Many schools offer associate degree programs in e-commerce or business administration with an e-commerce concentration that can be completed entirely online, though hybrid programs are also available. Students take courses in computer basics and in business fundamentals such as accounting, marketing and organizational behavior. Courses in e-commerce cover the principles of online merchandising, website development, multimedia development and information security. Some programs may require internships.
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Associate of E-commerce Administration
Many e-commerce associate degree programs are available fully online under different titles, such as the Associate of Science (A.S.) in Business Administration with a concentration in e-commerce or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in e-commerce. However, the programs generally provide similar instruction in computer technology and business skills.
Graduates of an e-commerce associate degree program will be prepared for entry-level work as e-commerce specialists, Web product managers or e-commerce sales managers. Graduates with an entrepreneurial spirit can also gain the skills necessary to begin their own Internet business.
Program Information and Requirements
Typically, e-commerce associate degree programs can be completed in two years. Online programs can be self-paced, but choosing to attend less than full time will increase the time it takes to complete the program. Students entering an e-commerce associate degree program should have basic computer skills, including familiarity with popular word processing, database and spreadsheet applications. Classes are delivered via online learning management systems, and communication with professors and classmates occurs through e-mail and video chat.
Students must fulfill certain fundamentals courses while studying for their e-commerce associate degree. These general education requirements include English composition, technical writing, statistics or business math and certain computer classes, such as programming fundamentals, database applications and spreadsheet fundamentals. Examples of program core courses are outlined below.
Students study business accounting, learning the best practices in tracking of receivables, payables and inventories. Students also train in the utilization of their tracked data for the preparation of financial statements, such as income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements.
In economics courses, students train in macroeconomic theory. Topics include theories of supply and demand, monetary policy, employment and income.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing classes expose students to marketing principles as those principles relate to social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook. Students acquire strategies for analyzing the products to be marketed in order to selectively target consumers through social media.
Students utilize advertising conventions in order to develop strategies for the placement of advertising and promotional programs in a cyber-environment. Additionally, students develop metrics for analyzing the success of advertising initiatives.
Website Development and Programming
This class prepares students to design and develop user-friendly and intuitive websites. Topics such as markup languages, web browsers and their inconsistencies, and static versus dynamic Web pages are typically covered.
Those students who receive their associate degree in e-commerce administration may opt to work as e-commerce specialists or Web product managers for online retailers, as well as brick-and-mortar retailers who are developing online retail sites. According to Payscale.com, entry-level e-commerce employees with less than one year of experience earned a median annual salary of $45,781 as of November 2016.
Continuing Education Information
Recipients of an associate degree in e-commerce may choose to pursue a bachelor's degree program in computer science or business in order to better situate themselves for advancement in the industry. Students can also find online bachelor's degree programs from other related areas, such as the Bachelor of Science in Internet Technologies for E-Commerce or Bachelor of Applied Science in Internet and Web Development.
Students in an online associate degree program in e-commerce administration learn skills related to marketing, advertising, economics and accounting. Graduates may find work as e-commerce specialists for businesses, and further education is available at the bachelor's degree level.