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.
Choosing a Program
WILL AN ONLINE ASSOCIATE IN ACCOUNTING PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?
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.
WILL AN ONLINE ASSOCIATE IN ACCOUNTING PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?
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.
WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY ASSOCIATE IN ACCOUNTING?
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.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE ASSOCIATE IN ACCOUNTING PROGRAMS?
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.
Accredited Online Associate in Accounting Programs
|Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Based in Lynchburg, VA, Liberty University offers remote programs in 16 fields of study, including an online associate of arts in accounting. The program prepares students for careers in both the private and public sectors. Graduates pursue careers as auditors, financial planners, budget analysts, and certified accountants. Liberty facilitates eight-week asynchronous classes through Blackboard, and most students earn their credentials in under two years.
The online associate accounting degree plan totals 60 credits. Foundational coursework consists of business computer applications and statistical probability. Students take major classes in financial and managerial accounting. They also study intermediate accounting, learning to integrate theoretical concepts with applied accounting practices and procedural explanations.
The Liberty curriculum contains one business law course where learners explore the U.S. legal system and the principles relevant to business operations. Topics include organizational growth, intellectual property, employment relations, and international law. Students also examine business contracts, identifying basic elements and possible defenses against litigation.
Candidates with a minimum 2.0 GPA apply for admission. Prospective students with a GPA below this threshold can apply for conditional enrollment. Distance learners pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. Liberty offers comprehensive financial assistance, including scholarships for state residents and online students. Military students receive tuition discounts and award opportunities.
The university offers a generous transfer policy, allowing students to apply up to 75% of prior learning credits toward degree completion. Liberty's online business programs maintain specialized accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
University of Alaska Fairbanks
|Fairbanks, AK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 30%||
The University of Alaska Fairbanks was established in 1917 as the state's flagship public higher education institution. Today, UAF offers over 190 academic programs, including remote opportunities, like the online associate of applied science in applied accounting. Through a 60-credit degree plan, students learn the core business concepts and skills needed to pursue entry-level and mid-level accounting jobs. Graduates occupy positions with small businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, and corporations.
UAF powers its eCampus with Blackboard. Students can earn their online associate degree in accounting through asynchronous classes. They can also mix in flexible campus-based courses for a hybrid learning experience. Degree candidates take classes such as accounting principles and financial management, developing hard skills in Quickbooks, income tax preparation, and payroll accounting. The program also covers foundational business concepts, like professional communications, organizational supervision, and customer service.
The program culminates in an accounting capstone. Students train through the entire accounting cycle, including record keeping and financial statement preparation. They also learn to reconcile bank activity, conduct payroll computations, and close an organization's accounting books. By completing the associate curriculum, learners fulfill the requirements for the accounting technician certificate and bookkeeping occupational endorsement.
Online students can apply for fall, spring, or summer admission. Candidates submit ACT or SAT scores unless they possess 30 or more transferable credits. Students pay a per-credit tuition rate based on course level. The university offers financial support, including the Alaska Performance Scholarship for state residents.
Chattahoochee Technical College
|Marietta, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 26%||
Founded in 1963, Chattahoochee Technical College operates eight Georgia campuses and enrolls 14,000 students annually. The school operates more than 45 academic programs, including an online associate of applied science in accounting. With a regularly updated curriculum, the program focuses on career acquisition, retention, and advancement. Distance learners can earn their credentials entirely through Blackboard-powered classes. However, each course requires students to attend at least one proctored event on campus.
The 64-credit degree plan contains five general education classes. Students take 10 occupational courses in areas like financial, computerized, and individual tax accounting. They also study payroll accounting, examining the laws that affect a company's pay structure and how to document transactions and records. To strengthen their written communication skills, learners train in touch system keyboarding, document formatting, and revisions.
The curriculum includes two guided and three open electives, which students use to pursue business classes and learn a foreign language. Degree candidates round out their training with an accounting simulation. In this course, students gain hands-on experiences with interpreting organizational tax documents. They train through an entire accounting cycle for service businesses and corporations. The simulation also covers topics such as customer transactions, banking activities, merchandise inventory, and employee payroll.
Admission requires ACT or SAT scores. Depending on their academic record, prospective students may also need to take the ACCUPLACER placement test. Transfer students do not need to submit standardized test results. The college offers credit for prior learning, military training, experiential learning, and CLEP/AP/IB scores. Online students pay affordable per-credit tuition based on residency.
Lanier Technical College
|Oakwood, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 32%||
Based in Oakwood, GA, Lanier Technical College was founded in 1964 as a vocational trade school. Today, the institution enrolls over 24,000 students in diverse academic programs. Through Blackboard, LTC delivers distance education options that include an online associate in accounting. Through a 64-credit curriculum that combines theoretical concepts and practical application, students develop the abilities to use manual and computerized accounting systems.
The degree plan consists of 15 general education credits. Students take major coursework in document preparation, spreadsheet applications, and financial accounting. They also study payroll, managerial, and individual tax accounting. The LTC program contains guided and free elective requirements that students fulfill with the aid of an academic adviser.
Learners can earn their fully online associate accounting degree by taking asynchronous classes. They may also mix in in traditional courses at one of LTC's three campuses. Most students finish the program in five semesters. Graduates can pursue entry-level positions and, after accumulating work experience, earn industry certifications. These credentials come from major organizations, like the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers.
Applicants need a high school diploma or GED and ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER scores. The college provides low tuition prices and financial aid. On top of FAFSA awards, eligible candidates may apply for one foundational scholarship each semester. Through the school's career services, students can develop their resumes, plan for job placement, and apply for work.
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
|Shell Lake, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Wisconsin Indian Technical College offers over 300 academic, career training, and continuing education programs. The school also offers distance education options, including an online associate of applied science in accounting. Through this two-year program, students develop the business knowledge and technical skills needed to identify, interpret, and forecast the financial information essential to a company's operations. Graduates work in such fields as retail, healthcare, government, and construction.
The degree plan totals 60 credits and comprises perfunctory classes in business math, economics, and developmental psychology. As part of their general education, students develop written and interpersonal communication skills. Major coursework includes financial, managerial, and income tax accounting. Students also train to manage an organization's payroll systems and control costs.
This accredited online accounting associate degree requires students to take a business law course that covers topics like contract elements and ethical issues. They learn to staff, motivate, and oversee daily business operations. Degree candidates round out their training with a job quest class, preparing for career entry and professional development.
The admission process does not require standardized testing or a GPA minimum. Students pay the same affordable tuition rate regardless of residency. The university offers financial aid, including the Promise and Franzen Family Foundation Scholarships for local high school students. Graduates who want to continue their education should seek out WITC's transfer pathways with partnering in-state institutions.
Stanly Community College
|Albemarle, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 36%||
Located in Albemarle, NC, Stanly Community College serves over 10,000 students annually. The school offers several online programs, including an online associate of applied science in accounting. The program covers essential communication skills and financial knowledge. Graduates pursue high-demand careers in fields like global trade, healthcare services, manufacturing, and retail.
Canvas powers asynchronous and hybrid coursework at SCC. The 70-credit degree plan introduces students to fundamental accounting principles, business concepts, and relevant computer applications. Students learn to conduct quantitative analyses and discipline-specific research. They also study business law, ethics, marketing, and communication tactics.
Major coursework includes financial and managerial accounting. Candidates also take a payroll accounting class, learning to prepare appropriate tax forms and journalize transactions. The program also teaches students bookkeeping principles, including how to adjust entries, correct errors, and manage inventory. Online associate accounting degree training culminates with an entrepreneurship course on topics such as new venture creation, resource needs, leadership skills, and business technology.
SCC does not require students to meet GPA minimums or submit SAT/ACT scores. Candidates complete residency determination and an online application. The college offers low tuition rates and financial assistance. Students can access FAFSA aid, childcare support, and work-study opportunities. They can also apply for institutional awards, including the Golden Leaf Scholarship for degree seekers.
Central Carolina Community College
|Sanford, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 25%||
Founded in 1963, Central Carolina Community College operates academic and career training programs on its three campuses and online. The school delivers remote education through Blackboard, including an online associate of applied science in accounting and finance. The curriculum aligns with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, preparing graduates for career entry, additional college training, and professional licensure/certification exams.
The 68-credit degree plan includes classes like personal finance, individual income tax, and financial accounting. Students also engage with managerial accounting, learning to interpret transactions related to product-costing systems. Coursework in business finance and income taxes further develop candidates as organizational leaders.
The online associate degree in accounting emphasizes business technologies. Using accounting software applications, students create general ledgers and close transactional entries. They build a legal and ethical business framework by examining the U.S. court systems, Uniform Commercial Code, and negotiable contract elements. The program culminates in a research and reporting capstone course.
CCCC facilitates an open-door admission process that welcomes students from all backgrounds, including international learners and undocumented persons. The college charges per-credit tuition based on residency status. Financial aid is available, including foundational and state scholarships. Through the Central Carolina Promise, qualifying in-state high school students can access free tuition and educational stipends.
Southern New Hampshire University
|Manchester, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
Located in Manchester, Southern New Hampshire University operates over 200 programs, including an online associate of science in accounting that synthesizes core business concepts and critical-thinking skills. Graduates enter the workforce as bookkeepers, accounting assistants, and payroll clerks. The SNHU program also lays the foundation for additional academic training, leading to the certified public accountant and certified management accountant exams.
The 60-credit curriculum contains eight general education classes, including English composition, applied statistics, and micro/macroeconomics. Students complete 11 courses in major topics like financial managerial and intermediate accounting. They also explore business regulations, learning how to navigate the U.S. legal system and global cyberlaws.
Additionally, this online associate accounting degree covers marketing concepts and administrative human relations. Candidates also examine business technology and the ways they can implement information systems to bolster organizational functions and profitability. Students round out their education with free electives, which they use to prepare for career entry or baccalaureate training.
SNHU does not require applicants to meet minimum GPA standards or submit standardized test results. However, academic performance factors into scholarship decisions. All distance learners pay the same affordable tuition price, with discounts available for military service members and their spouses. The university delivers a flexible transfer policy that allows students to apply 45 credits toward their associate degree plan.
Online students take asynchronous classes facilitated by Blackboard. SNHU operates eight-week sessions year round. The university's business programs maintain specialized accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Florida State College at Jacksonville
|Jacksonville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 35%||
Founded in 1966, Florida State College at Jacksonville operates comprehensive academic programming. The school delivers distance education through Blackboard, including an online associate of science in accounting. Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the program prepares students for entry-level positions as credit coordinators, corporate auditors, and certified bookkeepers. Candidates who enroll in the accelerated track can earn their credentials in 18 months.
The 60-credit degree plan comprises five general education courses, including English composition, college algebra, and economic principles. In addition to managerial and financial accounting, students train in forensic accounting, which deals with the detection, prevention, and deterrence of corporate crimes. Topics include check tampering, inventory theft, fraudulent financial statements, and cash larcenies.
Through this associate degree in accounting, online students develop career-focused technology skills. Relevant classes include spreadsheet practices, database concepts, and microcomputer applications for business and economics. The program culminates in a capstone class in which candidates apply financial analysis and record-keeping skills in a simulation activity. The course also explores business ethics and research methods, concepts that especially benefit students interested in transferring to a baccalaureate program.
FSCJ offers online bachelor's degrees in financial services, business administration, and supervision and management. Applicants submit official transcripts and ACT/SAT scores. Distance learners pay per-credit tuition based on residency status. FSCJ offers a variety of institutional scholarships.
South Texas College
|McAllen, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 15%||
Based in McAllen, South Texas College enrolls over 31,000 students in 121 academic programs. The school offers distance education opportunities through Blackboard, including an online associate of arts in accounting. The 60-credit program highlights internal accounting procedures regarding external audits and reportage. Graduates develop the fundamental skills needed for career entry and professional certification. They can also apply completed coursework toward a bachelor's degree completion plan at STC or other accredited colleges and universities.
The curriculum comprises 64-65 credits. In addition to five general education courses, students pursue required classes like financial and managerial accounting. They also take a computerized accounting class, learning to maintain records and process general ledger packages. Additionally, candidates train in business tax accounting, which involves processing payroll and reporting transactions to local, state, and federal taxation authorities.
The online associate accounting degree also covers professional communication. Students develop the interpersonal skills needed to collaborate with team members. They learn to effectively communicate through dyads, presentations, and multimedia formats. Additional coursework includes business law, federal income tax, and principles of supervision. Distance learners round out their training with an accounting practicum, partnering with local businesses to complete workplace training and create job development plans.
STC operates an open-door admission policy that does not require SAT or ACT test scores. However, candidates may need to pass state-mandated reading, writing, and/or math assessment tests. Online students pay per-credit tuition based on residency. The college supports learners financially through government grants, veterans' benefits, and institutional scholarships.
|Los Altos Hills, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 56%||
Located in Los Altos Hills, CA, Foothill College supports over 15,000 students. The school offers 167 certificate and degree opportunities, including an online associate of arts in accounting. The program provides the introductory training students need to seek entry-level work or to transfer into a bachelor's degree. Students learn to process financial documents for internal and external use. They also develop the statistical analysis skills needed to positively affect company decision-making.
The Canvas platform delivers asynchronous classes at Foothill. Students may earn their credentials entirely online or they can mix in campus-based courses. The degree plan totals 90 units and includes such core topics as microeconomics, macroeconomics, and business principles. In business principles, learners examine the relationships among companies, consumers, and stakeholders -- and how these interactions impact business operations.
The online associate degree in accounting trains students in financial, managerial, and tax accounting practices. Candidates also develop computerized accounting skills. They use Excel and Quickbooks to process data and prepare financial documents. The program contains two major elective requirements on topics such as financial statement analysis, fraud examination, and accounting for government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
Foothill operates open admission that accepts all high school graduates and non-graduates over the age of 18. The college charges tuition based on residency status. Students benefit from diverse financial aid opportunities, including the Foothill College Promise. Through this program, eligible first-time students can receive free tuition for the first academic year.
Florida Institute of Technology
|Melbourne, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 60%||
Based in Melbourne, Florida Institute of Technology was founded in 1958 as an engineering school. Today, the institution operates four colleges and enrolls more than 6,400 students in diverse academic programs. The catalog includes an online associate of arts in accounting that combines a liberal arts foundation with core business concepts. Florida Tech graduates gain the specialized accounting skills necessary to occupy roles as audit associates, junior staff accountants, and payroll administrators. With additional training, they can pursue the certified public accountant or certified financial analyst designation.
Florida Tech operates eight-week sessions. Most students earn their credentials in under two years. The 64-credit degree plan covers such fundamental topics as professional computer skills and global business perspectives. Students examine ethical management principles and decision-making practices for a global business environment. They also delve into communication, learning to apply rhetorical strategies that strengthen team collaboration and engage consumers.
In addition to a three-course mathematics core, the online associate degree in accounting introduces students to microeconomics and macroeconomics. Upon this foundation, candidates build general and cost accounting competencies. They train through the full accounting cycle, emphasizing economic environments and measurement theories. Additional accounting topics include product costing, cost-justifying investment decisions, and performance evaluations.
Florida Tech does not require SAT or ACT scores and first-time students do not need to meet minimum GPA standards. To enroll as a transfer student, candidates need a "C-" grade average earned at a regionally accredited postsecondary institution. All distance learners pay the same low tuition price, with discounts available to military service members.
Keiser University - Fort Lauderdale
|Fort Lauderdale, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Established in 1977 as a career college, Keiser University now offers a variety of academic programs. The school facilitates distance education through Blackboard, with degree options like an online associate of arts in accounting. The Keiser program trains students in core accounting competencies and helps them develop the communication and technical skills needed in a globalized business environment. Graduates pursue entry-level positions as bookkeepers and accounting assistants.
The 60-credit degree plan includes eight classes in lower-division general education topics. The remaining hours funnel into major coursework like accounting and taxation principles. Students take an integrated accounting course, learning to synthesize traditional concepts with computerized techniques to input transactions, report financial history, and complete a company's accounting cycle.
The Keiser online associate accounting degree also delves into broad business and research concepts. These courses prepare candidates for baccalaureate training and industry certification exams. Topics include marketing, business law, and ethical decision-making. Additionally, students examine the differences among domestic and multinational financial management, emphasizing currencies, interest rates, political conditions, and economic risks.
Candidates can earn the associate degree entirely through asynchronous classes. Alternatively, they may create a hybrid learning experience by taking flexible courses at any of the university's 19 Florida campuses. Applicants need a high school diploma or GED. Keiser grants transfer credits for prior college-equivalent work completed with a minimum 2.0 GPA. The university offers the same tuition rate regardless of residency status. Students also benefit from financial support, including state grants and institutional scholarships.
|Grand Rapids, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Established in 1866, this private institution serves 7,300 students and offers a variety of web-based programs, including an online associate accounting degree. DU prides itself on providing newcomers to the accounting field with business-focused training. Combining hands-on learning exercises and foundational theory, the 64-credit associate of business administration in accounting program introduces major business and financial principles.
Introductory classes explore presentation techniques, accounting foundations, management foundations, and professional ethics. Candidates learn to maintain accounting records, create financial statements, and use accounting knowledge to make business-related decisions. Second-year accounting students dive into advanced concepts, such as payroll and state tax, federal taxation, cost accounting, microeconomics, and marketing foundations. All students take four semesters of classes over the course of two years. Full-time learners typically complete five classes, or 16 credits, each semester.
DU delivers its courses asynchronously through its Global Campus using Blackboard. While each class features regular assignment deadlines, online accounting students may access course materials at their convenience from any location with internet access. Some faculty members offer real-time virtual learning options, meaning students attend online lectures as they occur. However, students can fulfill all required courses for the online associate degree in accounting asynchronously.
Prospective DU students must hold a 2.0 GPA or higher with a score of 950 or 17 on the SAT or ACT, respectively. Applications should include official transcripts, test scores, and a personal statement. Qualifying students may receive credit for military experience, relevant work experience, and professional certifications.
Moraine Park Technical College
|Fond du Lac, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
Located in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, MPTC is a public technical college offering over 100 associate of applied science degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Distance learners can take advantage of the college’s flexible, accredited online accounting associate degree. This 66-credit associate of applied science in accounting prepares students for entry-level positions in a variety of businesses and industries.
MPTC's computer- and technology-driven curriculum helps students master industry standard software as they learn to prepare financial statements and document business transactions. Candidates develop essential accounting skills, including tax preparation, auditing, payroll operations, and cost analysis. Graduates are equipped to carry out financial operations across the accounting cycle, including assessing risks and preparing tax documents. Degree holders go on to work in both the public and private sectors as payroll accountants, costs accountants, income tax preparers, and staff accountants.
Full-time students complete 16-19 credits each semester over the course of two years. MPTC uses a synchronous, cohort-based program format, delivering classes through the Canvas platform. Distance learners work through course content alongside other cohort members and actively participate in online discussions. Course length varies, with classes lasting four, six, eight, or 16 weeks. New students may attend on-campus Canvas training courses or access online tutorials. Distance learners can also take advantage of MPTC’s technological support services.
All online students pay the same per-credit tuition rate, regardless of their state of residence. MPTC holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Trident Technical College
|Charleston, SC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 16%||
A two-year school based in South Carolina, TTC got its start in 1973. Today, the college serves over 15,000 students through more than 150 degree and certificate programs, including an online associate degree in accounting.
Candidates pursuing an associate of applied science in accounting benefit from flexible scheduling and can enroll in either synchronous or asynchronous courses according to their preferences. After completing general education courses in macroeconomics, English, and statistics, learners explore basic and intermediate accounting concepts, such as tax preparation and auditing. The curriculum contains significant writing components, and students must demonstrate strong composition and communication skills.
TTC offers a variety of student resources, including organizations and activities, personal counseling and career services, and academic mentoring. The college’s learning center provides free tutoring, workshops, and supplemental instructional materials. Distance learners may attend in-person sessions on campus or request an online tutoring session. TTC’s writing and math centers offer intensive, subject-based assistance. Learners may participate in up to two sessions each week.
TTC also sponsors a student accounting association, which brings together like-minded individuals through online and in-person activities and social events. Candidates with a military background and their dependents may receive tuition assistance through the college’s military services office. Military personnel and online students may also take advantage of institutional scholarship opportunities and state-sponsored awards.
Prospective students must submit a completed online application, proof of English and math proficiency, ACT or SAT scores, and high school transcripts.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College
|Rome, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 36%||
Distance learners can prepare for technology-driven careers in a competitive job market by earning GNTC’s associate degree in accounting online. The 64-credit associate of applied science in accounting develops the strong technical, professional, and academic skills candidates need to take on entry-level accounting jobs and advanced studies.
Students complete 15 credits of general education coursework, gaining a solid foundation in composition and rhetoric, behavioral sciences, and mathematics. The remaining 49 credits come from major-specific courses, including financial accounting, individual tax accounting, payroll accounting, computer literacy, spreadsheet applications, and managerial accounting.
GNTC delivers classes in both asynchronous or synchronous formats. Synchronous courses follow a regular schedule, using predetermined virtual meeting times and live student-faculty interaction and requiring up to three hours of study per day. Self-paced courses allow distance learners to complete assignments and view class materials on their own time, provided they meet course requirements within the allotted time frame. Learners may contact professors through online chat, email, and face-to-face meetings. Additional distance learning resources include Blackboard and technical assistance and remote library access.
Prospective students must submit an application fee, standardized test scores, and official high school transcripts. Once accepted, distance learners may apply for institutional grants and scholarships. Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama residents pay in-state tuition. All tuition costs vary based on student enrollment status and number of scheduled credit hours per semester. GNTC holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Coastal Pines Technical College
|Waycross, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 57%||
CPTC is a small community college in Waycross, Georgia. The college serves around 2,500 students through more than 130 programs, including an online associate accounting degree. Most full-time learners spend roughly 15 hours on each online class every week, completing the 64-credit degree in two years or less.
Students complete at least 15 credit hours of general education courses in language arts and communication, the social and natural sciences, mathematics, humanities, and the fine arts. The remaining coursework explores essential accounting concepts and competencies, including spreadsheet applications and computer literacy. Distance learners survey major principles in managerial, payroll, and financial accounting, examining the distinctions and between each role and their respective job duties.
Online students enjoy access to CPTC’s library services and personal, academic, and career counseling. Candidates may also take advantage of free tutoring sessions. Distance learners can also participate remotely in the college’s many student organizations, activities, and clubs.
Prospective accounting students should demonstrate Accuplacer scores of at least 70, 64, and 57 in English, reading, and algebra, respectively. Candidates who achieve eligible SAT or ACT scores may be exempt from placement testing. In addition to test scores, applicants must also submit their high school transcripts. CPTC students can pursue federal and state financial aid in addition to institutional scholarships and grants. CPTC holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Ogeechee Technical College
|Statesboro, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
Established by the Georgia General Assembly in 1986, this two-year community college is one of the best online schools for an accounting associate degree. Featuring career-focused, technology-driven classes, the accounting associate of applied science program cultivates versatile analytical and technical abilities. A blend of general and specialized coursework prepares students for success in today’s business climate, developing the in-demand skill set needed to secure a variety of entry-level positions.
Candidates pursuing an accounting associate degree complete a minimum of 64 credits and typically graduate in five semesters. Required courses include financial accounting, individual tax accounting, payroll accounting, and managerial accounting. Distance learners enjoy diverse elective course options, including include music appreciation, American literature, composition, mathematical modeling, and introduction to psychology. Many graduates go on to work as bookkeepers, payroll clerks, and accounting managers.
Distance learners receive access to the college’s student success lab, academic enrichment center, and counseling services. Ogeechee Tech also provides virtual career coaching and job search assistance. Prospective students must be 16 years of age or older. In addition to official high school transcripts, applicants should submit their Accuplacer, Compass, ACT, SAT, PSAT, or GED scores.
Qualifying in-state students who meet sufficient academic standards may be eligible to participate in Georgia’s HOPE scholarship and grant program. While all students pay one per-credit tuition rate regardless of residence status, cost per credit may vary according to program. Ogeechee Tech holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
|Fergus Falls, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 36%||
Established in 2003, M State is a public institution with four locations throughout Minnesota and a robust distance learning division. M State’s associate of applied science degree in accounting provides a comprehensive, holistic introduction to the field that makes the school one of the best online colleges for an associate degree in accounting.
Over the course of 60 credits, candidates learn to handle and process large amounts of financial data and manage financial statements, budgets, taxes, and payroll reports. Accounting majors master current industry standard software, foundational and federal accounting standards, and finance-related ethical principles. Emphasizing computerized accounting concepts, the curriculum instills foundational tax preparation, technical, and financial management skills.
Accounting majors complete 39 credits of required courses and 21 elective credits. Required coursework addresses managerial accounting, QuickBooks, individual tax income, college writing, and business law. Elective course offerings include macroeconomics, nonprofit accounting, management principles, introduction to marketing, and benefits administration.
Applicants should submit their high school transcripts along with an application fee. M State provides student support, such as career services, counseling services, and academic advising. Online learners may purchase laptops from the college at a discounted rate, and all distance students pay the same tuition rate regardless of their location.
M State also sponsors several merit- and need-based scholarships for first- and second-year students. Eligible applicants may receive credit for prior learning, professional, and military experience. M State holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Columbus State Community College
|Columbus, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 21%||
Ohio's CSCC enables prospective accountants to start their careers with an associate of applied science in accounting. Available in online and hybrid formats, this two-year, 60-credit program is ideal for individuals who wish to sit for the Ohio certified public accountant exam or open their own accounting firms in the future. Featuring a combination of synchronous and asynchronous classes, the curriculum explores integral concepts and day-to-day duties involved in government and business accounting procedures.
Required major courses survey cost accounting, corporate finance, federal taxation, QuickBooks, tax practice, and payroll. Accounting majors must also take at least two elective courses on topics like European history, world civilization, comparative religions, or introductory philosophy.
Prior to graduation, students master essential accounting processes such as budgeting, break-even analysis, profit planning, product costing, and cost analysis. Associate degree seekers also develop an understanding of auditing standards, the federal tax system, the internal revenue code, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ code of professional conduct.
Most distance learners take 15 credits of accounting and general education coursework each semester. Some classes may require online students to take exams in the CSCC testing center. The college also allows high school students to earn credits by completing the College Credit Plus course series before they register as college students. CSCC’s Preferred Pathway initiative allows associate degree holders to seamlessly transfer their credits to a four-year program at one of nine participating Ohio institutions.
CSCC’s online associate accounting degree holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Lenoir Community College
|Kinston, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 18%||
Established in 1958, LCC is one of North Carolina’s oldest community colleges. Today, this public institution boasts a student body of around 12,500 individuals and offers 49 associate programs, including an associate degree in accounting online.
The 66-credit associate of applied science in accounting and finance program features a well-rounded curriculum that prioritizes professional skills. Major coursework introduces essential accounting competencies associated with real estate, taxation, marketing, insurance, financial planning, and business law.
Distance students also complete 15 general education credits, studying precalculus, music and art appreciation, critical thinking, microeconomics, writing, and algebra. This comprehensive curriculum allows graduates to pursue jobs in a variety of settings and industries, including accounting firms, hospitals, schools, government agencies, and small businesses.
Distance learners enjoy around-the-clock access to math and English tutors, along with scheduled tutoring sessions for additional subjects. Students receive unlimited access to LCC’s online library resources, including a live chat feature that provides virtual research assistance from college librarians.
Learners can also take advantage of the school’s admissions, academic, career, and personal counseling services. LCC’s online career coach system helps accounting students explore employment opportunities before they enter the job market. Distance learners may also participate remotely in special interest clubs and the student government association.
While in- and out-of-state students pay different tuition rates, the LCC Foundation sponsors need- and merit-based scholarships to help learners cover costs. The college does not charge technology or access fees during the summer semester.
Shoreline Community College
|Shoreline, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 31%||
Shoreline is a public college located near Seattle. The school offers more than 25 online degrees and certificates, including an accounting associate in applied arts and sciences for candidates seeking accounting careers in both the public and private spheres. Developed in collaboration with local advisory committees and industry professionals, the program’s cutting-edge curriculum prepares learners to excel in today's fast-paced financial sector.
The 90-credit online associate accounting degree features two career-focused academic paths. Option A is a two-year plan that emphasizes bookkeeping skills and professional competencies. Distance learners who pursue Option A can earn certificates of completion in clerk accounting, accounts receivable/payable, payroll, and tax preparation. Most students who select Option B plan to pursue public accounting careers or a bachelor's degree in accounting at a four-year college or university. This option requires candidates to complete approximately 200 quarter credits over the span of five years.
Options A and B share many required courses, including financial accounting, business law, microeconomics, and introduction to business. Learners also complete general education coursework in algebra, multicultural studies, and English composition. Students complete all courses asynchronously through the Canvas learning platform.
Prospective students above the age of 18 need only submit their high school transcripts and an online application. Once accepted, candidates enjoy remote library access, online tutoring services, and academic counseling. In-state students who demonstrate financial need may apply for institutional grants and tuition waivers. Shoreline also sponsors a variety of merit- and need-based scholarships.
Southwest Virginia Community College
|Richlands, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 35%||
SWCC opened its Richland campus in 1968 with the goal of serving Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, and Tazewell county residents. Today, the college’s distance learning division reaches students around the country through a variety of web-based certificate programs and associate degrees.
Students enrolled in SWCC’s associate of applied science program can earn an online accounting degree in only four semesters of full-time study. Ideal for prospective junior accountants, tax preparers, payroll clerks, and small business owners, the 65-credit curriculum approaches accounting studies from two perspectives.
During their first two semesters, students complete a business-focused course sequence that lays the foundations for second-year accounting coursework. Required first-year courses include spreadsheet software, college success skills, quantitative reasoning, introductory computer applications, and health education. The program’s second half explores financial management, computerized accounting, cost accounting, auditing, and intermediate accounting.
Prospective students must submit high school transcripts that demonstrate a GPA of 2.5 or higher and sufficient English, mathematics, and keyboarding proficiencies. Incoming students without adequate scores or prerequisite coursework are required to complete remedial courses before beginning their online associate accounting degree.
Students complete coursework through the Blackboard learning platform. All distance learners and candidates enrolled in hybrid programs must take tests at the Dellinger Hall testing center on campus. The school maintains a distance learning agreement with Northern Virginia Community College that allows SWCC students to take electives outside of the accounting curriculum.
Online students enjoy access to online tutoring, full-text library resources, and various student clubs and organizations. Career coaching and services give distance students a head start in preparing job application materials and refining their interviewing skills.
Northeast Community College
|Norfolk, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
Based in Norfolk, Nebraska, Northeast is a public institution with four physical campuses and a thriving online campus. Northeast serves approximately 6,000 degree-seeking students and roughly the same number of noncredit learners, most of whom ultimately transfer to four-year programs.
Northeast’s online associate accounting degree combines major, elective, and general education coursework in a comprehensive, 60-credit curriculum. Twenty-seven of these credits come from accounting classes, such as business statistics, business communications, accounting principles, fundamentals of information technology, and business law. General education courses cover topics in the behavioral sciences, fine arts, and natural sciences.
Prospective accounting students should submit their high school transcripts and ACT or SAT test scores along with a completed online application. Northeast accepts transfer credits earned through classes from accredited schools that resulted in a C grade or higher. Qualifying transfer credits must also match the college’s established curriculum.
Distance students benefit from various resources and opportunities available online and around campus. Northeast offers web-based and on-campus tutoring services and supplemental classes in most subjects. Degree seekers may also attend the writers' clinic for additional help with writing styles and formats, grammar, and composition. Personal and academic advisers are also available to ensure that students get the most out of their online accounting degree. Northeast provides student career services, including digital resources on job hunting, interviewing, and application preparation.
What Else Can I Expect from an Online Associate in Accounting Program?
|Timeline||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|
|Accreditation||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.|
Employment Outlook for Associate in Accounting Graduates
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)|
|Market Research Analyst||2.4%|
|Business Operations Manager||3.7%|
|Operations Research Analyst||3.8%|
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 and Business||$33,600||$45,000|
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|
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.
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)
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.
Financing Your Online Associate in Accounting Program
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.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
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.
Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.