The 25 Best Associate in Accounting Degree Programs
| Staff Writers
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An associate degree in accounting is a great way to enter the workforce quickly, and with less potential debt than a bachelor’s degree. An associate degree can help you get an entry-level position in a variety of fields. This guide will help you find the right accounting program for you.
An associate degree is a good choice for recent high school graduates or individuals who have been working for a while but want a new career path without the time investment of a more advanced degree. An associate degree is generally the minimum requirement to work as an accountant.
An associate in accounting is a good choice for students looking for a career, but who do not want to commit to a four-year degree. An associate degree takes less time and money than a bachelor’s and can lead to an entry-level position and lucrative career path. This degree teaches the basics of accounting and builds on existing skills, especially in math. Students learn to manage money and expenses, accounting laws and regulations, fiscal ethics, and develop an understanding of the economy.
Earning an associate degree is a great choice for students who want to enter the workforce as quickly as possible. An online degree is a good option for working professionals who want to change careers or advance an existing career.
While this degree helps qualify graduates for jobs, it can help out in other ways, such as through networking. Students can benefit from working with professors, and peers might be able to help with jobs opportunities you’d otherwise miss out on. Some programs offer internships, job placement, and other benefits to students. These benefits can be found in on-campus and online programs.
What Can I Do With an Associate in Accounting?
Accounting associate degrees can prepare you for a number of careers, many of them are entry-level positions which can lead to career advancement with work experience. The career paths below offer an idea of the types of positions you can enter with this degree.
These professionals carry out different tasks for their employers, including handling transactions,
which is one of the main differences between financial clerks and other clerk roles. With available
jobs in a wide range of industries, this career path is expected to see continued growth over the
These professionals focus on payroll and keep track of employee hours to ensure that employees are
paid correctly. They might be in charge of payroll entirely at a smaller business, or work as part
of a larger team at a corporation or payroll management firm.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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How to Choose an Associate in Accounting Program
Choosing an accounting associate degree can be difficult. While personal preferences can be a deciding factor, there are some other aspects to keep in mind, such as program duration. A typical associate degree takes about two year, but there are ways to reduce this time. Consider if you want to live on campus or off campus. Finding a school near your home might be the best choice, and in most cases, staying in your state of residence will mean a more affordable tuition.
Cost is a deciding factor for many students, so look into funding options. Federal student loans and private scholarships can make a big difference. If you’re already working, raising a family, or have other obligations that take up a lot of time, you might consider an online program. These can be more flexible than on-campus programs. The school you attend might offer classes both on-campus and online, which can help students with professional or personal obligations. Consider the available classes and whether the program teaches aspects you find interesting.
Programmatic Accreditation for Associate in Accounting Programs
Accreditation is an important part of higher education that many students should consider. Accreditation, either by a national or regional board, means a school provides a quality education. You can generally find the school’s accreditations by searching the colleges website.
Some professional organizations, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), accredit programs. Earning a associate in accounting from a program with accreditation can give graduates an edge in the job market. It’s worth considering such programs when deciding where to apply. This is not to say that other programs aren’t good, but accreditation looks better to employers.
Applying to an associate program is easy, since most programs are intended for first-time college students. As such there are fewer requirements. Learners should consider applying to several colleges at the same time to improve their chance of acceptance; three to five schools is a good amount.
If a school requires letters or essays for an application, make sure each piece is unique to the college. Applying to fewer schools can help make the application process more manageable. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to complete applications.
Application: College applications collect basic contact information.
Transcripts: Transcripts must be sent from former schools you have attended. Schools usually charge a small fee.
Application Fee: This fee is used to make sure applicants are serious about attending the school. Associate degree application fees are generally small.
Many students who finish an associate in accounting eventually pursue a bachelor’s degree. Some job positions require a bachelor’s degree, and many states require a bachelor’s level of education in order to qualify for the certified public accountant exam. A bachelor’s degree can make you more competitive on the job market and is required for an advanced degree.
Accounting: A bachelor’s in accounting will build upon an associate degree. It is likely you will have already taken some of the required courses.
Business Management: Students who want to work in leadership roles can benefit from a bachelor’s in business management. Business management builds upon knowledge of accounting and helps students develop new skills.
Economics: Knowledge of accounting can help inform students of the more practical side of an economics degree and develop valuable skills in the field.
What Else Can I Expect from an Associate in Accounting Program?
While details vary from one program to the next, there are multiple factors to keep in mind while searching for a program. This section covers common courses, how long your program might take, and tuition cost.
Courses in an Associate in Accounting Program
Every associate in accounting degree covers similar concepts, though topics are often presented in different courses with varying titles. The list below is not exhaustive, but will give you an idea of the classes you’ll be expected to take throughout your program.
Principles of Accounting: Among the initial classes in the degree, this course introduces the basic concepts of accounting, allowing you to build on concepts over the course of your degree. You’ll discuss how accounting fits within the larger context of business and economics overall, and the kinds of tasks you’ll be expected to perform as an accountant.
Business Logic and Ethics: This course teaches the logic behind common business decisions and practices, as well as business ethics. Students discuss the importance of ethics, how ethics impact decisions, and how to maintain ethics in the workforce.
Payroll Accounting: In this course you’ll discuss the basics of payroll, including calculating, processing, and ensuring employees are paid correctly. You’ll learn how payroll expenses are reported for tax purposes, both for a business and employees.
Principles of Economics: This course discusses how different economies work together. Students study microeconomics and macroeconomics to see how businesses fit into local, state, federal, and even global economies.
Accounting Applications: Modern accounting uses software to help streamline the accounting process and allow accountants to check accuracy. In these courses, you will learn how to use the most popular programs and gain practical experience.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate in Accounting?
An associate degree in accounting typically requires 90 credits and about two years to complete. There are some factors that can affect this length, for instance, attending part time can lengthen program duration. Taking more than a full course load or summer courses can speed up the process, since the two-year timeline assumes that students take the summer off.
Online programs sometimes offer accelerated or intensive courses which allow students to do the same amount of work in less time. Some programs also allow students to count certain high school courses or work experience as college credit. These options are not as common for on-campus programs, though they do exist.
How Much Is an Associate in Accounting?
For the the academic year, an associate degree costed about $21,000. Costs vary by school, depending on a number of factors. Living on campus tends to be more expensive, while taking online courses can save money. The largest factor is tuition, which can change yearly at many institutions. Tuition rates are set by each school. Fees, books, and other costs should also be factored into tuition.
Finding housing off-campus can make a significant difference in the overall cost of a degree. Completing your degree quickly will not necessarily reduce the cost of tuition, but it can mean spending less money on housing. Applying for financial aid options, such as federal student loans or private scholarships, can help the cost of your degree. Many schools offer financial aid packages, scholarships, and financial aid departments specifically to help students.
Joining one or more professional organizations can help your career, even before you finish your associate in accounting. These organizations can help you advance your career by providing educational resources, professional development, networking, job search assistance, and even financial aid during college. Many of these benefits can help you during school as well, by connecting you with established professionals who can provide guidance or mentorship.
What Are the Best Associate in Accounting Programs?
The following associate degrees in accounting are among the nation’s top-rated accounting programs, measured against our proven methodology of stringent standards such as quality of curriculum, reputation, and graduation rates, among others. Here are the top campus associate in accounting programs for 2019.
With a main campus in Wesson, Mississippi, Co-Lin is a part of the Copiah-Lincoln Community College District. This 106-year-old institution offers over 37 programs to the people of Southwest Mississippi.
The accounting technology program offered at all three campuses of Co-Lin prepares its students for entry-level accounting positions. The curriculum also enhances the skills of persons currently employed in accounting who wish to advance in their field.
The program provides a foundation for students transferring to a four-year college or university to pursue a specialized degree in accounting. The two-year course provides students with a career certificate, a technical certificate, and an associate in applied science degree on completion.
Applying to Co-Lin
Applicants must hold a minimum ACT composite score of 14. The online application also requires enrollees to submit their official high school transcripts.
Program at a Glance
School type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC Tuition: $150/credit (in state); $250/credit (out of state) Required credits: 60 credits Program length: 2 years Delivery format: On campus
The accounting technology program at Northeast prepares students for entry-level accounting positions in accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and inventory management while also developing the skills necessary for future advancement.
The 60-credit curriculum integrates accounting and computer operation with training in payroll accounting, income tax accounting, computerized accounting, and Microsoft Office applications.
Applying to Northeast
Those seeking admission must possess a minimum of 2.0 GPA. Enrollees can complete an online application or apply in person at the Ramsey Hall- Booneville campus, Northeast at New Albany, or Northeast at Corinth. The admissions process also requires students to submit their official transcripts from all previous institutions.
Program at a Glance
School type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC Tuition: $1,825/semester (in state); $3,465/semester (out of state) Required credits: 60 credits Program length: 2 years Delivery format: Online and on campus
EMCC is a public community college in Scooba, with seven locations to serve six counties in East Central Mississippi. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 17-to-1, the public community college offers 48 career and technical programs to prospective students.
The accounting technology program includes basic core courses designed to prepare students for a variety of entry-level positions in the public and private sectors and government agencies. The 60-credit program includes course topics such as cost accounting, payroll accounting, and QuickBooks.
Applying to EMCC
The admissions process requires all prospective students to complete an online application. Applicants must also present proof of a minimum ACT score of 14 in English, 14 in math, 14 in reading, or ACCUPLACER scores of 21 in pre-algebra, 39 in writing, and 64 in reading.
Program at a Glance
School type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC Tuition: $165/credit (in state); $265/credit (out of state) Required credits: 60 credits Program length: 2 years Delivery format: 100% online
CWC is a community college serving Fremont, Hot Springs, and Teton Counties that offers certificate programs, associate, and bachelor's degrees. The college is also home to Wyoming PBS, the state's only public broadcasting station.
CWC's accounting program prepares its students for entry-level jobs in finance and accounting at a small business or government. While the course is mainly a transfer curriculum designed to help students acquire background skills needed to complete a four-year degree, it also helps launch careers in business and industry accounting as account paraprofessionals.
Students typically learn subjects such as principles of accounting, macroeconomics, business calculus, and legal environments of business. The program also offers public speaking and business communication courses to facilitate a holistic and practical understanding of the subject.
Applying to CWC
As an open-enrollment school, CWC accepts all students who successfully submit their applications. Applicants, however, must submit their official transcripts through fax or email.
Program at a Glance
School type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $4,680/year (in state); $10,980/year (out of state) Required credits: 61 credits Program length: 2 years Delivery format: On campus
Established in 1970, Lewis & Clark offers over 40 associate degrees and certificates. Located in Godfrey, Illinois, the college has multiple campuses, a river research center, a humanities center, a training center, and a community education center which reach into seven counties.
The AAS degree offered by the business department of Lewis & Clark prepares students for entry-level jobs in accounting or specialized jobs as accounting paraprofessionals. The program also provides a holistic understanding of the technicalities of accounting through courses on computer software relating to accounting and finance.
The 60-credit program includes course topics such as statistics, tax accounting, principles of macroeconomics, and financial management. In addition, students already possessing an associate or bachelor's degree from an accredited university may earn the AAS degree by completing 30 credits of approved business courses.
Applying to Lewis & Clark
Interested students can apply to L&C via anonline application or in person. Admission requirements include submitting official high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores.
Program at a Glance
School type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $125/credit (in state); $500/credit (out of state) Required credits: 60 credits Program length: 2 years Delivery format: On campus