Online English Associate’s Degree

By Nikita Nath

Updated March 15, 2024

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.


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

On this page
Back to top

Students with a strong interest in reading and writing, who enjoy being creative, and who are interested in developing professional abilities for their future careers are the ideal candidates for the online English associate’s degree program. Providing a solid foundation in the language, an English associates degree will help students become better writers, readers, and thinkers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median annual wage of $51,000 for various fields of English[1]. Students at the associate level learn about different kinds of literature; they will understand how to read and analyze literary sections and go through various genres, enhancing their creative and critical thinking.

English Associate’s Degree

Best Online English Associate’s
Degree Programs

When choosing an associate degree in English, students need to consider various factors that will help them choose the best online associate degree. These include program support and resources, affordability of the program, accreditation to regional and national bodies, quality of faculty, and curriculum offered. Considering the option to transfer credits to advanced degrees, like a bachelor’s, is also advisable. Based on these and other critical components, here are some of the best online English associate’s degrees in the U.S.: .*

Mission College (Mission or MC), founded in 1975, is a public community college in Santa Clara, California. Part of the West Valley–Mission Community College District, the college offers various associate degrees and certificate programs in disciplines spanning business to public service and social sciences.
Univ Address
Mission College(ONCAMPUS) 3000 Mission College Blvd, Santa Clara, California 95054

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 Online English Associate’s
Degree Program

An online English associate’s degree can lead to an affordable path for students to prepare for a career in public relations, technical writing, journalism, and other fields. The associate’s program will help them transfer to a bachelor’s degree should they choose to continue with their education. The curriculum of an associate degree in English prepares students for their baccalaureate program by creating a strong foundation in the development of writing, research, critical thinking, and communication skills, including English grammar and foreign languages.

Throughout the program, students learn to illustrate originality and creativity in writing genres like contrast-comparison, exposition, narrative, poetry, and so on. They also learn how to analyze and critically think through verbal and written skills and develop the ability to think differently about the works of great authors. One also develops the skills to demonstrate mastery of mechanisms in English syntax and grammar.

Some programs also focus on developing foreign language skills where students will be able to demonstrate at least an intermediate level of skill in grammar, syntax, and mechanism of the foreign language chosen. The online English associate’s degree is often between 60 and 72 credits, divided between general education, program-specific courses, program electives, and institutional requirements. Students complete some basic courses along with their electives and concentration courses on topics related to English. Some of the sample core courses that one can expect from an online English associate degree are:

  • English Composition
  • Intensive Writing
  • Intensive English Composition
  • Math for Liberal Arts
  • Creative Writing Foundations
  • Introduction to Literature
  • English Journalism
  • Journalism: Feature Writing
  • Playwriting
  • Environmental Literature
  • Film
  • Fictional Writing
  • Comics and Graphic Narrative
  • Journalism: News Writing
  • Native American or Indigenous Literature
  • Asian American Literature
  • Women in Literature
  • Introduction to Shakespeare
  • Contemporary Urban Literature
  • Modern European Novel
  • World Literature from the Early Modern Era to the Present

Across the curriculum, students cover creative writing, composition, and literary analysis, which can be applied to different fields of study. The program helps them develop knowledge related to foundations in writing, literature, rhetoric, and research. They will also be able to create original work which will respond to a particular audience or is written for a particular purpose.

More information on an associate’s degree is available in the Associate’s Degrees Online Student Guide.

Degree Types for Online English Associate’s
Degree Programs

The common types of English associate degree programs and their variations available in the U.S. are the Associate of Arts in English, Associate of Arts in English Communication and Management, Associate of Arts in Literature, and Associate of Arts in Language, Literature, and Writing. These degrees vary in curriculum and program structure; however, they all focus on preparing students for academic careers in the field.

Associate of Arts in English

The Associate of Arts in English or AA in English is designed for students who intend to transfer to a four-year college to pursue an undergraduate degree in English and related subjects. This degree comprises interdisciplinary courses and electives that will provide them with core skills in the language while helping them analyze ideas and critically examine them. Students looking to extend and broaden their understanding of literature and progress their own writing skills can pursue this degree.

Associate of Arts in English Communication and Management

The Associate of Arts in English Communication and Management equips students with essential skills to help them communicate and think critically. This degree Is best suited for careers in various sectors like entertainment, news media, health care, public administration, journalism, and more. Upon completing this degree, students will be able to read, interpret, analyze, and evaluate textual materials across genres, media, and traditions.

Associate of Arts in Literature

The Associate in Arts with an emphasis on English Literature focuses on cultural and literary studies. Students will learn how to analyze literature and perform academic research related to different works of literature that utilize ethical standards and scholarly practices. They will also be able to effectively use oral and written communication to meet the needs of various contexts.

Associate of Arts in Language, Literature, and Writing

The Associate of Arts in Language, Literature, and Writing degree develops skills in information literacy, written communication, multicultural awareness, critical self-reflection, problem-solving, group communication, and analysis and research. This degree is best suited for those intending to pursue diverse careers in public relations, paralegals, journalism, public service, government, etc. After completing the program, students will be able to transfer to an English degree at a four-year college.

Areas of Specialization for Online English Associate’s
Degree Programs

Specializations help students pursuing an English associates degree dive deeper into a particular area within the broader domain of English. The concentrations in English are usually represented according to traditional periods like the Medieval, Eighteenth Century, etc. Concentrations could also be offered based on ethnicity, nationalism, and race. Here are a few to explore:

Area of Specialization Description Career Options
Language and SocietyThis concentration focuses on the cultural aspects of languages, how they are used in society, and how they vary across and within society. Students learn how to represent cultures in which they would function.Translator, teacher, linguist, blogger, interpreter, etc.
LiteratureThis concentration focuses on interpreting, placing imaginative literature, and reading in different interpretive contexts. It aims to deepen students’ engagement with literature and emphasizes various literary works.Teaching, jobs in the publishing industry, writing, etc.
Rhetoric, Writing, and CultureThis concentration focuses on different kinds of writing, like writing a corporate budget, novel, film script, etc. The program is taught at various levels, including rhetoric, cultural studies, and linguistics. It studies the components of languages systematically.Web authoring, copywriting, speech writing, technical writing, etc.
Creative WritingIn this specialization, students will learn how to use written language to narrate enjoyable and interesting stories and write texts that will engage and inspire the audience. They will be able to challenge themselves with creative thoughts and problem-solving.Content writer, grant writer, copywriter, journalist, blogger, communications specialist, etc.
Poetry and PoeticsIn this specialization, students go through a theoretically varied and historical study of poetic theory and poetry. They learn about different influential works and learn the language of poetry. They analyze poetry as a medium of artistic expression.Poet, literary scholar, translator, etc.
Medieval/RenaissanceThis specialization encourages the critical understanding of different multicultural histories, artistic traditions, and literature of the Arab-Islamic and European worlds.Writer, poet, teacher, content writing, etc.

Why should I do an Online English
Associate’s Degree?

In an online English associate’s degree, students are taught to analyze, read, and apply a wide range of literary selections from varied genres to enhance their creativity, analytical skills, and critical thinking abilities. Students explore different areas in this program, like American literature, English literature, Bible as literature, creative writing, etc., that can open the doors to various roles across a variety of industries. This degree program can be helpful for those intending to pursue a degree at a four-year institution or take up entry-level jobs right after completion.

The online English associate’s degree program benefits those who want to understand how to be more confident and creative with using the English language. Throughout the program, students work collaboratively, connecting their core subject English and other specializations like drama, theater, language learning, art, humanities, etc.

After completing the program, students can demonstrate a wide range of skills, including the ability to:

  • show in-depth knowledge and insight into different specializations that can enhance teaching and learning at varying levels of education;
  • use practice-led research and cutting-edge theory to develop structured and planned programs that can be used flexibly to meet the different pedagogic and cultural contexts;
  • demonstrate creativity and originality in writing different genres like contrast-comparison, argument, poetry and/or drama, exposition, narrative, etc.;
  • showcase efficient skills and mastery of mechanics in grammar and syntax of English;
  • demonstrate at least an intermediate level of skills in grammar, syntax, and mechanics of any foreign language;
  • demonstrate verbal and written skills with the ability to think efficiently about various authors and their notable work and knowledge of critical literary canons;
  • display expertise in written and oral communication that will help in diverse fields of education, public relation, technical and business writing, etc.; and
  • showcase in-depth knowledge and expertise in topics like medieval literature, modernist studies, media & digital studies, African American literature, etc., which will help build curricula in schools and colleges.

Free Courses for Online English Associate’s
Degree Students

Free courses are one of the ways by which students can amass more knowledge about their academic fields beyond their regular program coursework. Many free English associate degree courses are accessible to students to build more knowledge and expertise in their field. A point to note is that one must not regard these free courses as accredited programs. Although these courses are helpful to students, they must not be seen as replacements for an associate program or course. Still, here are a few courses to look at:

Course Description Provided by
English for Career DevelopmentThis course is designed for speakers whose native tongue is not English or individuals who want to advance their careers and need to build essential skills in English. The course helps students improve their language skills on various fronts.Coursera
The English LessonsThis platform offers more than 10 units that students can access, and each unit has more than 4 lessons. These lessons can be availed by students wanting intermediate lessons in English. They can also be used by those who wish to improve their English pronunciation and understand other specifics of the English language.The Learn English Network
Upper-Intermediate EnglishThrough this course, students will understand the usage of nouns, adjective complements, embedded questions, etc., and improve their intermediate skills in English.Alison

How to get into the Online English Associate’s
Degree Program?

Students must meet some fundamental requirements to enroll in an online English associate’s degree program. While admissions standards may differ from college to college, high school students who wish to pursue this degree should ideally be proficient in English. Some of the standard requirements for an English associate degree are:

  • Application form with prescribed fee
  • Grade point average or GPA of 2.5 or more
  • High school/GED transcripts
  • Proof of English language proficiency (not required by all colleges)
  • Statement of Purpose or Personal Statement
  • ACT and SAT scores (requirements differ by the institution)
  • PSAT scores (at some institutions)
  • Test of English as a foreign language (for non-native speakers)

How Long does it take to complete the Online English
Associate’s Degree Program

An associate degree in English can range from 60 to 90 credits. The program usually takes between 1 and 3 years to complete. Usually, when students complete the degree full-time, they can finish it in two years or less. However, many students cannot complete the course-load full-time and hence take up the part-time option, which stretches the duration of the program to at least 3 years.

Accreditations for Online English Associate’s
Degree Programs

Accreditation is a voluntary standardized process by which independent accrediting agencies determine an institution’s or program’s quality. Colleges offering associates in English typically accredit their programs from The Commission on the English Language. In other instances where programmatic accreditation is unavailable, it is always advisable to look for colleges that have been nationally or regionally accredited. The six primary accrediting bodies in the U.S. 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)

Students can check the official website of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to see if a competent authority accredits their institution of choice. Read the Guide to College Accreditation to understand more about accreditation and its importance.

How to Pay for an Online English
Associate’s Degree?

The cost of an English associate degree would differ from program to program. The cost of in-state tuition is almost always lesser than out-of-state tuition. Fortunately, online students do not have this constraint, along with other expenses, such as transportation, meals, accommodation, etc. One can fund one’s associate degree through several financial aids available for college students, such as:


Scholarships are awards in the form of money that students do not need to repay unless the award recipient fails to meet the terms of the award granted and the rules established by the institution. Scholarships can come from community groups, individuals, state and federal governments, universities, and colleges.


Grants do not need to be repaid and are mostly considered to be free money. Like scholarships, they come from different sources like state and federal governments, businesses, non-profits, and educational institutions. While some grants are merit-based, most are based on the applicant’s financial needs.

Student Loans

Financial institutions and banks offer student loans against interest. These loans are a compelling option for those who do not qualify for federal aid and need additional funds. However, one should remember that falling back on repaying loans can mount one’s debt and affect their credit standing in the long run.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA is an application form to determine one’s eligibility for federal financial aid.

FAQs Related to the Online English Associate’s
Degree Program

What aspects of English are covered under the online English associate’s program?

The associate’s degree in English involves studying the English language and literature in forms like novels, stories, and plays. Students learn the many components of English, like different genres in literature and intermediate-level skills like syntax and grammar, written skills, and more.

What can you learn with an associate’s degree in English?

What are the benefits of doing an associate’s degree in English?

Can you teach English online with an associate’s degree?

What are the courses in an associate’s degree in English program?

How much would an associate degree in English cost?

How does an associate degree help with one’s academic career?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after an Online
English Associate’s Degree

There are over 1.7 million people employed in all fields of English, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most work in educational instruction and library occupations. Although many careers require additional academic qualifications and certifications, an English associate degree can open the doors to entry-level jobs and place one on a sure path to success. Because English is vast in scope and reach, it is hard to narrow down the potential growth of occupations or specify the exact roles one could take up. Nevertheless, here are a few occupations that provide a fair idea of what English students can expect as they progress in their studies and enter the field:

Occupation Job DescriptionSkills RequiredMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2030)
Preschool TeachersPreschool teachers typically work in private and public schools and even childcare centers. They care for and educate children younger than 5 years who are not studying in kindergarten yet. Preschool teachers need a minimum of an associate’s degree to work.Reading skills, writing skills, communication skills, management skills$30,21015% (much faster than average)
Childcare WorkersIndividuals working as childcare workers attend to the needs of children to help foster their early development. They work in childcare centers, private households, or even their own homes.Communication skills, creative thinking, problem-solving skills, compassion, empathy$27,4906% (as fast as average)
Advertising Sales AgentsAdvertising sales agents sell advertising spaces to different individuals and businesses. They are often responsible for meeting sales quotas. They work in advertising agencies, television, and media.Analytical skills, decision-making skills, creative thinking skills, communication skills$52,340-8% (decline)
Teacher AssistantsTeacher assistants usually work with licensed teachers to be able to give additional attention and instructions to students. They work at childcare centers, religious organizations, schools, etc.Planning and instructional skills, communication skills$29,3605% (as fast as average)
News Analysts, Reporters, and JournalistsNews analysts, journalists, and reporters keep the public updated about important recent events. They are often employed by newspapers, radio stations, television stations, etc.Analytical skills, decision-making skills, communication skills$48,370-9% (decline)

Certifications and Licensing for Online English
Associate’s Degree Students

Professional certification demonstrates the unique skills and levels of competency one has in a particular field or function. Certification indicates to the public and potential employers that the candidate is competent and professional and has the necessary skills and expertise to do their jobs. Although certifications usually require education beyond the associate level, it is not uncommon to find some that disregard this requirement. Examples of certifications associate degree in English online could consider are:

The Test of English as a Foreign Language

The Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL is an English language certificate program accepted widely worldwide. This certification is essential for students who want to use their English language certifications at foreign universities.

The International English Language Testing System

The International English Language Testing System or IELTS is designed to help students with professional, migration, and study-related opportunities in countries where English is spoken as a native language. Students are assessed on their ability to read, listen, speak, and write in English.

The Test of English for International Communication

The Test of English for International Communication or TOEIC scores benefits students who intend to complete internships that require skills in the English language. Many employers use this exam as a measure of candidates’ English proficiency.

ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages

ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages or AAPPL is an assessment of standards based on learning of language across three modes of communication – presentation, interpersonal, and interpretive skills. The National Standards prescribe these skills for learning a foreign language.

Additional Resources for Online English Associate’s
Degree Students

Students pursuing an online English associate’s degree should tap into resources to help develop their skills, abilities, and knowledge beyond the book. Several professional organizations and sites offer seminars, workshops, journals, webinars, career advice, etc., and an insight into what the industry requires. Some examples are:

National Council of Teachers of EnglishThe National Council of Teachers of English supports teachers and students in various settings like classrooms, college campuses, online learning, and more. Its members work through collaboration and shared experiences.
American EnglishAmerican English is a resource center for learning and teaching American English, culture, and language. This website provides many engaging resources and materials that aid in one’s professional development and academia.
Modern Language AssociationThe Modern Language Association provides opportunities for members to share their teachings and findings with other members and discuss different trends. They host annual conventions and seminars that help collaborate with members of various other organizations.
Shakespeare Association of AmericaThe Shakespeare Association of America is a non-profit organization that works for the advancement of academic studies of the plays and poems of William Shakespeare, his theoretical and cultural contexts, and the roles those played in the overall world culture.
Linguistic Society of AmericaThe Linguistic Society of America aims to advance the scientific study and application of languages. It plays a critical role in disseminating linguistic scholarships to students, professional linguists, and the public in general. The organization has peer-reviewed scholarly research, open-access journals, and conferences.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Outlook for English (field of degree)

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.


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


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.