Accounting Associate's Degree Programs
An Associate's degree in accounting is a short degree program that allows students to gain experience and knowledge in basic accounting skills. This degree prepares students for entry-level accounting jobs upon graduation. Most accounting associate's degrees are at community colleges or technical colleges, but many schools partner with larger colleges and universities to give students the opportunity to move on to their Bachelor's in Accounting.
Nationwide, there are 1,738 associate accounting programs. The average tuition cost is $10,201, which is offset by an average scholarship amount of $3,736 and grant package of $6,159. Some of the largest associate programs in accounting include Ashford University in Clinton, IA, Austin Community College District in Austin, TX, and Liberty University Online.
If a student goes full-time (12-18 credits per semester), they can generally expect to finish an Associate's degree in accounting in about two years. Most programs require between 60 and 64 credits for graduation. Some of the classes that an accounting student will take include cost accounting, taxation, payroll accounting, spreadsheets, macroeconomics, and financial statement analysis. Many programs also focus on accounting technology as new accounting computer programs become mainstream. In addition to accounting classes, students will have to take general education requirements in areas such as science, mathematics, and English.
There is no required certification or licensure for students with an Associate's degree in accounting; that is reserved for accountants with a Bachelor's degree or a higher-level degree. For students with busy work schedules or students who are returning to college as an adult, there are online Associate's accounting programs available. These programs have more flexibility in how and when students can complete their work. Some schools offer an accounting certificate rather than an Associate's degree; the coursework required for this type of certificate is typically the same.
Much of the class work involved in an Associate's accounting program lays the groundwork for a Bachelor's degree in accounting. Students take a wide variety of general accounting classes, which allows them to find an area where want to focus on.
The average tuition for an Associate's degree in accounting is just over $10,000. However, the average scholarship package is about $3,700 and the average grant amount is about $6,100. Depending on your location and other demographics, there are a variety of scholarships available for associate accounting students. The San Diego Chapter of the American Society of Women Accountants offers two $500 scholarships each year to women who are working on their Associate's degree in accounting. Different chapters of the American Society of Women Accountants offer similar scholarships.
The Teachers of Accounting at Two Year Colleges gives away two $1,000 scholarships each year to students who are pursuing accounting at the Associate's degree level. Another opportunity is offered by the National Society of Accountants. Students who have a B-average or higher while in a two-year accounting program can earn a scholarship up to the cost of tuition.
There are several different job opportunities that are available for those who hold an Associate's degree in accounting. Many places hire accounting assistants, allowing you to work underneath a Certified Public Accountant. You can also work as a bookkeeper, payroll clerk, billing clerk, and accounts receivable clerk. The median pay for these positions is $34,030 per year, or $16.36/hour. Job growth is expected to rise 14% through 2020.
The types of places that hire entry-level accountants for these jobs include small businesses that do not need a full-time CPA, retail stores, law offices, small accounting firms, and non-profit organizations. Places that hire people with an Associate's degree may ask them to cover a variety of tasks encompassed by the jobs listed above.