Best Online Associate in Finance Programs
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An associate in finance provides students with foundational finance skills and an understanding of the core finance concepts. The training prepares graduates for entry-level positions in business, performing financial activities for organizations and improving their financial health and decision-making.
A growing number of organizations, financial activities, and financial complexities bodes well for professionals in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 8% growth for business and financial occupations between 2020-2030, about the same as the projected growth rate for all occupations. The median annual salary for the field was $76,570 in May 2021.
Students can find online finance degrees at the associate level in universities and community colleges. Here, we examine this program in detail, highlighting what students can expect from it and what the top online schools have to offer in the discipline.
Should I Get an Associate in Finance?
Associate degree-holders can move into entry-level jobs, usually assisting established financial professionals.
Pursuing an online associate degree in finance is a considerable first step toward a rewarding career in business, accounting, finance, economics, and various other sectors.
Associate degree-holders can move into entry-level jobs, usually assisting more established financial professionals. They gain valuable experience and knowledge they can apply in a bachelor's program or in the workplace.
Earning an associate degree in finance takes about two years. Graduates usually enter jobs that focus on the clerical or menial aspects of finance. Students should be ready to take on these roles as they start their careers.
After earning an associate degree in finance, students can supplement their education and knowledge by securing a bookkeeping, financial clerk, or accounting clerk certificate. Doing so can make them more appealing to employers.
What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Finance Program?
Associate degrees typically take students two years to complete and feature 60 credits in total. The programs comprise general education credits and foundational courses in the chosen discipline, which makes them effective transfer degrees. The applicable training can also take graduates in many directions, which is often appealing to learners looking for career flexibility after graduation.
Schools may approach the associate in finance curriculum in different ways, but they often blend training in accounting, management, and planning, plus banking and financial laws. Students learn to work with financial statements and analyze data through a mixture of coursework and practical training.
An associate in finance typically leads to an associate of science (AS) or an associate of business administration (ABA). These degree types may appear similar but have different focuses. AS programs, for example, tend to feature more analytical and specialized training. Conversely, ABA programs may feature more interdisciplinary training and business applications.
Associate in finance degrees do not usually have concentration options available. Students may be able to develop a specialization by choosing focused electives in a field like corporate finance or financial law. Schools may also provide bachelor's degree tracks, which help streamline the transfer process.
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Popular Online Associate in Finance Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Finance Program?
In this course, students learn how to work with financial statements and the double entry system. They may also look at professional ethics, managing accounts receivables and liabilities, and computerized accounting technologies.
This course explores the major finance requirements and activities within corporations, including cash management, investments, and raising funds and capital. Students may also develop the necessary analytical skills for risk assessment and decision-making.
Students in this course learn how financial analysis provides information used in decision-making, valuation, and performance assessments. Learners explore methods and strategies for analytically informed planning and predictions.
In this course, learners study the principles and practices involved with individual and corporate taxes. They may learn to use tax preparation software, calculate investment incomes, and manage property taxes.
This course looks at the major concepts in microeconomics, including the basics of market structures, supply and demand, pricing strategies, and consumer behaviors.
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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Finance Program?
Students may find different admission requirements depending on where they apply. But most programs require prospective students to have completed high school or a GED test at minimum for entry. Schools may also request scores from college entrance exams, such as the SAT or ACT.
Other application components may include 2-3 letters of recommendation and college application essays. Prospective students may need to submit college resumes as well, though relevant work is rarely required at the associate level.
Candidates with prior undergraduate training or a relevant professional history may receive credit for life and work experience. Transfer credits can reduce the length and cost of the associate in finance.
What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Finance Degree?
An online associate in finance equips graduates with the applicable finance and business skills to enter a number of related fields. The specialized finance training, for example, prepares graduates for roles in accounting, banking, taxation, and financial departments.
The BLS projects the addition of more than 750,000 new business and financial jobs from 2020-2030. The accounting field alone accounts for nearly 100,000 of those projected jobs. While the BLS projects a decline in entry-level bookkeeping roles between 2020-2030, it also projects more than 170,000 annual openings in the field.
Finance graduates enjoy competitive salaries as well, with the median annual wage for business and finance professionals hitting $76,570 in May 2021. The median annual wage for all occupations in the same month was $45,760.
Find out how an associate in finance prepares you for the professional world.
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerk
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work with financial records for people and organizations. They record and track financial activities, create reports and statements of the activities, and check them for accuracy and tax purposes. Accounting clerks may have specialized roles, such as handling accounts receivables or overseeing loan activities.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $45,560
These professionals manage various financial activities for organizations, such as maintaining financial records, overseeing financial transactions, and discussing finances with clients and suppliers. They may specialize in bills and payments, loans, investments, or payroll. Depending on their position and employer, they may require more training.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $44,760
Tax Examiner and Collector
These professionals work for local, state, and federal governments and collect tax from individuals and organizations. They review tax documents and financial information, perform audits, and communicate with taxpayers to get all the required documentation. Depending on the employer and the position level, professionals may need more training for this field.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $56,780
Tellers perform various roles in a bank, working with customers to complete transactions, handling account queries, and issuing account and credit cards. These professionals must record all their activities from the day and ensure they performed them accurately. They may work with various bill payments, foreign currencies, and specialized funds as well.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $36,310
Claims Adjuster, Appraiser, Examiner, or Investigator
These professionals work with insurance companies to ensure the proper amount of money is paid out for insurance claims. They review and investigate claims for accuracy and fraud, check policy coverage issues, and communicate with clients and management in many cases. They may need to provide counsel on legal matters or make appraisals for insurance purposes.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $64,710
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An associate in finance provides students with an effective foundation on which to continue their training. Graduates may pursue bachelor's degrees in many fields, including a bachelor's in finance. Other options include a bachelor's in accounting, a bachelor's in economics, and a bachelor's in business administration.
More specialized interests might take graduates toward a bachelor's in risk management, a bachelor's in international business, or eventually, even a master's in business intelligence.
The finance, accounting, and business worlds also offer numerous industry certifications that require more training, such as a certified public accountant (CPA), chartered financial analyst (CFA), or a certified financial planner (CFP).
How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Finance Program?
In-state and out-of-state status, as well as whether a school is public or private can impact tuition rates. Students are encouraged to consider all their options and weigh the pros and cons of each. When comparing online and on-campus program costs, degree-seekers who plan on working while studying should consider the true program cost to find out how their income might be affected.
Program format dictates how and when learners attend classes and study. Prospective students should compare their options to find the most suitable format for their needs. They may consider scheduling requirements and compare synchronous and asynchronous learning and full-time or part-time studies to see which one fits best.
Location should be a consideration for prospective students regardless of how they choose between online and on-campus programs. On-campus students need to find a location that suits their regular travel and living arrangements. Online students need to find a school location with the right tuition rates that they can travel to if needed.
Prospective students should be on the lookout for schools with institutional and programmatic accreditation. Institutional accreditation should be considered mandatory, as it determines if federal financial aid is available to students.
Programmatic accreditation for an associate in finance may come from organizations like the International Accreditation Council for Business Education or Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Student services provide learners with access to support and resources in many areas. Popular online student services include career services, academic support, wellness and counseling, and college mentorships. Curricula that include internship programs can also be valuable for students as they transition to the professional world.
Best Accredited Online Associate in Finance Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Finance Programs
Is an associate degree in finance worth it?
An associate in finance offers students the chance to study and pursue careers in many business and financial fields. They learn how to manage finances for organizations, use financial information to improve operations, and analyze finances for various purposes.
Online learning adds value to the training as well, offering students more study options, fewer study limitations, and more flexibility. Prospective online students can expand their searches to find schools and programs that provide the training and support they need. Learners who hold full-time jobs can pursue asynchronous online training that does not impact their employment status.
How fast can I get an associate in finance degree online?
Students typically complete an associate in finance in about two years, but completion times vary by school and student. While most programs feature 60 credits, schools may offer accelerated tracks or part-time schedules that allow students to finish in less than or more than two years.
Through online training, students may have access to self-paced training, which can lead to slower or faster completion times than the typical length. Students who qualify for transfer credits for previous training or experience may also have shorter study times.
Is an online associate degree in finance credible?
Yes. An online associate in finance is a credible degree for students who wish to access entry-level careers in the business and financial sector. The training also qualifies learners for further study in many disciplines at the bachelor's level.
To ensure their program is credible, prospective students should only consider accredited schools. Programmatic accreditation may not be required for all types of employment, but it can provide quality assurance to students and employers.
How much money can I make with an associate in finance?
The amount of money graduates make with an associate in finance depends on many factors. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for the business and financial sector was $76,570 in May 2021. While graduates can qualify for many of the positions in this sector, they may need extra training in some cases.
The salaries for entry-level positions in finance can vary significantly. As per the BLS, the median annual salary for a bank teller was $36,310 in May 2021, whereas claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators made $64,710.
Is an associate degree in finance in demand?
Yes. The BLS projects 8% growth for business and financial occupations from 2020-2030, which amounts to more than 750,000 new jobs added during that period. While an associate degree may not qualify graduates for all positions in this sector, it can lead to the bachelor's degrees that do.
The more complex our financial system becomes, the more people and organizations will need professionals to manage their finances. As a result of the demand, business was the third-most popular discipline at the associate level in 2019-20, as per the National Center for Education Statistics.
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