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

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

What Are the Best Online Associate in Accounting Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top Five:

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Rank School Location
1 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, WI
2 Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, IA
3 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
4 Trinity Valley Community College Athens, TX
5 Stanly Community College Albemarle, NC
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2020 Best Accredited Online Associate in Accounting Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

Fennimore, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

Southwest Tech offers an associate in accounting that provides individuals with foundational knowledge in accounting theory and prepares them to perform business accounting functions in entry-level positions. The program is available entirely online or on campus.

This accounting degree requires 66 credits and takes at least two years to complete. Core courses include advanced accounting spreadsheets, payroll applications, Quickbooks, economics, and managerial accounting.

Each applicant must hold a high school diploma (or the equivalent) and submit transcripts and ACT scores. The college maintains transfer agreements with several four-year universities and helps graduates transfer their associate-level credits into a bachelor's program. Southwest Tech is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

2

Northwest Iowa Community College

Sheldon, IA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 65%

NCC offers an online associate of applied science in accounting that prepares students for entry-level accounting and finance-related positions. The college also provides a pre-professional accounting program for students who plan to continue their education and pursue a bachelor's degree.

This AAS features 63 credits, which enrollees can complete entirely online in four semesters. Core courses include financial analysis, cost accounting, business law, and payroll accounting. After completing their first two semesters, students qualify for a clerical accounting diploma.

Applicants must submit high school transcripts (or the equivalent) and ACT or ACCUPLACER test scores. Full-time students must enroll in the fall semester, but part-time students can begin the program during any semester. NCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

3

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Liberty offers an online associate in accounting that students can transfer into the school's online bachelor of science in accounting program. Courses are delivered entirely online in accelerated, eight-week sessions. This degree prepares students to work in areas like corporate accounting, education, the nonprofit sector, and public accounting.

This accounting associate degree requires 60 credits and takes 1.5 years to complete. Core courses include financial accounting, managerial accounting, business law, and principles of marketing. The university offers a significant tuition discount to military students and veterans.

Each applicant must possess a high school diploma (or the equivalent) and a minimum 2.0 GPA. Liberty is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

4

Trinity Valley Community College

Athens, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 76%

TVCC offers two online associate degrees in accounting: an associate of liberal arts and an associate of applied science. Students who plan to seek bachelor's degrees can pursue the AA, while those who intend to enter the job market after graduation may be more interested in the AAS. Students who earn an AAS can also transfer into a bachelor of applied arts and sciences program at participating universities.

Both accounting associate degrees require 60 credits and take two years to complete. Accounting coursework in the AA program includes principles of financial accounting, principles of managerial accounting, and principles of microeconomics. Accounting coursework in the AAS program includes computerized accounting applications, payroll and business tax, and business law.

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

5

Stanly Community College

Albemarle, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

SCC provides four program options in accounting, including an associate of applied science in accounting, an accounting diploma, an accounting certificate, and an associate of arts business and accounting pathway. The AAS degree, accounting diploma, and accounting certificate are available online. The AA in business and accounting is only available on campus.

The AAS in accounting requires 67-68 credits, while the AA in business and accounting features 61 credits. Both programs take roughly two years to complete. The AAS is well suited for students seeking entry-level employment upon graduation, while the AA prepares learners to pursue bachelor's degrees at four-year institutions. Accounting coursework covers topics like federal income taxes, introduction to spreadsheets, and payroll accounting.

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

6

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

Shell Lake, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

WITC offers an online associate degree in accounting that teaches students the knowledge and skills needed to prepare financial statements, cost studies, and tax reports for many different industries. Students looking to take part in blended learning experiences can enroll in some courses at WITC outreach centers.

This accounting degree requires 60 credits and takes two years to complete. Core accounting courses include income tax accounting, cost and managerial accounting, and budgeting and cost control. Students can also earn technical diplomas or pathway certificates for billing and posting clerks, accounting assistants, and tax preparer assistants on their way to earn their associate degree.

Admission requirements include completing an application form and meeting with an admissions counselor. WITC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

7

Keiser University

Fort Lauderdale, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 69%

Keiser offers an associate of arts in accounting that prepares students for entry-level accounting positions, such as accounting assistants and bookkeepers. Learners can pursue the program at several Florida campuses — including Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa — as well as online through the university's Fort Lauderdale online division.

This accounting degree requires 60 credits, which learners can complete in two years. Accounting major courses include accounting principles, accounting information for business decisions, business law, principles of taxation, and financial management. From 2016-2018, this accounting program had an average graduate placement rate of almost 90%.

Each applicant must hold a high school diploma or the equivalent. Keiser is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

8

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, NH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

SNHU offers an online associate of science in accounting that prepares students for entry-level accounting positions or further study. The university also offers a bachelor's in accounting for those who wish to pursue higher degrees.

SNHU's associate-level accounting degree requires 60 credits, which enrollees can typically complete in two years. Core coursework includes financial accounting, federal taxation, business law, and business systems analysis and design. U.S. military service members qualify for a 30% tuition discount.

The university maintains transfer-friendly policies, allowing learners to bring up to 45 qualifying credits into an associate program. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

9

Copiah-Lincoln Community College

Wesson, MS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

Co-Lin offers an associate degree in business with a major in accounting that prepares students for entry-level accounting positions or a bachelor's degree at a four-year institution.

This business degree requires 63 credits and takes two years to complete. Major coursework includes principles of accounting, business statistics, principles of microeconomics, and legal environment of business. Participants can earn this associate degree online. Students who plan to seek a bachelor's after graduation should contact the admissions office of their target school to see which courses at Co-Lin are eligible for transfer.

Applicants must hold a high school diploma (or the equivalent) and submit ACT or ACCUPLACER test scores. Co-Lin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

10

Northeast Community College

Norfolk, NE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

Northeast offers four program options in accounting, including an associate of applied science, an associate of arts, a certificate, and a diploma.

Both the AAS and AA degree options require 60 credits, which learners can finish in two years. The AA degree allows students to smoothly transfer to four-year institutions, while the AAS degree is well suited for enrollees planning to enter the workforce immediately after graduation. Core courses include principles of accounting, spreadsheet accounting, payroll accounting, excel spreadsheet applications, business law, and intermediate accounting. The AAS option involves a cooperative internship where students gain practical job experience.

Each applicant must hold a high school diploma (or the equivalent) and submit transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Northeast is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Financial Accounting

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

Federal Taxation

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

Managerial Accounting

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

Business Law

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

Business Systems Analysis and Design

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

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

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

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

Learn more about accounting careers here.

Bookkeeper

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

Accounting Clerk

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

Payroll Clerk

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

Accounts Receivable Clerk

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

Administrative Assistant

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

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Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Accounting Programs

What is an associate in accounting?

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

Is an associate degree in accounting worth it?

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

Can you be an accountant with an associate degree?

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

What can I do with an accounting associate degree?

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

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

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