How to Become an Associate?

Are you thinking of becoming an Associate or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become an Associate, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Associate job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become an Associate

Do you want to become an associate team member, retailer, salesperson, or executive? Find out how to land an associate position, including the skills you'll need, the education you should pursue, and the ways to advance your career. Browse open jobs, career transitions, and salary information for associate positions. Use these five steps to guide you to landing a position as an associate:

Gain job experience.

The role of associate exists in many career fields. Depending on your interests and training, you can become an associate in retail, management, research, and many other fields.

To become an associate in a retail or sales environment, you'll need some job experience. After you finish high school or get your GED, look for open positions at retailers where you would like to work. Cashier or inventory positions are a good place to start if you can't find an associate job; they'll give you skills that employers look for when hiring retail associates. Build your customer service experience, too.


Pursue a degree.

If you're looking for an associate position in the corporate world, it's time to go back to school. Many people pursuing associate roles have either a two-year associate's degree or a four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited university. While getting your degree, look for classes that will help you move forward with your career. Business, finance, and management classes are all good options for most people in associate roles.

What type of degree should you pursue to become an Associate?

83% of people working as an Associate earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be an Associate?

  • Requests
  • User Interface
  • Datastage
  • No High School
  • Database Programming
  • Frameworks
  • Request for Proposal
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as an Associate in the United States.

Look for an internship.

Finding job experience while you're in school isn't necessary for all associate positions, but having that extra on your resume will always help you land a job. If a position in your chosen field isn't available, you may be able to shadow an associate for a few days to get a feel for the job. You'll get a look at what working as an associate will look like.


Build your experience.

Seek out associate jobs in your chosen industry. Pay attention to job titles during your job search. Some employers will use the word associate for entry-level positions, while others use it to indicate a few steps above entry-level. Don't be afraid of taking an entry-level job that will get you in the door and learning the skills to be promoted to associate.


Go for higher education.

When it's time to step into an associate manager or associate account executive role, a master's degree will help. A master's degree in business administration or finance will open up associate positions in a variety of business and tech industries.

Look for schools that offer a concentration in the field in which you want to work. For example, if you're eyeing an associate director position at a nonprofit, find a master's program with courses in nonprofit management. For those looking to break into a new industry, a master's can help you make that shift. It also helps keep your skills and your resume updated.

Associate Career Path


8+Years of Experience
$44K - $68K /yrMost Likely Range
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Senior Associate

2 - 4Years of Experience
$68K - $108K /yrMost Likely Range
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Lead Associate

5 - 7Years of Experience
$40K - $64K /yrMost Likely Range
Learn More

Total Pay Trajectory

Associate Career Path

Summer Intern Associate
Assistant Manager of Legal
Senior Associate
Associate Manager
Lead Associate
Senior Manager of Legal
Principal Associate
Senior Principal Associate
Director of Legal
Senior Director of Legal
Vice President of Legal

Related Careers in the consulting Industry

Interested in other consulting careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Associate skills. Discover some of the most common Associate career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Team Manager
No skills overlap
8% transitioned to Team Manager