Data Science Associate Degree Online

By Brandon Mario D`Souza

Updated November 8, 2023

Brandon Mario D’Souza

Brandon is a registered social worker with Social Work England. He obtained his master’s in social work (personnel management & industrial relations) and used it in fields such as water treatment, construction, software, and education. Then he transitioned to the health and social care sector with an M.Sc. in health psychology. Brandon loves to write, cook, and play musical instruments (piano, guitar, melodica, ukulele, and kazoo) and enjoys the calmness and serenity of nature.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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Data science is a field that is interdisciplinary and uses scientific processes, methods, and algorithms to extract knowledge and understanding from either structured or unstructured data and apply this knowledge from the data collected across different domains. An associate degree in data science program would involve understanding how real-world experiences will help to allocate and acquire data and use it as a model for the predictive analysis of big data. Doing a data science associate degree online could be very profitable for students as it is a field that is in huge demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for data scientists is increasing at 36%, which is much faster than average for other professions[1].

Best Data Science Associate Degree
Online Programs

Choosing the best online associate’s degree could be challenging. When selecting an associate degree in data science online, students should understand the credits they would earn to pursue their bachelor’s program or enter the workforce directly. Other factors to be considered are the program’s cost, curriculum, field experience, faculty quality, and accreditation. Some of the best data science associate degree online colleges and programs are mentioned below: *

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 Data Science Associate
Degree Online Program

The data science associate degree online is a degree designed for transfer to a four-year college in various data science or related fields. Students will learn how to implement and develop different techniques or applications in analytics to transform data in raw form into meaningful and sensible information. They would also learn to use data-oriented programming languages and software for visualization. Students can apply data modeling, mining, machine learning, and natural language processing to analyze and extract information from unstructured and large datasets.

Each college has different requirements that students need to meet to attain an associate’s degree in data science. The curriculum ranges between 17 and 61 credits, which can be completed online, offline, or hybrid delivery modes. The coursework will focus on crucial aspects of data science and varies by institution.

Associate data science programs teach students the skills and knowledge needed to work as data scientists in different industries. The coursework includes programming, database concepts, computer logic and design, and more. Students will also be required to complete a one to four-credit internship before the final semester in the program. Through the coursework, students will learn where data comes from, different uses of data, and the meaning of data. They would also learn about the business strategies data scientists need to use. One also learns the use of advanced tools needed to process large sets of data from different types of sources.

Students of the associate program are expected to complete certain basic courses along with electives on data science topics. Some of the sample core courses one can expect from a data science associate degree online program are:

  • Introduction to Machine Learning
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Calculus
  • General Education Humanities
  • Multicultural Psychology
  • Data-Based Marketing
  • Money and Banking
  • Fundamentals of Data Science
  • Data Visualization
  • Database Concepts
  • Algebra
  • Business Fundamentals
  • Advanced Programming
  • Database Statistics
  • Biostatistics
  • Business Intel and Analytics
  • Biology of Molecules and Cells
  • Introduction to Programming
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Visual Media
  • Fundamentals of Communication
  • Introduction to Statistical Methods
  • Business Analytics
  • Software Design
  • Web Engineering
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Design Project Management

Students can identify relationships and patterns in massive data sets through the program’s curriculum. They will be able to make data-driven decisions and resolve business questions through informed tactical strategies and effective communication. Students can get jobs as data scientists, data analysts, statistical assistants, and database administrators upon graduation.

To understand more about the structure of an associate data science degree, read the Associate’s Degrees Online Student Guide.

Degree Types for Data Science Associate
Degree Online Programs

Different types of data science associate degree programs are available across the United States. The three primary types of degrees students can choose from are an associate of arts in data science, an associate of science in data science, and an associate of applied science in data science. The curriculum of each of these different types of data science programs could differ in their orientation; however, their basic structure would be the same.

Associate of Arts in Data Science

The Associate of Arts in data science or AA data science is a degree that helps students pursue pathways to various data science fields. It is an academic program offered at the undergrad level. It provides students with the skills, knowledge, and expertise needed to progress to a bachelor’s degree or enter the data science workforce. Students do not need prior data science knowledge or skills to join this program.

Associate of Science in Data Science

In the Associate of Science in data science or AS data science program, students will get a solid foundation in the subject. The degree prepares students for entry-level jobs as operation research analysts, data analysts, and other roles, thanks to its technical and practical approach to data science.

Associate of Applied Science in Data Science

In the Associate of Applied Science in data science or AAS data science program, students are taught modern data analytical processes and methods. The program also focuses on skills for data analysis, like systems evaluation, active learning and listening, and critical thinking. After completing the program, students would possess strong skills in problem-solving, project management, and independent learning skills.

Areas of Specialization for Data Science Associate
Degree Online Programs

Specializations are the areas students choose based on their strengths and interests. While choosing specializations in data science, students need to focus on their career prospects and interests in the specific sub-fields of data science. Many associate degree data science specializations help students build expertise and gain industry recognition in particular areas. Some of these include:

Area of Specialization Description Career Options
Data Mining and Statistical AnalysisIn this specialization, students are taught how to identify and discover functional structures from given data and map them together to understand the information.Data analysts, business analysts, statisticians
Strategy-Making and Business IntelligenceIn this specialization, students learn how to cultivate back-end data sources with the highest accuracy.Data strategist, BI engineer, BI Developer, BI Analyst
Data EngineeringIn this specialization, students learn to use and convert data into a meaningful format so they can use them for intense analyses of data.Database professionals, data engineers, and data analysts.
Data VisualizationThis specialization is about representing data responsibly and presenting information in a graphic form.Data visualization engineer, data scientist, software developer
Data Architecture and Database ManagementIn this specialization, students understand how to maintain the database for multifaceted transactions of data-supporting services, groups of services, and applications.Database administrators, database professionals, data specialists
Operations-Related Data AnalyticsIn this specialization, students learn to seamlessly sync data from a data warehouse into the front-line tools end-users use. They learn to automate processes better, improve communication among cross-functional teams, and draw up more efficient workflows.Decisions analysts, planning analysts, operations analysts
Cognitive Specialists and Machine LearningIn this specialization, students learn about developing artificial intelligence and algorithm-based solutions for various tasks and problems.Data scientists, researchers, AI specialists, ML engineers
Market Data AnalyticsIn this specialization, students learn about different verticals of expertise to supervise different levels of organizations.Product analysts, web analysts, and market analysts.

Why should I do a Data Science Associate
Degree Online?

There are many benefits of doing an online associate’s degree in data science. Through this program, students can learn about getting a technical understanding of data analysis. They will learn how to solve problems in organizations using different datasets and formulae and apply data analytics standards to meet an organization’s needs. This program is suitable for those students who want to do predictive analysis and make models for big data, and document and generate reports to summarize business, economic, and financial data. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a data science associate degree salary could be nearer to the average of about $100,910 a year, with additional qualifications and work experience leading to higher pay.

Many disciplines require professionals with data science knowledge; therefore, a data science associate degree online program could be the starting point for individuals who want to pursue an education or a career in this field. When students finish their data science associates degree, they will be able to display different types of skills, such as the ability to:

  • work in a precise manner while showcasing accurate and transparent skills with high professionalism;
  • explain the development of computer programs along with details of the data analytic life cycle;
  • apply concepts of fundamental data science and algorithms to be able to perform exploratory and modeling data analysis;
  • demonstrate a strong background in data science academics and show expertise in content related to data science;
  • use effective techniques and strong materials to be able to develop and design detailed code to manipulate the data for interpretation and analysis;
  • demonstrate the ability to critically interpret, organize, describe, and examine different kinds of data;
  • statistically reason by using real-world data and see how these details can be applied to everyday life;
  • construct different types of solutions to real-world problems by using methods of problem-solving; and
  • use the concepts of data mining, predictive modeling, project & operations management, statistical analysis, and data warehousing in various settings.

Free Courses for Data Science Associate
Degree Online Students

Many free courses are available online that would facilitate a student’s journey into understanding the field of data science better. Students could take such free data science courses to gain an in-depth understanding of the subject. However, prospective students should not consider these free courses equivalent to an associate degree. Some examples of free data science associate degree courses that could help with studies and exams are:

Course Description Provided by
Data Science-Working with DataThis course helps students learn how to acquire the information they need for projects and recognize how to use different data sets through research, programming, and methodology in data science.Alison
Principles, Statistical and Computational Tools for Reproducible Data ScienceIn this course, students learn to develop the skills and tools needed to support data science and produce research. They are taught concepts, analysis paradigms, computational and statistical tools, and thought patterns. The course also highlights key elements to develop new methods for reproducible research, how to write reproducible papers, and research reporting.Harvard University
IBM Data Science Professional CertificateIn this course, students learn how to build hands-on data science skills using different professional data scientists’ languages, tools, and libraries.Coursera

How to get into the Data Science Associate
Degree Online Program?

Different institutions have different requirements for entry into an associate’s program. Colleges list specific basic requirements students must fulfill to be accepted into the data science associate’s program. In some colleges, students must submit a short essay outlining their goals. In contrast, some schools require students to take preparatory courses before starting their online data science associate degree program. There is no requirement for knowledge of programming languages for this associate degree. Some of the standard requirements for a data science associate degree are:

  • Application form with prescribed fee
  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Grade point average or GPA of 2.5 or more (some colleges accept a lesser GPA)
  • English language proficiency (not required by all colleges)
  • Statement of purpose or personal statement
  • ACT and SAT scores (requirements differ by the college)
  • Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test or PSAT scores

How Long does it take to complete the Data Science
Associate Degree Online Program

The associate degree in data science consists of 17 to 61 credits, depending on the program’s curriculum. It could take about 2 years to complete the associate degree in data science program if the student opts for full-time study. Students working either part-time or full-time would prefer to complete the program in part-time online mode, which typically extends the duration of the program. The length of the data science program would also depend on how many classes the student takes in a particular semester and the speed with which they complete their coursework as well.

Accelerated Data Science Associate Degree
Online Programs

Accelerated associate programs help students in finishing their degrees in a shorter period. These fast-paced options allow them to complete a two-year program in about 12 to 18 months. In an accelerated associate program, students can transfer up to almost 45 credits toward a bachelor’s degree. In doing so, students will be able to extend their academic pursuits in data science and earn their bachelor’s degrees faster. Accelerated data science associate degree programs are offered by the American Military University, Southern New Hampshire University, etc.

Accreditations for Data Science Associate
Degree Online Programs

Accreditation is a voluntary process for quality improvement and assurance. This process is carried on by independent agencies where institutions verify programs to ensure that they meet or exceed the standards and norms prescribed by these regulating bodies from time to time. Therefore, while applying to associates in data science programs, students should check the accreditation status of their college. Some of the accrediting bodies in the U.S. are:

The Data Science Council of America provides accreditation to data science programs. Students can refer to the accreditation database provided by the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, regulated by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).

  • 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)

Read the Guide to College Accreditation to better understand the accreditation process and its importance.

How to Pay for a Data Science Associate
Degree Online?

The cost of a data science associate degree might stop students from even considering the degree. An associate’s degree in the U.S. typically ranges from $7,600 to $10,950. Many students go for part-time and full-time jobs, which help them fund their education. Apart from the option of working, students have other funding possibilities that include:


Scholarships are a form of funding that will not need to be paid back unless the student fails to meet the requirements under which they were given the scholarship. Scholarships are awarded by different sources like community groups, state governments, individuals, etc.


Grants can be awarded based on the financial needs and merit of the student. They are frequently given out by federal and state governments, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations. Grants, too, do not need to be repaid.

Student Loans

Students can take up educational loans provided by banks, federal governments, and financial institutions. Taking a loan is often tricky because they come with interest, which, fortunately, some grants for student loans can cover. There is also the option of looking for donors for student loans to avoid loan repayment.


FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a freely accessible form to check if one is eligible for federal financial aid. The FAFSA student aid guide explains what it is and how to apply for it.

Learn more about financial aid to understand how to pay for college.

FAQs Related to the Data Science Associate
Degree Online Program

What many credits would you need for an associate degree in data science?

Students usually require 17 to 61 credits to complete an associate degree in data science. Some of these associate degree programs could also require 65 to 70 credits.

What is the data science associate degree salary?

The median pay for a data scientist is $100,901 per year (2021), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, it is worth noting that associate degree holders may not earn so much and would require further education and some work experience.

What are the employment opportunities in the data science field?

What skills will students learn from an associate degree in data science?

What job roles can students pursue in the data science field?

What does the curriculum of the associate degree in data science entail?

What is the difference between data science and data analytics?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after a Data
Science Associate Degree Online

There is a 36% increase in the job outlook for the field of data science, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A data science associate program is useful for students who want to pursue the profession of data science with entry-level jobs or further their studies in the data science field through a bachelor’s program. Some of the roles and job titles a data science associate degree holder can come across include:

Occupation Job DescriptionSkills RequiredMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2030)
ActuariesActuaries are professionals who use math, statistics, and finance theory to understand how there can be risk and uncertainty in different fields. An actuary is a special kind of data scientist specializing in a certain level of a particular prospect.Computational and mathematical skills and analytical skills$105,90021% (much faster than the average)
Financial AnalystsFinancial data analysts work with different kinds of data and develop different skills. They also design financial tools for reporting and compile instruments of financial decision-making.Statistical skills, analytical skills, and problem-solving$95,5709% (as fast as average)
Operations Research AnalystsOperations research analysts support cyberspace operations, operational-level planning, contingency operations, and intelligence. They use various methods, which would include forecasting, interpreting data, and data mining.Detailed-oriented skills, decision-making skills, and problem-solving skills$82,36023% (much faster than average)
Market Research AnalystsMarket research analysts usually try to understand how to collect valuable data through direct consumer contact and field research. They also collect data on competitors, products, and consumers.Decision-making skills, detailed oriented skills, and verbal communication skills.$63,92019% (much faster than average)
Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and TestersSoftware developers usually design computer applications and programs for computers. Software testers and software quality assurance analysts help identify the problems, understand the reports’ defects, and develop better applications or programs.Analytical skills, problem-solving skills, and technical skills.$109,02025% (much faster than average)

Certifications and Licensing for Data Science
Associate Degree Online Students

Professional certifications allow students to grow outside of their academic fields and gain extra knowledge in the area. A student who has completed an associate degree in data science online could opt for certifications that will help them understand what the field of data science entails beyond the textbook. It will also help them understand the different concentrations of data science and what field of data science they might want to continue their education in or work at. There are many certifications an associate student of data science can opt for, such as:

Cloudera Certified Associate Data Analyst

This certification is a bit advanced and will help understand a data scientist’s role in generating different kinds of reports. Students analyze various types of challenges in the field of data science and learn how to overcome them.

Data Science Council of America Senior Data Scientist

Through the data science council of America senior data scientist certification, students will be able to prepare themselves for the different roles that data scientists play in big organizations. They will be exposed to research analytics and understand other mechanisms like spreadsheets and databases.

Principal Data Scientist

Through the certification of Principal data scientist, students will be able to develop different skills and readiness to perform challenging leadership roles in the field of data science. They will also understand how to build competence and strategic potential across various organizations.

Data Scientist-Advanced Analytics

The certificate in Data Scientist-Advanced Analytics helps students assess knowledge with the help of data visualization techniques, analytics projects, operationalizing, and advanced analytics. Students learn to perform an initial analysis of different data sets and understand the data analysis lifecycle.

Students pursuing associate degrees in data science will not be applicable for licensing in the data science field. An advanced degree in data science with at least 2 to 3 years of experience (with one year of experience in data science) is required for licensure. However, most jobs in the private sector do not require licensure.

Additional Resources for Data Science Associate
Degree Online Students

Students pursuing a data science associate degree online can access different kinds of professional organizations across the country to further their careers in this field. These organizations provide students with different types of opportunities like resources in data science, collaboration with experts working in the field, scholarships or grants, internships, and on-field experiences. Students will also be able to understand the inner workings of the field by becoming members of these organizations. Some options to consider are:

United States Data Science InstituteThe United States Data Science Institute is a global leader in providing credentials and learning the details about the data science profession. They provide futuristic and advanced certification programs in data science.
Association of Data ScientistsThe association of data scientists is one of the premier professional bodies of data science and machine learning professionals, recognized globally. The association leads in the dissemination, development, and implementation of knowledge. They also focus on resources related to basic and applied research in data science.
American Statistical AssociationThe American Statistical Association is an educational and scientific society founded to promote excellence in the different applications of statistical sciences across various fields. It promotes education, development, and research in statistics and data.
Data Science Council of AmericaThe Data Science Council of America is one of the biggest organizations that works on the standards, certifications, accreditation mechanisms, and knowledge frameworks that will help frame the next generation of learning, education, and professional development in data science.
Institute for Operations Research and Management ScienceThe institute for operations research and management science, or INFORMS, is one of the leading international associations for professionals in analytics, management science, operations research, statistics, data science, applied mathematics, and more. It promotes the best practices in these fields and enhances the ability to network.

Author Bio:

Brandon Mario D’Souza

Brandon is a registered social worker with Social Work England. He obtained his master’s in social work (personnel management & industrial relations) and used it in fields such as water treatment, construction, software, and education. Then he transitioned to the health and social care sector with an M.Sc. in health psychology. Brandon loves to write, cook, and play musical instruments (piano, guitar, melodica, ukulele, and kazoo) and enjoys the calmness and serenity of nature.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.


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.