Associate's Degree in Accounting

An associate's degree program in accounting can teach you how to analyze detailed financial reports for businesses and individuals. Read about the careers this degree may qualify you for, get course information and learn about professional certification. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Where Can I Earn an Associate's Degree in Accounting?

An Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science is often awarded upon the completion of a 2-year program in accounting or accounting technology. Several community colleges offer an associate's degree program in this field. In some cases, you can find programs that allow you to transfer credit to a bachelor's degree program at a 4-year university.

You can also find distance education programs in accounting at the associate's degree level. You might have to occasionally visit campus to take exams, but all of your day-to-day coursework can usually be competed online. To work on assignments remotely, view streaming lecture videos or participate in synchronous class sessions, you generally need a computer with a high-speed Internet connection, a CD-ROM drive, speakers and headphones.

Online Availability Online programs are available, but exams may need to be taken in person
Common Courses Business law, cost analysis, fraud examination, taxation, auditing
Certification Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation is required for certain accounting positions
Median Salary (2014) $65,940 for accountants and auditors*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Can I Expect?

An associate's degree program in accounting can help you develop skills in auditing, financial report analysis, data processing, tax advising, financial security risks and records keeping. Your program can teach you the basic accounting skills needed to perform cash flow record management for companies, nonprofit organizations and individuals.

Most programs teach you how to use general office and specific accounting software. You can expect to take courses that cover the following topics:

  • Fraud examination
  • Auditing
  • Managerial accounting
  • Business law
  • Corporate and individual taxation
  • Cost analysis

Do I Need To Earn Certification?

Depending on the type of accounting field you plan on working in, you might need to earn the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that a CPA designation must be earned if you intend on reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission ( Requirements for certification vary by region, but all states require you to successfully pass the Uniform CPA Examination administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. You could qualify for a CPA credential with a bachelor's degree; however, most states require some additional education to qualify.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

After graduation, you could qualify for entry-level positions as a general accountant, business analyst, staff accountant or cost accountant. To be competitive, most schools and employers recommend that you pursue at least a bachelor's degree in the field.

According to the BLS, job openings for accountants and auditors were expected to increase 11% between 2014 and 2024. This growth may be caused by the complex tax and regulatory environment. As of May 2014, the BLS reported that the median salary of accountants and auditors was $65,940.

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