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Almost every business benefits from employing professionals who understand financial performance and can see opportunities for growth. An associate in finance program teaches students how to examine trends, analyze figures, and compare forecasts to actual performance. This knowledge enables graduates to help businesses assess and manage their financial risk.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 5% job growth for occupations in business and financial operations between 2019 and 2029. This growth would amount to approximately 476,200 new jobs.
Although an associate degree can prepare graduates for entry-level roles like bookkeeping clerk, many students go on to earn their bachelor's in finance or a related field. A four-year degree may qualify individuals for leadership roles like financial manager, financial analyst, and financial examiner.
Our associate in finance program guide offers a comprehensive look at common admission requirements for these programs, as well as potential career opportunities for graduates.
What Are the Best Online Associate in Finance Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 5:
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|1||Davenport University||Grand Rapids, MI|
|2||Northeast Iowa Community College||Calmar, IA|
|3||Johnston Community College||Smithfield, NC|
|4||Franklin University||Columbus, OH|
|5||Columbus State Community College||Columbus, OH|
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2020 Best Accredited Online Associate in Finance Programs
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|Grand Rapids, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
DU's associate in finance program offers an entirely online curriculum with required coursework covering topics like presentation techniques, intermediate algebra, and business law foundations. Graduates can transfer seamlessly into DU's bachelor's in finance program.
DU supports distance learners by providing access to Handshake and InterviewStream — two software suites that help users explore job opportunities and hone their interviewing skills. Degree-seekers can also improve their resumes by completing a university-sponsored internship.
Admission requirements include ACT or SAT scores and high school transcripts or GED scores. Full-time students pay a flat, per-semester tuition rate. The Davenport Foundation awards merit-based scholarships to outstanding incoming students. DU's finance program is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
Northeast Iowa Community College
|Calmar, IA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
NICC's online associate degree in finance features a 65-credit curriculum that includes courses in managerial accounting, the psychology of human relations, and the principles of macroeconomics. The program does not offer electives. Full-time students can graduate in four semesters.
The college provides students and alumni with access to Career Hub — an online platform where users can take career interest inventories and network with potential employers. These resources help over 95% of alumni find a job or enroll in a bachelor's program within one year of graduating.
NICC accepts applications for the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Prospective students with high school diplomas or GED scores can apply. Out-of-state students pay a slightly higher tuition rate than Iowa residents. Institutional scholarships require a separate application.
Johnston Community College
|Smithfield, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 39%||
JCC's 63-credit associate in accounting and finance program includes required coursework in the principles of macroeconomics, business finance, and mathematical measurement and literacy. Most learners can complete the program in four semesters. The program delivers all coursework online in an asynchronous format.
JCC's career advisors help degree-seekers prepare for interviews, research potential careers, and hone job hunting skills. Learners can also use College Central — a resource that provides job opportunities and additional career advice.
Prospective students can apply at three points throughout the year, and the application process takes approximately one hour to complete. The college offers a significant tuition discount to North Carolina residents. JCC offers about 250 scholarship opportunities each year.
|Columbus, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 30%||
Based in Columbus, Ohio, Franklin's online associate degree in finance helps students develop in-demand skills through courses in investments, managerial accounting, and economics. Students customize their degree by selecting one elective class. All of the program's courses are offered entirely online.
On Franklin's website, degree-seekers can view informational videos that cover phone and video interviewing skills. The university also posts the latest job openings from around the state. Program graduates have gone on to work at many large companies, including AT&T, FedEx, and Nationwide.
Franklin does not charge an application fee. Admission requirements include high school transcripts or GED scores. The university awards transfer credit for military training.
Columbus State Community College
|Columbus, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 23%||
CSCC's associate in finance program prepares students to enroll in bachelor's programs in finance or pursue entry-level careers in consumer finance. The four-semester curriculum emphasizes the principles of insurance, the foundations of banking, and corporate finance. Additionally, students select two elective classes from over a dozen options.
CSCC supports distance learners by providing individualized counseling sessions, the latest job postings, and resume critiques. The college's website also provides virtual career tools, including a career success plan and Career Quest.
Prospective students must submit high school transcripts or pass an equivalency exam. Ohio residents pay the lowest tuition rates at CSCC. Outstanding first-year students may qualify for automatic merit-based scholarships.
What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Finance Program?
Most online associate in finance degrees require 60-65 credits and take about two years of full-time study to complete.
Individuals interested in a career in finance need strong analytical and critical thinking skills. Knowledge of various software programs and the ability to communicate effectively also lead to success in this field.
Most online associate in finance degrees require 60-65 credits and take about two years of full-time study to complete. Some schools offer accelerated year-round programs that may reduce degree completion times. An associate degree prepares graduates for entry-level positions and builds a solid foundation in finance principles.
Earning an associate in finance degree readies students for careers that involve financial statement preparation and economic analysis. Some programs also offer electives that allow students to obtain knowledge in their area of interest. A few of these options include banking, investment planning, security analysis, corporate finance, computer applications in accounting, and international finance. Additionally, some programs end in a capstone course.
Many graduates go on to obtain their bachelor's in finance or a related field. Earning a four-year degree can lead to management positions with more responsibility and higher earning potential.
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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Finance Program?
While curricula vary among schools, all finance programs offer courses that cover sound financial principles. Coursework prepares students to provide financial analysis and understand the impact of risk versus reward in financial planning.
Common class topics include accounting, microeconomics, macroeconomics, securities, investments, and banking. The following section highlights a few courses typically found in an online associate in finance program.
- Principles of Financial Accounting
This course explores processes for analyzing and interpreting accounting information and how businesses use this information to make financial decisions. Students learn to prepare financial statements, adjust balances, and record transactions. Other covered concepts may include depreciation, bonds, long-lived assets, liabilities, stocks, and inventory.
- Principles of Macroeconomics
This class introduces learners to economics from a global perspective. Covered topics include inflation, unemployment, fiscal policies, international trade, supply and demand, and gross national and domestic products. Students gain an understanding of how the economy works on a national and global scale.
- Statistical Methods
This course covers the use of statistics to determine how a business is performing. Basic methods of statistical reasoning provide students with the ability to interpret data and draw financial conclusions. Covered topics include sampling techniques, the use of graphics, and basic probability concepts.
- Financial Analysis
This course examines the practical interpretation of financial statements and analytical techniques, including trends analysis. Through the use of spreadsheets, students analyze historical data and make projections. Comparison analysis covers industry financial standards and competitor financial information. Students also learn how to perform a comprehensive financial analysis for an organization.
- Risk and Investment Management
This course covers the concept of risk in relation to investments. Students learn the basics of portfolio management, including real estate investments, mutual funds, and securities. Covered topics include investment risks, tax planning, and debt and equity instruments.
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What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Finance Degree?
An online associate in finance program prepares graduates for entry-level positions in banking, insurance, and consumer and corporate finance. Property assessor, insurance underwriter, credit counselor, and real estate sales agent are a few of the many positions graduates can pursue. However, some companies may prefer hiring candidates with a bachelor's degree for these roles.
As an example, property appraiser or assessor is a common job that graduates with an associate or bachelor's in finance may qualify for. According to the BLS, property assessors earn a median annual salary of $57,010. Assessors in the finance and insurance industries earn even more, with a median annual wage of $66,430. The BLS also projects 3% job growth for these professionals between 2019 and 2029, which is about as fast as the average projected for all occupations.
Graduates can also use an associate in finance as a stepping stone to a bachelor's in finance or a related field. A four-year degree can propel graduates toward a greater number of career opportunities, including financial manager, loan officer, financial analyst, and accountant.
Learn more about finance careers, and see where an associate in finance degree can take you.
- Property Assessor
A property assessor determines the market value of real estate for property tax assessments. Using computer-assisted appraisal systems, an assessor can value multiple properties in an entire neighborhood instead of one home at a time. These professionals often work for local government agencies. A bachelor's in finance or business may increase an applicant's job prospects.
- Insurance Underwriter
An insurance underwriter evaluates applications for insurance and makes recommendations for coverage and pricing based on assessed risks. While many insurance underwriter positions need a bachelor's degree, some employers may hire candidates with an associate degree and some experience in the field. Many companies also provide on-the-job training. According to the BLS, insurance underwriters earn a median annual salary of $70,020.
- Real Estate Sales Agent
Real estate agents help their clients rent, sell, or buy residential and commercial properties. Due to the increasing complexity of real estate laws, candidates with an associate in finance may find increased job prospects and advancement opportunities in this competitive field. While licensure requirements vary by state, all states require these agents to complete real estate courses and pass an exam.
- Credit Counselor
Credit counselors offer advice to individuals, families, and groups related to budgeting and debt management. By analyzing debt, assets, and income, these counselors come up with a financial plan and review their client's ability to pay off their debt. In some instances, a credit counselor may negotiate with creditors and help establish repayment plans.
- Bookkeeping Clerk
Also known as bookkeepers, these professionals perform basic accounting tasks. These duties may include recording transactions for an organization, producing financial statements, and reconciling any differences. Depending on the company's size, they may also process payroll and prepare invoices. Bookkeeping clerks use various computer accounting software programs to accomplish these tasks.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Finance Programs
- Is an associate in finance worth it?
Earning an associate in finance prepares graduates to enter the finance and business sectors, where they can pursue jobs in many industries. Obtaining experience in an entry-level finance job can lead to advancement, although some students opt to continue their education and earn a bachelor's degree.
- What can I do with an associate in finance?
Earning an associate in finance can lead to various entry-level positions. A few of these jobs include real estate agent, credit counselor, and bookkeeper. Obtaining experience can lead to career advancement and more job responsibilities.
- Are finance majors in demand?
Almost every industry needs professionals who understand financial principles. Increasing regulations and globalization also increase demand for these professionals. The BLS projects 5% job growth for business and financial occupations between 2019 and 2029, which is faster than the average projected growth for all occupations.
- How much money can I make with an associate in finance?
Annual salaries for individuals with an associate in finance vary based on their industry and position. For example, bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks earn a median annual wage of $41,230, while real estate agents earn $50,730 per year. Real estate agents who work in the construction industry earn even more, with a median annual wage of $58,490.
- What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with an associate in finance?
According to the BLS, insurance underwriters earn a median annual wage of $70,020. While candidates with a bachelor's degree typically find increased job prospects, an associate in finance along with strong computer skills and insurance industry knowledge can lead to opportunities in this field.