What Can I Do with an Associate's Degree in Accounting?

Earning an associate's degree in accounting will prepare you to hold entry-level positions in the bookkeeping and accounting field. If you choose to enter this field, you should have plentiful job opportunities in a wide variety of industries. Continue reading for more details about what you can learn in an associate's degree program in accounting, and check the career outlook. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Careers for Accounting Associate's Degree Holders

With an associate's degree in accounting, you would be able to take on entry-level bookkeeping and accounting work as a paraprofessional. You could work for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, corporations, healthcare offices or any other organizations that require careful records of their financial transactions. Job duties for paraprofessionals include entering transactions into databases, overseeing payroll, creating invoices, preparing financial reports, and keeping track of accounts payable and receivable. Typical job titles for associate's degree holders in the accounting field include bookkeeper, office manager, accounting clerk, accounting assistant, accounts payable or accounts receivable clerk, billing coordinator and fiscal technician.

Important Facts About This Area of Study

Required Education An associate degree for entry-level positions
Key Skills Communication skills, math and organizational skills, attention to detail
Work Environment Accounting office; private organizations; government agencies; longer hours during tax season
Similar Occupations Budget analyst, cost estimator, financial analyst

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that professionals in the accounting and bookkeeping field should face decent job prospects between 2012 and 2022, with an expected 11% increase in employment that would add about 204,600 jobs. Job growth will mostly be due to the large number of industries that require these services. Although some of these positions can be filled by applicants who hold only high school diplomas, the number of employers who require applicants to hold associate's degrees is increasing.

Also listed by the BLS, the median annual wage of bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks was $36,430 as of May 2014. The middle half of employees in this field earned between $28,860 and $45,730 yearly, and the top 10% of earners brought home $56,470 or more that year.

Types of Associate's Degrees

If you decide to study accounting at a 2-year institution, you'll probably encounter two types of degrees, the Associate of Science in Accounting and the Associate of Applied Science in Accounting. Pursuing either of these degrees will prepare you for entry-level jobs in the accounting field; however, the Associate of Applied Science degree is designed as a terminal degree, whereas the Associate of Science degree will prepare you to transfer to a bachelor's degree program in accounting. When deciding which degree you'd like to earn, you may wish to consider whether or not you'd like to earn a bachelor's degree.


Associate's degree programs in accounting may include general business classes, including macroeconomics, business management and business law. Accounting-specific coursework may cover financial accounting, cost accounting, computerized accounting, spreadsheet modeling, tax accounting, payroll and managerial accounting. Additionally, students may take classes in critical thinking and communication to round out their skills and prepare them for the workforce.

Career Advancement

When you're ready to advance beyond the paraprofessional level, you might consider earning a bachelor's degree in accounting. Earning a bachelor's degree in this field will allow you to advance past entry-level positions into professional positions, such as accountant or auditor. With higher education, you may also be eligible for licensure and specialty certification. The most common professional designation is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license, which requires 150 college credits and passage of four examinations.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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