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
|1||Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 75%||
The accounting program at Moraine Park give students a strong understanding of the generally accepted accounting principles and is also available completely online. The online accounting associate degree emphasizes crucial skills for the accounting professions, such as decision-making, planning, and teamwork. In total the program is 69 credits and does require the completion of an exit assessment/ capstone project. Moraine Park has two required courses for every student. One familiarizes students with the microsoft office suite and the other teaches them good habits that promote success.
Moraine Park prepares its students for globally-minded, diverse careers, emphasizing the effective use of technology. Students can partake in opportunities such as studying abroad, joining a club, or adopting leadership roles. Moraine Park's Online College offers a variety of associate degrees and technical diplomas ranging from one to two years in length. Online students are not charged out of state fees.
|2||Foothill College Los Altos Hills, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 74%||
Foothill's online associate in arts degree with a major in accounting teaches students the fundamentals, and ethics of accounting. Students need a total of 90 credit hours to earn an associate in accounting from Foothill; 43 of the credits come from the core accounting classes. Foothill offers multiple accounting certificates for students who want to specialize in a particular area, however, many are non-transcriptable. Distance learners must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or better. Associate degree in accounting online courses are delivered using either Canvas or Etudes. The school's purpose is to provide education for all, with innovation and distinction at the core of each program. Foothill also provides student support services, such as free online tutoring, leadership skills, and personal development. Foothill was the first community college in California to offer distance learning, and continues to uphold excellence in online education with more than 500 courses to choose from.
|3||Liberty University Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 72%||
Liberty, based in Lynchburg, Virginia, offers an online associate accounting degree that prepares students for careers in business management, nonprofit and government finance, and public accounting. This program teaches candidates the communication and technical skills needed to evaluate and solve basic accounting problems. Students learn to apply critical thinking and ethical perspectives to business challenges. The school delivers all required coursework for this degree online in an asynchronous format, allowing learners to study whenever they prefer.
Liberty’s associate of arts in accounting requires candidates to earn 60 credits. Students complete general education classes, such as composition and rhetoric, math, science, philosophy, and social studies. A Baptist institution, Liberty also requires students to take three classes in Christian thought. Accounting major core courses cover business computing, statistics, financial accounting, managerial accounting, and business law.
Incoming freshman students apply with high school transcripts or GED records. Transfer students must also provide college transcripts. Liberty allows transfer students to apply up to 45 transfer credits towards this degree. The university grants transfer credit for some forms of professional experience, including military training. The degree receives programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, which sets standards for the best online associate in accounting programs in the United States.
|4||Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Keiser University's online associate degree in accounting gets students ready for entry-level accounting positions. 60 credits are required to earn the degree. 36 credits are general education classes, the remaining 24 are the core accounting classes. Students will take courses in economics, mathematics, natural science, and humanities. Keiser gives students the opportunity to study on one of the university's 17 campuses or online using Blackboard. The school has international campuses in Nicaragua, China, Taiwan, and South Korea. Scholarships are available to students enrolled in one of Keiser's associate, bachelor's, or master's program. Keiser is dedicated to a career focus and provides every student with access to professional development resources via its online career center.
|5||Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Wake Tech offers 180 high-quality programs, as well as workforce training and personal enrichment. The school's online associate degree in accounting is a 66 credit hour program that teaches students business ethics and other important accounting practices. Students looking to continue their education will have the opportunity to get a head start with one of Wake's accounting certificates. These certificates are designed for students who have, or are looking to complete a bachelor's degree and need to meet the requirements to take the CPA exam. Certificates like payroll accounting clerk and income tax preparer will prepare students for jobs in that specific area of study. Online students can build relationships through evening classes on campus or by signing up for Wake Tech XTRA, Wake Tech's web-based organization management system. Through Wake Tech Xtra students can network with their peers and find study groups.
|6||University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
The eLearning and distance education program at UAF delivers many online degrees and courses, five of which are associate degrees. The applied associate degree in accounting online prepares students for entry-level or mid-level positions at companies ranging from government agencies to small nonprofits. The accounting program is 60 credit hours and available 100% online. Online tools used for UAFs program include blogs, social media, video chat, and more. UAF has merit, service, and retention based scholarships available for prospective students each year. The program is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and emphasizes learning through innovation and technology.
The student-to-faculty ratio at UAF is 12:1 with a diverse population of students from its Alaska location, all over America, and 48 foreign countries. Students are part of a rich, global, and supportive community no matter where they are studying from.
|7||Daytona State College Daytona Beach, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
DSC, based in Daytona Beach, Florida, offers an online associate degree in accounting that teaches students the technical, legal, and ethical issues of tax preparation and business finance. Students learn generally accepted accounting practices and gain a broad understanding of the global business environment. DSC supports its online students with dedicated academic advisement, tutoring, and career counseling services.
The associate of science in accounting technology program at DSC requires degree candidates to earn 60 credits in total, which typically takes two years to complete. Students earn 21 credits through general education classes, including mathematics, English, social science, and humanities. Students in this program also study international business as part of their general studies requirement. Accounting students earn 39 credits through major core courses that cover topics in business math, business law, income tax, and office accounting.
First-time freshman apply with GED records or high school transcripts along with ACT, SAT, or AP test scores (if applicable). Transfer students apply with college transcripts. DSC accepts transfer credits for courses taken at regionally accredited institutions, and evaluates classes taken at colleges without regional accreditation on a case-by-case basis.
|8||Westmoreland County Community College Youngwood, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 106%||
Westmoreland County's AAS in accounting is one of many academic programs at the school. It prepares students for entry-level positions in business, industry, and government. It's a 60 credit hour program with courses in finance, analytics, and auditing. All distance learners are required to take the first-year seminar class. Westmoreland offers two accounting certificates: the computer accounting and tax specialist certificate and a general accounting certificate. Classes taken for the computer accounting certificate are applied towards the accounting AAS. The courses are based completely online.
Westmoreland County ranked first in Pennsylvania for 2016 Online Colleges. They emphasize the importance of flexibility in learning, and now offer many of its courses online. Each program uses Blackboard Learn as a learning management system and Blackboard Collaborate for state-of-the-art interactive web conferencing.
|9||Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
Based in Manchester, SNHU coordinates an online associate accounting program that teaches core business fundamentals and accounting skills. Students learn accounting standards and tax law while gaining experience interpreting and communicating accounting information to business stakeholders. Classes required for this degree, presented online in asynchronous format, permit candidates flexibility in where and when to study. The associate of science in accounting program requires students to earn 60 credits. Major core courses cover financial and managerial accounting, business law, taxation, marketing, and human relations administration.
Applicants submit high school transcripts or GED records. Transfer students must supply college transcripts. SNHU allows transfer students to bring up to 45 credits from other accredited institutions. Technology support staff, academic advisors, and career counselors help SNHU students reach their learning goals. The degree receives programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
|10||Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
Based in Fergus Falls, M State hosts an associate accounting degree online that teaches students to compile and correct financial data in various business settings. Candidates learn critical thinking skills, accounting theories, and how to use the business software packages needed to prepare financial statements according to generally accepted accounting procedures. This program features two start dates per year. M State maintains an articulation agreement that enables program graduates to continue their studies in the accounting bachelor’s program at University of Minnesota at Crookston.
This associate of applied science in accounting degree requires candidates to earn 69 credits. Major core classes cover various accounting subjects, including business law, income tax, payroll, spreadsheets, and QuickBooks. Students can participate in accounting internships to gain hands-on experience in business settings.
Prospective students apply with high school transcripts or GED records. Those with previous higher educational experience supply college transcripts. M State participates in transfer agreements with many educational institutions in Minnesota, and retains dedicated transfer specialists to help incoming and outgoing transfer students reach their academic goals.
|11||Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
Based in Shell Lake, WITC offers an associate degree in accounting online that teaches candidates to assemble, analyze, and forecast financial information. Students learn to prepare reports and generate payrolls. The degree introduces students to best practices in establishing internal controls to reduce financial risks. The online program delivers its coursework asynchronously, allowing busy students to complete assignments whenever they have time. WITC supports its students with online resources, including academic advisement, tutoring, and technology assistance.
This associate of applied science in accounting degree requires students to earn 60 credits, typically in two years of full-time study. Students take general studies courses in English, business math, and economics. Candidates also complete electives in communication and psychology. Major core courses cover business law, business software (including QuickBooks and Excel), payroll systems, income tax, and budgeting and cost control.
Applicants send GED records, high school transcripts, or college transcripts. Most students take placement tests upon acceptance. WITC helps transfer students earn their degrees as efficiently as possible. The college grants transfer credit for classes completed at other accredited institutions, military training, and by exam.
|12||Champlain College Burlington, VT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 90%||
Champlain, based in Burlington, Vermont, hosts an online accounting associate degree that teaches the business skills and accounting knowledge employers seek. Candidates learn best practices in accounting and develop critical thinking and communication skills. Program graduates understand tax law and core principles of risk analysis. Students can complete this degree through online classes delivered in an asynchronous format, though the program does occasionally require students to interact with classmates and faculty through online forums at specific times.
Champlain’s 60-credit associate of science in accounting requires students to earn 30 credits of general education electives, such as critical thinking, economics, social sciences, statistics, and ethics. Major core courses delve into accounting topics, including corporate finance, business law, taxation, and auditing. Degree candidates complete capstone projects in which they apply learned skills to complex accounting challenges.
Prospective students apply with high school or college transcripts proving a GPA of 2.5 or better. Candidates must supply a resume along with an essay describing their career goals and interest in this program. Champlain maintains generous credit transfer policies, allowing students to apply up to 45 credits earned at other institutions toward Champlain degrees.
|13||Pamlico Community College Grantsboro, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
PCC, located in Grantsboro, North Carolina, offers an online associate accounting degree that helps program graduates enter the accounting field. This course of study teaches standard accounting practices, record keeping, and business management skills. Students gain proficiency in accounting office applications, including Excel, QuickBooks, and specialized tax preparation software. PCC supports student success with dedicated academic advising, tutoring, and career counseling services. The college also helps entrepreneurial students start small businesses.
The associate in applied science in accounting program at PCC requires degree candidates to complete 65 credits. Students take foundational classes in writing, mathematics, humanities, and economics. Accounting core classes focus on accounting software, taxation, payroll, and business law.
Prospective students apply with high school transcripts or GED records. The school encourages all applicants to complete FAFSA forms to determine eligibility for financial aid. Transfer students apply with college transcripts. PCC participates in an arrangement that allows students at select North Carolina high schools to earn college credit.
|14||Northeast Community College Norfolk, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 66%||
Over 60 online classes are offered at Northeast, as well as several online support services. The associate degree in accounting online program is offered as an AA degree, and provides a comprehensive foundation in accounting knowledge from experienced faculty. Northeast also offers an AAS degree in accounting. The AA degree, with a concentration in accounting, has 27 core credits. The AAS degree in accounting has 45 credits required in its core classes but less general education requirements. Both require students to complete 60 credit hours total.
Northeast, which is situated across four campuses in Nebraska, prides itself on low tuition and high success rates, with 98% of graduates achieving further education or immediate employment. The community college prioritizes cultural awareness, global competitiveness, and authentic relationships to help students reach their individual goals. Online services include tutoring, access to academic counseling, and online library access.
|15||Lanier Technical College Oakwood, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 32%||
LTC, based in Oakwood, Georgia, hosts an associate degree in accounting online program that helps students prepare for careers in business finance. Candidates develop technical and professional skills, and gain broad knowledge of best practices in business accounting. The school delivers its online classes asynchronously, allowing students to study where and when they prefer. LTC helps graduates transition to professional roles with dedicated career counseling services.
The associate in accounting degree at LTC requires candidates to earn 64 credits. Students earn 15 credits through general education classes covering composition and rhetoric, social sciences, humanities, and mathematics. Students earn 49 credits through major core classes that cover topics in tax accounting, payroll, accounting software, spreadsheets, and managerial accounting. This degree typically takes five semesters of full-time study to complete.
Applicants provide high school transcripts or GED records. The school also requires applicants to take placement tests or supply ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students apply with college transcripts. LTC grants transfer credit for classes passed with grades of C or better at accredited institutions.
|16||Fox Valley Technical College Appleton, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
Fox Valley's accounting courses are offered either at its Appleton campus or fully online. The two-year associate in accounting online degree includes 33 course options in subject like business and finance. Fox Valley's accounting program requires 69 credit hours to be completed before students can earn their degree. For transferring students, Fox Valley's process is seamless as the school offers transfer agreements with more than 65 colleges through its accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. Fox Valley Tech is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System, the largest higher education system in the state with a 94% employment rate. Fox Valley offers associate degrees, technical diplomas, apprenticeships, and certificates in 14 industries, preparing students for the working world with high-tech occupational training. The school is also dedicated to connecting students with career opportunities beyond graduation, with its Business & Industry Services center and Employer Resources.
|17||College of Southern Nevada Henderson, NV||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 22%||
CSN, located in Henderson, Nevada, provides a comprehensive background in business finance fundamentals through its associate of applied science in accounting degree. The school delivers all the classes required for this degree online in asynchronous format. CSN supports its online students with online tutoring and technology assistance services.
Students must earn 61 to 65 credits to graduate from this program, depending on which classes they select. The program typically takes two years of full-time study to complete. Students take general education classes in English, math, humanities, science, and social science. Accounting core classes cover specialized topics, such as taxation, managerial accounting, cost analysis, and business law. Candidates then select business electives, including statistics, marketing, economics, and QuickBooks.
Prospective students apply with high school transcripts or GED records. Transfer students supply college transcripts and work with transfer specialists to determine which credits may apply to CSN degree requirements. This course of study enjoys programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, which sets standards for the best online colleges for associate degrees in accounting.
|18||Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
Minnesota West, based in Granite Falls, offers an associate in accounting online program that teaches financial data management fundamentals. Students learn to interpret financial data and give informed advice about business finances. The school offers the program’s coursework online in an asynchronous format, allowing busy students to learn when their schedules allow. Minnesota West supports its online students with advising, tutoring, and career counseling services.
Minnesota West’s associate of applied science in accountant degree requires students to earn 60 total credits, which typically takes four years of full-time study. Classes cover specialized accounting topics, such as payrolls, accounting software, spreadsheets, databases, and nonprofit accounting. Students can choose to gain hands-on accounting experience through internships.
First-time freshmen students apply with high school transcripts or GEDs. Transfer students submit college transcripts. The college encourages all applicants to complete FAFSA forms to find financial aid. Most accepted students take placement tests, but the college waives this requirement for many students with higher educational experience. Minnesota West admissions officers evaluate transfer transcripts for credit transfer opportunities on a case-by-case basis.
|19||Craven Community College New Bern, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
Based in New Bern, North Carolina, Craven offers an online associate degree accounting program that gives students the skills and knowledge they need to excel in accounting careers. Degree candidates learn to assemble and analyze financial data, and clearly communicate key financial information. The degree program teaches generally accepted accounting practices and business law topics. Craven helps program graduates find employment after graduation through dedicated career counseling resources.
The associate in applied science in accounting degree at Craven requires candidates to earn 69 total credits. The degree normally takes two years of full-time study to complete. Students take general education classes in humanities, writing, psychology, and public speaking. Major courses teach business finance topics, including taxation, payroll, managerial accounting, bookkeeping, and business law. Students participate in work-based learning experiences to practice learned skills in real business settings.
Applicants provide high school transcripts or GED records, and take placement tests or submit competitive ACT or SAT scores. Candidates with previous higher educational experience supply college transcripts. Craven evaluates transfer student records for credit transfer opportunities. The college grants credit for some forms of military training.
|20||College of Southern Maryland La Plata, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
The accounting associate degree online program at CSM helps students begin or advance their accounting careers. Students learn to apply generally accepted accounting principles and communicate financial information to other business professionals. Classes required for this program, delivered online in asynchronous format, allow learners to study where and when they want. CSM provides tutoring services on campus in La Plata, as well as online. Career specialists help graduates transition to professional roles.
This associate in applied science in accounting degree requires 60 credits. Students learn business fundamentals such as business math and statistics, business law, and technical writing. Candidates hone communication and critical thinking skills through courses in group planning, composition and rhetoric, and decision support systems. Degree candidates also focus on accounting topics, including income tax and automated accounting systems. This degree typically takes two years to complete, and receives programmatic accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Applicants provide high school or college transcripts. Accepted candidates usually take placement exams, but CSM waives this requirement for students with high ACT or SAT scores. CSM supports inbound and outbound transfer students, and maintains credit transfer arrangements with many Maryland colleges and universities.
|21||Shoreline Community College Shoreline, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 61%||
Students looking to study accounting through Shoreline have two options, each with different career outcomes and lengths of study. The associate in applied arts and sciences prepares students who are looking to head right into the workforce. It's a 90 credit program that includes a certificate of proficiency in accounting (the certificate can be earned separately). The second option is an associate of arts degree in business and has a direct transfer agreement with other in-state colleges (Shoreline is located in Washington State). It focuses on both business and accounting. The associate degree is for students looking to continue their education or become a CPA.
Shoreline specializes in educating students from all walks of life, whether they are transfer students, international students, veterans, or working professionals. The virtual campus at Shoreline offers more than 25, fully-online programs accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Online associate degree in accounting students are taught by an award-winning faculty.
|22||Fayetteville Technical Community College Fayetteville, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 32%||
Located in North Carolina, FTCC offers an associate in accounting online that provides students with the skills they need to work as accounting professionals. In addition to teaching accounting best practices, the degree covers other aspects of business administration, including business law and financial management. Candidates practice the critical thinking and communication skills necessary for financial leadership roles. FTCC supports students with academic advisement, tutoring, and career planning services.
The associate in applied science in accounting degree at FTCC requires 66 credits in total. Students can complete this degree in two years of full-time study. Courses cover writing skills, statistics, payroll, income tax, accounting software, and business management topics. Students may opt to participate in work-based learning programs to gain professional experience in accounting roles.
Admissions counselors help prospective students with the application process. Candidates supply GED records or high school diplomas. Applicants with higher educational experience send college transcripts. First-time college students must take placement exams unless they qualify to waive this requirement through competitive ACT or SAT scores.
|23||Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, IA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 65%||
Based in Sheldon, NCC coordinates an associate degree in accounting online program that teaches students about all aspects of business accounting cycles. This degree helps students launch careers in bookkeeping and accounting. NCC participates in the Iowa Community Colleges Online Consortium, which allows NCC online students to access to more than 750 class offerings. NCC provides advising services to help students achieve their learning goals and career counseling to guide graduates toward rewarding professional roles.
The NCC associate of applied science in accounting degree takes four semesters of full-time study to complete. Students must earn 63 credits to graduate. General education courses train students in communication, computer technology, math, and psychology. Major courses cover accounting fundamentals, economics, business law, and computerized accounting methods.
Applicants send high school or college transcripts. NCC grants transfer credit for courses passed with grades of C or better at accredited higher educational institutions. Candidates may also earn transfer credit by examination. Most accepted candidates need to supply ACT scores or take placement exams.
|24||Broward College Fort Lauderdale, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
Broward’s associate of science in accounting technology degree teaches candidates about the latest financial data management techniques and software packages. Students learn to analyze business records and communicate financial information. Online classes, delivered asynchronously, allow students to learn wherever and whenever they want. Broward helps students achieve their professional goals with advisement and career planning resources. Tutoring services, available online and on Broward’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida campus help students succeed in this rigorous course of study.
Degree candidates must earn 60 credits to graduate. Students in this online associate accounting degree program take general education courses in English composition, humanities, math, and computer literacy. Major courses cover financial data management computer applications, income tax, and fundamental accounting practices. Candidates can opt to participate in internships to experience working in accounting roles in real businesses.
Prospective freshman students apply with high school transcripts or GED records. Broward grants college credit for some secondary-level courses taken at select Florida high schools. Transfer students provide college transcripts. The college grants transfer credit for courses taken at accredited institutions, and for some forms of professional experience, including military training.
|25||Minnesota State College Southeast Winona, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Based in Winona, MSC Southeast offers an associate accounting degree online program that teaches accounting fundamentals and relevant software applications. Students learn to solve financial data management problems and provide professional accounting support to business organizations. MSC Southeast supports distance learners with online tutoring and technology support services. The college also offers career counseling resources to help students transition into careers after graduation.
This associate of applied science in accounting degree requires 60 credit hours of study. Students earn 15 credits through general education classes, with course options in written and oral communication, mathematics, history and social sciences, and humanities and fine arts. Students also earn 45 credits though core courses. Accounting major classes explore specialized topics, such as income tax, computerized accounting, fund and nonprofit accounting, and auditing.
Incoming freshmen apply with high school transcripts. MSC Southeast partners with select Iowa high schools to allow secondary students to earn college credit. Transfer students apply with college transcripts. The college’s transfer specialists work with incoming students with previous college experience to determine transfer credit eligibility. The college requires most applicants to take placement exams, but waives this requirement for those with high ACT scores.
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.
- Best Online Associate in Accounting Programs for 2017
Rank School Location 1 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL 2 Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion Marion, IN 3 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 4 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake, WI 5 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH 6 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, WY 7 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI 8 Foothill College Los Altos Hills, CA 9 Everest University-South Orlando Orlando, FL 10 Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, NC 11 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, WI 12 Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, IA 13 Lanier Technical College Oakwood, GA 14 Albany Technical College Albany, GA 15 Fox Valley Technical College Appleton, WI 16 Delta College University Center, MI 17 Northeast Community College Norfolk, NE 18 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls, MN 19 Haywood Community College Clyde, NC 20 Northcentral Technical College Wausau, WI 21 Surry Community College Dobson, NC 22 Stanly Community College Albemarle, NC 23 Shoreline Community College Shoreline, WA 24 Wayne Community College Goldsboro, NC 25 Westmoreland County Community College Youngwood, PA