biological and medical scientists in performing laboratory tests and experiments. They are typically in charge of conducting scientific tests, experiments, and analyses while being directed and evaluated by biologists (such as microbiologists) or medical scientists.Critical-thinking skills, observational skills, analytical skills, technical skills, communication skills$48,1407% (as fast as average)
Agricultural and Food Science TechniciansAgricultural and food science technicians work alongside agricultural and food scientists, measuring and analyzing the quality of food and agricultural products. Depending on the field, their duties can range from performing agricultural labor to recordkeeping, laboratory testing, and office work.Interpersonal skills, analytical skills, critical-thinking skills, communication skills, physical stamina$44,7008% (as fast as average)
Environmental Science and Protection TechniciansTechnicians in environmental science and protection monitor the environment and investigate pollution and contamination sources, including those affecting public health. They assist scientists, engineers, and technicians in other fields in solving complex environmental and public health problems.Critical-thinking skills, analytical skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills$47,37011% (faster than average)

Certifications and Licensing for Associate
Degree in Biology Students

Biology is a vast subject with specialties and subspecialties. Students with an online associate degree in biology can earn additional certifications to enhance career options and gain specialized knowledge. Certifications reflect well on a student’s resumé alongside their projects and help them stand out from their peers. Although certifications may not be mandatory, certain firms encourage applicants and employees to complete specific certifications. Certification must be chosen based on the concentration area taken in the associate’s degree program. Here are a few for students to consider:

Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board offers Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPht), which enables technicians to show their expertise in and dedication to drug safety and efficient patient care across pharmacy settings. Employers prefer and even demand that their pharmacy technicians hold PTCB CPhT certifications.

American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) Certifications

The American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) and the AAB Board of Registry (ABOR) are independent national certifying bodies for lab specialists. While ABB certifies directors, consultants, and supervisors, ABOR certifies bench-level laboratory personnel (technologists, laboratory scientists, and technicians).

The American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Certifications

The American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) is one of the largest membership organizations for pathologists and laboratory professionals. The ASCP offers a host of credentials for molecular biologists, microbiologists, and laboratory technicians. Certifications include Highest Volume Certifications, Technician Certifications, Technologists Certifications, and Special Certifications.

Additional Resources for Associate
Degree in Biology Students

Students who have earned an associate degree in biology need to update their knowledge and stay abreast of the latest in the field of biology. To that end, they can benefit from participating in a professional organization or membership in an association, informing them of the most recent developments in the sector. Mentoring, access to robust peer networks, job opportunities, training, and other benefits are frequently included in membership to organizations. Here are a few resources that associates in biology online students can tap into:

American Society of Microbiology (ASM)

American Society of Microbiology (ASM), with over 30,000 members, including scientists, researchers, health professionals, and educators, is the largest life science society in the world. ASM holds meetings, publishes books, and helps build careers by providing professional development opportunities, travel awards, fellowships, and workshops.

National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT)

The National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) is recognized as the leader in life science education. NABT supports educators, scientists, and professional organizations to provide the best possible life science and biology education for all students.

The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB)

The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) is among the largest and most prestigious organizations of its type. Its focus has remained on integrating the many fields of specializations that occur in the broad field of biology. 

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s (ASBMB) mission is to promote the science of biochemistry and molecular biology and to provide an understanding of the molecular nature of life processes. The society serves the scientific community through meetings, career development, science education, publications, and more.

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society having individual members in more than 91 countries and a leading publisher of cutting-edge research through its Science family of journals.


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners.