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 finance programs of 2020? Here are our top 5:

Rank School Location
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

2020 Best Accredited Online Associate in Finance Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Davenport University

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.

2

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.

3

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.

4

Franklin University

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.

5

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 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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%

Accountant

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
Financial Analyst $58,899 $56,838 $65,841 $73,807
Accountant $50,322 $48,491 $53,210 $55,628
Personal Financial Advisor $60,882 $51,329 $60,654 $85,000
Payroll Manager $64,184 $53,135 $61,129 $70,496
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.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

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.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

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 STUDENTS

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.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

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.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

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.