According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of $70,500 in 2018. This figure greatly exceeded the median earnings for all professions that year. Additionally, the BLS projects jobs for accountants and auditors to increase by 10% through 2026, resulting in roughly 140,000 new jobs. Demand for these professionals should remain steady due to the ongoing importance of tax laws and regulations and an increasingly globalized corporate environment.

Students who earn an associate degree in accounting or a related field may qualify for entry-level positions that can lead to high salaries and career advancement.

The BLS notes that many accounting and auditing roles, including the certified professional accountant (CPA), generally require a bachelor's degree or higher. However, students who earn an associate degree in accounting or a related field may qualify for entry-level positions that can lead to high salaries and career advancement. This guide discusses academic prerequisites for different accounting fields and top-ranked occupations for graduates with an associate degree in accounting. Read on to learn more.

What Minimum Education Do I Need?

An associate degree in accounting provides a pathway to career advancement for many graduates. According to U.S. News & World Report, these programs typically include coursework in fundamental areas such as payroll and tax accounting, spreadsheet software, and management. These courses equip students with knowledge and skills related to verifying and processing different tax documents, along with a firm understanding of financial laws and regulations.

Many entry-level accounting jobs are open to candidates with a high school diploma. For this reason, employers often prefer to hire applicants with an associate degree in accounting or a related field, particularly if the candidate also holds some work experience.

  • Time to Completion: 2 years
  • Format: Online or In-Person
  • Average Salary: $50,000

Top Entry Level Jobs in Accounting

Although jobs in accounting typically require a master's degree, graduates with an associate degree may qualify for certain entry-level positions. Below, you'll find six potential roles for candidates with an associate degree, along with entry-level accounting jobs' salary information.


Bookkeepers track and record purchases, sales, and other financial transactions for individual clients or organizations. Students can prepare for these duties with coursework in Quickbooks, Microsoft Excel, and other related software programs. Bookkeepers may also handle payments for utility and phone bills, company credit cards, and other organizational expenses.

Core Responsibilities: Manage financial transactions using software programs, generate monthly financial reports, advise organizational leaders on financial decisions.

Median Annual Salary: $41,889

Accounts Payable Specialist

Accounts payable specialists validate and process invoices for their organization. They also keep up-to-date files on accounts payable invoices and associated tax documentation. Candidates with an associate degree often qualify for this role because most employers require a high school diploma.

Core Responsibilities: Check invoices for errors and inaccuracies, obtain tax documentation from the IRS, use Microsoft Excel and other software programs to track and record payments.

Median Annual Salary: $43,077

Accounts Receivable Clerk

Accounts receivable clerks oversee credits and debits for organizational accounts. They also validate payments and deposits, record unpaid invoices, and contact customers with outstanding balances. Many employers prefer candidates with work experience, but applicants with an associate degree may also qualify for this role.

Core Responsibilities: Organize and maintain company credit and debit records, monitor payment schedules, reach out to customers and personnel with payment issues.

Median Annual Salary: $37,852

Auditing Clerk

Auditing clerks assist accountants and auditors by verifying the accuracy of financial figures and documents. They may make small corrections on their own, but clerks must notify their manager if major errors or omissions exist. Many auditing clerks land jobs with a high school diploma, but employers often prefer candidates with an associate degree.

Core Responsibilities: Analyze sensitive data and documentation for errors, perform minor corrections as needed, consult with managers about glaring discrepancies.

Median Annual Salary: $38,340

Payroll Administrator

Payroll administrators process paychecks for personnel at their organization. They also file deduction reports, update payroll systems, and perform other duties to ensure all employees are paid on time. Many employers prefer to hire candidates with an associate degree in accounting or a related field.

Core Responsibilities: Prepare and distribute paychecks, update and record payroll processes, study current business and tax laws.

Median Annual Salary: $49,437

Assistant Controller

Assistant controllers oversee their organization's accounting activities, including internal audits. They must check company account data for errors and discrepancies, along with handle budgeting and resource allocation. These roles often require a degree or college background in finance or accounting.

Core Responsibilities: Verify accounts and company data to ensure compliance with financial regulations, write budget reports, meet with chief financial officers and other company executives.

Median Annual Salary: $73,456

Take the Next Step

An associate degree prepares students for entry-level accounting jobs, many of which lead to salary increases and career advancement. Please visit the link below to learn more about associate degree jobs in accounting.

Explore an Associate Degree in Accounting

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