The number of startup companies and global corporations continues to grow each year, and the finance industry serves a critical role in managing the finances of these businesses. Finance is connected to nearly every field; individuals with this degree can work in banks, accounting firms, the finance departments of large corporations, and many other environments. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for financial managers will grow by 19% over the next few years, which is much faster than the national average. Earning an associate degree in finance online prepares students to enter this diverse and rapidly growing field.
What Are The Best Online Associate in Finance Programs?
|Grand Rapids, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Davenport University was founded in 1866 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The university serves a student body of 7,000 and awards associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. It offers several on-campus and online programs, including an associate of business administration with finance emphasis. This degree comes from Davenport's Donald W. Maine College of Business, which boasts accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
Online programs follow an asynchronous format, giving students the flexibility to complete coursework at any time without commuting to campus. The 65-credit program consists of foundational and major-specific courses. Foundational courses in excellence and business cover a variety of topics, including composition, presentation techniques, accounting, professional ethics, and project management. Coursework develops professional skills and provides an overview of key business concepts and ethics.
Major-specific courses build on foundational concepts, exploring subjects such as corporate finance, financial analysis for business managers, business law foundations, and investment planning. The online finance associate degree prepares students for entry-level careers in the finance industry, or serves as a starting point to pursue further education.
Applicants must complete an online application and submit official transcripts from previously attended schools, along with ACT or SAT scores. Davenport University allows prospective students to submit previous coursework or work experience for transfer credit, which may shorten their program length and reduce costs.
Columbus State Community College
|Columbus, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 21%||
Columbus State Community College features campuses in the cities of Columbus and Delaware, both in Ohio. It holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission to grant associate degrees and certificates. Columbus currently offers over 120 programs, including a finance associate of applied science. The program is available online and takes most students two years to complete.
The 60-credit program covers a variety of topics, including investments, corporate finance, accounting, foundations of banking, and principles of insurance. Students must complete a finance capstone during their final semester, in which they address a current financial or economic issues through projects and research papers. The online finance associate degree follows an asynchronous format, which gives students the flexibility to schedule coursework around other responsibilities without commuting to campus.
The program prepares students for careers as financial planners, loan officers, credit analysts, or insurance analysts. The program also serves as a starting point to pursue further education.
Applicants must submit official transcripts from high school and any previously attended colleges, along with ACT or SAT scores and a complete application. Students who cannot provide standardized test scores must take a placement test to determine eligibility. Columbus State Community College's tuition rates vary based on each student's residency status, so students must prove state residency to qualify for in-state tuition rates.
Northwest Arkansas Community College
|Bentonville, AR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 20%||
Northwest Arkansas Community College commits to offering high-quality, affordable education. Since its 1990 founding, the college has grown into the largest community college in Arkansas. It offers 55 degrees and certificates, including an associate of applied science in business management with emphasis in banking and finance. This fully online degree follows an asynchronous format, giving students a convenient, flexible option to earn their degree.
Learners may also pursue this associate degree 95% online, with a few on-campus requirements. This option often appeals to students who prefer some in-person learning experiences, rather than a fully online degree experience.
The 60- to 61-credit program consists of general education and core business courses. The program develops skills for entry-level employment in finance, or prepares students to transfer into four-year programs. This degree covers a variety of topics, including composition, macroeconomics and microeconomics, accounting, business communications, and the legal environment of business. Coursework includes an internship class. Prospective students should contact a program adviser for full details.
Applicants must submit transcripts from high school and previous colleges, plus ACT scores and a complete application. Students who do not have ACT may submit COMPASS or Accuplacer exam scores, if they are less than five years old. Tuition rates vary based on residency, so students wishing to pay in-state rates must provide proof of residency.
|Columbus, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 6%||
For over 115 years, Franklin University has aimed to offer quality education to its students. The university features over 25 campuses in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. It boasts accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and grants a variety of degrees, including an associate of science in financial management.
This program holds accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. The associate is available fully online and follows an asynchronous format, making it ideal for students juggling other responsibilities, such as work or family.
The 64-credit program develops foundational skills in finance and consists of major-specific courses, general education topics, and a final capstone requirement. Students explore topics including composition, math, accounting, microeconomics, investments, and banking. Courses equip learners with the skills for entry-level finance positions, such as financial associate or financial analyst. The online finance associate degree is transfer-friendly, making it a convenient option for individuals interested in pursuing further education.
Franklin University allows students to transfer credits from previous colleges, but they must complete at least 20 credits through Franklin. The school aims to make quality education available to learners from all backgrounds, so it doesn't implement minimum GPA, work experience, or standardized test score requirements. Applicants must complete an application, submit official transcripts prior schools, hold a high school diploma or GED, and take a placement test to determine eligibility.
North Hennepin Community College
|Brooklyn Park, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 19%||
North Hennepin Community College is located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, and holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. It offers several programs, including an associate of applied science in finance management, available both on-campus and online. The online degree follows an asynchronous format, giving students the flexibility to study at their convenience without commuting to campus. North Hennepin charges the same flat tuition fee for all online students, regardless of their state of residency.
The 60-credit program consists of business and finance foundation courses. Students develop skills and knowledge in a variety of career-related topics, including marketing, accounting, investments, entrepreneurship, and public speaking. The online finance associate degree prepares students for entry-level positions in finance, or to transfer into a bachelor's program. North Hennepin’s associate program meets transfer requirements for Concordia and Bethel universities, Minnesota State University Moorhead, and University of Minnesota Crookston.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED. They should also submit official transcripts, standardized test scores such as the ACT or SAT, and an application. Prospective students who cannot provide standardized test scores must complete a placement exam.
What Else can I Expect from an Online Associate in Finance Program?
The details of your coursework vary depending on the school and program that you choose. Many finance programs allow students to specialize in a specific area, such as corporate finance, international finance, or investments. Your chosen concentration can affect the overall curriculum and program length.
Curriculum for an Online Associate in Finance
The exact topics covered by your online finance program will differ depending on your school and whether or not you decide to specialize in a particular area of finance. However, most associate degrees in finance have many courses in common. A few of these are listed below.
- Microeconomics: Microeconomics is the study of how small, individual actions and decisions determine large-scale economics. This class introduces students to the fundamentals of individual markets and resource allocation as well as theories of price and production, competition, labor, income, and household behavior. Coursework prepares students for careers in international finance and market research and analysis.
- Introduction to Accounting: This course covers the basic theories and practices of accounting, including double-entry bookkeeping and other methods of recording transactions and preparing financial statements. Accounting classes prepare students to work as accountants, business advisers, and analysts.
- Investments: This class focuses on teaching students how to help individuals, companies, and organizations raise capital. Topics include portfolio theory, selection, and management as well as economy and market analysis. The skills learned in this course prepare students to work as investment bankers, financial managers, and risk managers.
How Long Does it Take to get an Online Associate in Finance?
While most online associate degree in finance programs take about two years to complete, this time commitment varies based on several factors. If your program features a cohort learning style, which requires students to complete coursework with a group of their peers, you will most likely finish your associate degree in two years. Alternatively, if your program features individually-paced learning, which allows students to complete coursework at their convenience, it may take you more or less time to complete. Additionally, many schools allow students to choose a full-time or part-time class schedule; full-time study usually allows students to earn their associate degree within two years, while part-time enrollment means that it could take three or more years to complete your program and receive your diploma.
Accreditation for Online Associate in Finance Degrees
Earning your degree from an accredited program assures future employers and/or academic programs that you received a quality education. The accreditation process involves a rigorous self-assessment, in which a university examines its programs, faculty, and student success rates to make sure that it complies with certain academic standards. Regional accreditation is the most popular and prestigious type; regionally-accredited schools tend to be nonprofit and degree-oriented. Alternatively, national accreditation is less common and is often awarded to for-profit, religiously-affiliated schools, or vocational and technical institutes.
It is important to make sure that your online associate degree in finance is regionally accredited. Additionally, consider looking for programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The AACSB is one of the top accrediting agencies for business schools and business-related degree programs.
What Can I Do With an Associate in Finance Degree?
Educational Paths for Finance Associate Degree Graduates
Most students who earned their online associate degree in finance continue their studies and pursue a bachelor's or a master's degree in a related field. PayScale reports that, for employees in the banking industry, individuals with an associate degree earn around $10,000 less per year than individuals with a bachelor's degree in finance. Nonetheless, completing an associate degree in finance is one of the best way to begin your studies in this field and can prepare you to eventually pursue a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor's of Finance: This degree prepares graduates for work in commercial banking, financial planning, insurance and real estate, and investment banking. A bachelor's of finance program typically involves classes that cover micro and macroeconomics, business, marketing, and accounting.
- Bachelor's of Accountancy: This specialized finance degree often leads to jobs in corporate and individual accounting, accounting information systems, and government accounting. Accountancy coursework includes the study of both accounting and communications.
- Master's of Business Administration: An MBA is the standard graduate degree for those interested in pursuing an advanced career in business. This degree often lets students specialize in fields such as healthcare, international business, marketing, and finance.
Career Paths for Finance Graduates
While it is common for graduates with finance degrees to find careers in banking, accounting, and business administration, many others pursue work in the fields of healthcare, education, and real estate. If you are wondering whether a finance degree is right for you, keep in mind that successful individuals in this field have strong communication and analytical skills, are detail-oriented, and are interested in learning. This field is also a good fit for resilient individuals who remain calm during stressful situations; the world of finance often involves working in a hectic environment.
- Financial Analyst
These professionals help businesses and individuals make good investment decisions. Financial analysts gather and analyze data and assess the current statuses of stocks, bonds, and other kinds of investments.
Median Annual Salary: $81,760
Projected Growth Rate: 11%
Similar to financial analysts, accountants help both businesses and individuals navigate their finances. Some of their duties include ensuring the accuracy of financial records, helping clients pay taxes, and evaluating financial transactions to help businesses run smoothly.
Median Annual Salary: $68,150
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
- Personal Financial Advisor
This type of advisor helps clients manage their taxes, investments, mortgages, college savings, insurance, and retirement funds. They typically inform clients about the risks and benefits of investments and various financial options.
Median Annual Salary: $90,530
Projected Growth Rate: 14%
- Financial Clerk
Payroll or financial clerks work with businesses and organizations to ensure employees are paid properly. These professionals prepare paychecks, record work hours and payroll data, and calculate wages and deductions.
Median Annual Salary: $38,080
Projected Growth Rate: 9%
- Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents help their clients sell, buy, and rent residential and commercial properties. A finance degree can be helpful because these professionals often analyze business plans or individual finances and advise clients about buying property.
Median Annual Salary: $46,410
Projected Growth Rate: 6%
Associate in Finance Salary
While most finance professionals eventually earn their bachelor's and master's degrees, there are several entry-level jobs that individuals with an associate degree in finance can access. The table below presents median salaries for five different careers in the field of finance, including information about how these salaries change with experience.
|Job Title||Overall Median Salary||Entry-Level Salary||Mid-Career Salary||Late-Career Salary|
|Personal Financial Advisor||$60,882||$51,329||$60,654||$85,000|
|Real Estate Analyst||$57,829||$56,471||$67,070||$65,001|
Financing Your Online Associate in Finance Program
Many students rely on scholarships, fellowships, grants, loans, and work-study opportunities to pay for their online associate degree in finance. There are also several scholarships designed for finance students, such as the AXA Achievement Scholarship, J.P. Morgan's Launching Leaders undergraduate program, and scholarships from the American Institute of CPAs. In order to better understand the funding opportunities available to you, be sure to to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
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- Best Online Associate in Finance Programs of 2018
Ranking School Location 1 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI 2 North Hennepin Community College Brooklyn Park, MN 3 Franklin University Columbus, OH 4 Columbus State Community College Columbus, OH 5 Northwest Arkansas Community College Bentonville, AR