Associate Online Degree in Chemistry

By Nikita Nath

Updated January 7, 2024
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Nikita Nath

Nikita is a psychologist working primarily with children using a child rights-based approach. She also writes content for various websites and blogs on diverse topics, focusing primarily on academia. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, and discovering different coffee-making techniques.

Degrees

Bachelors in English, Journalism, and Psychology; Masters in psychology with clinical specialization

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

  • 2 years of experience working as a content writer with various start-ups
  • 1 year of experience working as a child psychologist with Insight
  • Working on various projects of inclusion for neurodivergent children
  • 2+ years of experience teaching psychology online

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Chemistry is a physical science subject that helps explain and describe the world by studying matter, its properties, and why and how substances separate or combine and interact with energy. An associate degree in chemistry provides a foundation for many entry-level occupations and prepares students to enter a program at four-year institutions leading to a bachelor’s degree. With an associate’s degree in chemistry, one can work as a chemical technician, chemical equipment tenders and operator, and more. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that overall employment in this field is projected to grow by 6% from 2021 to 2031[1].

Associate Online Degree in Chemistry

Find the Best Online Associate
Degree in Chemistry

Choosing an associate’s degree could be challenging, as this crucial decision is in the first stage after completing secondary school. Choosing a top program can give students the basic academic and technical knowledge and transferrable skills they can use to gain employment or study further in the field of chemistry. Our teams at FBD have appraised numerous schools and degrees from all over the U.S. and, using an efficient ranking methodology, prepared a list of colleges offering the best associates degree in chemistry online:

Tacoma Community College (TCC), founded in 1965, is a public community college in Tacoma, Washington. It also has operations in Tacoma and Gig Harbor. Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), TCC TCC offers 40+ associate and about 3 bachelor’s degree programs, and 30+ professional and technical certificates.
Univ Address
Tacoma Community College 6501 S 19th St, Tacoma, Washington 98466

What to Expect from an Online Associate
Program in Chemistry

An associates degree in chemistry is a two-year course of study designed to prepare students to transfer to a four-year institution where they will complete an undergraduate degree in chemistry or another close discipline. Students can pursue this program full-time or part-time in on-campus or online learning modes. The associate chemistry degree entails organic or general chemistry and other fundamental courses like calculus, general education, and physics. One can expect comprehensive coursework, numerous laboratory hours, and hands-on practice as part of the curriculum. This program can prepare graduates to work in a lab under supervisors’ direction, taking responsibility for keeping records, communicating results to other professionals, and carrying out regular experiments. 

Curriculum and
Coursework

The curriculum of an associate’s degree in chemistry introduces the principles and concepts upon which chemical data is based, including chemical nomenclature and structures, solving chemical equations, stoichiometry theories of chemical bonding, and thermodynamics of chemical reactions. The program is designed to help students understand the fundamental laboratory skills and chemical concepts necessary to further their studies or enter the workforce in entry-level positions. 

Through the curriculum, students will learn to apply chemistry and math concepts in the laboratory and develop critical thinking skills that will help them solve challenges like dimensional analysis and unit conversion. Some core requirements include institutional foundations, natural and computational sciences, humanities and fine arts, and social sciences. Different schools would customize the coursework based on their requirements. However, one can expect some standard courses across curricula, including:

Introduction to Chemistry

This course introduces chemistry and teaches about the study of matter and the many substances that constitute it. It helps one understand the substances’ properties and the reactions they have undergone to form novel substances. Students are introduced to concepts of measurement, stoichiometry, thermochemistry, gases, the structure of the atom, elements, compounds, and mixtures. 

Biology

This course introduces students to the broad study of living things and their corresponding processes. Through the course, they will understand and undertake a scientific analysis of various elements in biology, including basic biochemistry, cell physiology, cell function and structure, mendelian genetics, population genetics, evolution, ecology, natural selection, cell development, and reproduction. 

Applied Calculus

This course focuses on using calculus in life sciences and understanding the function of different variables, matrices, differential solutions, and equations with applications. Students draw examples and applications from the discipline of life sciences. This course is a college-level course in integral and differential calculus. 

General Physics

Through this course, students are given a basic understanding of the structure of matter and how various fundamental elements of the universe interrelate. Topics include wave motion, sound, mechanics, heat, optics, modern physics, and electromagnetism.

Organic Chemistry

In this course, students study the properties, composition, preparation of carbon-containing compounds, reactions, and structure of different elements. Learners also understand organic compounds containing hydrogen and carbon, including oxygen, halogens, nitrogen, silicon, sulfur, and phosphorous. 

The curriculum provides comprehensive laboratory hours in different subjects, including general chemistry, biology, physics, and more. Some of the additional standard courses one might find include:

  • Introduction to Science Profession
  • College Chemistry
  • English Composition
  • College Trigonometry
  • Principles of Chemistry Laboratory
  • Calculus for the Life Sciences
  • Chemical Research
  • Qualitative Analysis
  • General Chemistry Laboratory
  • General Physics Laboratory
  • Intermediate Composition

To understand more about the associate in chemistry degree, read the Guide to Associate’s Programs

Learning Outcomes and
Skills Gained

The associate degree in chemistry prepares students for transferring into traditional bachelor’s programs in chemistry or various specialized programs at four-year institutions. It also prepares individuals for entry-level roles in academia, clinical laboratories, industrial, and other fields such as chemical engineering, chemical sales, and environmental science.

The hours students typically spend in the laboratory give them hands-on practice in the principles and concepts explained in theory. They get opportunities to use laboratory procedures and instrumentation, giving them a realistic idea of how to perform in various scientific fields. By combining lectures and laboratory knowledge, one can get a solid base to succeed academically and professionally. Some of the skills one will gain through the completion of the associate degree in chemistry program include the ability to:

  • demonstrate a fundamental understanding of solving problems and making a scientific inquiry within chemistry;
  • interpret and analyze using appropriate technology;
  • analyze real-world challenges and produce solutions by applying chemistry principles and theory;
  • collaborate with diverse populations of individuals and groups to solve various challenges;
  • effectively articulate or communicate in a manner that is respectful, culturally responsive, and ethical;
  • collect data and design experiments using relevant technology and scientific principles; and
  • demonstrate ethical and professional behaviors relevant to the chemistry discipline.

Types of Degrees Chemistry Students
Can Obtain

An associate in chemistry is a degree program designed to prepare students to transfer to a four-year institution where they can complete an undergraduate degree in chemistry or a related discipline. Generally, at an associate’s level, one can only find an associate of science in chemistry; the associate of art is almost non-existent.

Associate of Science in  Chemistry

The Associate of Science in Chemistry or AS chemistry gives students an advantage in preparing for their bachelor’s degree or entering the workforce in the field of chemistry. It prepares them for various science-based studies and professions by giving them a background in early and foundational chemistry. The curriculum introduces principles and concepts upon which one’s chemical knowledge is formed.

Areas of Specialization for
Chemistry Students

Specialization is an area or sub-field within a major or discipline. Generally, one may not find specifications in an associate degree in chemistry, as it is an entry-level qualification. However, for the sake of knowing what one can expect in more advanced degrees, here are some specializations in chemistry:

Area of Specialization Description Career Options
Analytical ChemistryIn this specialization, students learn about different methods of separation and quantification that can be used to separate and identify matter. They learn how to quantitatively analyze and use existing experimental designs to create new measurement tools.Academician, analytical chemist, synthetic chemist, quality control chemist, organic chemist, forensic scientist, pharmacologist, hazardous waste chemist, etc.
BiochemistryIn this concentration, students study the chemical processes and substances in animals, plants, and microorganisms and the changes they bring about in our world. They learn the application of biochemistry to develop new products and processes in everyday life.Biomedical chemist, forensic scientist, data scientist, ecologist, food or biotechnologist, pharmacologist
Medicinal ChemistryThis specialization trains students to research and create various chemical compounds for the making of drugs. By learning chemical research techniques, they will learn to isolate natural healing agents and develop artificial ones.Various roles in the pharmaceutical industry or medicinal chemist
Inorganic ChemistryIn this concentration, students learn about chemical compounds which lack carbon-hydrogen bonds. They understand the various allotropes of carbon, such as carbon monoxide, carbides, carbon dioxide, and salts of inorganic anions like carbonates, cyanates, and thiocyanates.Various roles as an inorganic chemist in mining, microchips, and more
Organic ChemistryIn this specialization, students study carbon compounds containing hydrogen atoms. It also includes investigating different structures of chemicals and determining their structural formula.Biochemists, biophysicists, geoscientists, material engineers, physicists, natural science managers

Full-Time and Part-Time
Programs

A full-time associate in chemistry degree can be completed within two to three years. The program often covers the first two years of a four-year curriculum that could lead to a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Usually, students will find more full-time associate degrees in Chemistry; part-time programs are generally hard to find in the U.S.

Requirements for Getting into an Online
Associate Chemistry Program

The admission requirements for an associate’s chemistry program are typically simple, and it is easy to apply to these programs. Some schools make it mandatory for students to complete prerequisite courses like chemistry and physics in high school, as it helps them in their associate’s program. However, if one does not meet the necessary prerequisite courses, they can take additional courses along with their regular curriculum to meet the requirement. Although each school has its independent admissions criteria, some standard requirements for an associates degree in chemistry online include:

  • An application form and fee
  • A Higher school diploma or GED
  • An average Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5 (typically expected by most schools)
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Proof of English proficiency, if English is not the native tongue or prior education was not in English

How to Ensure an Online Associate Chemistry
Program Is Accredited

Accreditation confirms that a school provides top-notch education demanded by the field and has the right resources to offer higher education programs. The entire process of accreditation will push institutions to maintain and meet high standards of student resources, thereby increasing the confidence that employers and learners have in them.

In chemistry, many programs are certified by the American Chemical Society or ACS[2]. An ACS-certified degree would signify to potential employers that one has completed rigorous training and foundational coursework in chemistry and related fields. Generally, an associates degree in chemistry is certified by six regional accrediting agencies, which are:

  • New England Commission of Higher Education(NECHE)
  • 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)

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)[3] and the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs[4] provide updates and information on an educational institution’s accreditation status. To understand more about accreditation, read the Guide to College Accreditation.

Where to Find Free Online Courses for
Chemistry Associate Students

Free courses can arguably enhance one’s understanding of a subject. The topics explored in these courses can help students better their foundational skills in chemistry. Popular universities and accomplished professors often publish free courses on various platforms. Examples of free chemistry courses are: 

Course Description Provided by
Chemistry[5]This course helps learners explore the components inside the atom, the properties of elements, and the structures of electrons. It teaches them how to determine the usage of the periodic table and understand the trends to predict the properties of various features.Coursera
Basic Analytical Chemistry[6]Through this course, one can gain physical knowledge of the principles used in analytical chemistry and its subsequent applications in scientific research. Learners also understand experimental and analytical methods like chemical equilibrium, sample preparation, and so on, and the value of chemistry in everyday life.edX
Principles of Chemical Science[7]This course can be comprehensive and beneficial for beginners in the field of chemistry. It will help learners understand the importance of chemical principles, ionic bonds, Lewis structures, covalent bonds, and more.MIT OpenCourseWare

Ways to Pay for an Online Associate
Chemistry Degree

Even though the associate’s program is relatively affordable compared to other advanced degrees like a bachelor’s or master’s, one might still find it hard to pay for college. Besides part-time jobs, several financial aids are available for students to fund their college education. Financial assistance can help pay for educational expenses like tuition fees, stationery, books, transportation, accommodation, etc. Some financial aids that a chemistry associates degree student can explore are:

Scholarships

Scholarships are usually merit-based; however, one can also find need-based scholarships. Community groups, federal and state governments, universities and colleges, charities, and non-profits are among those that provide scholarships to meritorious and deserving students. 

Grants

Grants are unique types of financial awards that need not be repaid. They are given to those demonstrating financial need or pursuing research or other academic opportunities in their respective fields.

Private Student Loans

Financial institutions or banks generally offer private student loans for those who do not qualify for federal aid. Loans are an expensive financial aid option because they attract interest, and non-repayment of loans can leave one in debt. Fortunately, those who find it challenging to repay their loans can seek donors and grants to help them. 

Federal Direct Loans

These are low-interest loans as the government funds them. Moreover, students only need to worry about repaying them once they graduate or get a job.

FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA is an application form that helps determine one’s eligibility for federal and state financial aid. Detailed information on the FAFSA is available in the FAFSA Student Aid guide.

Read the Financial Aid Guide to understand more about funding higher education. 

Career Opportunities and Salaries
After Graduating

There are many career opportunities for those pursuing a chemistry associate’s degree post their program completion. Associate’s degrees will provide the required skills and prepare them for an entry-level career in these fields. Some careers that an associate in chemistry student can opt for include: 

Occupation Job DescriptionSkills RequiredMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2031)
Chemical Technicians[8]Chemical technicians generally conduct laboratory tests and help scientists analyze the different properties of materials. They monitor chemical processes and test the product’s quality to ensure they meet the set specifications and standardsAnalytical skills, communication skills, detail-oriented, interpersonal skills$48,9904% (as fast as average)
Agricultural and Food Science Technicians[9]Agricultural and food science technicians assist agricultural and food scientists in performing duties like analyzing and measuring agricultural products and food. Tasks range from laboratory testing to performing agricultural labor and keeping a record of their duties.Analytical skills, communication skills, critical-thinking skills, interpersonal skills, physical stamina$44,7006% (as fast as average)
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians[10]Environmental science and protection technicians monitor the environment and investigate various sources of contamination and pollution. Their duties include inspection of establishments, public places, and organizations to understand the health, safety, and environmental hazards they might pose.Analytical skills, communication skills, critical-thinking skills, interpersonal skills$47,3706% (as fast as average)
Geological and Hydrologic Technicians[11]Geological and hydrologic technicians support scientists and engineers in extracting, monitoring, and exploring various natural resources. They are entrusted with installing and maintaining field equipment and the laboratory. Duties also include conducting scientific tests on samples to help them determine their characteristics and content.Analytical skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, critical-thinking skills$50,0804% (as fast as average)
Nuclear Technicians[12]Nuclear technicians assist engineers, physicists, and other professionals in carrying forward nuclear energy production and research. They generally work in nuclear power plants and use computers or other technological equipment to monitor and operate nuclear reactors.Physical stamina, analytical skills, critical-thinking skills$99,340-17% (decline)
Chemists[13]Chemists study substances at the molecular and atomic levels and analyze them to check how substances interact.  They also use their knowledge to create and improvise products. (An associate’s degree student will typically find entry-level positions in this occupation.)Analytical skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, math skills, organizational skills, time-management skills, problem-solving skills, perseverance$79,7606% (as fast as average)

Certifications and Licensing for Online Associate
Students in Chemistry

Professional certifications are credentials that can help students earn and show competency in a particular skill; a certification is a proof document stating that one has the professional education, preparation, and training to meet a required set of criteria for the occupation. There are no mandated certifications or licensing required in the field of chemistry. However, getting such credentials will add to one’s skills and expertise. 

Most professional certifications in chemistry require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree or more. However, those with online chemistry associate degrees can keep the following certifications in mind for future use and knowledge:

GMP Laboratory Control Certification[14]

This certification makes professionals understand the necessary quality control laboratory and product testing procedures. It helps them get accurate, meaningful, and reliable laboratory data critical to use raw materials, supporting the shell life of the product, and releasing batches of commercial products.

Clinical Chemistry[15]

The American Board of Clinical Chemistry awards this certification. It tests the candidate’s skills to check for calculations and problem-solving skills, and knowledge of analytical and clinical issues. The certification also helps them show their understanding of clinical chemistry interpretation and how they approach clinical cases.

Certified Phlebotomy Technician[16]

This certification helps one learn to draw blood from blood donors and patients. It helps evaluate the patient’s comfort during the procedure. Candidates need only a GED or high school diploma or equivalency, along with some supervised work experience, to apply for this certification.

Additional Resources for Associate
Students in Chemistry Programs

Associate degree in chemistry online students can tap into the many benefits and resources professional organizations offer their members. Seeking membership in one or more of them will help individuals develop professionally and personally. Here are a few to explore: 

Title/ResourceDescription
The American Institute of Chemists[17]This organization fosters the advancement of chemists in the United States. They aim to promote and protect the public’s welfare by establishing and maintaining ethical standards of practice for this occupation and encouraging efficient and competent services.
American Association for Clinical Chemistry[18]The AACC is a scientific society dedicated to clinical laboratory science and its applications to various aspects of healthcare. It has over 8,000 members working in diagnostic companies, governmental agencies, clinical and research laboratories, etc.
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology[19]This organization aims to advance the science of molecular biology and biochemistry by publishing educational and scientific journals, advocating for funding primary education and research, organizing scientific meetings, and promoting diversity of professions entering the workforce.
International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry[20]This organization promotes fundamental science and contributes to chemistry’s central interdisciplinary sciences. It is the authority worldwide on chemical nomenclature, standardized measurement methods, atomic weights, terminology, and other data critically evaluated
American Chemical Society[21]ACS is a non-profit scientific association enabling practitioners and a global community of members in chemistry. They aim to broaden chemistry enterprises and individuals by working on strategic initiatives that will actively commit and cultivate an equitable, inclusive, and diverse community of professionals in chemistry.

FAQs About Online Associate
Chemistry Programs

How long does completing the associate’s degree in chemistry online take?

An associate in the chemistry program can be completed in two years if pursued full-time. The program generally requires at least 60 credits. Part-time associate students would require at least three years to complete.

Are there accelerated online chemistry associate degrees?

Is an associate’s degree in chemistry worth it?

What can you do with an online chemistry associate’s degree?

What do chemists generally do?

How much does an associate’s degree in chemistry cost?

Can you transfer your credits from an associate’s degree in chemistry?

Author Bio:

Nikita Nath

Nikita is a psychologist working primarily with children using a child rights-based approach. She also writes content for various websites and blogs on diverse topics, focusing primarily on academia. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, and discovering different coffee-making techniques.

Degrees

Bachelors in English, Journalism, and Psychology; Masters in psychology with clinical specialization

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

  • 2 years of experience working as a content writer with various start-ups
  • 1 year of experience working as a child psychologist with Insight
  • Working on various projects of inclusion for neurodivergent children
  • 2+ years of experience teaching psychology online

Disclaimer:

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