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Accounting Associate Degrees: Best Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Farah Abdullah - February 27, 2022


Accounting is a stable field with plenty of career opportunities in business organizations, accounting firms, and financial management. These businesses need accounting professionals to crunch numbers and manage financial accounts. Accounting associate degrees are an ideal way to learn these skills.

In this article, we have compiled a comprehensive list of the best colleges for accounting that offer both on-campus and online associate degree programs. We will also examine the requirements for accounting associate degrees.

What Is Accounting?

Accounting is the field of studying, examining, and analyzing financial documents, statements, accounts, and records. Accounting involves data entry, financial planning, and maintaining financial records. Accounting professionals also work with accounting information systems and tools, provide accounting and financial solutions, and propose potential financial opportunities.

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What Is an Accounting Associate Degree?

An accounting associate degree is a two-year program that teaches the foundations of math, business, and accounting principles. They are typically offered by community colleges or technical colleges.

You will come across varied accounting systems that are used in the field of accounting. The core curriculum covers the accounting cycle, accounting roles, and financial analysis tools popular across accounting industries.

An accounting associate degree is a short-term program to enter the workforce fast. It can also be used to transfer into a bachelor’s program. Accounting students practice bookkeeping, accounting information analysis, and perform basic accounting functions.

Accounting Associate Degree Requirements

Most colleges will require a high school diploma or a GED to get into an accounting associate program. You will preferably have strong math and critical thinking skills. An accounting associate program is usually a 60-credit program that will prepare you for an entry-level position.

Students can complete the core coursework to get an associate degree or work towards an accounting bachelor’s degree . Elective classes can also be taken, which allow students to explore other areas of interest. In order to graduate, students are required to successfully complete courses in accounting, business, and finance principles.

How Much Does an Accounting Associate Degree Cost?

The average tuition for an associate degree in an accounting is around $4,230 . If you live on-campus, the total cost is $16,445 on average. The most expensive cost is $19,304 if you live off-campus without a family. Most colleges will calculate tuition per credit hour.

Accounting Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Accounting Degree

You can pay for your accounting degree by applying for financial aid . For example, you might qualify for federal grants or scholarship options to sponsor your associate’s degree education. You can also check out loan options that you pay back when you find an entry-level job. In 2019, 86.4 percent of students successfully received financial aid .

Best Accounting Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Central Piedmont Community College Associate of Applied Science in Accounting and Finance Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Columbus State Community College Associate of Science in Accounting Higher Learning Commission
Keiser University Associate of Arts in Accounting Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Lackawanna College Associate in Accounting Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
Lake Michigan College Associate of Applied Science in Accounting Higher Learning Commission
Lone Star College Associate of Applied Science in Accounting Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Minnesota State Community and Technical College Associate of Applied Science in Accounting Higher Learning Commission
Monroe College Associate of Applied Science in Accounting Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
Southwestern College Associate of Science in Architecture Technology Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
Wake Technical Community College Associate of Applied Science in Accounting and Finance Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Best Colleges for Accounting: Top Accounting Associate Degree Programs

Earning an associate degree is often the first step in your career, or it could be the foundational education on the way to earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. If you are looking for an associate degree to get into the accounting profession, read on, as we examine the best colleges for accounting associate degrees.

Associate of Applied Science in Accounting and Finance | Central Piedmont Community College

Central Piedmont Community College prepares students to work in the real world. Prospective students can avail of scholarship opportunities, benefit from career services, and enjoy an engaged college community. Graduates can pursue job opportunities in accounting or financial firms.

Associate of Science in Accounting | Columbus State Community College

This course will help students gain the foundational and practical skills to become financial analysts and learn financial, managerial, and cost accounting for accountants. Columbus State also provides college education at lower tuition rates and lets students transfer their college credits and enroll in a bachelor’s degree program at one of nine partner universities.

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Associate of Arts in Accounting | Keiser University

Keiser University offers quality education and flexible schedules during your accounting education. In small groups, you will immerse yourself in tax documents, financial statements, and principles of accounting. You will participate in hands-on learning, become familiar with accounting software, and gain accounting skills for entry-level positions in accounting fields.

Associate in Accounting | Lackawanna College

Acquiring an associate accounting degree from Lackawanna College ensures you will be ready for roles in financial planning, business management, financial analysis, budgeting, taxation, and payroll.

Associate of Applied Science in Accounting | Lake Michigan College

Lake Michigan College offers traditional and online Associate in Accounting degrees that run over five semesters. The accounting curriculum covers general education, principles of accounting, intermediate accounting, income tax accounting, business law and communication, and co-op courses.

Associate of Applied Science in Accounting | Lone Star College

An Associate Degree in Accounting from Lone Star College will teach you to correct, analyze, and record financial statements. You will get the practical skills to work with accounting software applications and apply accounting methods. The accounting associate program is offered in multiple Lone Star locations and students can apply for various financial aid opportunities.

Associate of Applied Science in Accounting | Minnesota State Community and Technical College

Minnesota State Community gives you the educational opportunities to participate in activities and volunteer for professional experience. You can avail of academic advising, counseling services, career services, English language assistance, and veterans services.

Associate of Applied Science in Accounting | Monroe College

Monroe College offers innovative online learning programs to develop skills like critical thinking and effective communication. In this program, you will interpret financial statements by demonstrating knowledge of accounting principles and software. Students will gain professional experience through internship and networking opportunities.

Associate of Arts in Architecture Accounting | Southwestern College

At Southwestern College, you can pursue an Associate in Arts or Science Degree to learn about accounting practices, financial information, and accounting processes. This program is designed to help students succeed and grow in their professional careers. A degree in accounting will help you find work in various industries

Associate of Applied Science in Accounting and Finance | Wake Technical Community College

This program covers accounting and finance concepts to help you find employment in assurance, consulting, forensic accounting, tax planning, and international accounting services.

Wake Technical also offers a military and veteran program for veterans and their families. There is also a virtual support center for all students to ease concerns related to admissions, financial aid, and career advice.

Best Online Accounting Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Broward College Associate of Science in Accounting Technology Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Davenport University Associate of Business Administration in Accounting Higher Learning Commission
International Accreditation Council for Business Education
Indiana Wesleyan University Associate of Science in Accounting Higher Learning Commission
Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
Lake Superior College Associate of Applied Science in Accounting Higher Learning Commission
Liberty University Associate in Accounting Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
Florida Tech Associate of Arts in Accounting Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Northcentral Technical College Associate in Accounting Higher Learning Commission
Penn Foster Associate in Accounting Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
Pennsylvania College of Technology Associate of Applied Science Degree in Accounting Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Southern New Hampshire University Associate in Accounting New England Commission of Higher Education

Best Colleges for Accounting: Top Online Accounting Associate Degree Programs

If you have full-time employment or other personal commitments, an online degree in accounting can offer flexible learning to suit your lifestyle and schedule. Below are the best virtual schools to help you find an online program in accounting.

Associate of Science in Accounting Technology | Broward College

Broward College offers an online associate degree program that will prepare you for positions in the accounting field. You can also qualify for certifications related to accounting software and concepts. From the comfort of your own home, you will learn about principles of accounting, managerial accounting, income tax, database management, and math.

Associate of Business Administration in Accounting | Davenport University

The Davenport global campus offers a wide range of online associate programs. Accounting students learn about microeconomics, macroeconomics, college math, accounting technology, spreadsheets, marketing, cost accounting, payroll, and tax. Online students participate in learning projects to assist residents with income tax documents, financial statements, and accounting records.

Associate of Science in Accounting | Indiana Wesleyan University

This two-year program in accounting and business will prepare students for undergraduate and graduate degrees. You will develop skills to analyze accounting activities, communicate to improve decisions, and solve accounting problems. Indiana Wesleyan is a Christian university that aims to provide a multicultural and diverse environment for students.

Associate of Applied Science in Accounting | Lake Superior College

In this online program, students learn generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to examine, analyze, and apply skills in the accounting cycle. Graduates can also transfer credits to pursue academic degrees in colleges and universities.

Associate in Accounting | Liberty University

Liberty University is a non-profit university offering online degrees that are delivered in 8-week classes. Online learning allows you to organize your schedule as you pursue a career as an accounting assistant, an auditor, or a financial planner. This program is affordable, accessible, and maintains quality education. There is also a tuition discount for military students.

Associate of Arts in Accounting | Florida Tech

This program is offered solely online for students with a liberal arts background who are interested in numbers. Online weekly assignments are designed to help students apply accounting principles and knowledge to their future accounting careers. The experienced faculty help individual students learn in an engaging and interactive environment.

Associate in Accounting | Northcentral Technical College

Northern Technical College has a history of inspiring and providing opportunities for online learners. Online students can explore financial aid options and find successful careers upon graduation. The accounting associate program helps students learn tax preparation, accounting assessment, and financial information analysis.

Associate in Accounting | Penn Foster

Online accounting college courses at Penn Foster help students find employment in business, accounting, and finance fields. The program curriculum has 68 credits and covers economics, financial management, and math and statistics for business. Students can pay their tuition through customized payment plans that ease the financial burden.

Associate of Applied Science Degree in Accounting | Pennsylvania College of Technology

Online learning at Penn College is designed to encourage collaboration, participation, and hands-on learning. The online associate program is as good as the on-campus program and will help you learn accounting conveniently and asynchronously. You will be able to pursue careers in public accounting, inventory analysis, and tax advisory and preparation.

Associate in Accounting | Southern New Hampshire University

Online education at Southern New Hampshire University will prepare you for an online bachelor’s degree or an entry-level accounting job. You will be equipped with the knowledge required for analysis and interpretation of financial information of businesses and industries. SNHU offers volunteer hours for employees, cultivates positive relations with partners, and encourages diversity and inclusivity.

What’s the Average Accounting Associate Degree Salary?

URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/zGn2cg9qBvU
Alt-Text: A scientific calculator sitting on a desk beside a trackpad and a pair of headphones.
Caption: An Associate in Accounting Technology will prepare professionals for computerized account systems and accounting tools.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of accountants is $73,560 . In an entry-level job, you can expect a salary of about $45,220 per year. This will increase with experience or an advanced degree in accounting.

Top Accounting Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Accounting Associate Degree Jobs Average Salary
Auditors $73,560
Tax Preparer $44,300
Bookkeeper $42,410
Financial Clerk $41,520
Account Collector $38,100

Best Accounting Associate Degree Jobs Explained

Auditors

  • Average Salary: $73,560
  • Job Outlook: 7%
  • Number of Jobs: 1,488,200
  • Highest-Paying States: District of Columbia, New York, and New Jersey

Auditors analyze, examine, and evaluate accounting books and financial statements. Auditors ensure that the company they work with complies with tax laws. They also check for accuracy in calculations and use accounting software to automate accounting tasks.

Tax Preparer

  • Average Salary: $44,300
  • Job Outlook: 2.2%
  • Number of Jobs: 62,600
  • Highest-Paying States: Texas, Alaska, and New York

Tax preparers help individuals and businesses prepare and file income tax documents. They overlook the documentation for filing taxes and provide solutions for any related tax issues. You can also get credentials for tax preparation from third-party organizations. Check out our article if you wish to pursue a career as a tax preparer .

Bookkeepers

  • Average Salary: $42,410
  • Job Outlook: -3%
  • Number of Jobs: 1,571,900
  • Highest-Paying States: District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut

Bookkeepers perform administrative tasks in accounting and financial firms to check records for companies. They keep records on accounting software and add financial transactions. They have basic math skills and strong attention to detail.

Financial Payroll Clerks

  • Average Salary: $41,520
  • Job Outlook: -2%
  • Number of Jobs: 119,700
  • Highest-Paying States: District of Columbia, Connecticut, and California

Financial clerks have administrative duties in a financial department or firm. They assist with financial records and financial accounting. They work in a variety of fields including brokerage, credit authorizations, insurance claims, payroll, and procurement financial information.

Account Collectors

  • Average Salary: $38,100
  • Job Outlook: -9%
  • Number of Jobs: 202,600
  • Highest-Paying States: District of Columbia, Alaska, and Connecticut

Account collectors have strong and authoritative communication skills. Their primary role is to collect debts. They prepare and maintain relevant documentation, avoid confrontations,  negotiate terms, hold meetings to discuss disputes.

Benefits of an Accounting Associate Degree

  • Transfer credits. Many colleges offer the option to transfer credits to pursue higher educational paths, such as a bachelor’s degree, that will better serve your future goals.
  • Become job-ready. Accounting coursework is often accompanied by project work that teaches you how to apply skills. Quality programs also introduce you to work ethic development and best practices.
  • Gain solid credentials. Studying at an accredited college gives you a well-rounded education and ensures employers that you have learned in a professional curriculum.
  • Short program length. Most associate degrees take two years to complete which allows you to enter the workforce quicker than those enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree program.
  • Advanced skills. Besides the foundational skills in accounting, students also earn technical and in-demand skills like computer skills, organizational skills, and quick learning.

Should You Get an Associate Degree in Accounting?

Yes, if you are looking for an entry-level accounting job or if you want to pursue a four-year accounting degree, you should get an associate degree in accounting. Accounting is an excellent career choice if you like to work with numbers, solve problems, and have a keen eye for detail.

An associate degree in accounting only takes two years to complete. This will allow you to quickly hone your skills and find work. Furthermore, with the number of small businesses increasing every year, there is a rising demand for accountants.

Accounting Associate Degree FAQ

Is accounting a good career?

Yes, accounting is a good career with lucrative job opportunities. Accounting offers employees plenty of opportunities to move up the ladder as they gain experience with analysis, financial, and data skills.


Is it better to get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in accounting?

A bachelor’s degree will provide you with better career opportunities and a higher salary. However, if you can’t afford a four-year program or you are looking to quickly reskill, an associate degree will be the better choice. With an associate degree, you will have to work harder to climb the ladder.


Is an associate degree the same as a diploma?

No, an associate degree covers a broader range of topics than a diploma. Associate degrees teach you business fundamentals and accounting principles as well as general education classes such as math and science.


Does accounting require a lot of math?

Yes, math is an important part of being an accountant. You will, at a minimum, require skills in arithmetic and basic algebra. You can also take advantage of accounting software to help with calculations. As an accountant, you will most likely use math every day. However, you will rarely need advanced math practices.

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Farah Abdullah

About the author: Farah is a writer, project consultant, and IT event organizer. She is a certified project management professional and an avid tech reader. Farah holds a BSc in Information Systems from Effat University in Saudi Arabia as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Project Management from the University of Roehampton in London.

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