Best Online Associate in Accounting Programs of 2021

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Published on April 28, 2021

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Online associate in accounting degrees provide foundational skills and knowledge for students interested in pursuing careers in accounting, auditing, and bookkeeping. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors made a median annual salary of $71,550 in 2019.

In this guide, readers can find more information about earning an associate in accounting, including potential classes and career pathways. This guide also offers a list of the top five online associate programs. You can find more information about choosing an online associate in accounting here.

What Are the Best Online Associate in Accounting Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:

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#1 Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wesson, MS
#2 Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global Marion, IN
#3 Fox Valley Technical College Appleton, WI
#4 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
#5 Lenoir Community College Kinston, NC
#6 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake, WI
#7 Northeast Community College Norfolk, NE
#8 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
#9 Surry Community College Dobson, NC
#10 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN
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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

2021 Best Accredited Online Associate in Accounting Programs

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Copiah-Lincoln Community College View School Profile Wesson, MS

Based in Wesson, Mississippi, Co-Lin offers an online associate of business in accounting. Students complete 63 credits entirely online, laying the foundation for transfer to a four-year program.

Students complete accounting courses such as principles of accounting, along with business-focused courses. Notable business requirements include an introduction to international business, principles of microeconomics, the legal environment of business, and business statistics.

Applicants do not need to take the SAT or ACT to apply, but need to complete the school's placement exams for math and English. The school requires applicants to submit official high school or GED transcripts.

Co-Lin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global View School Profile Marion, IN

A Christian university located in Marion, IWU offers an online associate of science in accounting. Students receive foundational training in accountancy along with the opportunity to explore the field through a Christian lens.

The 60-credit program includes introductory accounting courses such as accounting principles, payroll accounting and taxation, and using spreadsheets in accounting. Learners also take basic business courses like the legal environment of business and basic economics, although the main focus remains on the accounting field.

Applicants must hold a high school diploma or proof of GED completion to qualify for admission. IWU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, and its business school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Fox Valley Technical College View School Profile Appleton, WI

Based in Appleton, Wisconsin, FVTC offers an online associate of applied science in accounting. Students complete 63 credits entirely online on either a full-time or part-time schedule.

Students take 44 credits of technical studies, focusing on accounting principles and common tools. Notable courses include QuickBooks accounting, introduction to Microsoft Office Suite, beginning and intermediate spreadsheets, and advanced payroll. Business courses such as business law and business communications provide students with an introduction to working for a company.

Applicants must possess a minimum high school GPA of 2.75 or a minimum GED score of 165 to qualify for admission. The program also requires students to complete placement exams prior to enrollment. Students may submit their SAT or ACT scores instead of sitting for placement exams.

FVTC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Liberty University View School Profile Lynchburg, VA

A Christian college based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty offers an online associate of science in accounting. Students can complete the program in about 1.5 years, and graduates can transfer all 60 associate credits to a related bachelor of science program at Liberty.

The curriculum includes introductory courses in accounting and business. Notable requirements include financial accounting, managerial accounting, business law, and principles of marketing. Students with prior college credit can transfer up to 75% of the credit requirements into the program.

Applicants must possess a minimum 2.0 high school or college GPA. The school does not require SAT or ACT scores.

Liberty holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and its business school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Lenoir Community College View School Profile Kinston, NC

Based in Kinston, North Carolina, LCC offers an online associate of applied science in accounting. Students complete 66 credits, taking a mix of business, finance, and ethics courses.

Students take three required subject area courses: federal income taxes, payroll accounting, and intermediate accounting. Students then complete business and accounting core coursework. Business requirements include an introduction to business and personal finance. Accounting requirements include principles of financial accounting, principles of managerial accounting, and ethics in accounting. Students must also complete a field experience with an approved employer to round out requirements.

LCC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College View School Profile Shell Lake, WI

Located in Rice Lake, WITC offers an online associate of accounting. Students take 60 credits and study the basics of accounting and finance.

Introductory courses include financial accounting, cost and managerial accounting, and accounting applications using Excel. Students study accounting principles such as cost and managerial accounting, payroll systems, and income tax. The school offers training in QuickBooks, Excel, and Microsoft Access, as well as business law.

Students can apply for prior learning credit through placement exams, work experience, or military service. Applicants need a high school diploma to apply for the accounting major and can use SAT or ACT scores instead of taking placement exams.

WITC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Northeast Community College View School Profile Norfolk, NE

Located in Norfolk, Nebraska, Northeast offers an online associate of arts in accounting. Students take 60 credits covering the basics of accounting, and they can seek entry-level employment upon graduation.

Recommended core courses include principles of accounting, spreadsheet accounting, business communications, and business law. Students complete classes covering both financial principles and business to prepare for work. They also learn about the fundamentals of spreadsheet technologies and Excel spreadsheet applications.

Students need a high school diploma to apply for the program. The school prefers applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores but can schedule placement exams for students without them. Northeast is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern New Hampshire University View School Profile Manchester, NH

Located in Manchester, SNHU offers an online associate of science in accounting. Graduates may transition seamlessly into an online bachelor's program at SNHU.

Students take foundational training in several aspects of finance and accounting, including managerial accounting and federal taxation. The department also works closely with the business department, offering courses like business law, business systems analysis and design, and an introduction to marketing.

The school accepts applications on a rolling basis with six start dates per year. Applicants need a high school diploma and may transfer up to 45 credits from another college or university into the program. SNHU holds regional accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education, and its business school is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Surry Community College View School Profile Dobson, NC

Located in Dobson, North Carolina, SCC offers an online associate of accounting and finance. Students learn both business and accounting fundamentals thanks to the program's close partnership with the business department.

Students take accounting courses such as principles of financial accounting, principles of managerial accounting, and cost accounting. Business core courses include business law and principles of microeconomics. Students also study basic taxation principles while developing a foundation in business communications.

Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent to apply, and they need to take placement exams to get started. Students may use their SAT or ACT scores for placement purposes. SCC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Minnesota State Community and Technical College View School Profile Fergus Falls, MN

Based in Fergus Falls, M State offers an online associate of applied science in accounting. Students complete 60 credits and engage in foundational training in accounting systems and technology.

Required courses include a mixture of business and finance basics. Notable classes include managerial accounting, business law, Microsoft Dynamics GP, and QuickBooks. Students can also choose to complete an internship and pursue training in niche subjects like nonprofit accounting. Learners can also take classes in management and marketing, gaining exposure to other aspects of business.

Applicants do not need standardized test scores to apply but may need to take placement exams, depending on their high school performance. M State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Moraine Park Technical College View School Profile Fond du Lac, WI

Located in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, MPTC offers an online associate of applied science with a concentration in accounting. Students complete 66 credits and cover fundamentals in both accounting and business.

Core accounting requirements include classes like payroll accounting, income tax accounting, and QuickBooks. Learners also gain vital business skills through courses such as business law and data management, analysis, and reporting. A practicum in business and an accounting capstone allow participants to demonstrate skills mastery.

Students with a minimum high school or college GPA of 3.0 do not need to submit standardized test scores or to take placement exams before starting coursework. Applicants who already possess an associate degree may also waive this requirement. MPTC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Champlain College View School Profile Burlington, VT

Located in Burlington, Vermont, Champlain offers an online associate of accounting. Students take 60 credits through seven-week terms, allowing them to focus on fewer courses at a time.

Courses delve into fundamentals in accounting and business. Notable classes include managerial accounting, cost accounting, and both beginning and intermediate accounting. Students also take business courses such as business law and the landscape of internet security. The department also offers courses in forensic accounting and government and nonprofit accounting.

The school prefers applicants to possess a minimum GPA of 2.5. Champlain is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Vance-Granville Community College View School Profile Henderson, NC

Located in Henderson, North Carolina, VGCC offers an online associate of applied science in accounting and finance. Students complete 69-70 credits, including hands-on work experience, to complete the program.

The curriculum covers the foundations of business and accounting. Notable courses include principles of financial accounting, principles of managerial accounting, and payroll accounting. Students also study popular technology used in the field by reviewing with accounting software applications. Participants take business courses like business law and audit and assurance services, and they may also earn a sole proprietorship accounting certificate.

Students must take placement exams to ensure proper course placement for math and English requirements. Applicants may also use their SAT or ACT scores for placement. VGCC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Kennebec Valley Community College View School Profile Fairfield, ME

Based in Fairfield, Maine, KVCC offers an online associate of applied science in business administration with a focus on accounting. Students complete 63 credits and gain vital training in both business and finance.

The curriculum covers business fundamentals such as business law, business and professional writing, and principles of management. From there, students take a variety of accounting courses covering both fundamentals and targeted concepts. Notable accounting coursework covers principles of accounting, accounting spreadsheet and database apps, principles of payroll administration, and federal taxation.

Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. KVCC is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Southeast Technical Institute View School Profile Sioux Falls, SD

Located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Southeast Tech offers an associate of applied science in accounting. The program covers accounting fundamentals and popular technology used in the field. Students complete 66 credits through an entirely online, flexible format.

Course topics include principles of accounting, payroll and analytics, and an introduction to business analytics. Technology courses delve into accounting spreadsheet applications, financial management, project management, and business foundations.

Applicants need a minimum 2.0 high school GPA or a GED score of 500 or better to apply without needing to sit for placement exams. Students who meet ACT or SAT score minimums can also waive placement exam requirements. Southeast Tech is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Accounting Program?

Readers should pursue an associate in accounting if they enjoy math and display skills in analytical thinking, organization, and communication.

Online associate in accounting degrees typically require about 60 credits and take two years to complete. Students should pursue an associate in accounting if they enjoy math and display skills in analytical thinking, organization, and communication.

All associate programs differ depending on the school. Some schools offer concentrations in areas like financial accounting, management accounting, taxation, and information systems.

While an associate degree can prepare students to enter the workforce, many schools encourage students to enroll in a four-year program after graduation. An online associate in accounting covers the general education requirements for a bachelor's degree and allows students to transfer credits into their new program.

Some programs may offer an associate of arts in accounting or an associate of science in accounting. Both programs teach the basics of accounting principles, business ethics, and financial management. An associate of arts may add additional requirements in the humanities, while an associate of science may focus on math and science.

Additionally, some programs may also require accounting internships with a local business or accounting firm. Some colleges place students in internships, while others require students to independently find internships.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Accounting Program?

Most associate in accounting programs prepare students to transfer into a bachelor's program. An associate of arts in accounting may offer more courses in the humanities, while an associate of science in accounting may focus on math and science. However, differences are generally minimal.

Read on to learn more about several common courses for an online associate in accounting.

Financial Accounting

Students in this course learn how to prepare financial statements and explore the different steps in the yearly accounting cycle. This course provides valuable knowledge in accounting procedures and stakeholder communications. Students also develop skills in financial accounting information analysis, allowing them to process and understand accounting data.

Federal Taxation

For students interested in pursuing tax accounting, this course teaches the fundamentals of U.S. law and tax code. Learners look at real-world examples of tax documents to practice their skills, discover how tax law applies to different individuals, and prepare to eventually file federal tax returns for clients.

Managerial Accounting

This course shows students the connection between accounting information and business decisions. Students learn how to use accounting to improve business structure and productivity. The class emphasizes the importance of making informed decisions when creating growth strategies. Learners use real-world examples to better understand the practical application of accounting data.

Business Law

Almost every accounting program requires a course in business law. This class teaches students about business ethics and how the U.S. legal system shapes the activities of different organizations. Through case studies, students test their legal and ethical decision-making skills, learning how to make ethical choices while promoting growth within a company.

Business Systems Analysis and Design

This course teaches students basic IT skills in order to improve how they manage and organize data. Students learn to build spreadsheets that feature key analytical functions for incoming accounting information. Learners hone their analytical and technical skills through practice with business tools.

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What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Accounting Degree?

Many online associate in accounting programs prepare students to transfer to a four-year accounting program. However, students can find work immediately after graduation in positions like bookkeeper and auditing clerk.

Accounting positions feature different levels of opportunity and growth. The BLS projects a 6% decrease in bookkeeping and accounting clerk positions between 2019 and 2029. At the same time, the BLS projects a steady 4% job growth rate for accountants and auditors during the same time period. Readers should note that job opportunities vary depending on their location and the specific job.

Learn more about accounting careers here.

Bookkeeper

Bookkeepers work for businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations. These professionals keep budgets and analyze financial records to help their company remain financially sound. Bookkeepers often work closely with management and help them make decisions about the company's financial future. Bookkeepers may also take charge of payroll accounts within the company.

Accounting Clerk

Most accounting clerks work in an office setting. Accounting clerks can work with ledger accounts and accounts payable/receivable. These professionals work with both vendors and customers. They must display excellent communication and organizational skills. Accounting clerks must also know how to use accounting software and create spreadsheets for financial reporting.

Payroll Clerk

Payroll clerks can work within accounting and human resources departments. These professionals ensure all employees receive their paychecks on time. Payroll clerks also oversee time cards, sick leave, and paid time off. They need excellent communication skills to explain payroll issues and policies to employees.

Accounts Receivable Clerk

Accounts receivable clerks send payments to accounts and follow up on payment posts for customers. These clerks also manage and monitor company debit and credit cards for employees. Professionals in this field may oversee bookkeeping duties and keep financial records for the company.

Administrative Assistant

Administrative assistants help manage an office by performing administrative tasks for all employees, including management. These professionals must develop exceptional organizational and communication skills. Some administrative assistants may help keep records of financial transactions and manage company credit and debit cards. Knowledge of accounting software can help administrative assistants track financial records.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Accounting Programs

What is an associate in accounting?

An associate in accounting teaches fundamental skills in auditing, financial planning, accounting, and business law and ethics. Students learn the underlying principles of accounting and how to apply them in the real world. Many associate programs prepare students for transfer into four-year accounting programs.

Is an associate degree in accounting worth it?

An online associate in accounting provides a valuable stepping stone to further education such as a bachelor's degree. Students learn important skills and earn credits that can count toward their four-year degree. An associate degree can also help graduates join the workforce in positions like auditing clerk and accounting clerk.

Can you be an accountant with an associate degree?

Most accounting firms and businesses require accountants to hold at least a bachelor's degree. An associate degree prepares students to enter a bachelor's program. Candidates also must pass the certified accounting exams offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

What can I do with an accounting associate degree?

An associate degree in accounting prepares students for entry-level positions at accounting firms and businesses in almost every field, including healthcare and nonprofits. Graduates can find work as payroll clerks, bookkeepers, accounts receivable clerks, and accounting assistants. An online associate in accounting also qualifies students for further education in accounting and finance.

How much does an accountant with an associate's degree make?

The BLS found that bookkeepers, auditing, and accounting clerks earned a median annual salary of $41,230 in 2019. Readers should note that compensation differs depending on the specific job, the employee's level of experience, and location. Professionals can also increase their salary potential through certification and additional education.

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