Best Online Associate in Accounting Programs

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Accountants are responsible for analyzing and organizing financial records, and preparing tax returns and other financial documents. Some accountants oversee the finances of private companies, nonprofits or government agencies; others work with clients on an individual basis, especially during the January-April period known as ‘tax season’. Regardless of their employer, all accountants who file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are required by law to become Certified Public Accountants, or CPAs; CPA licensure involves a comprehensive exam, as well as other state-specific requirements.

An associate degree in accounting will equip students to succeed in this field. Coursework will cover key foundational topics like mathematics and statistics, business law and ethics, information literacy and principles of management. Many associate degree programs also include courses that prepare students for their state-issued CPA exams and other postdegree requirements. Many of today’s students are choosing to earn their associate degree in accounting online. Web-based students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, leading to the same number of job opportunities after graduation. The asynchronous (or self-paced) schedule and study-from-home format are also ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other responsibilities that could possibly interfere with campus-based learning.

Learn more about what you can do with an online associate in accounting and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.


Students who pursue an associate in accounting online will learn how to properly analyze, interpret and organize different types of financial statements and records. These programs will also discuss legal and ethical requirements for filing tax documents with the Internal Revenue Service. Many online associate accounting degree programs culminate in a capstone course, which allows students to create a comprehensive research project that demonstrates the knowledge and skills they have acquired.


Associate in accounting online programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional college education. Students can download course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors at their convenience. Current educational technology also enables them to study away from their home computer using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other portable devices with Wi-Fi capabilities.


A bachelor’s degree is considered the minimum educational requirement for most entry-level accounting positions. However, candidates with an associate degree in accounting will often be selected for junior accountant positions; these roles often serve as stepping stones for more advanced job titles. Most states require students to complete at least 150 credit hours of college coursework before they will qualify for CPA licensure, but some will allow them to substitute professional experience for a college degree.


Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online associate in accounting programs in the United States. If you are considering an online associate in accounting, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale 70.30 78% Fort Lauderdale, FL

Keiser University's online associate degree in accounting gets students ready for entry-level accounting positions. 60 credits are required to earn the degree. 36 credits are general education classes, the remaining 24 are the core accounting classes. Students will take courses in economics, mathematics, natural science, and humanities. Keiser gives students the opportunity to study on one of the university's 17 campuses or online using Blackboard. The school has international campuses in Nicaragua, China, Taiwan, and South Korea. Scholarships are available to students enrolled in one of Keiser's associate, bachelor's, or master's program. Keiser is dedicated to a career focus and provides every student with access to professional development resources via its online career center.

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2 Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion 66.90 88% Marion, IN

Indiana Wesleyan's 80-plus online courses are designed to maximize the learning potential of students by providing learning experiences with capped class sizes and accredited, comprehensive curricula. The online associate degree in accounting at Indiana Wesleyan teaches fundamental accounting skills and ethical decision-making skills based on a Christian worldview. Wesleyan's program is 60 credit hours; it features courses that fulfill the general education requirements and core classes in accounting. Students can complete the course in 26 months through a combination of evening and online courses. Learners looking to further their education after earning an associate from Wesleyan can continue into a bachelor's courses through Wesleyan's bridge program. Indiana Wesleyan is an evangelical Christian university and the largest private college in Marion, Indiana. The school embodies a spiritually rich and high-quality learning environment both on campus and through its online, adult education programs in liberal arts.

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3 University of Alaska Fairbanks 64.90 53% Fairbanks, AK

The eLearning and distance education program at UAF delivers many online degrees and courses, five of which are associate degrees. The applied associate degree in accounting online prepares students for entry-level or mid-level positions at companies ranging from government agencies to small nonprofits. The accounting program is 60 credit hours and available 100% online. Online tools used for UAFs program include blogs, social media, video chat, and more. UAF has merit, service, and retention based scholarships available for prospective students each year. The program is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and emphasizes learning through innovation and technology.

The student-to-faculty ratio at UAF is 12:1 with a diverse population of students from its Alaska location, all over America, and 48 foreign countries. Students are part of a rich, global, and supportive community no matter where they are studying from.

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4 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College 62.20 68% Shell Lake, WI

WITC offers online degrees for self-starters who need to balance study with other commitments. The school offers over 50 career-focused programs accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, across four campuses in Wisconsin. The online associate degree in accounting is taught using Quickbooks accounting software, and is based on a curriculum with flexible course options in both technical studies and general studies. (Quickbooks is required for the online program.) The school's accounting program is 68 credit hours and will get students familiar with programs like Microsoft excel, word, and access. Students are required to take a class called Job Quest. This class teaches students interviewing strategies and how to retain employment. Graduates of the accounting program have a 100% employment rate; some pursue other opportunities such as a bachelor's degrees at WITC's partner schools (Franklin University and Capella University). The school's academic support and learning resource center, Learning Commons, provides essential resources to support students' success.

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5 Southern New Hampshire University 60.10 95% Manchester, NH

Founded in 1932 as the New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science, SNHU is now a leader in accounting and business education. Faculty who teach the online associate degree in accounting have professional credentials in fields such as accounting, taxation, and fraud examination. Southern New Hampshire's program is 60 credit hours and includes nine free elective credits. Once an associate degree is earned students can easily continue their education by working towards a bachelors with SNHU. Online students can benefit from SNHUs accelerated bachelors and masters program. The school offers credit transfers and multiple term starts per year. Distance learners receive ongoing support through online education services such as career and academic advising, an online library, and a wellness program. SNHU, located in Manchester, NH, educates more than 3,000 students on campus and over 60,000 students online. The university is among the fastest growing and most affordable in the country, and offers over 200 career-focused online degrees through its innovative platform.

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6 Western Wyoming Community College 57.90 60% Rock Springs, WY

Founded in 1932 as the New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science, SNHU is now a leader in accounting and business education. Faculty who teach the online associate degree in accounting have professional credentials in fields such as accounting, taxation, and fraud examination. Southern New Hampshire's program is 60 credit hours and includes nine free elective credits. Once an associate degree is earned students can easily continue their education by working towards a bachelors with SNHU. Online students can benefit from SNHUs accelerated bachelors and masters program. The school offers credit transfers and multiple term starts per year. Distance learners receive ongoing support through online education services such as career and academic advising, an online library, and a wellness program. SNHU, located in Manchester, NH, educates more than 3,000 students on campus and over 60,000 students online. The university is among the fastest growing and most affordable in the country, and offers over 200 career-focused online degrees through its innovative platform.

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7 Davenport University 57.90 58% Grand Rapids, MI

Davenport University is a nonprofit institution backed by 150 years of education. Davenport's online associate of business administration (ABA) in accounting combines theoretical understanding with hands-on learning, exposing students to cutting-edge best practices in the market. Davenport's program is 64 credit hours. Full-time students who take 16 credits each quarter can earn an associate degree in 24 months. Davenport recommends that all students who don't have prior work experience in their field of study do an internship; some programs require them. The associate in accounting online program is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). Davenport spans across nine campuses in Michigan, as well as the "Global Campus," otherwise known as DU Online. This distance learning program offers the same courses available to in-seat students. There is a variety of partially, or fully online courses offered through Blackboard, as well as through scheduled "real time" courses for more engagement.

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8 Foothill College 55.90 75% Los Altos Hills, CA

Foothill's online associate in arts degree with a major in accounting teaches students the fundamentals, and ethics of accounting. Students need a total of 90 credit hours to earn an associate in accounting from Foothill; 43 of the credits come from the core accounting classes. Foothill offers multiple accounting certificates for students who want to specialize in a particular area, however, many are non-transcriptable. Distance learners must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or better. Associate degree in accounting online courses are delivered using either Canvas or Etudes. The school's purpose is to provide education for all, with innovation and distinction at the core of each program. Foothill also provides student support services, such as free online tutoring, leadership skills, and personal development. Foothill was the first community college in California to offer distance learning, and continues to uphold excellence in online education with more than 500 courses to choose from.

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9 Everest University-South Orlando 55.00 47% Orlando, FL

Everest's online accounting associate degree program teaches theoretical concepts, practical applications, and data processing. Students need to earn 96 credit hours to graduate from the program. Thirty of the credits are general education requirements. The degree takes a minimum of 24 months to complete. Students can set their schedules and work at their own pace in Everest's accessible, fully-online environment. Not all courses in the program are available online, but the required credit hours can still be earned without having to go on campus.

Everest offers career training and programs in disciplines ranging from healthcare, business, IT, legal study, and skilled trades. Students can study these accredited programs at any level with 24/7 technical support. Online students are part of a diverse, national community, as Everest has campuses all over the U.S. Programs are taught and supported by distinguished faculty with years of professional experience. Graduates have access to career placement services.

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10 Wake Technical Community College 54.70 48% Raleigh, NC

Wake Tech offers 180 high-quality programs, as well as workforce training and personal enrichment. The school's online associate degree in accounting is a 66 credit hour program that teaches students business ethics and other important accounting practices. Students looking to continue their education will have the opportunity to get a head start with one of Wake's accounting certificates. These certificates are designed for students who have, or are looking to complete a bachelor's degree and need to meet the requirements to take the CPA exam. Certificates like payroll accounting clerk and income tax preparer will prepare students for jobs in that specific area of study. Online students can build relationships through evening classes on campus or by signing up for Wake Tech XTRA, Wake Tech's web-based organization management system. Through Wake Tech Xtra students can network with their peers and find study groups.

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11 Moraine Park Technical College 54.50 53% Fond du Lac, WI

The accounting program at Moraine Park give students a strong understanding of the generally accepted accounting principles and is also available completely online. The online accounting associate degree emphasizes crucial skills for the accounting professions, such as decision-making, planning, and teamwork. In total the program is 69 credits and does require the completion of an exit assessment/ capstone project. Moraine Park has two required courses for every student. One familiarizes students with the microsoft office suite and the other teaches them good habits that promote success.

Moraine Park prepares its students for globally-minded, diverse careers, emphasizing the effective use of technology. Students can partake in opportunities such as studying abroad, joining a club, or adopting leadership roles. Moraine Park's Online College offers a variety of associate degrees and technical diplomas ranging from one to two years in length. Online students are not charged out of state fees.

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12 Northwest Iowa Community College 52.10 63% Sheldon, IA

Northwest Iowa's online AAS in accounting will prepare students for an entry-level position in the public, private, and government sectors. Full-time students can complete the program in two years by taking 16 credits per semester. Distance learners will take classes in finance, business law, economics, and more. Northwest Iowa offers an optional clerical accounting diploma that takes two semesters to complete. The online accounting associate degree program is designed to be inventive, as instructors work together with students to experiment with best-suited learning techniques.

NWICC believes in the value of general, as well as program-specific education, focusing on skills such as professional development, global perspective, critical thinking, and math. NWICC programs provide on-campus, hybrid, and online instruction that evolves to meet the needs of students, both in terms of facilities and service. The school has actively expanded its learning opportunities, including new equipment and resume-building opportunities.

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13 Lanier Technical College 52.00 46% Oakwood, GA

Lanier Tech emphasises online learning and technology that makes education accessible for all. Lanier's online accounting associate degree program prepares students for success in the modern, technology-first workplace. The accounting program can be completed in five semesters and requires 64 credit hours to graduate. This program provides a variety of accounting courses, general elective courses, and learning opportunities that develop skills for career advancement. The Lanier Tech foundation provides scholarships to qualified students through donations. Located in Oakwood, Georgia, Lanier focuses on career-technical education, adult education, and customized business and industry training for a diverse, inclusive student body. The school's mission is to break down socioeconomic barriers between high school and higher education, offering a substantial range of support services to help students reach their potential. Lanier's student services include career placement services, study abroad opportunities, tutoring, and the Georgia HOPE Grant Program.

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14 Albany Technical College 51.70 59% Albany, GA

The accounting diploma and degree programs at Albany Technical include an online associate degree in accounting technology (applied science), which entails 102 credit hours of core and occupational courses. For a full-time student, completing the required coursework will take a minimum of 24 months. The program prepares students for a variety of positions in the technology-driven workplace, with career options like income tax preparation and governmental accounting.

Albany Tech offer 29 online programs, and for students who had to put their education on hold there's the Go Back, Move Ahead initiative. This initiative allows those students to finish college through a simple enrollment process and multiple options for transferring college credits. Courses are offered via Blackboard and students have access to extensive services and resources, including Jobline, an online career finder. Applicants to this program must achieve minimum admissions scores on COMPASS or acceptable scores on the SAT or ACT.

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15 Fox Valley Technical College 51.10 56% Appleton, WI

Fox Valley's accounting courses are offered either at its Appleton campus or fully online. The two-year associate in accounting online degree includes 33 course options in subject like business and finance. Fox Valley's accounting program requires 69 credit hours to be completed before students can earn their degree. For transferring students, Fox Valley's process is seamless as the school offers transfer agreements with more than 65 colleges through its accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. Fox Valley Tech is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System, the largest higher education system in the state with a 94% employment rate. Fox Valley offers associate degrees, technical diplomas, apprenticeships, and certificates in 14 industries, preparing students for the working world with high-tech occupational training. The school is also dedicated to connecting students with career opportunities beyond graduation, with its Business & Industry Services center and Employer Resources.

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16 Delta College 48.40 38% University Center, MI

Delta's online associate in accounting program, part of the college's LifeLong Learning initiative, is interactive and provides students with both experiential and analytical skills. The program requires students to earn a minimum of 64 credits before graduating and features classes in business law, microsoft excel, and business ethics. Delta has a certificate in advanced accounting that requires 32 credits. It's a quick program that prepares students for an entry-level accounting job.

Delta College is a charter member of the National League for Innovation in the Community College. Delta is a leader in sustainability and environmental awareness. The school offers career guidance, a Counseling and Advising Office, and career-centered degrees. The school's dedicated financial aid supports adult learners who decide to return to education after experience in the working world. A full-ride scholarship is available for students who meet the requirements. It takes care of many different financial obligations including: tuition, fees, and books. The scholarship winner will receive $500 towards a travel scholarship for Delta's international study program.

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17 Northeast Community College 48.10 59% Norfolk, NE

Over 60 online classes are offered at Northeast, as well as several online support services. The associate degree in accounting online program is offered as an AA degree, and provides a comprehensive foundation in accounting knowledge from experienced faculty. Northeast also offers an AAS degree in accounting. The AA degree, with a concentration in accounting, has 27 core credits. The AAS degree in accounting has 45 credits required in its core classes but less general education requirements. Both require students to complete 60 credit hours total.

Northeast, which is situated across four campuses in Nebraska, prides itself on low tuition and high success rates, with 98% of graduates achieving further education or immediate employment. The community college prioritizes cultural awareness, global competitiveness, and authentic relationships to help students reach their individual goals. Online services include tutoring, access to academic counseling, and online library access.

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18 Minnesota West Community and Technical College 47.90 59% Granite Falls, MN

Online courses are part of Minnesota West's Customized Training Services, and all courses are offered through the Desire2Learn Brightspace platform. The online accounting associate degree (AAS) is 60 credits and lasts about four semesters. It includes a free introduction to online learning course, which is useful for new distance learners. Students are required to complete an internship to learn how to apply their learned skills in the business world. The school has transfer and articulation agreements with many schools in state, and schools in North Dakota, Colorado, and South Dakota. Students can feel comfortable about their credits being accepted at many different colleges and universities.

Minnesota West has a hands-on learning experience, helping students develop skills tailored to their personal goals. The school offers associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates in around 60 pre-professional and liberal arts disciplines. Campuses are located throughout southwest Minnesota.

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19 Haywood Community College 47.50 38% Clyde, NC

Haywood's online AAS accounting degree includes courses in business, English, and math. A minimum of 67 credit hours is required for students to earn the degree. Haywood has three accounting certificates available in general accounting, income tax preparation, and small business financial advising. The certificates can be completed in a minimum of two semesters and prepare students for entry-level accounting positions. Online students can also benefit from individualized learning support services, and new students can attend their orientation online. The campus itself is located in a picturesque area of North Carolina and holds celebrations and events every semester. Online associate in accounting students who wish to immerse themselves in campus opportunities can engage in state and national competitions, such as the Schindler Global Award (SGA), Cosmetology, and Timbersports Team.

Haywood provides online students with state-of-the-art technology and alternative study options to support distance learning; the school also encourages critical thinking, ethics, academic rigor, and a student-centric environment.

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20 Northcentral Technical College 46.70 47% Wausau, WI

NTC's accounting associate degree is available online or on-campus at one of six locations in Wisconsin. The associate degree in accounting online program covers specialized areas such as general accounting, microcomputers, tax accounting, and auditing. Northcentral's program is 66 credit hours and requires students to complete a mentorship experience or an internship. For students who aren't sure whether to commit to the program, the school facilitates applying as an undecided student, giving prospective students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience while exploring their options.

Northcentral Tech is committed to giving students an edge in the technology-driven economy with affordable tuition, high job placement rates, and numerous transfer opportunities; the school has more than 300 agreements with over 40 universities and colleges. NTC offers programs either partially or fully online, including general studies online courses. At NTC's Virtual College, students can begin courses at a convenient time up to 10 weeks into the traditional semester, and can adjust due dates to fit their personal schedules. Virtual college students can complete courses in four weeks or take up to 16 weeks.

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21 Surry Community College 46.30 46% Dobson, NC

At Surry, the accounting program is offered both as a certification and an associate degree. Students of the online accounting associate degree experience courses in business law, finance, management, and economics. Surry's associate program is 67 credit hours and can be completed in about 24 months. The certificate is 17 credits and can be can completed in about 6 months; it prepares students for an entry-level accounting job like bookkeeping. As a research and technology driven institution, Surry focuses on both personal growth and enhanced learning among its 4,000 students.

Surry offers personal enrichment opportunities, where adult learners can enroll in weekend classes that foster new skills or hobbies -- from playing a new instrument to cake decorating. The school also aims to positively impact the community through its campus services, which include career placements, community events, and providing facilities for public use.

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22 Stanly Community College 45.90 43% Albemarle, NC

Stanly's online AAS in accounting degree qualifies graduates for accounting positions in many types of organizations, such as: banks, hospitals, and governmental agencies. The program takes around two years to complete. Stanly offers an accounting certificate and diploma that can be completed in less than a year. Students will develop a wide range of skills through electives in humanities and social/behavioral science. The college offers over 30 different elective courses; students are required to complete at least six credits of electives to earn a degree. The school's online associate in accounting is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

SCC values lifelong learning and active partnerships in the community to enhance student success and give them an edge in the global marketplace. Founded in 1971, SCC provides educational opportunities in the schools of Transfer, Business & Technology, Health & Public Services, and Advanced Manufacturing & Industrial Technologies.

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23 Shoreline Community College 45.50 49% Shoreline, WA

Students looking to study accounting through Shoreline have two options, each with different career outcomes and lengths of study. The associate in applied arts and sciences prepares students who are looking to head right into the workforce. It's a 90 credit program that includes a certificate of proficiency in accounting (the certificate can be earned separately). The second option is an associate of arts degree in business and has a direct transfer agreement with other in-state colleges (Shoreline is located in Washington State). It focuses on both business and accounting. The associate degree is for students looking to continue their education or become a CPA.

Shoreline specializes in educating students from all walks of life, whether they are transfer students, international students, veterans, or working professionals. The virtual campus at Shoreline offers more than 25, fully-online programs accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Online associate degree in accounting students are taught by an award-winning faculty.

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24 Wayne Community College 43.50 35% Goldsboro, NC

Wayne's online AAS in accounting degree can be done either online, hybrid, or in class. It's a 67 credit hour program with a 17 credit hour certificate also available. The certificate prepares students for entry-level accounting jobs like bookkeeping. Graduates of the program will be ready for positions in tax firms, banks, and school systems. The accounting degree has an average class size of 15-25, and associate in accounting online coursework can be completed in four semesters with economics and professional studies elective options.

A 175-acre campus located in North Carolina, WCC is a public institution with an open-door admissions policy. The school's mission is to ensure student access and success, institutional quality, and program excellence. WCC offers over 100 degrees, diplomas, certificates, and continuing education programs accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Many of these are distance learning courses available via Moodle.

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25 Westmoreland County Community College 41.40 33% Youngwood, PA

Westmoreland County's AAS in accounting is one of many academic programs at the school. It prepares students for entry-level positions in business, industry, and government. It's a 60 credit hour program with courses in finance, analytics, and auditing. All distance learners are required to take the first-year seminar class. Westmoreland offers two accounting certificates: the computer accounting and tax specialist certificate and a general accounting certificate. Classes taken for the computer accounting certificate are applied towards the accounting AAS. The courses are based completely online.

Westmoreland County ranked first in Pennsylvania for 2016 Online Colleges. They emphasize the importance of flexibility in learning, and now offer many of its courses online. Each program uses Blackboard Learn as a learning management system and Blackboard Collaborate for state-of-the-art interactive web conferencing.

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18 months to 2 years
Program Costs
$6,000 to $20,000 in annual tuition
Popular Minors and Dual Areas of Study
General Business, Business Administration, Finance, Management, Human Resources, Economics, Statistics, Mathematics
There is no formally recognized accreditor for associate degree programs in this field. Please defer to an individual school’s regional or national accreditation status.

Job Placement: Associate in Accounting

The accounting industry is quite large. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that more than 1.3 million accountants and auditors currently employed in the United States. The industry is also projected to increase by 11% between 2014 and 2024, resulting in the creation of more than 142,000 new jobs during that timeframe.

The unemployment rate for accountants is also relatively low — 3.2% nationwide, according to U.S. News & World Report. How does this stack up against the employment outlook for other business professionals? The table below compares the unemployment rates of nine common occupations in the corporate sector. Each entry in the table was included in the ‘Best Business Jobs‘ ranking published by U.S. News in 2016.

Occupation Unemployment Rate (2016)
Financial Analyst 2.2%
Market Research Analyst 2.4%
Management Analyst 3.0%
Accountant 3.2%
Financial Advisor 3.3%
Business Operations Manager 3.7%
Operations Research Analyst 3.8%
Mathematician 4.0%
Statistician 4.0%

Source: U.S. News & World Report

As the table indicates, the unemployment rate for accounts is fairly middle-of-the-road compared to other related career paths. Comparatively, the national unemployment rate for all industries currently sits at 4.6%.

Earning a Living

As noted in the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, the annual salary for an accountant with an associate degree will somewhat depend on his or her specific field of study. The table below looks at salary expectations for graduates with associate degrees in three accounting- related disciplines.

Associate Degree Field of Study Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Accounting and Finance $34,000 $50,800
Accounting $33,200 $45,000
Accounting and Business $33,600 $45,000

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

As the table indicates, those with an associate in accounting and finance experience 49% salary growth after 10 years on the job; by comparison, graduates with an associate in accounting or accounting and business see their earnings increase by 33% to 35% over the same duration. Additionally, the salaries of accounting professionals will vary by the employee’s specific job title. Projected salary growth rates for four common careers in accounting are featured in the table below.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) $52,908 $64,716 $75,839 $83,810
Staff Accountant $44,785 $48,433 $48,786 $49,754
Junior Accountant $41,312 $45,640 $45,606 $47,508
Accounting Manager $54,946 $65,901 $66,650 $64,736

Source: PayScale

Of all four occupations listed on the table, CPAs reported the highest career salary growth: an increase of more than 58% between the entry-level and late-career stages. Accounting managers placed second with 17.8% salary growth after 20 years in the workforce.

Career Opportunities

Students who graduate with an associate in accounting will be qualified for dozens of entry- and mid-level positions, although individual eligibility will depend on additional factors like employer type and city/state of employment. The accounting and auditing profession, as well as three other common careers for accounting degree-holders, are outlined below.

Accountants and Auditors: Accountants monitor and evaluate financial records to ensure their client or organization is compliant with all applicable and current tax laws. Auditors are specialized accountants who look for discrepancies or errors in financial datasets. Accountants and auditors work long hours, especially during tax season; the BLS estimates that roughly 25% work more than 40 hours on a weekly basis.

Management Analysts: Management analysts help companies increase productivity and profits through efficient practices. Analysts will gather organizational data through research, staff interviews, surveys and other sources. They deliver their findings to top executives, who will then be able to begin the retooling process. Most management analysts have a background in financial accounting.

Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate: Appraisers and assessors evaluate homes, offices and other properties to calculate the overall value. These determinations have a significant impact on the way properties are marketed, sold, taxed and insured. In most states, appraisers and assessors who handle federal transactions must become certified or licensed.

Budget Analysts: These analysts handle financial records for companies and organizations with relatively large budgets. After reviewing budget proposals, analysts will work with different departments to reach different financial goals. According to the BLS, more than 40% of currently employed budget analysts are employed for government agencies at the federal, state or local level.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)
Accountants and Auditors $67,190 11% (+142,000 jobs)
Management Analysts $83,120 14% (+103,400 jobs)
Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate $51,860 8% (+6,800 jobs)
Budget Analysts $71,590 3% (+1,500 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to accounting is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for professional accountants. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • The American Accounting Association: Celebrating 100 years in 2016, the AAA is an international organization representing more than 7,000 members in dozens of countries. The association’s website features a robust career center with a rotating pool of roughly 200 job openings from across the country, along with a peer-reviewed journal and links to professional development courses.
  • National Society of Accountants: The NSA strives to provide advocacy, continuing education opportunities, and ethical oversight for professional accountants throughout the nation. Members receive access to a range of accounting- and tax-related resources, along with discounts on webinar courses, conference entry fees, and other services.
  • American Institute of CPAs: Considered the world’s largest professional organization for accounting professionals, the AICPA represents more than 400,000 members in 144 countries. The institute’s website features study guides, practice exams, and other resources for bachelor’s graduates who have yet to take their CPA exam, as well as a career center for certified job candidates.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.


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Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.


Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.


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