The Best Associate Degrees in Data Science to Kickstart Your Career

The world is more dependent on data than ever before, and data scientists are the key to unlocking the value in the large datasets that we have generated. If you want to become a data scientist, the best Associate Degrees in Data Science can be a starting point.

Pursuing an associate degree makes you eligible for many entry-level jobs in the industry. It is also an affordable and quick way to master the skills you need to become a professional data scientist. Read on to learn more about the best data science degrees at your disposal.

Overview: The Top 10 Associate Degrees in Data Science

This guide will highlight the top Associate Degrees in Data Science. The table below covers the tuition cost and online availability of each program. Tuition figures were sourced from the schools’ own websites. Do remember to also check each institution’s current COVID-19 response as it may affect in-person study.

School and Degree State Tuition Online Option
Coastline College
Associate of Science in Data Analytics
CA $46 per credit hour (in-state)
$307 per credit hour (out-of-state)
Yes
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Associate of Science in Data Science Technology
FL $2,520 per year (in-state)
$9,648 per year (out-of-state)
Yes
Hocking College
Associate of Applied Science in Data Analytics
OH $7,050 per year (in-state)
$11,560 per year (out-of-state)
Yes
Nashua Community College
Associate of Science in Data Analytics
NH $215 per credit (in-state)
$323 per credit (regional)
$490 per credit (out-of-state)
Yes
Normandale Community College
Associate of Science in Data Analytics
MN $ 5,234 per year* Yes
Northwestern Connecticut Community College
Associate of Science in Data Science
CT $3,984 per year (in-state)
$11,952 per year (out-of-state)
Yes
Sinclair College
Data Analytics, Associate of Applied Science
OH $126 per credit* (in-county)
$173 per credit* (in-state)
$329 per credit* (out-of-state)
$7.50 per credit (online course fee)
Yes
Southern New Hampshire University
Associate of Science in Data Analytics
NH $9,600 per year Yes
St. Petersburg College
Associate of Science in Data Science
FL $112 per credit hour
(in-state, lower-division)
$123 per credit hour
(in-state, upper-division)
$387 per credit hour
(out-of-state, lower-division)
$426 per credit hour
(out-of-state, upper-division)
Yes
Tunxis Community College
Associate of Science in Data Science
CT $3,984 per year (in-state)
$11,952 per year (out-of-state)
Yes

*Includes mandatory fees

What Is an Associate Degree in Data Science?

This degree is a data science program that lasts for two years. It is often offered by community colleges. On the education scale, this degree is below a bachelor’s degree. However, it can help you land entry-level jobs in the field.

There are a lot of jobs you can do with an Associate Degree in Data Science. You can become a data analyst, data scientist, business analyst, or machine learning engineer. The program often covers topics like data visualization, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

Why You Should Get an Associate Degree in Data Science

An Associate Degree in Data Science gives you a lot of career options. You can apply for entry-level jobs in different sectors. Data scientists are not only needed in tech. They also work in many other industries.

  • Flexible work environment. Data scientists often have a flexible working arrangement. Since their work can be done remotely in some cases, they can choose to work from home.
  • Potential for growth. The profession has strong potential for growth. Data science covers a lot of other topics, like statistics and programming. It can make it easy for you to grow in the field or transition to another.
  • Affordable degree. Associate degrees take two years to complete and are usually a lot cheaper than regular universities. Still, an associate degree will make you eligible for entry-level jobs.

In Detail: The Best Associate Degrees in Data Science

Below you can find summaries of each program. Some programs listed here are classified as Associate of Applied Science (AAS), while others are Associate of Science (AS) programs. Either of these degrees can be a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree, but the former is more practical.

Coastline College | Associate of Science (AS) in Data Analytics

This data analytics associate degree provides a solid foundation for students to thrive in the data science field. It prepares students for entry-level jobs as data analysts and operation research analysts, among other roles. Main topics in the curriculum include system analysis, SQL queries, statistics, applied predictive analytics, and research methods.

AS in Data Analytics Pros

  • Transferable credits
  • Broad curriculum
  • Affordable

AS in Data Analytics Cons

  • Not enough student support

Florida State College at Jacksonville | Associate of Science in Data Science Technology

This program teaches the acquisition, cleaning, and analysis of data. Students also learn how to extract insights using statistical systems and processes. The curriculum covers retrieval issues, identification of data sources, and data security.

AS in Data Science Technology Pros

  • Solid curriculum
  • Affordable tuition
  • Good student support services

AS in Data Science Technology Cons

  • Poor allocation of faculty resources

Hocking College | Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Data Analytics

This program focuses on teaching students modern data analytical methods. They learn skills for data analysis such as critical thinking, systems evaluation, and active learning and listening. Graduates possess strong skills in independent learning, problem-solving, and project management.

AAS in Data Analytics Pros

  • Hands-on learning
  • Affordable tuition
  • Well-trained instructors

AAS in Data Analytics Cons

  • Cannot transfer credits

Nashua Community College | Associate of Science in Data Analytics

The program offers a strong base for people who want to develop data analytical skills. It allows students to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Data Analytics. It is a blend of data analytics, computer science, and mathematics.

Students learn all they need to handle large datasets and use the insights to make decisions. It offers a hands-on training approach. Students also take on real-world projects.

AS in Data Analytics Pros

  • Hands-on approach
  • Broad curriculum
  • Credits are transferable

AS in Data Analytics Cons

  • Weak faculty support

Normandale Community College | Associate of Science in Data Analytics

This program introduces students to data science. It combines computer programming, the tools of statistics, and mathematical analysis. Students learn all they need to enter the workforce. They can also choose to transfer credits to a bachelor’s program.

AS in Data Analytics Pros

  • Online programs
  • Affordable tuition

AS in Data Analytics Cons

  • High student-faculty ratio

Northwestern Connecticut Community College | Associate of Science in Data Science

The program teaches students to apply scientific and mathematical principles to data science. Also, students learn to use the knowledge they gather to interpret technological processes. The curriculum also covers data science principles and teaches students good communication skills.

AS in Data Science Pros

  • Credits are transferable
  • Tuition is affordable
  • Instructors are highly qualified

AS in Data Science Cons

  • Low graduation rate

Sinclair College | Data Analytics, Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

This data analytics program prepares students for entry-level positions that require the setup and usage of data analysis solutions. Students learn to extract, wrangle, curate, and visualize data. The curriculum involves data modeling, mathematical and statistical techniques, database concepts, SQL, and project management.

Data Analytics, AAS Pros

  • Solid curriculum
  • Affordable tuition
  • Online options

Data Analytics, AAS Cons

  • Poor support for students

Southern New Hampshire University | Associate of Science in Data Analytics

This program gives students a technical understanding of data analysis. Students learn how to solve organizational problems using data. They also learn to communicate the findings to both technical and non-technical staff. The curriculum covers how to apply the standards of data analytics to meet an organization’s needs.

AS in Data Analytics Pros

  • Transferable credits
  • Affordable tuition
  • Financial aid available

AS in Data Analytics Cons

  • Too rigorous for some

St. Petersburg College | Associate of Science in Data Science

This program covers how to find and model data for big data and predictive analysis. Students learn to document and generate reports that summarize financial, business, or economic data. They make such reports available for managers, executives, and stakeholders where necessary. Students also engage in practical work.

AS in Data Science Pros

  • Hands-on training
  • Learner-centered
  • Transferable credits

 AS in Data Science Cons

  • High student-faculty ratio

Tunxis Community College | Associate of Science in Data Science

This data science associate program prepares students for a higher degree such as a Bachelor’s Degree in Technology Management or Data Science. The curriculum covers science, mathematics, data literacy, general education, and programming.

Data science students also learn the principles of data science and mathematical concepts. They will become proficient in testing, production, development, and research.

AS in Data Science Pros

  • Transferable credits
  • Broad curriculum
  • Affordable tuition

AS in Data Science Cons

  • Low graduation rate
Online vs In-Person Associate Degrees in Data Science

Online vs In-Person Associate Degrees in Data Science

Online associate degrees in data science make it possible for you to balance your social life and school. You do not need to commute to a specific location. So, you can attend school from a thousand miles away if you want.

Remote learning also makes it possible to study when it suits you. This means you will have enough time to spend with your family and continue to work.

In-person associate degrees can make it easier to engage with your peers and teachers, whether you attend part-time or full-time. You can also participate in hands-on activities and use the labs. However, this could come at a high cost. You may need to spend money on parking, transportation, food, or rent.

However, in-person learning may be advantageous to people who prefer face-to-face instruction. These students may find it difficult to connect with others online. Some online programs have arrangements to cater to such students.

Benefits of an Online Associate Degree in Data Science

  • Affordability. With an online associate degree, you can save costs that would have been used to pay for transportation and rent.
  • Flexibility. An online associate degree offers you an opportunity to learn at your own pace. This means you can balance school with your private life.
  • Extra support. Most online associate degree programs offer one-on-one support to help students remain accountable.

Benefits of an In-Person Associate Degree in Data Science

  • Better socialization. It is easier to bond with classmates you can see and interact with.
  • Networking opportunities. You can easily connect with instructors and your colleagues since you see them often.
  • Hands-on learning. It is a lot easier to show a person physically than to use recorded or live videos.

How to Pick the Best Data Science Associate Degree for You

When you decide to earn an Associate Degree in Data Science, you will be faced with a multitude of options. What should you look out for before making the final decision?
One main consideration is accreditation. Attending an accredited school will make it easier to transfer credits or find a job. Other factors to consider are the following.

Transferability of Credits

As a prospective student, you should find out if the school can transfer credits. You may not be sure of your future educational plans. If you intend to further your education, you need to ensure that the school allows the transfer of credits. It will make the process seamless when the time comes.

Quality of Training

You need to determine the quality of the training you will be receiving. Check the curriculum to discover if it covers the topics you are interested in. Also, does the school provide support? Students always need advisors to help them through rough patches.

Hybrid Programs

Hybrid programs allow you to get a taste of both worlds. It is recommended for technical fields. Students learn both online and in person. Generally, the theoretical parts of the training are online while the technical parts take place on campus.

How Much Can You Earn With a Data Science Associate Degree?

A data science associate degree can increase your earning power. Entry-level jobs in the field are lucrative and the demand is high. According to ZipRecruiter, the average entry-level data scientist makes about $68,000 per year. As the demand gets higher, your earning potential could rise as well.

The Top Data Science Associate Degree Careers

Profession Average Salary
Entry-Level Business Intelligence (BI) Developer $74,609
Assistant Database Administrator $62,206
Entry-Level Operations Research Analyst $61,111
Entry-Level Business Analyst $51,444
Entry-Level Market Research Analyst $49,611
Entry-Level Statistician $49,165
Entry-Level Data Analyst $43,250

Why You Should Study Data Science in 2021

Data science has become more important in recent times as a way to predict customer behavior. Different industries collect data and need a data scientist to translate the data and inform their decisions for the business.

If you study data science, you could be improving your employability for a data-driven future. Also, you could earn a higher salary than workers in other sectors.

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