Compare Popular Online Biology Programs


An online associate degree in biology is a great way to start an academic career. A two-year community college diploma requires that students complete the core college curriculum while getting a strong start on the study of biology. Students also enjoy far lower academic costs, and the convenience of online education means they can still work or take care of their families.

Biology students will be able to use their associate degree courses to explore some of the key parts of biology. Somewhat surprisingly, biology students can even take laboratory courses from their remote locations. There, they gain a lot of exposure to the biology lab and may conduct some experiments of their own. Depending on their courses, online students may need extra equipment at home or be able to find various biological samples for the sake of their assignments.

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  • An associate degree enables students to start their college career without having to skip a beat in their life. Students can complete a degree program in only two years and never have to move or make it to class on time. Online courses enable students to study biology through the online portal of any community college that supports online learning. Thus, earning an online college degree won't include additional costs for moving and setting up home in a new town.
  • Community college degree programs also offer tremendous financial benefit. Credit hours from a community college tend to be far less expensive than those from four-year colleges or universities. However, some online students may take courses from an out-of-state community college, which may mean additional costs. However, there are some online biology degree programs that do not charge their online students an out-of-state premium.


  • Students should consider the negative aspects of an online biology degree at this level, as well as the positives. Perhaps the biggest problem online students have is the lack of structured classes. Due dates are often fluid and, since there are no scheduled class sessions, it’s easy to delay doing the vital reading and studying necessary to successfully complete the course. The amount of self-discipline required for online courses sometimes seems impossible. However, students will find that if they can form the necessary study habits, they will have a very easy time with online education.
  • Online biology courses, in particular, may suffer from the lack of hands-on learning. Virtual laboratory sessions may demonstrate great technological feats, but some students need the tactile sensation. Students may also want the presence of their instructor during their lab time. However, instructors are just a quick email away, and some may even offer a phone number where they can respond to a text or call.

Top 5 Best Online Associate in Biology Programs


Barton Community College

Score: 86.06

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $3,904
    • Out-of-State: $4,832
  • Net Price: $9,073
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Retention Rate: 50%
  • Graduation Rate: 41%
  • Total Enrollment: 4,269
  • Undergrad Students: 4,269
  • Graduate Students: N/A
  • Grads Salary: $33,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • Barton Community College

Texas State Technical College

Score: 82.05

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $7,192
    • Out-of-State: $11,842
  • Net Price: $17,306
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Retention Rate: 55%
  • Graduation Rate: 37%
  • Total Enrollment: 10,601
  • Undergrad Students: 10,601
  • Graduate Students: N/A
  • Grads Salary: $38,500
  • Student-to-faculty: 13:1
  • Texas State Technical College

Community College of Denver

Score: 77.08

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $4,902
    • Out-of-State: $17,136
  • Net Price: $9,633
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Retention Rate: 55%
  • Graduation Rate: 18%
  • Total Enrollment: 7,292
  • Undergrad Students: 7,292
  • Graduate Students: N/A
  • Grads Salary: $39,000
  • Student-to-faculty: 20:1
  • Community College of Denver
  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $5,916
    • Out-of-State: $13,812
  • Net Price: $6,323
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Retention Rate: 47%
  • Graduation Rate: 15%
  • Total Enrollment: 9,091
  • Undergrad Students: 9,091
  • Graduate Students: N/A
  • Grads Salary: $35,300
  • Student-to-faculty: 17:1
  • Midlands Technical College
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Allen Community College

Score: 71.2

  • Undergraduate Tuition
    • In-State: $4,200
    • Out-of-State: $4,480
  • Net Price: $9,225
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Retention Rate: 51%
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Total Enrollment: 2,007
  • Undergrad Students: 2,007
  • Graduate Students: N/A
  • Grads Salary: $23,300
  • Student-to-faculty: 18:1
  • Allen Community College

Certificate Vs. Associate

A certificate is one option that some who are interested in the natural sciences may require, even if they earn an associate. This option is very valuable for those who are eager to start work immediately. Certificate programs usually take less than a year and satisfy the standards for many professions in areas such as allied health, technology, and skilled trades.

An associate degree, on the other hand, is a full academic credential that provides a stronger foundation for later learning. Students in associate degree programs complete the full general education college curriculum on top of their major degree courses. This means that they can easily continue to a biology bachelor's degree if they choose. Further, employers are surely more interested in resumes that reflect an associate degree than those with certificates.

What Biology Associate Degrees are Available Online?

  • Associate of Science in Biology:
    This degree option takes a traditional scholarly approach to its subject matter. Students focus on established, scholarly sources for their work and abide by the standards of academic scholarship when it comes to citing sources, etc. AS degrees are usually STEM related including degrees in mathematics, biology, biological sciences, computer science, health sciences, and information technology.
  • Associate of Applied Science in Biology:
    This degree option focuses on practical matters. In an associate of applied science degree program for biology, for instance, students may have their courses focus on laboratory techniques or job-related functions. While this is a great option for those who want to launch a career in a mere two years, those who wish to pursue a full bachelor's degree may have to re-take some classes or otherwise fill in some gaps to make up for the lack of scholarly rigor. This degree may also be available in majors such as biology, biological sciences, health sciences, other natural sciences, etc.
  • Associate of Arts in Biological Sciences:
    This degree option generally goes to students who study subjects in the arts and humanities. Thus, students of English, political science, philosophy, or history, to name a few, may earn an AA degree. Some fields, such as some business degrees, may offer the option to have their diploma reflect either an associate of arts or an associate of science.

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Admission Requirements to Enter an Associate in Biology

The admission requirements for most online biology degree programs at the associate level are generally not very stringent. Students can often enroll in a community college with a high school diploma, or a general equivalency degree, and no exam scores. Community colleges also work with students no matter their grade point average.

Typically, a college's admissions standards for traditional courses are the same as for their online degree programs. Most will require that students take a battery of tests to measure their overall ability. The results will determine whether students need more remedial help in areas such as writing, reading, and mathematics or if their skills allow them to exempt introductory coursework.

How long Does it Take to Earn an Associate Degree in Biology Online?

An online associate college degree in biology is designed to take students two years. This assumes a full-time courseload and a summer vacation. However, students may finish sooner if they are allowed to take extra courses and if they take summer courses. This applies to both online and traditional students alike.

Some students may find that they can complete their associate biology degree in less time when they choose online courses. This is because there are fewer, if any, scheduling conflicts involved with online learning. Students can even take their laptops on travels and keep up with classes.

What Can I Do with an Associate Degree in Biology?

  • Laboratory Assistant:
    Lab assistants are a vital part of any laboratory environment. Lab assistants keep inventories of lab equipment to make sure everything is accounted for. They then manage the orders for new equipment. Lab assistants are also in charge of cleaning all the equipment to ensure maximum sterility for lab experiments.
  • Research Assistant:
    This is a great way to gain field experience in biology. While some research assistants are stuck in the office pouring over data sets or organizing their professor's materials, others are in the field. Often there are long-term studies where research assistants may be involved with environmental surveys, for instance.
  • Pharmacy Technician:
    This is a great way for a biology student to gain exposure to a career in pharmacy. Pharmacy technicians are often the primary point of contact for customers who need a friendly and helpful person to work with them. While there are specialized credentials for pharmacy technicians, a biology major could land an entry-level position in a pharmacy, with the assumption that they will go on to complete a certificate program.
  • Veterinary Assistant:
    Animal lovers with an associate biology degree should consider a career as a veterinary assistant. Veterinary assistants should have a calm demeanor and the ability to work with animals who may be less than thrilled with their visit to the veterinarian. Biology students who want to work in the veterinary field may consider focusing their studies on animal anatomy and zoology.
  • Dental Assistant:
    These dental health workers assist their dentist through a variety of tasks including dental x-rays, cavity filling, and some oral surgeries. Dental assistants can benefit from their biology degree because they have exposure to scientific methods as well as aspects of anatomy that may impact their work. Dental assistants may decide to earn credentials to become a hygienist, or they might decide to build on their associate degree coursework to become a dentist themselves.

How to Choose the Right Online Biology Program for You

It's important to choose the right online associate biology degree program for you. Determining which program will best suit your needs involves evaluating your long-term goals. Students who are interested in using the associate biology degree as a steppingstone to a full bachelor's biology degree should seek out an Associate of Science degree program. Those who are more interested in getting to work after two years of study should consider an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Students should also evaluate their goals with their biology degree. Those who intend on using their degree as a steppingstone to a career as a medical doctor or perhaps as a dentist (or some other health/wellness provider) should evaluate each program's curriculum. They will want to take courses that focus on human anatomy and its systems. Students who are more interested in animals should look for programs that include zoology and animal anatomy courses.

Since biology necessarily includes laboratory courses, students should pay attention to the lab courses offered. While most of the time, an online biology degree program will feature some sort of virtual approach to laboratory work, not every program will be equal. Students should investigate how each biology department solves this issue. The various virtual laboratory approaches are sure to appeal to some students more than others.

Students should also look at the broader associate degree courses. Students should ensure that this aspect of their education will support them in their intellectual growth and development. After all, at least half of an associate degree student's time will be consumed with courses in mathematics, composition, history, and other aspects of the core curriculum. Those who are interested in pursuing a bachelor's biology degree will eventually need to take courses in calculus and physics and it may be advantageous to take these courses in a community college.

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Sample Courses for an Online AS in Biology

  • Composition and Rhetoric:
    This course is the proverbial English 101 that teaches students how to write academic papers.
  • Biology 101:
    This introductory course presents fundamental principles of biology and is often a broad overview that includes anatomy, botany, zoology, cell biology, and more.
  • Human Anatomy:
    This may be part of a biology degree or an allied health certificate or degree program.
  • Organic Chemistry:
    This is a vital part of biological studies. It's often considered one of the toughest courses and serves as a major hurdle for pre-med students.

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