The Best Associate in Accounting Degree Programs of 2022

Updated November 7, 2022

Learn about the best associate in accounting programs, including how long it takes to earn a degree and how much it costs.

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An associate degree in accounting helps students enter the workforce quickly and with less debt than a bachelor's degree. Graduates can pursue entry-level positions as bookkeepers, accounting clerks, or billing specialists. Discover the top associate programs in accounting plus associated costs, typical courses, and application requirements.

The Top Associate in Accounting Programs
School At a Glance By the Numbers
1. Itawamba Community College | Fulton, Mississippi
  • AA in General Studies — Accounting
  • 60 credits
  • SAT, ACT, or ACCUPLACER scores required
  • Tuition: $1,450/term
  • Acceptance Rate: 46%
  • Graduation Rate: 67%
2. East Mississippi Community College | Scooba, Mississippi
  • AAS in Accounting Technology
  • 60 credits
  • Minimum score of 14 on the ACT or 39/writing, 64/reading, and 21/pre-algebra on the ACCUPLACER
  • Tuition: $165/credit (in state); $265/credit (out of state)
  • Admission Rate: 47%
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
3. CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College | Pippa Passes, KY
  • AAS in Accounting
  • 60 credits
  • ACT/SAT optional
  • Tuition: $210/credit (in state); $320/credit (out of state)
  • Admission Rate: 24%
  • Graduation Rate: 15%
4. Northeast Mississippi Community College | Booneville, Mississippi
  • AAS in Accounting Technology
  • ACT required
  • Tuition: $183/credit (in state); $347/credit (out of state)
  • Admission Rate: 30%
  • Graduation Rate: 58%
5. CUNY LaGuardia Community College | Long Island City, New York
  • AS in accounting
  • 60 credits
  • ACT/SAT optional
  • Tuition: $210/credit (in state); $320/credit (out of state)
  • Admission Rate: 28%
  • Graduation Rate: 5%

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What to Expect From an Accounting Associate

Accounting associate programs are geared toward students who have just graduated from high school and those who want to start a career in accounting.

Associate degrees in accounting usually require 60-68 credits to complete. Full-time students can finish the degree in two years. Accelerated programs take less time. Additionally, many schools offer in-person and online degree programs for students to choose from.

Associate accounting programs prepare students for entry-level positions in the accounting field. The best associate degrees give students a general education and train them for a variety of accounting jobs, like bookkeeping or tax collection.

The best accounting associate degrees allow students to transfer credits to four-year schools to get a jumpstart on a bachelor’s in accounting. To get this benefit, students should make sure they are enrolled in an accredited associate degree program.

Programmatic Accreditation for Associate in Accounting Programs

Accreditation is an important part of higher education that many students should consider. Accreditation, either national or regional, ensures a school provides a quality education. Students can generally find the school's accreditation status by searching the college's website.

Some professional organizations, such as the AACSB, accredits business programs. Earning an associate in accounting from an accredited program can give graduates an edge in the job market.

Admissions Process

Although the admissions processes for the best accounting programs vary from school to school, there are a few requirements in common.

Students need to make sure they meet the college’s minimum admission requirements before applying. For accounting programs, this usually means being 18 years old or older and having a high school diploma or equivalent, like a GED certificate, HiSET, or TASC diploma.

If a student meets a school’s eligibility requirements, they can submit an application. This usually includes:

  • An application form: Applications vary between schools, but they usually ask for a student’s information, including contact information, citizenship or residency status, and program of study.
  • Transcripts: Students will have to submit their high school transcripts. High schools may charge a small fee for this service.
  • An application fee: Most schools require that students pay a small application fee. Students demonstrating financial need may qualify for fee waivers.

While less common, schools with the best two-year degree programs might require that students submit additional information, like essays. If a school asks for an essay, be sure to tailor it to that specific school or program. Schools may also ask international students to submit English proficiency test scores as well.

Top Online Associate Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Popular Accounting Associate Courses

The goal of an associate degree in accounting is to prepare students for entry-level accounting positions in various accounting fields. Many of the top two-year degrees offer these popular accounting courses:

  • Principles of Accounting: This course introduces students to general accounting concepts to help them understand the basics of accounting for both individuals and business. In this class, accounting students learn skills like reading ledgers and preparing financial statements.
  • Managerial Accounting: This class goes over how accounting relates to managing a business. Students learn skills like evaluating the cost of goods and services, controlling these costs, and using accounting information to make short-term and long-term business decisions.
  • Business Law: Since accounting is vital for businesses to function, it’s important for accounting students to understand how the law affects businesses in the United States. In this course, students learn the basics of business law, including contract law, intellectual property, and legal employment.
  • Computer Applications In Accounting: To get an accounting job, students need to know how to use complex accounting software. This class teaches students programs like QuickBooks to handle basic accounting tasks like paying employees, logging purchases and sales, and paying bills.

Associate degrees also allow students to take core and elective courses. Core courses are classes that students must take in order to graduate. Electives are classes students get to choose based on their interests. These classes still count toward an accounting associate degree and allow students to explore their interests.

How Much Do Accounting Associate Programs Cost?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost of tuition, fees, room, and board for a two-year degree was $22,782 in 2019-2020. It’s important to remember that this is an average, and costs vary between schools.

For instance, the NCES reports that a public two-year college costs an average of $22,138 in 2019-2020. However, a private two-year school costs an average of $53,498 total, which is almost 2.5 times more expensive.

The cost of an accounting associate program can also vary depending on location. An in-state school will often cost less than an out-of-state school, and students who live on campus will have to pay additional room and board fees that can be more expensive than living off-campus.

Additionally, an accounting associate program may require additional resources like accounting software.

Some two-year colleges offer financial assistance to qualifying students, which can help offset the cost of an associate degree. Many programs also offer grants, loans, and fellowships to qualifying students, though some of these awards require students to pay them back.

Despite these additional costs, an associate degree in accounting is still much less expensive than earning a bachelor’s degree, which cost over $100,000 total (including room and board), according to the NCES. Since most four-year programs allow students to transfer credits from two-year colleges, earning an associates in accounting can save students money if they want to earn a bachelor’s degree later on.

Selecting the Right Associate Program

Associate degrees in accounting are widely available. Here are a few things to consider when choosing an accounting program:

  • Accreditation
  • Program cost
  • Admissions requirements
  • Student-to-teacher ratio
  • Financial aid availability
  • Location
  • Program length
  • Available concentrations or certifications
  • Career services
  • Credit transferability

Some schools may offer online-only programs, while others hold their classes in-person. Online classes usually offer students more flexibility, which can be important for students who have families or jobs. However, some students may learn better – and be more successful – in an in-person program.

Top Online Associate Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Top Accounting Associate Degrees

Our ranking highlights five of the best associate in accounting programs for 2022. These schools offer a mix of affordability, convenience, and strong professional preparation. Read on to learn how we rank colleges and programs.

#1 The Best Associate in Accounting Degree Programs of 2022

Itawamba Community College

  • Fulton, MS
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Fulton, Mississippi-based ICC also hosts campuses in Tupelo and Belden. This public school offers some of Mississippi's most affordable tuition rates. 

Associate of Arts in General Studies - Accounting Concentration

ICC offers an associate of arts in general studies with an accounting concentration. The program introduces major accounting principles, including accounting systems and the accounting cycle. Enrollees explore managerial accounting and decision-making processes for businesses.

The accounting program prepares candidates for entry-level accounting careers. Graduates can also continue their education with a bachelor's or master's degree.

ICC maintains articulation agreements with many four-year colleges in Mississippi. Students can complete their associate degree at ICC and then transfer to a partner institution to complete a bachelor's in accounting. Partner colleges include the University of Mississippi, Delta State University, and the University of Southern Mississippi. 

Applying to ICC

Applicants need a high school or GED diploma. They must submit SAT, ACT, or ACCUPLACER scores. ICC does not maintain test score requirements for admission. However, scores may determine course placement.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $1,450 per term
  • Required Credits: 60
  • Program Length: Two years
  • Delivery Format: Online and on campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$2,900
Out-of-state
$5,100
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,768
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
67% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 The Best Associate in Accounting Degree Programs of 2022

East Mississippi Community College

  • Scooba, MS
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Scooba-based EMCC serves more than 4,000 students annually through campus and online programs. The financial advising organization SmartAsset ranks EMCC among the nation's top 20 community colleges.

Associate of Applied Science in Accounting Technology

EMCC offers an associate of applied science with a specialization in accounting technology. The program introduces general business skills and accounting concepts. Common courses include payroll accounting, advanced business accounting, and principles of business finance. 

Enrollees explore industry-standard accounting and business software. They learn the basics of Microsoft Word, Excel, and QuickBooks.

EMCC's associate program prepares graduates for entry-level accounting jobs in areas like payroll, accounts receivable, and accounts payable. Coursework prepares students for the Office Proficiency Assessment & Certification exam, which demonstrates skills in office technology.

Applying to EMCC

Accounting applicants must complete the ACT with a minimum score of 14 in English, math, and reading. Alternatively, they may complete the ACCUPLACER exam with minimum scores of 39 in writing, 64 in reading, and 21 in pre-algebra.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $165 per credit for in-state learners; $265 per credit for out-of-state learners
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: Two years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online, on campus, or hybrid 
Average Tuition
In-state
$3,300
Out-of-state
$6,300
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,832
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 The Best Associate in Accounting Degree Programs of 2022

CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College

  • New York, NY
  • 2 years
  • Campus

Part of the City University of New York system, BMCC serves students throughout New York City. The school enrolls more than 20,000 students annually, offering a wide selection of associate degrees and certificates.

Associate of Applied Science in Accounting

BMCC offers an associate of applied science in accounting that builds entry-level knowledge in business and accounting. Enrollees study topics like federal taxation, cost accounting, and forensic accounting.

Students can choose from both traditional and evening/weekend enrollment options. Evening and weekend courses occur only on Friday evenings and during the day on Saturdays and Sundays.

BMCC maintains articulation agreements with multiple New York-area colleges, including the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Medgar Evers College. Associate degree-holders can transfer into bachelor's programs in fields like forensic accounting or forensic financial analysis.

Applying to BMCC

BMCC maintains an open admissions policy. Applicants need only a high school or GED diploma. Incoming students must also take the CUNY Skills Assessments Tests. These tests assess knowledge in math, reading, and writing.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $210 per credit for in-state learners; $320 per credit for out-of-state learners
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: Two years
  • Delivery Format: On campus
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,800
Out-of-state
$7,680
Retention Rate
60%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
25,500
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 The Best Associate in Accounting Degree Programs of 2022

Northeast Mississippi Community College

  • Booneville, MS
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Booneville-based Northeast enrolls more than 3,200 students annually. The school ranks highly for its academic programs and online learning options. Northeast serves students across a five-county area near the Alabama and Tennessee borders.

Associate of Applied Science in Accounting Technology

Northeast's associate degree in accounting builds general knowledge in accounting concepts, practices, and software. The program prepares candidates for entry-level careers in areas like payroll, inventory management, and accounts payable/receivable. Common classes include computer applications, business mathematics, and payroll accounting.

Northeast offers articulation agreements with several Mississippi four-year colleges. Students can complete their 60-credit accounting associate degree before transferring into a bachelor's program in accounting.

The program runs entirely online. However, learners may still need to report to test proctoring locations to complete certain exams.

Applying to Northeast

Applicants must submit high school transcripts. They may also submit GED or TASC transcripts. Northeast requires ACT scores. The school waives this requirement for applicants over age 21.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $183 per credit for in-state learners; $347 per credit for out-of-state learners
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: Two years
  • Delivery Format: 100% online 
Average Tuition
In-state
$3,310
Out-of-state
$6,290
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,606
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
58% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 The Best Associate in Accounting Degree Programs of 2022

CUNY LaGuardia Community College

  • Long Island City, NY
  • 2 years
  • Campus

A New York public college based in Long Island City, LaGuardia serves more than 26,000 students annually. LaGuardia graduates transfer to four-year colleges at a rate 45% above the national average.

Associate of Science in Accounting

LaGuardia's associate of science in accounting offers foundational training in accounting and business concepts. The program encourages students to transfer into bachelor's in accounting programs upon graduation. LaGuardia maintains articulation agreements with several New York-area colleges, including Queens College and Baruch College.

The program curriculum includes 30 core accounting credits. Typical classes include introduction to information systems, business law, and principles of accounting.

Unlike many two-year programs, LaGuardia's accounting degree includes a required internship. Candidates gain hands-on experience in a professional accounting environment, like a business or accounting firm. Students typically complete at least 168 internship hours in a semester.

Applying to LaGuardia

Applicants need a high school, GED, or TASC diploma. LaGuradia does not require standardized test scores. Candidates must also pay a $65 application fee.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Middles States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $210 per credit for in-state learners; $320 per credit for out-of-state learners
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: Two years
  • Delivery Format: On campus and online 
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,800
Out-of-state
$7,680
Retention Rate
62%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
18,555
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Common Questions About Best Two-Year Degrees


What’s the difference between an accounting associate and a certificate?

Accounting certificates usually take a few months to a year to complete. While students without degrees can earn certificates, they can also help current professionals or degree holders specialize in one area of accounting.

In contrast, associate degrees take more time, providing students with a more general education and preparing them for many careers within the accounting field. Additionally, the credits students earn during their associate degrees can transfer to a four-year school and count toward a bachelor’s degree.

Is an accounting associate an AA or an AS?

Depending on the program a student is enrolled in, they may earn either an Associate of Arts (AA) or an Associate of Science (AS) degree once they graduate. Both are good associate degrees that teach the fundamentals of accounting, but an AS degree has a stronger math and science focus.

How long does it take to get an accounting associate?

It generally takes full-time students two years to earn an associate degree in accounting, though accelerated programs may take less time to complete.

How much does an accounting associate program cost?

The NCES reports that the average cost of an associate degree (including fees, room, and board) was $11,391 for 2019-2020 or $22,782 for two years.

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