Associate Degree in Accounting

What is an Associate Degree Program in Accounting?

This degree is designed for candidates who wish to achieve a distinctive command on accounting principles, along with mathematics and business concepts. This is a two-year degree program that sets the degree holders on a path to accounting excellence. It is equally useful for beginning a professional career as it is for continuing education with a bachelor’s program.


Accountants earn a median salary north of $70,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as technology takes over almost all forms of businesses and professions, the demand for irreplaceable professions, such as accountants, is only set to grow in the near future. Proficiency in accounting also opens doors to other career avenues that are not strictly financial, such as teaching and free-lancing. In other words, an associate degree in Accounting is a sure shot step towards a financially stable future.

Following information details what to expect as you pursue the degree program, including different courses that you are likely to study, the admission and qualification requirements, future career opportunities, as well as potential salary slabs. There are also frequently asked questions at the bottom of the article to provide any additional information you may need to make this decision.

What Future Options Do You Have With an Associate Degree in Accounting?

  • Opt to Continue Accounting Education:Accounting is not a subject that is easy to grasp at higher levels of education, especially if a candidate did not get introduced to the complex concepts during their primary or high school education. That’s where an associate degree comes in handy. It prepares and equips candidates with the basic accounting principles and sets them on a path to learn and master complicated accounting concepts at higher levels of education.The most common educational path chosen after obtaining this associate degree is Bachelor’s in accounting. That is also the commonly accepted minimum requirement for most advanced careers in the field. A bachelor’s degree builds on the knowledge and skills that a candidate achieves from an associate degree.
  • Directly Enter Workforce at Entry Level:Some candidates choose to go directly into the professional world with this associate degree and then learn the more complex practices on the job. While most accounting professions have the basic requirement of a bachelor’s in accounting as their hiring criteria, there are entry level jobs available that can pave the way for higher accounting jobs as well.The way forward for this choice would be usually to pursue certified public accountant credential, which is a requirement for many forms of professional accounting practices. However, that is a step that comes in the line of work instead of being the foundation stone, so a beginning of professional career is a possibility right after the associate degree.
  • Alternative careers: There is also the possibility of specialized practices, or research oriented education such as PhD in accounting. There are other less accounting-intense career opportunities like teaching.

List of Potential Careers With an Associate in Accounting Degree

  • Bookkeeper.
  • Accounts Payable Clerk.
  • Accounts Receivable Clerk.
  • Payroll Clerk.
  • Accounting Assistant.

What Do You need To Do to Get an Associate Degree in Accounting?

Associate Degrees are much easier to obtain than regular college degrees because they do not require length dossiers proving previous qualifications. For accounting, this is even more important because higher degree programs in accounting prefer candidates who have educational background in accounting and are familiar with the complex concepts of the subject.

For an Associate Degree in Accounting, a candidate will typically only need a high school diploma, a GED, or an equivalent qualification. The requirements of GPA vary from institution to institution, and while some traditional colleges might require minimum percentage points, most community colleges offer open enrollment. Irrespective of this, however, all candidates will have to clear an assessment of mathematics and writing skills at the time of enrollment.

Other than academic prowess, a good eye for detail and proficiency in reading and quickly understanding numbers will also be beneficial for aspirants of accounting.

What to Expect During the Degree?

The associate degree will cover foundational understanding as well as more advanced topics. Therefore, a candidate should expect an amalgamation of easy, introductory courses – along with some coursework related to economics, finance and business studies – and more advanced courses dealing purely with accounting principles and concepts.

The overall requirements for such an associate degree will typically involve 60 to 65 credits of coursework. Some institutions might also offer internships during the course of study for a more professional exposure to the study.

Some programs offer accelerated associate accounting degrees, but generally full-time students will be able to finish the degree in two years. For part-time students it may take longer.

Different Types of Associate Degrees in Accounting

While the overall theme of the degrees would be relevant to accounting, there are sub-categories from which candidates may choose. They are:

  • Associate of Arts in Accounting.
  • Associate of Science in Accounting.
  • Associate of Applied Science in Accounting.

Can an Associate Degree in Accounting be Obtained Online?

Online education is getting popular even outside of the necessity of pandemic precautions. It is more affordable, more convenient and candidates can finish their degrees while pursuing other educational or professional goals. Furthermore, all coursework related to accounting can be finished online, without needing practical experiments, unlike biology or chemistry.

The candidates will have to make the decision on whether distance learning is suitable for them or not, but as a general rule online courses do offer more flexibility. The students will have to maintain discipline in their study time table themselves, but online learning can be a great way to compound educational skills without needing to halt the regular life routine. Candidates may also “try out” online learning before deciding on whether to enroll full time or continue distance learning.

Accreditation

Like any other subject, for an accounting degree as well it is important to research the institution and the offered programs. An accredited degree will offer many advantages, including transference of credits, application for financial aid, pathway to certified public accountancy, etc.

The chosen program should be accredited by an agency that specializes in the field, such as one of the following:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
  • International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

How to Select the Best Institution for an Associate in Accounting Degree?

There are several helping tools to guide candidates in making the best choice of college for obtaining an associate degree in accounting. Cost of the program, format of courses, location, and size of student body, pre-enrollment services, and professional preparation are some of the factors that should be considered before enrollment.

Additional opportunities offered by the college that may help towards reduction in tuition fee may also be considered. These can include internships, networking events, and memberships in student organizations.